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Before You Buy a Bed and Breakfast

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Buying a bed and breakfast is a big commitment, usually much bigger than buying your home. It's not something that should be taken lightly, and it would be difficult to over-prepare for this purchase. Among the many things you need to consider, these may be the five most important.

Can You Afford It?

You'll probably have to come up with a bigger down payment -- in percentage terms as well as real dollars -- for a bed and breakfast than you would for a home. Depending on the size of the inn you purchase, your mortgage payment also could be higher. You might have to save for a long time to be ready for the purchase.

Are You Innkeeper Material?

Innkeepers are special people. They have to deal with all sorts of guests, both good and bad. Sometimes rude guests will arrive very late at night -- and you'll still have to get up early to prepare breakfast with a smile. Can you do that?

Can Your Family Handle It?

Running a bed and breakfast is not a one-person job. And even if it was, your family would be affected -- particularly if you have children living at home. Be sure your family is ready for the new responsibilities, and if you live in the inn be sure to have a guest-free space so you can all unwind.

Is This the Right Location?

Do the market research. Why do people come to visit this area? Are they seasonal travelers or year-round? How many other bed and breakfasts are located nearby? Are they always full or often empty? What will make your inn stand out? These are very important questions, and the answers will help determine how successful your inn might be.

What Are Your Expectations?

Do you want to make a living solely from the B&B or is it an extra source of income? If you don't have a partner working outside the inn, as a general rule you should have at least eight guest rooms available. Make sure you go over projected income thoroughly -- and have a decent amount of cash in reserve -- before jumping in with both feet.

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