Purchasing a vaction home.Continue reading
Everyday life can get crazy at times, many people fantasize about running off to their own personal retreat right here at the Mobile Eastern Shore. But how do you know which vacation home is best for you?
Choosing a location
Do you want to be in the middle of all the activity, or enjoy the peace and quiet of a secluded location? Is a condo at the mountain your cup of tea or a farmhouse tucked away in the woods? Whichever environment you prefer, here are some things you should consider:
- Popularity. A house in a hot vacation market will usually cost more than a place off the beaten path. At the same time, continued popularity may help you profit from appreciation.
- Proximity to your home. If you plan to visit regularly, look for a place that’s easy to get to.
- Rental possibilities. If you’re hoping to offset some costs by renting the home for part of the year, find out about seasonal demand for rentals in the area.
Maintaining your getaway
Regular upkeep is more difficult with a vacation home than with your primary residence, but no less important. The value of the home, both as an investment and as a place you enjoy visiting, depends on good maintenance.
If your primary residence is not far from Mobile Eastern Shore, you may want to make weekly visits to mow the lawn, water the garden, clean the gutters or shovel snow. If doing it yourself is impractical, consider hiring a vacation property management company to provide maintenance services during the times when you’re not using the home.
Visit JudySells.com to learn more about Mobile Eastern Shore and buying a vacation home or give me a call for more personal service.
Mobile Bay Real Estate: 5 Reasons Buying Vacation Home Is A Good Idea
With the stock market in turmoil, many people are looking for alternative investments. Most of us are scared to death of jumping into the market right now and wondering what to do with their nest egg…other than sticking it under the mattress.
Christine Karpinski, director of Owner Community for HomeAway.com (an online vacation home rental marketplace) and author of How to Rent Vacation Properties by Owner, 2nd Edition: The Complete Guide to Buy, Manage, Furnish, Rent, Maintain and Advertise Your Vacation Rental Investment, says buying a vacation home is an excellent home is a good investment right now.
Mobile Bay home values are down right now, but history shows they always rebound, making a vacation home a great long-term investment. Christine doesn’t recommend buying with the thought of flipping it in a year, but buying as a long term investment.
You are probably asking why buying a vacation home is a good investment.
First, there are deals to be had. Prices are lower than a few years ago during the peak of the housing bubble. The excessive number of foreclosures is also keeping prices down and inventory up, making sellers more negotiable.
Interest rates also remain reasonably low, with rates hovering 6-6.5 percent. If you have good credit, there is mortgage money to be had.
Below are Christine Karpinski’s 5 Reasons Why the Vacation Home Rental Market Is Holding Strong…Even in our Weak Economy
1. It’s easy for consumers to find information on vacation homes. By visiting respectable websites travelers can quickly find the vacation home that’s right for them. HomeAway’s network of vacation rentals includes over 300,000 properties all over the world, making it possible for almost anyone to find one within a two- to three-hour driving distance from their home.
2. Vacation homes tend to be less expensive than hotel rooms. This is especially true if you’re traveling with extended family or a group of friends. HomeAway recently contrasted a three-bedroom vacation rental private condo in Orlando with a popular three-star hotel and found that the condo was cheaper by more than $1,700! “That’s a big difference, and in a tenuous economy it seems even bigger,” notes Karpinski.
3. When airfare gets expensive, people start taking road trips instead. Even with gas prices relatively high, it’s still far cheaper to drive a couple hundred miles to your mountain cabin than to fly to some lavish vacation destination. “Even with the bad economy, people need to take vacations,” says Karpinski. “In fact, psychologically, they may need to get away more than ever. A fairly inexpensive stay in a nearby vacation home is the perfect solution.”
4. The weak dollar makes U.S. tourist destinations attractive to European travelers, whose currency is still strong. “On my recent trip to Hawaii, I noticed a lot of German tourists,” notes Karpinski. “And when I speak to many of the vacation homeowners I work with, they confirm that they’ve encountered a surprisingly high number of European travelers lately.”
5. Business travelers still need a place to stay. When corporations must meet with business associates-who increasingly hail from overseas-they need good lodging solutions. Enter the vacation home. “More and more executives are putting their guests up in vacation homes instead of cramped, impersonal hotel rooms,” notes Karpinski. “It’s a far more comfortable option; plus many companies work out deals with homeowners whereby they can get ‘volume discounts.’ It’s a win/win for all parties involved.”
Learn more about buying a Mobile Bay vacation home by visiting JudySells.com or give us a call, 251-990-0569.
Mobile AL Second-home Sellers Pay For Tax Credits
You have probably heard, last week President signed into law the Housing Rescue and Foreclosure Prevention Act. This is the most comprehensive housing bill to be enacted in over a decade. The bill is designed to help more buyers of Mobile AL real estate realize their dreams, as well as, boast the struggling housing and mortgage markets.
