Not Just Selling Homes, Selling a Lifestyle

Dreaming of a second home or vacation home?

This BIG question is very exciting yet comes with lots of consideration, analysis and preparation before a final decision can be made!

In this article you will find a series of important topics to ponder and research when determining if "Buying a Second Home is Possible?"

What type of home am I looking to purchase? 

First, lets define a second home, as there are a variety of factors needed to make a home truly a 2nd home.  Houses that are used a portion of the year by the homeowner (or friends and family who do not pay to rent their occupancy) and are located a considerable distance from the buyers current primary residence are considered second homes.  

This means if the property will be rented when you are not there or the home is closer to where you currently live this purchase would then be classified as an investment home.  

Lenders have several different requirements when financing an investment homes over a second home.  The biggest factors are down payment amount, interest rate and tax benefits. Generally, an investment loan requires a larger down payment, has a higher interest rate and requires more qualifying documentation than a second home, making these types of loans harder to secure.  There are some benefits to purchasing an investment home over a second home.  Renting the property during the time it will not be occupied by the owner or a guest can help offset the expenses and could become a healthy extra income.  It does require extra management on the owners part so this is something to be thoroughly considered.  There are also different tax benefits to consider between the two types of homes. Deciding which type of home to purchase should be the first decision made on this journey since it outlines the rest of the process.

How much house can I afford?

Affordability is a main factor to narrow down when analyzing a second home purchase.  Knowing a realistic purchase price will guide you through the next factors to consider.  Getting pre-approved for a second home mortgage and calculating in the costs below will help determine how much house to buy!

  1. Mortgage expenses - Down payment & closing costs
  2. Home insurance, property taxes and possible flood insurance depending on location
  3. Cost to furnish home
  4. Maintenance and upkeep
  5. Travel to get to and from

What location do you love?

Now to the fun part ~ Where should this second home be located? Have a love for mountain views and the rugged outdoors? Want to enjoy the perfect winter/spring weather and the sandy shores of the beaches?  Maybe there is a certain culture that is appealing?  Narrowing down the reasons why a second home is desirable will help fine tune possible locations.

What is your long term plan?  You do desire to move to this location full time in the future, maybe after retirement? Or begin a snow bird routine of living in this home for several months out of the year.  These questions can help determine the best for fit the perfect location.  

In our local area of St Pete Beach Florida, clients purchase second homes near the beautiful ocean to enjoy the tranquilty of the sand and shores in this gorgeous area.  These homes range from condos to single family properties many with amazing waterfront views and great local attractions nearby.  Those who purchase a condo are interested in less maintenance, more amenities and better views for a lower purchase price, although they do have to pay a associate fee to cover grounds care, insurance and repairs.  Others purchase a single family home to enjoy privacy, large living and entertaining spaces.  The reasons for purchasing a second home vary.  Here are some pros and cons to consider when contemplating the options between a single family home or a condo!

Benefits of Condo Living

  • Less maintenance 
  • amenities available - pool, gym, clubhouse
  • social atmosphere and events within condo community
  • better views for less money

Drawbacks of Condo Living

  • fees for upkeep of building, landscape and amenities 
  • smaller square footage
  • less private
  • pet restrictions - limited #/size or may not be allowed

Benefits of a Home

  • large square footage
  • no pet restrictions
  • private
  • has a yard
  • more entertaining space

Drawbacks of a Home

  • higher purchase prices for a view
  • upkeep and repair costs are homeowners responsibility 
  • property utilities are more
Professional Assistance Helps!

With so many important things to consider and understand for this major life changing decision, having the help of an experience real estate agent can be of great value.  From explaining and referring excellent financing options to providing expertise about the best area locations, points of interest and property prices in great neighborhoods that suit must-haves in a second home  ~ there is so much assistance they can provide.  Contacting a real estate agent in your desires area will help every step of the way on this exhilarating adventure!


The author, Mark Yorke, is a 15 year seasoned real estate agent in the Tampa Bay area.  He specializes in selling the beach lifestyle in the following areas - St Pete Beach, Treasure Island, Maderia Beach, Redington Shores, Redington Beach, Gulfport and Old Northeast St Pete Beach.  Marks excitement and devotion to real estate overflows in his work and he loves helping others find their dream vacation home.

Thinking of buying a second home in the Tampa Bay area?  Mark Yorke can be reached at or directly at (727) 481-2165

Posted by Mark R Yorke on February 26th, 2016 11:03 AM


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