Can You Buy a Vacation Home as a Primary Residence?

Have you ever rented a vacation home and thought, “Could I live here all the time?” Often, the places we visit on vacation offer us the rest and enjoyment we crave in our everyday lives. At Team French, we see this happen to visitors of Gold Country. Drawn by the beauty, small-town vibes, and fun things to do, vacationers want to call Gold Country home all year long. In a town with homes built as short-term vacation homes, you may wonder, can you buy a vacation home as a primary residence? The answer is, yes you can. But here are some considerations to think through before you make the move. 

What is a Primary Residence vs. a Vacation Home

A primary residence is a home or property where you live in the majority of the year. On the other hand, a vacation home is only used for small spans of time. It is intended to be a temporary or secondary residence. Knowing this definition, the only technical difference between a primary residence and vacation home is the amount of time spent in them.

Functionality of a Vacation Home, the Good and the Bad

There are more distinctions on a functional level, though. When a house is constructed as a vacation home, often the layout and design reflect that. For example, in order to accommodate large groups of people, a vacation home may have built-in lofts and lots of small bedrooms. Vacation homes also often have fun additions that a primary residence would not like game rooms or spas and outdoor activity areas.

Additionally, there may be some amenities that are less than ideal for a primary residence. For one, vacationers typically eat most meals out. No one wants to go on vacation and do a ton of cooking. So, vacation homes usually have smaller kitchens and cooking space. Another difference is the closet and storage space. Vacationers need very little closet and storage space so if you transition it to a primary residence you’ll have to deal with these smaller accommodations.

Tax Considerations of Converting a Vacation Home to Primary Residence

When a property has been classified as an investment property with the IRS, there are varying (typically higher) tax considerations. Even after reclassifying a home to a primary residence, you may have to pay additional taxes or fees. The best option is to consult with a real estate tax professional. 

One trip to Tuolumne, Amador, or Calaveras Counties and you’ll be ready to call it home! If you’re ready to find a home in Gold County, let Team French help! We too call Gold Country home and can help you find the perfect house to make your own. To learn more about vacation homes and primary residence policies for Gold Country, we’d love to help answer your questions. Reach out today!

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