Make Your Life Easier Today: Buy Your Vacation Home in Northern Michigan

Norm Plumstead

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Everyone has their reason to head up north -- step away from the hustle of life and enjoy a laid-back weekend. But as you pack your gear, load up the car and head to your favorite up-north resort for the countless time, you may think how much easier life would be if you had your own vacation home up north.

A recent article on Northern Michigan vacation properties noted a couple items of interest for those who may be ready to make the jump to owning your own vacation home.

First, the vacation property market did not slow down in the last two quarters of 2016, even though it was an election year. The economy and generally low interest rates kept the market active. It is more of a seller’s market now in northern Michigan.

The second point, takes a closer look at what people are looking for with respect to vacation homes. It’s not what you think. Being isolated with a lot of privacy, miles from the nearest gas station or grocery store, is no longer the high priority it once was just a few years ago. A vacation home closer to stores and restaurants is more desirable. People want to be in northern Michigan’s villages and cities and downtown Traverse City, in particular, near its great food, wine, and brewery scene.

Studies have shown that the move to downtowns is a nationwide trend.

Walkable vacation communities are very popular. People want to walk to restaurants, shopping, bars, movies, the beach, the park. While there is still the appeal of lakefront property — being part of classic and authentic small-town downtowns in northern Michigan has a real appeal, too, whether that downtown is Traverse City, Glen Arbor, Frankfort or Charlevoix. Your typical in-town buyer tends to be established professionals and they’re looking for move-in ready vacation homes. Buffed and polished is preferred over the fixer-upper.

So what do you need to consider prior to buying your vacation home? Generally, these include:

  • Understanding costs associated with your vacation home – from taxes to any lake or condo association fees, these can all add up. Keep them in mind when planning your budget.
  • Knowing what you hope to find from a vacation home will help your realtor narrow down your search to properties that will interest you.
  • Waterfront property has very specific rules – be sure you research codes relating to how much property is required to build and make sure the property you are interested in can support a future vacation home if this is your intent.
  • Getting a retirement head start by locating and buying a second home prior to retirement enables you to experience the benefits of a refuge before actual retirement.
  • Understanding management of potential rental income, generated when you are not in the area.

Some points to consider with your community banker:

  • Determine how much you can afford.
  • Decide if it’s the right time to buy.
  • Know what to look for in a second home.
  • Match housing choices to your lifestyle and budget.
  • Understand the total cost of owning a vacation home.
  • Determine how you’ll use your vacation home, e.g. rental property when not in use.

Honor Bank’s professional mortgage bankers can guide you through these steps, explaining the benefits of your planned vacation property purchase, and the best way to finance it.

Now imagine a time when you step away from the hustle of life and enjoy a laid-back weekend. But without the packing, loading the car and driving…instead imagine waking up in your own vacation home up north. Make your life that easy – with the power of an Honor Bank Home Buyer's Edge pre-approval.

Visit any one of Honor Bank’s convenient locations (link), call us at 877.325.8031 or apply online now.

 Click here to download your mortgage application checklist

* Final loan approval is contingent on property appraisal, clearance of title and confirmation of current loan application information.

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