Shopping on vacation is usually a given (when else do you have an excuse to buy tchotchkes such as magnets and coffee mugs?). But house shopping? It just might make perfect sense.
Maybe you’ve been dreaming of vacation homes and you’ve fallen in love with your temporary locale — it can’t hurt to look at prices and get a sense of the market. Or maybe you’re looking for an investment home for sale in Sarasota, FL. Or, if your new vacation spot is a place you’re hoping to move to permanently, a little time to check out the market might be the perfect, no-pressure way to help you make a big decision.
“When you think of going on vacation, you probably don’t think, ‘What a great time to buy a home!’” says Ross Anthony, a real estate agent with Willis Allen Real Estate in San Diego. “The relaxation, the shopping, the food — it’s certainly not a conventional idea.”
So just what are the benefits to house-hunting during your vacation? Here’s a rundown to help you decide if signing on the dotted line while on vacay is right for you.
You have more time
Life, simply put, gets in the way. Oil changes, soccer practices for the kids, dinner, your day job. But when you’re on vacation, island time is a real thing — and one you should embrace, especially if you’re house-hunting.
“Most people feel rushed due to time constraints to get through properties quickly when they’re at home with their busy schedules,” explains Justin Udy, a real estate agent with Century 21 Everest Realty Group in Midvale, UT. “Shopping this time of year allows you to really take the time necessary to look and evaluate properties thoroughly.”
You get more attention
So your holiday travels didn’t bring you to a beach but rather your in-laws’ three-bedroom ranch. But said three-bedroom ranch is in a town next to the one you’ve always wanted to move to. Which means you can escape the obligatory chitchat with family for a day and house-hunt. The best part? You’ll probably get real estate agents’ undivided attention.
“Real estate professionals typically see slower times during holiday seasons, and many are eager to work,” says Udy. “This may be a great time to reach out to someone and find out their expertise and if they will be a good fit as you consider buying.”
You get to test the waters
Want to know what a home looks like at night? What the traffic is like? The advantage to house hunting on vacation is that you have the leisure to picture yourself living there and see if it is a good fit.
“Pay attention to the weather, traffic, people, proximity to shopping,” says Ross Anthony. “These are factors that can’t be truly appreciated without spending any significant amount of time in an area. Even a week of vacationing can be an important learning experience that may bring to light unexpected factors, both positive and negative.”
You get more access
You’re not the only one on vacation this time of year. “So many homeowners take time off or away from home this time of year that scheduling showings is easy,” explains Udy. Which means you can line up a pretty big schedule of showings without having to worry about homeowners’ and real estate agents’ schedules interfering with your plans for the day.
Homes will look better
It may seem odd, but sometimes a home looks better gussied up with holiday decorations. “If you’re considering buying a second property, it’s nice to see how others are decorating during the holidays since you will likely be using the home the same times of year and during holidays,” Udy says. Bonus: You can see whether your 10-foot faux Christmas tree will squeeze into that family room before you buy the home.
You will have time to relax
House hunting is tiring. And what better way to unwind after a day of touring vacation homes than by relaxing beside a fire with a glass of wine or sprawling out on a lounge chair in the sun? On vacation, you have the luxury of doing just that.
Have you house-hunted on vacation? Would you recommend it? Tell us in the comments below!