If you have a vacation home that you had hoped to retire to some day but have since changed your mind, don’t jump to sell it…consider renting it out instead.

For many, it seemed like a great idea to buy that vacation condo 20 years ago. The plan was to vacation there as often as possible, then some day sell your primary residence and retire there for your Golden Years. But lifestyle changes or financial situations might now be causing you to consider selling it instead.

However, as a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have seen many a client successfully rent a retirement home instead of selling it. Author Christine Karpinski, director of Owner Community for HomeAway.com (HomeAway.com), offers some good reasons to consider renting your second home:

1. Circumstances have changed. Maybe grandchildren have arrived on the scene and you can't bear the thought of moving hundreds of miles away from them. Or your parents are in poor health and need you nearby.

2. You've suddenly realized there's no place like home and you've simply changed your mind. You've decided you like being near your friends and you don't want to leave your church or synagogue. Renting your second home out during the time you are not staying there makes it financially feasible to keep both homes.

3. You've decided to "retire" from retirement. These days, it’s not unusual for people to test-drive retirement and find that it's just not for them. Work can provide many rich rewards—structure, social interaction, mental stimulation, a sense of purpose, and so forth—that people keenly miss when they retire. And, let's be honest—sometimes people simply can't afford to retire.

4. Your fixed income hasn't kept up with your lifestyle. Even when you're happy to give up the daily grind of your job, losing the paycheck that comes with it can be pretty painful. Factor in inflation, rising taxes, and unexpected "new" expenses, and you may find that what seemed like a manageable cost of living five years ago doesn't seem that way anymore. Your second home, even if it's paid for, may start looking like a liability due to property taxes, homeowner's association dues, and maintenance costs. Not if you rent it out, says Karpinski. Then it becomes a source of new income.

So don’t give up and seek to unload your second home just yet! There are still many ways to make this investment pay off. For more information on renting or buying a second, potential retirement home, please e-mail me. And please forward this email to any friends and family who could benefit from these insights.