Buying Santa Cruz Real Estate as a Vacation Home

Posted by Lauren Spencer on Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 at 2:17pm.

buying vacation homes in santa cruz

As a prospective buyer, owning a vacation home where you can relax and unwind in your favorite locale is extremely appealing, while you envision a perfect setting for your family and friends to experience. A vacation property is something you might think of as a place where joyful memories are made and traditions are established. However, beyond the good times and enjoyment of the destination are some important topics that should be taken into consideration when investing in a vacation property. Santa Cruz is one of the most beautiful places in the world, so we aren't surprised you'd like to have a little slice of heaven here, but if you're thinking about joining the group of happy second-home owners, it's in your best interest to do a little planning to make sure your new property is an enjoyable purchase.

Property Accessibility 

Depending on where you are in the world, it's important to consider the distance involved from one point to the other, and the best way to find out is traveling to the locale before making a purchase. Traveling to the property will help you know the logistics: what the average cost of travel will be, typical traffic patterns, and how accessible your point of interest is. Doing this will help you plan out how many times a year you can visit, based on the cost and accessibility of travel.

Get to Know Santa Cruz Real Estate

There's not much point in buying a vacation property unless you absolutely adore the place (the only exception is that the property is extremely affordable and promises a strong ROI for investment purposes). But if you plan on spending your precious time in this place you'll want to make sure it ticks all of your leisure boxes off. You'll want to take a thorough look around and check out the local hot spots of where you're thinking about purchasing a vacation property.

Whether you want stellar beaches, good shopping, or fine dining, it's best to research and suss out whether your place of interest is ideal you're your holiday times. Delve into the culture of Santa Cruz to see if it's the one for you! PS. Our agents who have lived in Santa Cruz homes and real estate for years can help you with this process!

Truly Relax with a Low-Maintenance Property

Don't choose a Santa Cruz vacation property that could be a nightmare to maintain! The bigger the home, the more maintenance it takes. The older the property, the more work, and renovations it may need. It's also important to remember there will be people with varying levels of care and consideration when staying at your new home, especially if you rent it out to guests. Finding a vacation house that is close to being as seamless as possible, will save you a headache. Keep in mind you won't want to rely on property managers to take care of everything. Remember, this is your second home to maintain, so be aware of how much time and money it will take to keep up.

Inspect Your Vacation Property

When you find your ideal Santa Cruz real estate, be sure to get a home inspection. Just because the property looks nice to the eye doesn't mean it will be feasible for your wallet, or safe to inhabit. Some issues, such as bowing walls, leaky roofs, or pests may not be visible without a close, professional inspection. On-going inspections, while you are away from the property, is also very important if you anticipate high-volumes of renters through platforms like VRBO and Airbnb. Consider one of our highly-rated home inspection agencies.

Return a Profit From Your Santa Cruz Vacation Home

The first step in creating a revenue stream from your vacation property is to set realistic expectations in terms of income. Research similar properties, speak to our agents on market forecasts and check to see how often and when people are renting in the area!

The second step is coming up with a plan for getting quality renters to the property. You can use services such as VRBO, Airbnb, FlipKey, or consider local property managers to take over filling up your space. Keep in mind that you'll have to pay for cleaning in between guests, marketing of your property, and perhaps property management. The positive side of rental potential is that some of your costs can be offset by having renters while you're away. It's also a great way of building equity and someday paying off the property.

Calculate All-In Cost

The initial price of the property isn't the only part of what you'll be expected to spend. The true cost of ownership includes utilities, HOA fees, property taxes, mortgages, insurance, and all the expenses it takes to make a vacation property comfortable. Also, consider the cost of the toys you may need to fully enjoy your property abroad. You'll also have to pay someone to be on speed-dial if something goes awry while you're out of town. Not being able to afford your vacation home is no vacation at all!

If you need help locating or selling a vacation home, call me today at 831.662.6522 or email me at

For additional real estate information, please visit my homepage at

About Lauren Spencer

Award-Winning Santa Cruz REALTOR®

Lauren Spencer is your local real estate expert, specializing in Santa Cruz real estate and surrounding communities—this is where she lives, works, and plays too. Let her know your questions about the community and county and she'll be happy to fill you in on all you want to know! Lauren Spencer has consistently been voted best local REALTOR in Santa Cruz and is always happy to offer her advice and expertise. Call her at: 800.226.4717.

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