Tips for Buying a Vacation Home

in Northern Wisconsin

Thinking of buying a vacation home in Northern Wisconsin? First off—congratulations and welcome to the Cable, WI community. The lifestyle here is certainly unbeatable, and we're sure you can't wait to immerse yourself in its amazing outdoor recreation. But before you get started, here are some important tips to consider before buying a vacation home.


rent before buying

Rent Before You Buy

All right, you know you love Northern Wisconsin. But should you buy here, or continue to rent? Buying a home makes sense if you plan on staying for longer periods of time or returning in different seasons throughout the year, so why not take your rental for a test run?

determine location

Choose Location Carefully

All right, you’ve determined that you’re an all-seasons kind of vacationer and you’ve decided to buy. But where? Close to town? Far out into the woods where you can’t even imagine hearing your neighbors’ noise? Consider how accessible your location is, its proximity to attractions and amenities, and whether or not you’d ever move here full-time (many vacation buyers do). You might like being secluded in the woods for a week… but does a 30-minute drive through snow to the closest store seem daunting if you have to do it once a week?

It’s also a good idea to talk to the locals, find out what they like about their particular location. It can’t hurt to act like a local, either—go to the grocery store, check out local providers (gas, electric, phone, internet, etc.), find the post office, local the local hardware store or plumber—things you might not think about on vacation but you’ll have to consider as an owner.

find a realtor

Figure Out What You Can Afford

Remember, it can be stressful to buy outside of your budget, especially if you’re still paying your first mortgage. Be sure to consider things like HOA fees, homeowners insurance, and property taxes—which will be different from your primary home. Consider, too, additional expenses, like paying someone to check or maintain your home while you’re away.

If you’re planning on renting out your home, consider that you’ll either need to find qualified tenants for your property, or pay a property management company to take care of your renting and maintenance. You will also be taxed on rental income, but can take advantage of numerous rental tax breaks, like furniture depreciation, utilities, and more.

your dream home

Determine What You Want

Size, style, neighborhood amenities… What’s important to you as a buyer and as a vacationer? Will you have family or friends visit you while you’re staying?

make an offer

Find an Experienced Agent

You might think you know enough about buying from the purchase of your first home, but it’s still highly recommended that you work with an agent who understands not only the local market, but also the fine-point details of the specifics of vacation home buying.

Buying a vacation home in Northern Wisconsin? Find out more about our experience and how we can help you buy a home!

inspect your home

Obtain Financing

Getting a mortgage will be similar to buying your first home, but you might need a larger down payment. It’s possible to buy a second home with less than a 20% down payment, but it’s very difficult. Keep in mind that investment properties tend to have higher interest rates. You also have the option for using your primary home’s equity line of credit as a way to obtain financing.

look over the contract

Make an Offer & Negotiate

When you find your favorite home, work with your agent to determine a competitive but reasonable offering price. You’ll want to choose a number that is comfortably within your price range but competitive enough that it won’t cause the seller to immediately reject your offer.

finalize the mortgage

Get an Inspection

Nothing’s finalized yet, so make sure you’re getting your money’s worth! Ask your Realtor to recommend a trusted home inspector to walk through the house and check for any potential defects or problems. If necessary, you can request that the seller repair any issues you find.

get your keys

Close & Pay

It’s time to close! Meet with your agent, lender, and the seller to finalize the paperwork, sign your contracts, and pay your down payment and closing costs. Finally—the keys to your new home!


Still Have Questions or Ready to Get Started?

If you’re thinking of buying a vacation home in Northern Wisconsin, then it’s time to contact McKinney Realty. Not only can we answer all your buying questions, we can help connect you with the resources you need to make an informed decision so you’re sure to find your dream home at just the right price.

Cable, WI Real Estate Resources