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Buying secondary homes in the United States is big business. Over one million vacation homes sell annually, and they made up over 20% of the residential market in 2014 alone. This makes financial and strategic sense, but it’s not a decision you should make casually. If you have ever thought about purchasing a vacation home, consider the following factors first.

Many buyers obtain a vacation home and hope to rent it out when not in use. Others buy one because they want to sell it in the future for profit. Both of these reasons make sense, but they do come with hidden expenses in addition to down payments and closing costs. The extra expenditures include utilities, insurance, property taxes, maintenance fees and furnishings.

Renting homes out comes with expenses as well. Plan to pay for advertising costs, property management dues and cleaning fees. In a resort area, it might come in handy to provide gear for renters. This includes snowboards, skis, boats and other fun accessories that make it easy for lessees to partake in the area’s activities.

If you hope for rental income, choose a home that will create enough to cover expenses. This means you have to select a community that allows rentals. Since associations can make their own rules, it’s important to have all the facts before you buy. If the vacation home also functions as investment property, keep in mind that it takes years before you can sell it for profit.

It would be ideal to make a reasonable estimate in regards to visitation because you don’t want to inhibit income potential. Many people think they will come more often than they really can. If you have no plans of renting the unit between trips, choose a place that you really want to visit.

You need to prepare for emergencies, even when the vacation home is far away. Someone should stop by regularly, and electronic monitoring comes in handy too. That’s because unoccupied residences can attract unwarranted attention. If your vacation home is in a hurricane zone, you need to be able to secure it when needed.

If you lease your property to others, you will need a business plan. This relates to getting renters, figuring out how they can get in, and setting up payment collection. You can do this yourself or hire a property manager.