Should You Buy a Vacation Home?

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

I just returned from a lovely weekend of skiing in Vermont. Being pregnant meant that I got to enjoy lovely hot chocolate in the lodge. One of my hubby’s friends just bought a gorgeous cabin there, and invited us to come check it out. Between the stunning mountain views, the fireplace, the perfect slopes and newly renovated kitchen they couldn’t have made a better choice, and it was only hours before my husband pulled me aside to ask when we were going to look into a vacation home of our own. After all, he argued, we would get a tax break on the mortgage interest!

For those of you thinking the same thing, below are a few things to consider before you start shopping.

  1. Are the weekend pages of your calendar usually blank or filled with scribbles? If you, your husband or your children have commitments during the weekends, chances are you’ll rarely be able to use your vacation home.
  2. Are you an explorer or do you prefer vacationing in the same spot every year? You may want to ask the rest of your family the same thing to avoid future conflicts!
  3. How do you feel about guests? If your vacation home is a nice one, people will want to visit. I know I will visit Vermontagain – the sooner the better!
  4. Does your definition of relaxing involve butler service? Chances are, you may be better off at the Four Seasons than scrubbing dishes in your rustic country kitchen.
  5. Can you afford it? Do you have the money for a down payment or would you need to rely on a second mortgage or HELOC, putting your primary residence at risk? If the latter is the case, I’d say it’s not worth it. But if you are still craving that cabin even after this little quiz, chances are a vacation home is in your future.
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Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stacy Francis is the Founder, CEO and President of Francis Financial, Inc., a Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™), and a Certified Estate Planning Specialist (CES™). She is the Co-Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and an honoree member of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). A nationally recognized financial expert, Stacy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC, CNN, PBS Nightly Business Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fine Living Network, and The O’Reilly Factor. Stacy attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation.