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Second homes, key considerations and risks

Jan 16, 2024 | RBC Wealth Management


Many retirees are drawn to the idea of a second home, a concept that extends beyond providing a vacation spot for loved ones to gather. Before such a purchase, there’s much to contemplate.

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Couple looking at blueprints of a house

Factors to consider

Location matters

Selecting the optimal location for a second home is a decision that can mold the entirety of the retirement experience. The choices may seem endless - from the tranquility of serene beaches to the invigorating embrace of crisp mountain air or the dynamic energy of vibrant city life. It’s not merely a geographical decision but a lifestyle choice that influences the day-to-day rhythm of your retirement.

Beyond aesthetic, practical considerations will add another layer of significance. As you research, keep in mind the travel logistics to and from the chosen location, especially if you have family members dispersed across different regions. Remembering this ensures that your retreat remains an accessible haven for familial connections and shared moments.

Moreover, the proximity to health care facilities takes on heightened importance during retirement. Securing a seamless connection to medical services provides both peace of mind and the assurance of prompt assistance when needed. In essence, the right location transcends being a point on the map — it becomes an integral part of crafting a retirement that harmonizes personal preferences, practical considerations and the essential element of well-being.

Calculating costs

It is important to determine a realistic budget for the acquisition of a second home. This step is not merely a formality but a vital cornerstone, requiring thoughtful consideration of various ongoing expenses.

Beyond the initial purchase, the financial blueprint must factor in recurring obligations, such as property taxes that contribute to the local infrastructure and homeowners’ association fees. Additionally, the impact of local taxes on your financial portfolio should be assessed with due diligence.

Insurance coverage

The significance of comprehensive property and casualty insurance coverage cannot be overstated, especially when contemplating the acquisition of a second home for retirement. This robust insurance shield acts as a bulwark against a spectrum of potential risks, extending far beyond mere structural damage. It encompasses the safeguarding of personal belongings and protection against liability issues, fortifying the overall resilience of your investment.

The dynamic nature of life necessitates a proactive approach to insurance. Regularly reviewing coverage is a strategic measure, so it not only remains sufficient for current circumstances but also stays abreast of any property upgrades or shifts in personal situations. This foresight is invaluable, providing adaptability to changes in the insurance market and fostering a continuous state of comprehensive protection.

Before purchasing your second home

Second homes in retirement offer a unique blend of adventure and stability. Careful consideration of location, wealth planning and understanding the importance of property insurance helps align your investment and lifestyle goals. When redefining notions of leisure and exploring new possibilities, the second home option emerges as a compelling avenue for creating lasting memories and securing a comfortable and fulfilling retirement. By navigating the allure and considerations of second homes, retirees can embark on a journey that blends the excitement of adventure with the tranquility of a well-planned retirement.

While doing research and before signing a purchase agreement, explore the resources available from RBC Wealth Management, including these online articles:

Read more in the Q1 2024 edition of the Investor’s Edge >


Wealth planning