When You Aren't At Home: Should You Rent Out Your Vacation House?

Having a second home to use for a vacation is a dream of many. Imagine not having to worry about making reservations and not having to worry about dodgy hotel descriptions that don't describe the actual rooms. With your own vacation home, you know exactly what you're getting time after time. But those vacation homes also come with the problem of paying for space that isn't used for much of the year. You do have an option, though: renting out the house to other vacationers when you're gone. But is this wise?

Recoup Mortgage Costs

A point in favor of renting out your vacation home is that the money you get can help you pay the mortgage on the home. Unless you're one of the lucky ones who can pay off a whole house with cash, you're still going to have mortgage payments to make for a while. By renting out the house when you don't need to be in it, you can make money that will reduce that mortgage quickly.

Give Travelers a Place to Stay

Your home also gives other travelers a place to stay. Hotels and Inns in the area might be full, or they might be too expensive for many travelers, Offering your vacation home to travelers when you aren't on vacation yourself allows those travelers to see a region they've likely wanted to go to for a long time. Plus, the dollars spent by those travelers help the local economy.

Take Care Regarding Security

There are concerns, of course. You have to have some way of vetting the people who will stay in your vacation home. Homestay services haven't always been the best at that; there are ways to get around those websites' verification processes. But real estate offices often have rental divisions, or at least the agents can handle the occasional renter application. If you do decide to rent out your vacation home, talk to your agent about setting strict house rules and having renters fully vetted.

Watch out for Wear and Tear

Another issue is that, if you're allowing others to use the home, you'll have to deal with the wear and tear that they can add. When you're the only one using the vacation home, the home when you open it up for the season looks the same as when you closed it down the previous season. With others using it, though, you could find new wear and tear each time you come back.

Your real estate agent can help you decide if making your vacation homes into vacation rentals is a good idea. Approach the situation sensibly to reach the best solution.