If you want to purchase property in the area where your family frequently vacations to set down some roots in the area, then it's important you know how to effectively evaluate vacation property listings online. While you absolutely must work with a local real estate agent and tour potential properties before ever making a purchase offer, your search should start from home by looking at all of the available options online and narrowing them down by eliminating the inappropriate options.

To evaluate online vacation property listings from the comfort of your home, follow each of these tips:

Tip: Learn as Much as You Can About Regional Property Listing Lingo

Real estate agents in each area of the country use their own lingo when describing their vacation listings. By taking the time to read as many listings as you can, you will start to understand what they are actually trying to say - perhaps without overtly saying it.

For example, the word "remote" often means a property is in the middle of nowhere and a long way from even basic shopping or gas stations. Terms such as "potential" or "with a bit of work" often mean a vacation property needs a lot of work before your family will want to stay there.

Tip: Consider What You Aren't Seeing in Listing Photos

Just as you wouldn't upload photos of yourself or your home that aren't appealing, it's common for real estate agents to not put photos of negative aspects of a property on their online listings.

When you are looking at vacation home photos, make sure you think about what you aren't being shown. For example, if the photos of a bathroom always leave out shots of the shower or bathtub this is a big red flag that it's damaged or otherwise unappealing.

Tip: Evaluate Vacation Properties Needing Repairs or Upgrading Knowing You May be Required to Do All of the Work Yourself

If you find a vacation property online that you fall in love with based on the listing description and photos, make sure you go back and read the listing multiple times and look at the photos carefully with an eye specifically towards any upgrades or repairs it needs.

This is important because while you can easily have plumbing, electrical, or structural problems fixed in the city where you live, contractors or other professional services may be hard to find or completely non-existant in a rural vacation area.

If the listing mentions minor plumbing or electrical problems, then if you aren't able to do the work yourself or aren't willing to pay a premium price for a distant professional to travel to the area to do them for you, then move on to another option and save yourself the future headache.

Keep these things in mind while you browse vacation property listings online.