5 Great Places to Buy a Vacation Home for Summer Getaways

Couple watching sunset from a deck

You don’t have to break the bank to buy a vacation home.

In fact, there are dozens of places across the U.S. where you can find an affordable summer getaway property. Think about it: A place to spend your spring breaks, summers, holidays, and long weekends. What could be better?

Considering investing in a vacation home? Here are the best spots to look:

Chicago, Illinois

You wouldn’t think Chicago would be a top spot for vacation properties, but the Windy City is expected to be one of the most-visited destinations this summer. With low travel costs, tons of local attractions, and temperate summer weather, it’s a great place for families and visitors of all ages. In 2017 alone, Chicago saw 55.2 million visitors from around the world.

Ocean City, Maryland

Home to countless beaches, boardwalks, and seafood joints, Ocean City is a favorite destination for all types of vacationers. There’s five-star golfing (and mini-golf), shopping, water sports, and more. The median home price in the area is about $230K.

Kissimmee, Florida

Just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Disney World and Universal Studios, Kissimmee offers plenty of personal entertainment opportunities. Properties in the city average in the high $100,000s – well below the national median home price – and homes have appreciated almost 90% in the last five years.

Palm Springs, California

With year-round beautiful weather and scenic views for days, you’ll find few better vacation spots than Palm Springs. It’s also close to a number of parks, zoos, and outdoor activities, and Disneyland is less than a two hours’ drive away.

Panama City Beach, Florida

One of Florida’s top vacation destinations, Panama City Beach is full of sun, sand, and spring breakers. With a median property price of just $299K, it offers a prime opportunity for personal enjoyment as well as financial returns. In fact, Rented.com named Panama City Beach its No. 1. spot to buy a vacation home in 2018.

Vacation Home Considerations

Location aside, there are a few other factors you should consider when buying a vacation home. For one, you’ll want to look at all the costs — not just the added mortgage payment you’d be taking on. There will be utility bills, property taxes, and maintenance costs.

You’ll also want to think about:

  • How often will you visit? If you only plan to visit the property once or twice a year, is it worth the financial investment? How would the costs of your mortgage compare to hotel costs for those two visits? Make sure you’re operating in your best financial interest.
  • How will you manage the property? If you live far from the city where you’re buying, how will you take care of the home? Will you appoint a caretaker? Will you visit the home regularly? Be sure to include these costs in your estimate as well.
  • How will you protect it? Since the property may be vacant part of the time, you’ll want to have security measures in place to protect your investment. Will you use an alarm system? Cameras? Budget for some sort of security system to safeguard your property when you’re away.

A vacation home can be a great long-term investment — both for your family’s enjoyment and for your pocketbook. Just make sure you cover all your bases before you get too far into the buying process. You’ll want to make sure the property is in your household’s best financial interest and that you have all the pieces in place to make your vacation home a success.

Ready to Buy Your Getaway?                                                   

Are you interested in purchasing a vacation home? Then get in touch with an Embrace loan officer today. We’ll walk you through the process from start to finish.

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Aly Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer focusing on real estate, mortgage, and the housing market. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Bankrate, The Motley Fool, Business Insider, The Balance, and more. Prior to freelancing, she served as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She graduated from Texas Christian University's Bob Schieffer College of Communication with a major in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism. Connect with her at AlyJYale.com or on Twitter at @AlyJwriter.