Second Home vs. Investment Property: What’s the Difference?

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You hear these terms thrown around all the time: Second home, investment property, vacation home, rental property. But is there any real difference among them? And does it even matter what you call it?

As it turns out, there are some very big differences between second homes and investment properties, especially if you are financing it.

“Both are fantastic ways to build wealth over time by capturing the appreciation of a real asset,” says Tony Julianelle, CEO of Atlas Real Estate in Denver. However, “both come with inherent risks and expenses that should be carefully considered when making a purchase.”

As with any real estate transaction, you’ll want to do your homework and make a smart choice for your wallet, no matter which path you go down. We chatted with experts to get the scoop.

What is a second home?

A second home is just that: a second property where you and your family spend time, away from your primary home. You might also hear a second home referred to as a vacation property. You may rent it out for a few days each year on Airbnb or VRBO, but you primarily use it yourself.

Buying a second home makes financial sense if there’s one particular vacation spot you visit regularly. Why spend a fortune on hotels or Airbnb when you can own your own piece of paradise that will hopefully appreciate in value over time?

“Let’s say you live in San Francisco, but you are an avid skier in the winter and like to hike in the summer,” says Rachel Olsen, a real estate agent in California. “If you spend many weekends and vacations in Lake Tahoe, it may make sense to purchase a second home there.”

What is an investment property?

An investment property, on the other hand, is one that you purchase with the explicit intention of generating income. The investment property could be right next door to your own home, or it could be in another state—it doesn’t really matter. You’ll be playing the role of landlord, with long-term or short-term renters paying cash to stay in the home.

“Never forget that an investment property is all about the Benjamins,” says Lamar Brabham, CEO and founder of financial services firm Noel Taylor Agency. “The entire point is to turn a profit. No emotions, no affection.”

Before making an offer on an investment property, you’ll want to crunch the numbers to make sure it’s a solid investment. Similarly, consider what factors will be important to prospective tenants (e.g., access to public transportation, good schools, parking, and low crime rates).

How to finance a second home or investment property

If you’re paying cash, you can skip this section. But if you need a mortgage for your new property, you should know that financing a second home or investment property is very different from financing a primary residence. And, while mortgages on second homes and investment properties have some similarities, there are also some key differences.

  • Interest rate: You can expect to see a higher interest rate for both second homes or investment properties than for primary homes. Why? Because lenders view those transactions as riskier. If you get into a tight spot with money, you’re far more likely to stop paying the mortgage for your second/investment property than for your primary home.
  • Qualifying: Whether you’re buying a second home or an investment property, you might need to do some extra legwork in order to qualify for that second loan. Your bank may require you to prove that you have healthy cash reserves (so it knows you can afford both mortgages). It’ll take a long, hard look at your overall financial situation, so be sure everything is on the up and up before you apply.
  • Down payment: Depending on your situation and the lender, you might also need to bring a larger down payment to the table for an investment property or second home, typically 15% to 25%. Again, this is because the bank wants a bigger cushion to fall back on in case you default.
  • Rental income: If you’re buying an investment property, your lender might allow you to show that anticipated rental income will help cover the mortgage payments. However, proving how much rental income the home will generate can be complicated. Prepare to pay for a specialized appraisal that takes into account comparable rents in your area.
  • Location: Your lender may require a second home to be 50 to 100 miles away from your primary home. An investment property, however, can be anywhere in comparison to your primary home, even next door.
  • Taxes: Federal income tax rules are different for vacation homes and investment properties. Generally, you’ll treat your second home just as you would your first home when it comes to taxes—if you itemize, you can deduct the mortgage interest you paid up to a certain limit. (The rules vary if you rent out your second home for part of the year.) If you own an investment property, you get to deduct the mortgage interest, plus many of the expenses that come with operating a rental business, but you also have to report your rental income, too.

Why it’s important to not confuse the two

It’s important that you’re totally clear about the difference and not use the terms “second home” and “investment property” interchangeably. Some people try to pass off their investment property as a second home to get more favorable financing, but you should never do this.

If you lie on your loan application, you could be committing mortgage fraud, which is a federal offense.

Your lender’s underwriting team is aware of this possibility, so don’t try to pull the wool over their eyes. They’ll take the big picture into account when deciding what loan terms to offer you, says real estate attorney David Reischer.

