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Buying vacation homes: getting your best investment

Though real estate law often deals more in disputes than in vacations, purchasing a vacation home can be a great investment for you and your family, and by using the law, you can work to protect your new asset. Negotiating for the best purchase agreement is a great move with the help of an attorney, and can ensure the fairest price is reached. Creating a limited liability company (LLC) of your family for the ownership of a property can help to protect from personal liability and ensure that the property stays in the family through the future.

Just as there are many legal options for purchasing property, there are many options for the type of vacation home you'd like. Sales of vacation homes rose 7 percent last year according to the National Association of Realtors, despite the stagnation of sales in the primary home sector. Buying a home outright isn't the only option though -- timeshares and "fractional" are becoming more popular.

Though timeshares have often been thought of as a dated method of vacationing, more than 8 million people own this type of vacation home. By purchasing time or points, there is flexibility in where and when you take your holidays. On the other hand, timeshares do not make for a great investment in the long term, and often resell for less than the purchase price.

"Fractionals" work in a similar way to time-shares, but offer a more grand experience. A larger interest is purchased (one to two weeks in a time share, four- to 12-week sections for a fractional) at a private residence club, which includes the amenities of a five star hotel. Homes in these private clubs can be purchased outright, as well.

There is the old-fashioned way as well, purchasing a cabin on one of Michigan's beautiful lakes. Investing in property can be a stressful and confusing process if you are not familiar with it. Having a qualified real estate attorney on your side can make for a smooth process and get you and your family on vacation sooner rather than later.

Source: The Chicago Tribune, "Options abound in vacation homes," Lew Sichelman, Aug. 23, 2012

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