The housing market is sizzing in Miami. The city posted its third consecutive record sales year as well as two years of double-digit price appreciation, the Miami Association of Realtors reports. Dan Hechtkopf and Reid Heidenry of South Beach International Realty, two experts working in this hot market, know a thing or two about the ins and outs of vacation home ownership.

Although Dan is relatively new to South Beach International Realty, he is quickly becoming one of South Beach International Realty’s top agents. He serves as luxury real estate specialist on Miami Beach and its surrounding areas – from Coconut Grove to Sunny Isles. Reid has been selling real estate and acquiring properties for seven years, and specializes in The Miami Beaches, Downtown, Brickell, Wynwood and Midtown, and has been a top producer for South Beach International Realty each of the last five years.

Recently, Dan and Reid shared their tips for buying a dream property with Ocean Home. Here are their top 10 tips for buying a vacation home.

1. View the home as a form of recreation, not an investment.

If you buy one, make sure, above all, that this is a house and an area you enjoy. It will be worth the cost if you spend as much time there as possible, put your heart and soul into caring for it or plan to keep the home in the family for future generations.

2. Approach joint property investments carefully.

These types of agreements can start wars even in the warmest families. Set down some rules about the percentages of ownership accorded each party and what rights those percentages confer.

3. Before making a bid, sleep on it. 

Purchasing a vacation home is often the first step toward fulfilling a retirement dream. Too often, though, this emotional desire causes buyers to rush into making offers.

4. Research all four seasons before you buy.

It’s a good idea to visit the area in which you plan to buy during every season. 

5. Make sure the house and location make a good rental.

If you’re really going to work to rent out the property, make sure it’s well suited for vacationers.

6. Work with an agent who knows the area.

The agent can also be a great resource for little-known information on hidden bonds and community events.

7. Don’t buy a timeshare.

Even in a good economy, it’s hard to sell a timeshare.

8. Buy an existing home instead of land.

To build a house from the ground up, you may have to deal with coastal authorities, local building restrictions, aggressive homeowners associations and sketchy contractors.

9. Factor in extra costs.

In additional to the loan, you’ll have to cover taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities. If you live more than an hour away, you might have to factor in the cost of a caretaker or property manager.

10. Buy only what you can afford.

 You simply enter what you make and what you owe, and the calculator will tell you how much more the banks will lend you.

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