Finance Blog

Stay financially savvy with the Equifax Advisor.

Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter


Thank you for signing up for the FREE Equifax monthly newsletter

In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.

Understand your credit. Help protect your identity.

Equifax Complete™ Premier Plan

  • Know What May Influence Your Credit Score and Be Alerted of Changes
    Credit score monitoring with custom alerts
    Important Disclosure: The Equifax credit score and 3-Bureau credit scores are based on an Equifax credit score model and are not the same scores used by 3rd parties to assess your creditworthiness.¹
  • Help Protect Your Identity
    Automatic fraud alerts encourages lenders to take extra steps to verify your identity²
  • Lock Your Credit
    The ability to lock and unlock your Equifax Credit Report³
Save 75% your first 30 days with the purchase of Equifax Complete™ Premier

$4.95 for the first 30 days, then $19.95 per month thereafter. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.4

¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.

²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.

³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.

4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.

Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.

Can You Afford to Buy a Vacation Home?

Written by Steve Cook on March 31, 2015 in Real Estate  |   2 comments

Do your dreams include a vacation home of your own in your favorite resort? Are you daydreaming about a place where you can vacation on your family’s terms and create memories that your children will always remember? This could be the perfect time to turn…

Can You Afford to Buy a Vacation HomeDo your dreams include a vacation home of your own in your favorite resort? Are you daydreaming about a place where you can vacation on your family’s terms and create memories that your children will always remember?

This could be the perfect time to turn that dream into reality.

Resort areas were hit hard by the housing crash seven years ago, and many have yet to recover, so bargains are still available. Interest rates are at historic lows, and you could save thousands over the life of a mortgage if you act now. Plus, if you can rent your property during the weeks you don’t plan to use it, you may be able to recoup some of your costs with the rental income.

Before you dive into real estate investing and start researching vacation properties, you’ll want to decide if you can really afford to purchase a vacation home.

Consider the mortgage before buying a second home

Defaults have been high in resort areas, and many lenders are leery of financing second homes. Therefore, the down payment and interest rate you are quoted are likely to be higher for a vacation property than for your principal residence.

Lenders typically look closely at four factors: your income, your total debt load (which will include the mortgage on your primary home, if you still have a mortgage, your credit rating, and the amount you want to borrow. You will need a good credit score (the average credit score for closed loans in 2014 was 726) or you could be faced with a higher interest rate.

Depending upon the location, condition, and market value of the property, as well as your own financial status and credit history, a typical 15- to 30-year mortgage for a non-owner-occupied property usually requires a down payment of 20 percent, though it could be higher. (Of course, the higher the down payment you can make, the easier it will be to find a willing lender.)

You can take equity out of your primary home to finance the purchase of a vacation home by refinancing or taking out a home equity line of credit (HELOC), but you may need that equity to weather future rough housing markets or to use for other purposes. You also may end up paying more interest because the mortgage on a vacation home could carry a higher interest rate than the first mortgage on your primary residence.

What about rental income?

Unfortunately, you cannot include potential rental income in your mortgage application. Lenders are interested only in what you earn today because you need to be able to pay the mortgage (and property taxes and insurance) even if the unit isn’t rented out.

Additionally, estimating realistic rental income and the operational expenses involved is a difficult task. To understand how much you could earn from rental income, start with location and seasonality, as they will determine what kind of income to expect. Your family might not mind a drive or long walk to the beach or the ski lift, but renters will pay handsomely for the convenience of having activities close by. Many resorts advertise themselves as “year-round,” but few really are. Most have one season when the highest rents are charged, and the rest of the time rentals are discounted.

Then consider the expenses. Operating expenses related to vacation rentals are similar to those of a hotel—around 60 to 75 percent of revenue. You’ll need to buy furniture, sheets, towels, and other necessities; pay utility bills; marketing; schedule routine cleaning and maintenance; schedule gardening and landscaping services; obtain insurance coverage; process payments; and more. You can also choose to hire a management firm that will do everything for you for a price.

The real estate agents you talk to when you are hunting for a property are good sources of information on the local markets. Many brokerages in resort areas also manage properties and know the business, but they would also like to line you up as a customer, so talk to several before you make a decision.

If you’ve done your financial homework, and you’re prepared to move forward with that dream vacation home, here’s a checklist to help you through the process:

1.Get your finances in order. Clean up your credit. Stay current on all payments. Do a credit check, and review and correct any problems that might be lowering your score.

2.Save for a down payment of at least 20 percent.

3.Pay down debt, pay off credit accounts, and try to avoid making large purchases.

4.Sit down with your lender and review your total household income, assets, and debts.

5.Shop smart. Look for a property in a location that still has affordable listings below peak prices.

6.If you are thinking about renting out your property when you’re not there, get educated about the realities of resort rentals from real estate professionals who work in the areas where you plan to buy.

Ideally, before you buy a vacation home, you should be very familiar with the area in which you want to buy and also have a good understanding of the local real estate market. Purchase prices in resort areas vary greatly, but often a house in a popular resort area is more expensive than it would be in a normal setting. Resort areas also have their own seasons for home sales, so take your time and find the perfect fit.

Steve Cook is editor of Real Estate Economy Watch and covers real estate and mortgage finance for leading news sites.  He is a member of the board of the National Association of Real Estate Editors. Twice he was named one of the 100 most influential people in real estate. Cook was vice president for public affairs for the National Association of Realtors.

The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.


  1. Branson Vacation Rentals says:

    I like your post , Great work .
    Thanks for share !!

Leave a Comment

Name :

Commenting guidelines

We welcome your interest and participation on this forum, but be aware that comments will be published at Equifax's sole discretion. Please don't use this blog to submit questions or concerns about your Equifax credit report or raise customer service issues. Instead, you should contact Equifax directly for all such matters and any attempts to do so in this forum will be promptly re-directed.

Some other factors to consider when commenting:
  1. Registration and privacy. While no registration is required to visit our forum, participants wishing to post a message must register by creating an account. All personal information provided by forum members incident to registration is governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
  2. All comments are anonymous. We'll delete your name, e-mail address, and any other identifying information, including details about your investments.
  3. We can't post or respond to every comment - As much as we'd like to, we can't post every comment, nor can we guarantee that we will respond to each individual message. All questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or similar customer service issues should be handled by contacting Equifax directly.
  4. Don't offer specific legal, tax or financial advice. All of the materials on this Site are for information, education, and noncommercial purposes only and this forum is not intended as a means of expressing views or ideas regarding any specific legal, tax, or investment advice. While offering general rules of thumb is both permitted and encouraged, recommending specific ideas or strategies regarding investments, taxes, and related matters is prohibited.
  5. Credit Repair. This blog is not intended as a venue for the discussion or exchange of ideas regarding credit repair or other strategies intended to assist visitors and community members improve or otherwise modify their credit histories, ratings or scores.
  6. Stay on topic. Your comment should be concise and pertain to the specific post in question.
  7. Be respectful of the community. The use of profanity, offensive language, spam, and personal attacks will not be tolerated and egregious or repeat offenders will be banned from future participation. We encourage disagreement and healthy debate, but please refrain from personal attacks on our WordPresss and contributors.
  8. Finally: Participation in this forum may be terminated by Equifax immediately and without notice for failure to comply with any guidelines or Terms of Use. As such, you should familiarize yourself with all pertinent requirements prior to submitting any response through the blog or otherwise. All opinions expressed in this forum are solely those of the individual submitting the comment, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Real Estate Archive