Buying a second home: What you need to know

I’m so blessed to work with clients who love Smith Mountain Lake as much as I do! Many of them are looking for a second home that will serve as their vacation retreat — someplace to which they’ll eventually retire. 

Such a large investment isn’t something to take on without a plan. Here are some things you need to consider:  

Identify the reason for the purchase.

People purchase a second home for several reasons. What’s yours? Will this be your retirement home? Will it be your weekend home or will you only visit a few times per year? Are you planning on renting it out when you’re not there, or is it purely for personal use? Your answers to these questions will help you decide how much money you should spend on a secondary residence and how large it should be. 

Get a clear idea of the total cost of owning a second home.

Just like we tell first-time homebuyers: There are more costs to homeownership than just the cost of the home. You’re already a homeowner so you know that, but these costs can be different for second homes. Be sure to account for:

  • Insurance: You’ll obviously need homeowners insurance. If you plan to rent the home out, you’ll need additional coverage. 

  • Taxes: Yes, you’ll need to find out about real estate taxes. In addition, talk with your tax adviser about how the purchase will affect your personal tax liability. 

  • Utilities, including water, trash, electricity, cable, phone and internet. 

  • Property management costs: Especially if you’re planning to rent the home out or be away from it for long periods of time, you’ll need to make arrangements for maintenance and lawn care. 

  • HOA fees: Check a property’s listing to learn whether homeowners association fees apply. 

Decide what sort of property is best for you. 

No matter what sort of property you’re looking for, you’ll find it at Smith Mountain Lake. Do you want a sprawling estate with waterfront access and plenty of room for entertaining and overnight guests? Are you looking for one-level living? Do you love the idea of the no-maintenance style of a townhome or condo? Your needs and wants for a second home could be completely different from that of your primary residence. Having a clear picture will help you — and me — find you the home of your dreams. 

Choose an Experienced Realtor

Especially if you’re buying from afar, you’ll want a Realtor who is based at the lake and knows the day-to-day of the market and the community. You may also wish to work with a real estate agent who is specifically accustomed to helping buyers find their second home. 

Contact me today at 540-493-9800 or to begin the search for your second home. I’ve been serving the the Smith Mountain Lake community for nearly two decades and would love to welcome you as its newest resident. 

Penny Hodges
Penny Hodges
16451 Booker T Washington Hwy Moneta VA 24121