Docks on a lake at a vacation home in Dane County, Wisconsin

Thinking of buying a vacation home in Dane County, Wisconsin? With beautiful lakefront homes, peaceful farmettes in the countryside, and sprawling lots where you can build a dream property, you’re simply spoiled for choices. However, buying a second home is different from buying a first home. These are some tips to help you find the perfect Dane County vacation home for your lifestyle and budget.

Location is Key

Where do you see yourself enjoying the perfect escape? Do you want to be next to the water so you can enjoy water sports like fishing, swimming and kayaking? Close to the city so you don’t have to drive too far to stock up on the basics? Or maybe you want to be in a secluded spot in the countryside where you can luxuriate in peace, quiet and natural beauty. Accessibility is also a key consideration, especially if you plan on using your vacation home in the winter when snow and ice may make some roads impassable.

Stay in the Area

The best way to learn if a place is a good fit for you is to spend time in the area. Consider renting a vacation home in the area you’re interested in and get to know the surroundings. Speak to neighbors or locals in town to see what the atmosphere is like and what they love best about the area. Explore the town and local attractions such as hiking trails and lakes. You may even want to rent a few different places in different parts of town to see which resonate best.

Planning on Renting?

Many vacation home owners rent out their property when they’re not using it to recoup costs or make additional income. If this is something you’re interested in, it pays to do some research first. First and most importantly, do local regulations allow short-term rentals? Some HOAs and municipalities frown upon vacation rentals. If you can rent out the home, remember that you’ll also incur expenses such as furnishing, cable and internet, cleaning and maintenance, and advertising fees.

Budget Wisely

Buying a second home can be tricky because you’ll need a higher credit score to qualify for the loan and a higher down payment. The down payment for an investment property can be anywhere from 20% to 35%. Additional expenses could include homeowners insurance, HOA fees (if applicable), and tax on any rental income you might make. You also need to consider maintenance, especially if you’re not there often to monitor the home or have renters in and out regularly.

Work With a Local Real Estate Agent

A local real estate agent will know the region and market trends inside and out, so they can advise you on the best areas for you and the best options for your lifestyle and budget. In addition, they can help you every step of the way in the buying process, from alerting you to new properties on the market to negotiating offers, dealing with paperwork and advising you on contract clauses. This can save you valuable time, energy and hassles.

Are you interested in buying a second home in Dane County? We can help! Contact us here or call 563-289-7653 to speak to one of our Dane County real estate experts today!

Posted by Jolenta Averill on
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