Is a Vacation Home a Waste of Money?

For most people buying a vacation property is not worth it due to high costs associated with owning one such as taxes, insurance and HOA charges. Learn more about investing in vacation rentals.

Is a Vacation Home a Waste of Money?

For the vast majority of people, buying a vacation property is a waste of money. You just won't use the property enough to justify the costs. A vacation home should not cost more than 30 percent of total income, including taxes, insurance, and HOA charges. Even if you can afford it, there is a chance that other loans or costs (such as your children's college tuition) will make it difficult to pay for a vacation home.

While the down payment can be financed using equity in a primary residence, that means higher costs overall. With interest rates still at historically low levels, now could be the perfect time to buy that vacation property or second home for your family. Read more › For the right person, two homes can be a good plan. But for the wrong landlord, a lot can go wrong. If you are thinking about getting a second mortgage for practical or profitable reasons, you should think about it carefully.

There are many considerations when investing in a second home. Whether a vacation home turns out to be a good investment often comes down to how you plan to use the property. If the plan is to use it primarily as a vacation rental property, income plus potential long-term appreciation gives it the potential to be a solid long-term investment. View details › The house is considered a personal residence, so you cannot deduct rent-related expenses such as advertising and utilities.

However, you can deduct mortgage interest and property taxes just like you would any home. Continue Reading › They allow investors to buy a property in an area they enjoy and rent it out when they are not using it, helping to keep costs down. As part of a long-term strategy, investing in vacation rentals in some areas can also mean benefits in the form of appreciation, as the property ideally increases in value. View details ›People who spend their money on experiences rather than things have been scientifically proven to be exponentially happier.

Experiences create memories that last a lifetime, even long after they've passed. Experiences create lasting relationships and bonds, and promote internal reflection and realizations. In this case, a vacation home is first and foremost an expensive luxury consumer item, not an investment. However, many people who buy vacation homes plan to sell them at some point, perhaps after it has been significantly appreciated. They can use the proceeds to buy a better vacation or retirement home, or for other purposes.

Is renting a waste of money or not? This is what we have been taught to believe for the past few generations. Even when the housing market is more stable and prices are constantly increasing, buying a vacation home may not be the best solution for your pocket. Vacations are supposed to be fun and carefree, and people simply associate that concept with what it would be like to own a vacation property. I would be sure to consider staying in a vacation home to help de-stress me from the pressures of life. But if other getaway spots become more attractive, the extra money that could be used on a vacation somewhere else will likely go toward maintaining and paying for the vacation home that has lost its appeal. For some people, buying a vacation property would be a waste of money, they just don't use it enough to justify the costs.

The house is located 1 hour from my main house, so it is used well and does not prevent me from vacationing in new or distant places. Yes, you have to take a test vacation in the place you are considering buying several times before buying. One is that a vacation home can only be treated 100% as an investment property if the personal use is 14 days or less, or 10 percent of the days the property is rented to others with a fair market rent during the year. And while it requires year-round care, the second home also limits your options when the holidays arrive. A friend recently asked me what I thought about buying a vacation home, specifically a beach house. It's clear to me that one of the most important factors when buying a vacation home is that it should be in a place where you'll want to spend time for years to come.

This is how I saw it when I bought (I wanted to buy a vacation property in every place she saw me go to so that I could feel like I was going home every time). But in the end, it's likely that my wife and I will buy a vacation home in the Poconos that I can use year-round on weekends.

Shawna Fluellen
Shawna Fluellen

Total zombie expert. Professional pop culture practitioner. Incurable coffee guru. Award-winning food guru. Award-winning sushi fanatic.