Stop Wasting Money on Vacations and Do This Instead

by Jessica Brita-Segyde

The average American household spends about $2,000 on each vacation they take. Add them all together, and the United States Travel Association reports that “direct spending on leisure travel by domestic and international travelers totaled $650.8 billion in 2015.”

Wow! That’s a lot of disposable income flying around. But what if you made a different choice for your household? One that turns the expense of travel into an investment? And what if you could turn that investment into something fun and tangible?

It’s time to dust-off your retirement plan and think about adding a second home to your portfolio.


Investing in real estate is not a new concept. Second Home loans are common and our Ruoff team is versed in helping clients through the process. What’s notable today is the timing and financial sense of a second home purchase. Market conditions and affordable loan programs are making vacation homes more attractive than ever. Think of a vacation home as a nest egg that you can start enjoying right away.

At Ruoff, we’ve seen a renewed interest in vacation homes. This is likely due to low interest rates and the affordability of housing in the markets we serve. Midwestern states like Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Kentucky have healthy housing markets and growing tourism appeal. And for those who prefer to vacation on the coast, Florida’s housing market is more affordable than ever.


Buying a second home is similar to buying your primary residence. You should start by finding a trusted Realtor in the area where you plan to buy. The Realtor who advised you during the purchase of your primary residence may be able to represent you in outside markets. If not, he or she is likely part of a referral network and can put you in contact with another professional.

You’ll also want to get pre-approved for your second home loan. It’s time to contact our knowledgeable staff at Ruoff. We can advise you on whether you’re pre-approved and how much you can spend.


The most important feature of your vacation home is location. Buy somewhere you can enjoy and that you’ll have access to on the regular. Consider the time and distance involved with driving or flying to your vacation spot. Also, if you’d like to invite friends and family to enjoy your new investment, consider their proximity to the property as well.

Next, think about the style of vacation you prefer. Does your family enjoy skiing in Michigan? Spelunking in Kentucky? Relaxing on the Florida coast? A vacation home located near a tourist destination (and reachable from your primary residence) can provide years of enjoyment while your investment appreciates in value.

Once you’ve decided on a location, it’s time to consider the physical features of the property. Most vacation homeowners opt for a small lot to keep maintenance costs low. A property located within a condominium or villaminium community is also a good option, since much of the maintenance and upkeep is already covered by the monthly association fee. You’ll also need to think about the floor plan and whether you have any “deal breakers” to discuss with your Realtor. (Common deal breakers include minimum number of bedrooms, size of garage, etc.)

Free Home Shopping Guide


The real estate market fluctuates, and so do your needs and wants. If you’re considering investing in a second home, you might be ready if:

  • You’ve met with a lender and been pre-approved for a second home mortgage. (Note: It never hurts to take this step, even if you’re not sure about buying yet.)
  • Your investment portfolio could use some diversification.
  • You’re in no hurry to liquidate your investment (i.e. resell your property for cash – It’s usually best to buy and hold your second home for several years.)
  • You often find yourself vacationing in the same geographic area, especially if you’re renting or staying in hotels.

If you think you may be ready to purchase a vacation home, contact our friendly team. We’ll walk you through the application process and answer all your questions. A second home can be a great addition to a smart investment portfolio, and one that you can enjoy while it appreciates!




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