One of the biggest benefits, and probably one of the most talked about provisions in this legislation, is the $7,500 tax credit to first time home buyers. Tax breaks are all well and good, but they have to be paid for somehow. While first time home buyers are getting a break, second home sellers will be paying for the $15.1 million dollars in tax cuts.
Up until the new legislation went into effect last week, homeowners could exclude up to $250,000 taxable profit on the sale of their home if they’re single taxpayers and $500,000 if married filing joint returns. The catch being, they had to live the in house as their primary residence for two of the five years before it is sold.
Many second home owners took advantage of this by moving into a property that was once a rental or vacation home, live there for two years prior to selling and benefiting from the tax-free profit.
With the new legislation, owners selling on or after January 1, 2009 will have to factor out the period when the property was still a rental or vacation home and pay taxes on that portion of the profit.
Here’s an example courtesy of BankRate.com:
Jim and Joan are in their 50s and next January buy a vacation home for $200,000. Ten years later, they retire, sell their old principal residence and make the vacation home their new principal residence. Fifteen years after that, Jim and Joan, now in their 80s, move to an assisted-living community and sell the vacation-turned-primary-residence for $700,000. That nets them a gain of $500,000.
Under pre-housing bill statute, Jim and Joan wouldn’t face any tax on the entire $500,000 gain.
The new law, however, means that Jim and Joan can exclude only 15/25, or 60 percent, of the gain. That would give them $300,000 of nontaxable property sale profit and $200,000 upon which they would owe long-term gain taxes.
As you can see, the new legislation significantly affects second home owners and their retirement strategies. The second home market has remained strong in the last few years, but this may change dramatically in the near future….something congress may not have intended.
If you own Mobile AL real estate and are in the middle of converting your second home to your main residence, you could be out of luck. If you don’t have enough time left in 2008 to meet the two year lived-in rule and sell the property, when you do sell next year, you will pay.
If you need to sell your Mobile AL home before January 1, 2009, give us a call at 251-990-0569. We will help you get the highest price for your Mobile AL real estate before the end of the year!
Get the current market value of your Mobile AL home.
One of the biggest decision Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay AL second-home buyers must decide is whether or not to rent their property when they are not using it. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one-half of all second-home owners leave their home unoccupied for more than 330 days a year. The question becomes, will your vacation home be a financial burden or a financial cow with the rental income is can generate, thus paying for itself
Renting does have its pros and cons. Some owners don’t like the idea of ‘strangers’ in their home. Others don’t want the hassle of being a landlord, especially a long distance landlord. And then there is the decision to give up the prime vacation season for rental income. The flip side is renting your vacation home provides a stream of easy money.
EscapeHomes.com offers advice and tips when considering an Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay AL vacation home purchase and deciding whether renting out that home is right for you:
Before You Buy
If you already know you will rent your vacation home, consider these questions as you look at properties:
Is there a rental market in the area?
What is the average rent that your neighbors receive?
If you are looking in a development, are there any by-laws which restrict your rental capabilities?
Is this a seasonal area or year-round location?
The answers to these questions will help you select a more lucrative property for your vacation home.
How do you decide when to rent your property and when to use it yourself? Since you are buying primarily for your own fun and enjoyment, you shouldn’t sacrifice this. If the home is in a one-season area, for example, summers at the Maine coast, then giving up that time of year for rental income defeats the purpose of having the home. In this case, you might look for a long-term (9-month) renter for the off-season, among the local population, while you use it in the summer. On the other hand, if you buy a winter ski condo or chalet, it is still highly rentable in the summer time for the mountaineering types. If you buy a property for weekend use, perhaps there are local people who need a Monday-Friday escape option. In short, if you balance your own needs with the market demands, you get both fun and money.
For successful renting, first find out the going rental market rate. Second, determine if you want to market it yourself, or use a rental agent. Self-marketing takes time, but often generates more qualified renters as you are not competing with all the other properties of an agent. Third, be sure to arrange for a property manager. This is different from a rental agency. The manager will take 10 to 20 percent of the rent, and free you up from cleaning, being on call for maintenance (especially important if you live far away), and dealing with the daily needs of the renters.
Make it Personal
By far, the most important factor in success is your personal investment in the process. This means your personal contact with your renters. From a simple welcome note and local maps to a thank-you note and on-going contact, your relationship creates a repeat flow of guests who not only love your second home as much as you do but also pay for the privilege of using it. What could be better?
If you are considering buying a second home in Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay AL, give us a call, 251-990-0569, we are glad to provide you with the information you need to make a good buying and renting decision.
Think you want to rent out your Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay AL vacation home, but don’t want to handle the day-to-day details yourself, we can recommend an Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay AL Property Manager.