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Location: Mars Hill, NC, United States

A small, highly personalized real estate firm specializing in mountain homes and land in greater Asheville.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Vacation Homes Asheville, Anywhere: Some of the Basics for Buyers

08/10/07

Buying a second home in the 21st century in Asheville or anywhere, is something that the majority of people will be doing for the first time. It is a process that has a slightly different set of considerations than purchasing a primary residence.

As such, we will provide in this posting, a series of basic information about the factors, the logic, and details involved, as perceived by experts in the field.

The Buying Process Outlined
That said, Zillow's Wiki Pages have a nice series of basics on the buying process in general. These include articles that provide good refreshers on such items as the inspection, essentials of any offer to purchase, some thoughts about negotiation strategies, and other areas. Good stuff to bear in mind, to keep your agent on his or her toes, and to be your own best advocate.

From the reputable NOLO.com: This article, entitled "7 Steps to Buying a Second Home" is one of the better primers on the web. On the surface, it is a rather short treatise and may seem overly simple, but the questions it asks are quite expansive. They could well be end of semester essay questions. Let's look at some of those questions.

What Can We Afford? Where Should It Be?
Most readers will probably not feel they need advice to determine if they can afford it, or deciding where to have that vacation home.

Sometimes though, just taking the time to answer such questions can yield insight. Determining your debt to equity ratio is no more than grade school arithmetic, but is a good fundamental measure used by most lenders to help focus on what you can afford.

Visiting the links about living here section of area websites can be invaluable, especially now that the web is no longer static. For example, check out this online walking tour of downtown Asheville. With motion and slide shows ubiquitous on the Internet, picking vacation spots has become a lot easier.

What About Value? When is the Best Time to Buy?
The Internet is not without its drawbacks, and determination of value is clearly one of them. This is especially true in a resort micro market such as our own, and arguably, most of them are.

We have addressed the questions around AVM's or auto valuation models in the past, at this location. Best bet is to find a local expert.

Resort markets do follow national trends in general, so buyers should have a sense of when is a good time to buy. If one is having trouble keeping track of housing stats and the spin, then find yourself a good aggregator such as this one.

There are however certain local rhythms and cycles which will influence the best time to buy in a resort market. These depend on the kinds of activities and seasons experienced in a particular location.

Buyers will want to act when supply is the highest. The law of supply and demand dictates that this will be the time of greatest leverage for them, while the law of common sense tells us that this is when the best variety of homes will be available. We have examined matters of resort market timing in the past at this location.

What About Taxes and Insurance?
Property taxes obviously vary by location. In our own market, resort properties straddle two counties.

Familiarity with any rate differences can save money when making your choice, whether your vacation home is purchased at sea level, or at a mile high.

For other tax matters, consult with your accountant, or do not be afraid to search the IRS for primary information as a starting point. Here are some IRS results for the keyword search, "vacation home". Issues such as the number of days one occupies their second home, or if it will be rented out have implications in the realm of taxes.

Insurance for second homes has certain nuances. Criteria for rural fire departments, and a number of other factors come into play here. One thing hardly mentioned, but worthy of a discount is the idea of monitoring your second home form home via the Internet. Smart Money recommends a number of avenues for second home insurance.

In the days ahead, we will look more closely at rental considerations, and selling considerations in resort/vacation markets.

Thanks for stopping by,
Black Bear Realty Website
828 689 2055
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