Resort communities typically offer beautiful scenery, fabulous amenities, upscale homes, and an abundance of recreational activities such as golfing, skiing, or beaches. Of course nothing is perfect, and while resort home ownership sounds dreamy, it also poses challenges. Since resorts are typically situated in the most beautiful places, they can offer advantages.
• Scenic views. Your house may look out over mountain vistas or expanses of white beaches and the ocean.
• Recreation and amenities. Resorts offer activities such as snow skiing, golfing, spa visits, or the beach. And, if you’ll be at the resort home full-time, or visit regularly, you’ll have lots of time to take advantage of these and other amenities. You won’t be competing with others to choose the best visiting times.
• More night life, shopping, and entertainment options than in similar sized towns. A wide variety of restaurants and nightclubs are also common in resort areas. Resorts often attract high quality performers, and might offer such things as classical symphony concerts under the mountain stars, rock concerts by well-known artists, or ballets by visiting professional dance companies.
• Resorts tend to attract people from all over, resulting in a more interesting and diverse population than many other towns of a similar size.
• Wide variety of homes and condominiums to choose from, whether its a cabin in Aspen, or a condo in Florida.
Resort living can be great, but it typically doesn’t come cheap. Resorts commonly attract people with money to spend, and home prices tend to reflect this. How good an investment your prospective resort-community home might be depends on many factors, so be sure to talk to a realtor.
High Cost of Living and Taxes in Resort Communities
The daily cost of living in a resort is typically higher than average, for everything from gas to groceries. Since resort communities are less likely to have large chain discount stores, you’ll likely need to shop at smaller, more expensive stores. Taxes are often higher in resorts, too. These taxes are meant to avoid overburdening the residents of tourist areas with individual expenses incurred due to the impact of tourists on the infrastructure.
Maintenance expenses are going to be necessary even if the home is only occasionally occupied. A part-time homeowner might also need to hire an on-site manager to handle ongoing maintenance. Some part-time owners also choose to hire a property manager to ensure that their vacation home is cleaned, stocked with groceries, and heated upon their arrival.
Off Seasons & Severe Weather Conditions
While resort living might be just what you’re looking for during peak season, you might find the area unattractive during the off-season. Many resorts have seasons where weather is uncooperative and the activities scarce. If you plan on using a resort home part-time, such seasonal fluctuations might be fine. But keep in mind, your expenses will continue while the home is vacant, and the chances of renting it out during the off-season slim.
Even during peak season, weather is an issue worth taking a careful look at. Blizzards, below-zero temps, and black ice can make life in a mountain area hazardous and uncomfortable, while homeowners at beach resorts might suffer from temperature spikes and intolerable swarms of insects. It’s wise, therefore, to visit the resort in all seasons before buying, to get a taste of what the area is like in many different conditions.
Accessibility can also be an issue with resort areas. A secluded mountain home might seem like a great idea, but it might not seem like the best idea after all when you’re snowed in on the day you were supposed to head home. Some areas have no airports nearby and require lengthy drives over poor, slick, or windy roads, which can get backed up on holiday seasons.
If a resort home is used only as a vacation home, an owner might expect to recoup some expenses by renting it out. While this can be a great solution, renting can also pose challenges.
Finding reliable renters is always an iffy proposition. You will likely need to hire a good rental management agency to coordinate the rentals and check out potential renters. This expense, of course, takes a piece of your profits. Also, the times you are most likely to rent the property successfully are usually the times you’d wish to use the home yourself (such as holidays and during peak seasons).
Owning a home in a resort community definitely has both benefits and drawbacks. Before you buy, take the time to look into the area and thoroughly weigh the pros and cons.