Homes in Coastal RI March 18, 2021

Owning vs Renting A Summer Home

Narragansett, RI MLS # 1277151.  Offered by Judith Chace & Erin Marsh, Mott & Chace Sotheby’s International Realty

You have found your happy location at the beach.  Should you pull the trigger and buy?  Consider market conditions, lifestyle and long-term financial objectives.

A summer home can be a great investment, but all the regular rules apply in terms of location, maintenance expenses and market conditions.  And, like any investment, you should weigh the opportunity against other options.  Your financial advisor and your accountant will provide sound advice on this front, including tax and insurance implications.

Proximity to your primary residence may be a good indicator of how much time you will spend at your summer home.  The amount of time you spend there is probably a significant consideration of whether you should buy or rent.  If you have the option of settling in for the entire season, or if you can easily get to/from your summer home within a reasonable amount of time, you’ll use it more.  And owning very well may offset the expense of renting for an entire peak season.

Are you a nester or an adventurer?  If you like the familiarity of knowing the chair number of your favorite beach spot, go-to restaurants and not having to worry about packing your toothbrush every weekend, you’re likely a nester.  If you look forward to discovering a new town every summer and a regular change of scenery, you’re an adventurer.  This is an quick and easy litmus test of how happy you might be as an owner vs renter.

Finally, consider how your lifestyle and family size may change over the short- and long-term.  Are you looking for a home that can be in your family for generations or a starter summer home?  A tiny getaway or someplace large enough to invite friends for long weekends?  You don’t need to commit forever, but you don’t want to find that you’ve outgrown or are underutilizing your space in a year or two.  You’re unlikely to see marked appreciation in a short period, and you’re likely to lose money, considering selling fees and taxes.

If all the boxes are checked and you are ready to begin your search, you’ve likely narrowed down your wish list to a town or two that you’ve visited and enjoyed.  If you haven’t, I strongly encourage you to rent first.  Renting also can provide you with a “base” from which to conduct your search, see properties in person as they come onto market, and make an offer quickly.

Michael Mosca is a real estate agent with Mott & Chace Sotheby’s International Realty in Narragansett, Rhode Island.

Michael specializes in properties in coastal RI and he is a member of Our Trusted Network of Sotheby’s International Realty agents around the U.S. and across the globe