Now might be a great time to snag a second home and enjoy the benefits of living part time on the Georgia coast.
5 Tips to Consider When Purchasing a Sea Island or St. Simons Island Second Home
- Consider your reasons.
You should not buy simply because properties are cheap; buy a home because you plan to use it, not as an investment. Once you know your reasons, think about when and how often youâ€™ll use it — and be realistic. Will childrenâ€™sâ€™ sports get in the way? For retirees, have you ever visited St. Simons and Sea Island in the off-season?
- Be prepared if prices drop further.Â
What looks like a bargain today may not be a year from now, as prices can fluctuate from neighborhood to neighborhood. Make sure you do your research around the various neighborhoods in St. Simons and Sea Island. Itâ€™s a good bet to only buy a vacation or second home if you plan to hold on to it at least 5-7 years.
- Research your financing.Â
Around 30 percent of second homes are bought with cash only. Youâ€™ll increase your chances of landing a deal when you pay with cash, since many sellers prefer to have it in hand (plus sellers might take cash over financing if it looks like the deal might drag on for weeks or longer). Mortgages in todayâ€™s market require at least 20 percent down, and experts recommend that you spend no more than 33 percent of your monthly gross income on your primary and vacation homes. If youâ€™re thinking about a condo, there are even tougher guidelines.
- Know your true costs.Â
Home insurance for a secondary home can cost up to four times more than that of your primary home. Since you arenâ€™t there as much (increased risk for theft or damage), and many second homes are in hurricane- or flood-prone areas, make sure you obtain a quote from an insurer you trust before you bid. Plus some homeowner and condo association fees are rising since fewer owners are paying up because they’ve hit hard times. Ask your real estate agent what you can expect in fees, and whether those fees will rise.
- Set realistic expectations when it comes to rental income.Â
Many people are inclined to be overly optimistic when it comes to how much theyâ€™ll earn when they rent their home to other vacationers. Play it extra safe and try to cover the house expenses with your existing income, and consider any extra as icing on the cake.
Just like when you bought your primary home, evaluate your situation, crunch the numbers and set realistic expectations when to determine if buying a St. Simons or Sea Island second home is right for you.
Want to learn more about second homes on Sea Island or St. Simons? Contact us, we’re happy to help.