Quick Tips for Second-Home Buyers

These four questions will help you decide if a second home is right for you.
Exterior and Boathouse: Luxe Lakefront Cabin in Tiger, Ga.

Exterior and Boathouse: Luxe Lakefront Cabin in Tiger, Ga.

Sunlight sparkles off the glassy lake surface, inviting guests to take a boat out or dive right in. The second story of the boathouse includes a spacious covered porch.

Photo by: Harry Norman Realtors, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Harry Norman Realtors, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

When shopping for a second home, take your time. Be patient. Weigh the pros and cons of each place.

Ask yourself:

  1. How often will you visit and how much time will you spend there?
  2. Is it worth the money?
  3. What will the price appreciation be, realistically?
  4. How much will you have to pay every year for landscaping, association dues, garbage collection and taxes?

Make sure you can get the insurance you need, particularly if you want to buy a home near the beach.

Compare mortgage products. Loan standards and rates for primary and secondary homes are virtually identical, unless the lender considers the house an investment property. That could push the interest rate up 1.5 to 2 percentage points. 

In making a down payment on your second home, you can use the equity in your primary home. You can either extract the equity by taking out a "cash-out" refinance, or by getting a home equity loan or an equity line of credit.

Generally speaking, interest on a mortgage for a second home is deductible from federal income taxes. But if you borrow from the equity of your first home to make a down payment on the second home, you can write off the interest on only the first $100,000 of equity debt.

(Information from Scripps Howard News Service was used in this article)

Keep Reading

Next Up

Real Estate Survival Guide: Buyer's Checklist

Refer to this 10-step checklist to get you through the homebuying process.

Campus Cribs: Buying Real Estate Property for Your College Student

Buying a space for your student could turn out to be a great investment.

Buying a Second Home: Are You Ready?

You'd love to have a second home, sure. But before you start house-hunting, ask yourself these questions.

Urban Home Buying Tips

Real estate agents weigh in on the downtown buying process.

Guide to Buying a Second Home or Vacation Home

Follow these five steps to guide you through the process of buying a second home.

Buying a Second Vacation Home in the Tropics

A practical guide to running off to an island.

Top 10 Things to Know About Buying a Second Home

Despite a weak housing market, second home purchases are staying strong. These tips from HGTV can help you with your second home purchase.

Homebuying Dos and Don'ts

Take in these 8 tips for house hunting success.

Waterfront Buying: Top 10 Tips from Agents

Before purchasing that dream home, master these tips from the experts.

Take These Pointers When Buying a Second Home

Brush up on location, lifestyle and finances while searching for your retreat.

Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.