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Purchasing a second home can be a big step. Whether seeking a cabin in the woods, a getaway beach home or modern condo in the city, buying another property is a big decision. Here's how to know if now is the time to buy.



Assessment of personal finances is critical in determining whether to purchase a second home. Beyond the cost of a second mortgage are other financial issues such as what interest is charged on a second mortgage. It may also depend if the home will be rented out as lenders consider rental properties a higher risk than those listed as primary residences. Other factors may include:

  • Insurance

  • Property taxes

  • Ongoing costs such as utilities (water, electric, gas, trash removal, etc)

  • Unexpected maintenance charges such as landscaping

  • Cost to hire a property manage to check on the property while away



Having a property by the beach may sound great but it may not be a great investment. Some things to consider include:

  • Ability to visit the second home as often as desired

  • If not used as a rental, will home get used enough to make it worth the investment

  • Decide where is the ideal location before buying and whether it is affordable versus the time that will be spent using the property before purchase



Chat with the insurance company to see what is next after finding the general area in which to buy a second home. Begin by speaking with the current insurer with whom a relationship is already established. A better rate may be available for multiple lines (existing home, cars, etc). Better rates may not necessarily be more inexpensive. If potential new property is prone to flooding, insurance rates may be higher. Homes with swimming pools also have higher rates as do pools with no fence or gate which may not have coverage available at all.


Find the Home

After all possible expenses are accounted for and a neighborhood is identified, contact a real estate agent to get started. Once settled, soak in the benefits of the new home. A vacation in the comfort of one's own home is a true luxury. When time is spent with family and friends in the new home, the cost savings will become apparent compared to vacation rentals. Privacy and no crowds (like in hotels) are another added bonus of having one's own property. Financial benefits may exist in the long term even if the property is not rented out. Tax benefits may help lessen the financial burden. A vacation home is a space to unwind, relax and enjoy time with loved ones. Soak it in and enjoy the new home.


Get more advice on the steps that you need to take to owning a second home.

Contact one of our agents today.


According to the US Department of Energy (DOE), heat gained by solar energy can be reduced by as much as thirty-three percent when homeowners simply hang medium-colored drapes backed with white plastic. The next time you think about new window treatments, consider the fact that you could actually be paying for them with the money you'll save.

Here are some money saving window treatments for your consideration:



When properly installed, window shades are the most effective, and simplest, treatment to save energy. A tight seal, which minimizes both heat gain and loss, is created when shades are mounted as close to the glass as possible. Shades with dual-sided two-toned fabric (a light color on one side and a darker on the other) add seasonal functionality. Light color reflects heat in summer, while dark will absorb heat during winter.

Best place to install: Because window shades are so flexible, any window orientation is suitable.



Blinds are a great option for reducing heat gain by up to forty-five percent (when using reflective blinds closed against direct sun). Both interior and exterior blinds are functional as well as able to maintain desired light, ventilation, and privacy. Because exterior blinds block heat before it can be transmitted through the window, they are potentially even more effective than interior blinds. However, they are not easy to install so are usually reserved for new builds.

Best place to install: Windows facing south or west.



Depending on the fabric weight and color you choose, drapes help insulate your home from both solar heat gain and loss. A tight seal is recommended the best performance. When hanging drapes, you'll want to install them as close to the window as possible, preferably from a cornice or right up to the ceiling down to the floor.

Best place to install: Anywhere because of their flexibility.



If your home is in an area with continual high temperatures, awnings may be perfect for you. Besides adding personality to your home, these treatments are an excellent defense against the sun. Exterior awnings have reduced solar heat gain by up to sixty-five percent for south-facing windows and seventy-seven percent for west-facing windows.

Ideal locations: Windows facing south or west.

Features to consider:

  • Opaque and tightly woven fabric blocks sun better than flimsy fabrics

  • Light-colored awnings reflect more sunlight than dark

  • Awnings can trap hot air next to windows, so the DOE recommends openings for ventilation

  • Retractable awnings will allow sunlight to reach inside the house during colder months


Roof Overhangs

Similar to an awning, a roof overhang will not only will block solar heat in summer, but will allow heat to warm your interior in winter—if designed properly. You'll want to consult an architect or a designer experienced in passive solar design who will consider several factors, like latitude, climate, and window size, to help you design your overhang(s).

Ideal locations: South-facing windows.


High Reflectivity Film

Areas with short winters often rely on high reflectivity film. The film reduces heat gain all year long, including in winter months, which might actually benefit from solar heat. It's typically installed in rooms where cooler temperatures are desired.

Best place to install: Windows facing east or west.


Mesh Window Screens

By diffusing solar radiation, mesh window screens are able to reduce heat gain. Energy saving experts suggest installing the screens to an exterior frame where they can cover the entire window.

Best place to install: Windows facing east or west.


For more tips on how to improve your windows

and window treatments contact one of our agents.