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6 Things to Consider When Buying 30A Vacation Property

Posted by Larry Davis on Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 at 8:12am.

30a real estate

So maybe you’ve discovered the incredibly beautiful beaches of 30A! You’ve fallen in love with the area, the art, music and food scenes. You find that people are incredibly friendly and most every direction you look, the views and sunsets are out of this world. You might even find yourself thinking: "We need to figure out how to make this place home!"

This scenario happens daily along the beaches of South Walton. While many have taken the leap of faith; moved to the beach and are living the good life; others, may opt for a longer term transition to owning a home at the beach. An ideal alternative for many is to begin with buying a property that’s used as a vacation rental. If you choose this route, there are some things to consider when looking at properties to purchase. We’ve put together a list of things you might want to think about and incorporate into your buying process.

Is it the right house for me and my family?

First and foremost – keep it personal; remember someday you’ll be living at the beach. That is the long term goal, right? Make sure it fits the needs and objectives for you and your family. Do your homework on pricing, location, amenities, property condition, etc. That’s where we can help. Our team can gather all the data on market activity for the neighborhood including recent “solds” and DOM (days on the market) to provide a clear picture to help guide you in your decision process.

Location – Location – Location

It’s an old adage but just as important to consider for vacation rental property as it is for primary homes. Vacationers typically favor rentals that not only have amenities such as pools or spas, but also those that are close to the beach, shops, restaurants or “town centers” like Seaside, FL, Rosemary Beach or Alys Beach where events and family-friendly activities abound. When considering a particular property, ask yourself – “would I want to rent a home at this location?”

Does the neighborhood allow short-term rentals?

While most neighborhoods and communities in South Walton cater to short-term rentals at the beach, there are some that specifically restrict vacation rental properties. Ask your agent up front to assist in identifying neighborhoods that work best for your specific goals. Rental restrictions can easily be identified in recorded Homeowner’s documents or CCR’s.

Will the property make a good vacation rental?

A good management company can provide past rental history – if they’ve been managing the property. Rental history, while no guarantee of future tenants, can definitely provide an insight into the property’s performance. If the home or condo you’re thinking of buying is currently on a rental program, ask your agent to obtain a rental history report from the management company.

A property manager can also do an onsite visit and provide a report with recommendations of upgrades or changes to enhance rent-ability. They can also give an estimate pro forma for potential future rental projections, based on the property, its location, condition and their professional experience and expertise.

What is the physical condition of the property?

Find out the age, condition and state of repair of the house or condo you’re considering.

  • Is it an older property in need of repair and updating or is it “turn-key" and ready to put on a rental program?
  • Does it make sense to put additional money in to the property for repairs or renovations?
  • Are their major repairs or renovations on the horizon in the near future?
  • Does the asking price reflect the property’s condition?
  • If the property is part of a Homeowners’ Association;  are there future assessments coming up?

Lender Requirements

Banks and mortgage companies treat rental properties differently than loans for other types of real estate. As REALTORS ® we can’t provide financial advice but we do know there are specific criteria that you’ll need to meet when obtaining a mortgage on rental property. Before you even begin your search we recommend consulting your CPA, Financial Advisor and/or your banker about what it involves. Having your financials prepared ahead of time can make for a smoother buying process.

Purchasing a vacation rental property can be both exciting and rewarding. The topics mentioned here are just for starters but we have the expertise and local resources to guide you through the entire process.

The Davis Properties sales team has been helping owners and buyers meet their real estate goals with vacation rental beach homes since 1993. Our team is ready to help you get your own “slice of 30A”.

Contact us today or call 850-231-2025 and let’s get to work on turning that "beach house dream" into a reality!

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