WIHCON has been constructing residential homes for more than 60 years not only in Jamaica but in other areas of the Caribbean. Over the years, some of our customers have managed to buy multiple properties from us. We’ve asked a few of them to share insights on what it takes to own a vacation home in Jamaica. Here’s what we’ve come back with:
Develop a plan – Am I ready to own a vacation home?
Three out of five WIHCON customers interviewed think that you’ll probably buy a vacation home primarily for “psychological reasons”. Most often, you are attracted to the lifestyle that owning a vacation home may bring. For instance, there may be a particular country that attracts you, so you find yourself vacationing in that country year after year. Whatever your reason may be, acquiring a vacation home is an exciting venture. But we wouldn’t want you to get carried away by all this excitement, so we highly recommend you develop a plan first.
Location, location, location… Where should I buy a vacation property in Jamaica?
Places like Montego Bay offer great vacation home options. It’s literally close enough to the business districts while being only a stone's throw away from beaches and world famous restaurants.
It’s important that you spend some time in the areas you are looking to purchase your vacation home. Remember, not all that glitters is gold. So, be sure to interact with locals in that area before committing to buying that property. Ask as many questions as possible, trust us!
Equally as important, is coming up with a list of deal-breakers …. If you don’t know where to start, you can always borrow our list of deal breakers:
- High crime rate
- Lack of basic infrastructure (roads, bridges etc)
Calculate the cost – Can I really afford a vacation home at this time?
Certainly owning a second home, especially a vacation home, can be very costly. But we encourage you to contact your financial adviser or banker and “run the numbers.” That way you’ll see if this is something you can truly afford at this time. It’s very important you know ALL your costs associated with taking possession of the property.
Will you be making the purchase on your own or will you be enrolling a relative or friend?
Sometimes it’s difficult for you to buy a vacation home on your own. It’s perfectly fine to partner with a family member or friend, just be sure that it is someone you can trust and that all the legal paperwork is in place to protect your share of the investment.
There are additional things to consider such as hiring an attorney, securing financing or a mortgage (if needed), and of course maintenance, which is often overlooked.
Determine: Should I rent my vacation property?
Will your vacation home double as an investment (rental) property? If you use your vacation home only a few times per year, then you might consider using it as an investment or short-term rental property for other vacationers or locals. Bear in mind if you opt to explore this route, then you’ll have to ensure that there are adequate amenities available for your tenants. Amenities such as adequate parking, a reliable internet connection and perhaps cable TV are a great place to start. What other amenities do you think you’ll be able to offer?
Who will look after the property in your absence?
Vacation homes are usually located far away from your permanent address and very likely, overseas, so if this will be your reality we highly recommend you enlist the services of a property manager. This will ensure that your home is safe when you are away.