Five ways to invest wisely and make your dream golf home a reality

1. Location is critical
"You want to buy a golf home near other kinds of recreation, near the airport if it's a vacation destination, near shopping," says personal finance guru Ilyce Glink of thinkglink.com. Having a lake, mountain or the ocean nearby will also help your property value appreciate.

2. Protect your view
Golfers love views of (surprise!) golf courses, which is why homes set adjacent to greens sell quickly. If you're buying a view, however, remember that sightlines can change as new homes are built. An assurance that your view won't be ruined by new construction should be contractual.

3. Read the contract — carefully
Speaking of contracts, read every word of them — the covenants, conditions and restrictions. "You don't want 150 pages of legalese," says Colin Hegarty, president of the Golf Research Group in Dallas. "You want elegant clear documentation that lays out what there is, and what there isn't."

4. Invest in quality
"A-level" properties tend to hold up better than "B-level" ones in a market slide. "All of our golf course communities are high-end upscale," says Myles Newell, executive vice president of Ginn Real Estate Company, a Palm Coast, Fla., developer with 10 properties. "What sells first isn't the bargain, it's the best."

5. Do your homework
"It's always a good idea to knock on doors," Glink says. Visit other developments that the seller has created and ask homeowners what the property was like before it was turned over and how it has held held up since then.

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