There are a number of things to consider when choosing a vacation home that’s right for you, your family, or your sports or sales team. Before you settle on the lowest price or the most glamorous home, consider what you expect your vacation home to provide. Here are a few tips to help you make the choice.

Location, Location

As in all real estate, even though you’re not buying the property, location is key. The vacation home you’re considering should be close to the venue, attraction or resort where you plan on spending most of your time. It should be within walking distance of local stores and restaurants. Public/private transportation-buses, shuttles, taxis-should be readily available. Finally consider, too, any negative location factors, like excessive traffic noise, nearby construction activity, or proximity to unpleasant odors (too close to a fishery or industrial/chemical area).

Size and Floorplan

When evaluating a specific vacation home, make sure it has enough bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate your family, sports team or sales team. Families with smaller children or same sex children can double up in one bedroom. Everyone else (adults) will want their own bedroom. There should be plenty of bathrooms (with showers) for everyone, as well. You should also consider the importance of a large living room for meetings, and a large dinning room with a dinner table big enough to seat everyone in your family or group.

Large, Fully Equipped Kitchen

One of the main advantages of a vacation home is the convenience and economy of preparing and eating at “home.” For that, you’ll need a fully equipped and well-stocked kitchen. It should have a dishwasher, a double oven with microwave, toaster/toaster oven, coffee maker, tea kettle and a full selection of eating utensils, flatware, glasses, pots, pans, and just about everything else you’d find in a large kitchen.

Clean, Stylish and Comfortable

The home’s furniture should be clean and look fairly stylish. There should be plenty of relaxing soft furniture-couches, chairs, sectionals-that look fairly new and clean. Counters, tubs, showers and floors should be clean and dust free. Bedding and towels should be spotless and fresh. And there should be no unpleasant odors (cooking or otherwise) in any room. In warmer locations, check the AC unit and make sure it cools down the home fairly quickly without a lot of noise or dust. The same holds true for colder locations-turn on the heat and make sure it heats up the entire home quickly.


There should be at least one large screen TV and DVD player in the main living area. TVs in bedrooms are optional. Make sure the home is wired for Internet access and cable. As for phones, land lines are not necessary, since most people have cell phones now.

Closets/Storage Space

There should be plenty of storage space for your belongings, including large closets and dressers in each bedroom. Bedside tables and lamps should be in every bedroom for bedtime reading. If the home has an attached garage, make sure it has space to store any overflow of luggage and other items.

Exterior Amenities

In warmer locations, it’s always nice to have a pool and spa to unwind in. The pool/spa should be clean, well lit and heated for evening use. A BBQ with tables and chairs is also nice to have. Ask the owner to provide a full propane tank if you plan on lots of BBQs. In colder locations, it’s nice to have outside propane patio heaters.