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Greg Cummings: San Diego Real Estate Agent

News > Should I Buy a San Diego Vacation Condo?

Blue skies, balmy weather, palm trees that rustle in the off-shore breezes, gorgeous beaches. Most people who visit San Diego have an urge to return again… and again… and again. A vacation home in San Diego may seem like a ticket to paradise, especially with so many stunning condos to choose from. And it is – as long as you’re ready to split your time and financial resources between two homes.

If you find yourself spending more and more time here renting a vacation property, it may be worth considering a purchase.  Renting a condo in San Diego a few times a year is an alternative to buying a vacation home, but rentals in prime locations AND prime time periods can be costly. For example, a month's stay in a condo at Coronado in July may cost you $7000-$8000.   Buy a $1,000,000 condo and you'll pay around $4000 per month in mortgage costs.  To make your decision more affordable, in some cases you can rent the condo out when you aren't using it.

In your calculations, don't forget some important fees that you'll want to consider when buying a vacation home:

  • HOA Fees: Homeowner’s Association Fees are paid monthly and cover services like landscaping, building maintenance, security systems, security guards, community pools and clubhouses, walking trails, tennis courts, fitness centers, cable, water, sewer, insurance, trash, etc. HOA fees vary widely. When buying a vacation home, consider communities that don’t charge outrageous fees.  You'll see HOA fees listed on our website for each condo.
  • Insurance:  Every homeowner needs condominium insurance. HOA policies include insurance, but coverage varies and these policies only insure real property - not the personal contents inside the units and not the liability coverage you may need if you happen to have a leak in your condo that trickles down to the unit below.    Condo insurance is definately more affordable than home insurance, but varies depending upon the condo.
  • Utilities: Factor in electric and gas for your vacation home.  Water, sewer and trash are usually included in your monthly HOA fees. San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) serves San Diego County. Call them to find out what the average bills were for the unit you’re interested in. When you’re away from either home, it’s not recommended that you turn off the electricity altogether to save money, but you can unplug unessential items like TV sets, computers, chargers, and small kitchen appliances.   
  • Maintenance: While soaking up the sun in San Diego, your other house still needs to be maintained. In fact, it may require extra maintenance when you return from your vacation. Will you need to hire someone to water your plants and look after your home while you’re away? Consider the fees involved in pool maintenance or pet sitting, if applicable, as well as lawn care, etc. The beauty of owning a vacation condo is that your HOA fees cover maintenance, landscaping, pool care, etc. Just lock up and drive away.  
  • Unexpected Expenses: Every smart homeowner leaves room in their budget for the unexpected expenses that always arise when you own a home. Let’s say you return home and discover that your AC unit has quit and your warranty just expired. If your budget is already stretched, are you prepared for these expenses?
  •  Decorating: Don’t forget the cost involved in decorating your second home. In addition to obvious big ticket items like furniture, you’ll need countless items like linens, kitchenware, wall hangings, pantry items, etc.  If you’re lucky, you’ve stored enough items in your closets, garage, or attic to at least partially furnish your condo.
  • Travel: Budget in the travel expense required to reach your vacation home. How many times a year will you travel there? Does the trip require airfare or wear and tear on your vehicle? If you fly, do you need to rent a car to get around? Many condo communities, especially those located downtown, are conveniently located near bus and trolley stops and are also within walking distance of restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues.  

We specialize in condos and lofts in every area of San Diego.  Contact us, and we'll help you find the perfect vacation condo to fit your lifestyle and budget.


Though not guaranteed, information and statistics in this article have been acquired from sources believed to be reliable.

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You might also be interested in CORONADOCORONADO Condos For Sale!

Downtown Coronado boasts unique shops and many restaurants serving residents and visitors. Three destination resorts and many small hotels offer a variety of accommodations. And our award-winning beach, recently ranked second best in the country by the Travel Channel, is a special jewel.

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Last Updated: 2023-09-25