Did you spend time this summer in the mountains, on the beach or by the lake? Did you wistfully gaze around at your surroundings and think, ‘what if I could afford to have a piece of this for myself, forever?’. This is the thought that goes through millions of minds each summer as we realize how hard we work to have such a brief amount of time leisurely enjoying those long summer days. What if you really could buy that little place at the beach, lake, or mountain that you have been dreaming of? It may not be as far-fetched as it sounds. With some planning, creativity, and perseverance, that  vacation home may be well within your reach.

Here are some ways to help make your dream of vacation home ownership come true:

Be open to locations.
While you should keep your overall dream concept in mind, whether it’s a sandy beach or a remote camp nestled away in the mountains, try to be open to the exact location of this dream home. While real estate may not be affordable in the region you have got your heart set on, you may find an idyllic spot less than an hour away.

Consider alternative ways to pay the mortgage and expenses.
Saving for a vacation home can be tough on your budget. Would you be comfortable renting out your property a few weeks or months each year via AirBnB or with the help of a property management firm? Could you purchase a vacation home that is available for long-term rent from September through May? Could you partner with a close friend or family member to split the home? A second home doesn’t have to equal a second mortgage payment if you don’t want it to.

Think beyond the building.
Is it really a second home you’re after or is it the idea of ‘something of your own’ that can provide you lifelong vacations? Perhaps a camper or RV is a better fit. While you’ll likely still have to pay rental fees for parking at a campground, you’ll find that this is far more cost-effective than staying in hotels. Plus, you will have your own space and you can travel as far as the roads can take you.

So – you’ve decided how you’re going to make your vacation home (or camper) a reality, and in your mind, you’re already heading out the door to fire up the grill. Before you start inviting the neighbors, you will need to come up with the down payment or deposit and a plan for long-term expenses and maintenance. You may find that your down payment is higher than what you put down for your primary home, as the federal and state rules around mortgages vary when it comes to different types of properties. One great way to start saving for a vacation home down payment is to invest in a CD account. These short-term, no-risk, high-interest accounts provide an ideal opportunity for saving a specific amount of cash separately from your other accounts and watching it grow faster than a standard savings account.

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