“A single-family residence by a lake that is located in a completely different state from the borrower’s primary residence is much more acceptable to be categorized as a second home by a bank underwriter,” he says. “A multifamily-unit property with rental income in an urban area is likely to be treated as an investment property.”

Bottom line: Keep everything aboveboard, and you won’t have to worry about a thing.

The post Second Home vs. Investment Property: What’s the Difference? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com

Donald Trump House Hunts in a Surprising Place—Which Home Will He Pick?

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Is the 45th president house hunting in Florida?

Once his term in the White House ends in January, Donald Trump and wife Melania may be looking to secure a new home base in Palm Beach, FL, according to Page Six.

Apparently the Trumps have been shopping for a megamansion in the area, and poking around at private schools for their teen son, Barron.

Wait a minute! They already have a crash pad in Palm Beach: the private quarters within Mar-a-Lago, a club Trump purchased in 1985. Why don’t they just move in there? Well, per an agreement Trump made with the the town of Palm Beach, Mar-a-Lago, as a social club, does not allow anyone to live there permanently—even its owners.

So while the couple may stay at Mar-a-Lago for a bit, they’ll need to search for permanent digs elsewhere, and they’ll have plenty of family in the area.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have already ventured south to purchase a 2-acre plot on Indian Creek Island, which is known as Billionaires Bunker. Plus, Palm Beach and its environs are popular with many bold-faced names, including star QB Tom Brady and his wife, supermodel Gisele Bündchen, and the billionaire Carl Icahn.

But which home in Palm Beach will the Trumps pick? Here are five homes for sale we’ll bet they’ll consider since they tick all the P boxes: posh, palatial, and presidential.

1341 S. Ocean Boulevard, Palm Beach

Price: $110,000,000

1341 S. Ocean Blvd.

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The swankiest spot available right now is also the most expensive, at nine figures. But it’s worth every penny to look out over the ocean and then pad down to your own pristine white-sand beach every morning with your coffee.

At more than 28,000 square feet, this massive two-story Mediterranean estate features seven bedrooms, nine full baths, and six half-baths, as well as miles of marble in multiple rooms. There’s also a guest cottage, stunning pool, exercise room, elevator, plus a security system and gatehouse for the Secret Service to set up shop.

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Watch: This Is Where Donald Trump Grew Up–and You Can Stay There, Too

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1330 S. Ocean Boulevard, Palm Beach

Price: $56,500,000

1330 S. Ocean Blvd.

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If the Trumps are willing to trade the ocean for lesser waters, they can head right across the street to this listing. For half the price, the famous couple can make do with six bedrooms and seven baths spread over nearly 16,000 square feet of living space.

At just 4 years old, this contemporary abode sits on about 2 acres and comes completely furnished. There’s also a private dock, deeded beach access, and gorgeous lanai overlooking the pool.

520 Island Drive, Palm Beach

Price: $52,900,000

520 Island Drive

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This mansion is a bit smaller than the others, but it sports two docks on either side of the house and direct access to the Intracoastal Waterway. The president and his family will enjoy six bedrooms and nine baths, take in the views from the balcony, and paddle around in the heated saltwater pool.

But the best part just might be the bonus loot that comes with the asking price. The right bidder for this property, which is called Lago-a-Lago (Lake to Lake), will also be the owner of $2,000,000 worth of furniture and art.

101 Seminole Avenue, Palm Beach

Price: $37,500,000

101 Seminole Ave.

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Perhaps a classic Palm Beach home is more to the Trumps’ taste? This Mediterranean-style manse with a barrel tile roof oozes old-world charm, though it was built in 2007.

Mature palms surround the lovely pool and spa, while soaring ceilings highlight huge windows opening to lush lawns. The property sits on just over a half-acre and features six bedrooms, seven baths, a wine room, and deeded ocean access.

120 Jungle Road, Palm Beach

Price: $35,000,000

120 Jungle Road

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Lastly, a home with real history. Built nearly 100 years ago, this gated estate with seven bedrooms and seven baths has been completely restored with every modern amenity, including a sound system, wine storage, and chef’s kitchen. Other luxe details include a huge home gym, billiard room, sun-drenched public rooms, and a palatial master suite.

The post Donald Trump House Hunts in a Surprising Place—Which Home Will He Pick? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com