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How Every Retiree Can Thrive as a Vacation Home Owner

Mary Ellen Vanaken

Mary Ellen was born and raised in Long Island, New York. After graduating from college, she worked on Wall Street for JP Morgan in New York City...

Mary Ellen was born and raised in Long Island, New York. After graduating from college, she worked on Wall Street for JP Morgan in New York City...

Jul 11 5 minutes read

Many of us dream of owning a second home. It can make vacationing more comfortable and can even be a source of income under the right circumstances. If you’re a retiree hoping to buy a vacation property, dream no more. It’s time to make your fantasies reality.

Know the Top Spots

The ideal places to look will largely depend on personal preference, but you need to think long-term, too. Of course, states like California, Florida, and Hawaii are popular choices and have a good track record for quality vacation homes, but you may not like beaches. If you prefer a forest, North Carolina and Minnesota are up-and-coming contenders, or if you want somewhere with culture and great food, you could research Tennessee or Texas. Both have vibrant economies and are likely to continue doing well for the long haul.

Limit Your Expenses

We may be hesitant about a second house because of money. The best thing you can do, then, is to get a home that will be low-maintenance. Thanks to sturdier materials, you can go a long time without repairing or even polishing your property. So, look for stain-resistant countertops, black stainless steel appliances, and hardwood flooring. While artificial materials may not scream luxury, there are attractive options that look nearly identical to more natural, and less durable, alternatives. This way, you don’t have to have as much money put aside for yearly repairs. Even better, certain materials may save on house insurance, since features like fire-resistant roofing could reduce your monthly rate. Moreover, living in a gated community, having a smart meter, and purchasing an alarm system can all help to lower rates.

Treat It Like an Investment

Another benefit of getting a second property is that you can rent it out and earn a decent income. Better still, it's an excellent way to reduce the taxes you pay, and the profits can be used to offset property maintenance and even offer a surplus. Of course, earning profit will take market research, so make sure you pick an area with attractive views and close proximity to parks. Choosing a home that is already low maintenance can save you money on future repairs. With preparation, you can give yourself a steady income from your vacation rental.

Get the Maintenance Done

If you do decide to rent out your property, you’ll want it to stay in good condition, especially between guests. Should you already live close by, you can often see to these things yourself. However, you may buy a vacation home somewhere that isn’t easy to visit, such as in another state. If this is the case, then you may benefit from hiring a property manager. Of course, this might cost you anywhere from five to ten percent of your profits, but this price can be worth it. They’ll ensure the house is cleaned before a guest arrives, handle the keys, and set up repairs as needed. A manager can help your stress stay down by handling the fuss of renting out your vacation home.

Upgrade Wisely

You will want your vacation home to look nice, both for your own sake and to boost its potential investment value. To begin, come up with a color scheme to give everything a cohesive feel, and try to incorporate blue. After all, it's calming and welcoming, so use it as an accent with throw pillows, wall trims, and blankets. Similarly, add a few splashes of uplifting décor, like plants or art, and vintage furniture from second-hand stores. These can add to your home’s look and value without breaking the bank. Still, don’t go overboard as that may increase costs and maintenance.


With the right planning, you can afford a second home. Vacation properties bring freedom when we want to get away from it all. This doesn’t have to be a daydream. Start the research to get a vacation home for your retirement today.

About The Author 

Jim McKinley is a retired banker with almost 30 years of experience. He created to share his advice and other resources on a variety of financial topics. In his spare time, he spends time with his family and his dogs.

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