If you've ever dreamed of owning a beachfront retreat that you can escape to during the winter months, now may be the best time to start shopping for a vacation home. With foreclosures continuing in record numbers, second home buyers will find that there are many deals to be had in some of the country's most desirable real estate markets. Home prices have dropped considerably in hot spots like Florida and Las Vegas, and inventory continues to outpace the number of buyers in the market. This gives vacation home buyers a great deal of power.
Second home buyers are in a position to be choosy, to negotiate the purchase price, and to add contingencies to the contract. Essentially, right now buyers are in control.
So, where is the best place to shop for vacation property? Well, if you're looking to buy a house or condo at a discount, but you want to make sure that the property value will remain strong for many years to come, then Hawaii could be your best bet.
Since the housing boom officially went bust, property in Hawaii has seen some reductions in price. This means that real estate on Oahu and its surrounding islands are more accessible to a wider range of buyers. A house or condominium that would've been out of reach a few years ago may now be within your price range. This is a great time to look for a second home on the islands.
Though there has been a decline in housing prices, the Hawaii real estate market has been very fortunate in terms of holding onto much of its value. In major markets around the country, there are foreclosures happening in almost every neighborhood, which in turn reduces the property values of nearby houses. Fortunately, the national market troubles have had much less impact on Hawaii than it has on many other regions in North America.
Hawaii real estate has historically held its value well, in spite of severe downturns in the national market. So, while Hawaii's housing market right now is more accessible price-wise, you don't have to worry too much about your new property losing its value when the economy takes a downturn.
In addition to being a great investment, the Hawaii real estate market is also an ideal spot to buy a vacation home. The weather is mild all year round, with the trade winds cooling residents off on hot summer days. There are also the world-class beaches, golf courses, exciting amenities, beautiful mountain ranges, and the warm Hawaiian culture.
Hawaii has long been a favorite area for vacationers, and is very popular among second home buyers. There are numerous condominium developments on Oahu, as well as posh waterfront estates, golf course homes, and charming beachfront cottages. Real estate in Hawaii doesn't come cheap though (even in a buyer's market), so be prepared to shop around.
To start your search, look online for property listings in the area you're thinking of buying in. Then do lots of research. Some areas of Hawaii get more rain than others, while some are dry and hot. Some towns are conveniently located near shops and amenities, while others are more isolated. There is a lot of variety even in such a small state as Hawaii. Make sure that you know what kind of weather, real estate prices, lifestyle, and services each region has to offer.
The best way to research Hawaii is to talk with someone local—preferably a realtor. A realtor can help you plan a realistic budget, and can recommend neighborhoods and properties that meet your criteria. He or she will also have intimate knowledge of the various communities. From public transportation to the best public beaches, a real estate agent will be able to give you a firsthand glimpse into what Hawaii has to offer.
Whether you're looking for a place that's suited for active seniors or a winter getaway for you and your kids, a Hawaii real estate agent will be able to guide you. And because you're the buyer, in most cases you won't have to pay for their services. Buyers' agents represent buyers' best interests, and are paid a commission by the home seller. How's that for a deal?
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