Buying a property can be a rollercoaster of emotion; from excitement and anxiety to elation and despair. It can be a challenging time, but like your first love, the memories of that decision often last forever.
So, what about a holiday home in the UK?
There are many different reasons why someone will decide it’s the right time for them to invest in a holiday home and whether that is to make a sound investment that will deliver a consistent return or to own a space that will deliver that work life balance we all crave, there are a number of questions that must be asked before you sign on that dotted line.
Sarah Gawthorpe, Managing Director of Cedar Retreats, the luxury lodge business in North Yorkshire shares her top tips:
Location is really important factor when you consider how much time you may spend in a second home. Even if you have visited the same place frequently for weekends, it’s worth booking an extended break and meeting with the locals to get their thoughts on the good and the bad things about that local area.
2. New build or not
Before you jump in and go for a more typical dwelling, decide if that house type is right for you. There are more options when it comes to second homes than ever before which can include everything from a small cottage with original beams and quirky features to a cedar dressed lodge in the middle of the country. In some instances, you can even influence the design and have it made completely bespoke to you, which could make a big difference to the holiday home you end up with.
3. Size is everything
Having the option to change the size of a property to suit you is a luxury but it is also a very real possibility with a second home. Take a lodge as an example, the spec can be changed to meet with your requirements and your budget.
Don’t go for second best or standard because you think you have to. Consider all of your options.
4. Functional design
When you’re decorating your holiday home remember that you won’t be there every day. The décor and furnishings need to be appealing whilst being functional. That doesn’t mean they can’t be fun but it does mean that you need to consider how much house work you want to do when you’re supposed to be taking a break.
Always keep in the back of your mind that your time will be better spent doing something you enjoy rather than dusting and hoovering; unless of course that is what you love!
5. Transport networks
You don’t want to choose a holiday home that will have you on the road for hours or paying for train tickets that cost a fortune. There is a happy medium. Set yourself a geographic remit and try to stick to it. Although you may think that a three-hour drive or train ride to the country in the summer months would be romantic, the same will not be said when you are venturing out on wintry, cold and dark evenings.
If you are choosing a remote location, make sure that there are local amenities close by. With so many convenience stores and supermarkets in cities, towns and even large villages, we have become guilty of taking them for granted. Pubs and cafes are the same, so make sure you do your research and find out exactly what is on your doorstep and what you will need to venture a little further afield for.
7. Local services
The idea of having a holiday home shouldn’t be to have a second house to clean and tidy, so call upon local people who offer those services. In locations where there are a number of holiday homes, you will often find a number of people to choose from so remember to check references and pick someone you trust.
An alternative option could be to consider a managed park or retreat. For an annual fee, you can rely on the park managers to make all the arrangements for you. All you do is arrive, have fun and leave – without having to worry about any maintenance or cleaning up after yourselves! Perfect.
8. An investment
Increasingly, people are buying holiday homes as an investment, with some securing an annual rental income of upwards of 9%.
As the staycation becomes increasingly popular the market for short-term rental has also risen. Consider how you are going to manage the process, but if you want a home that you can rent out when you are not there then the returns can be a healthy way to supplement your income.
9. Family and friends
When family and friends find out that you have a holiday home it’s likely that they will be straight on the phone and asking to stay. To avoid this, you have to set the boundaries early. Consider whether you want to offer the property at all, let it free of charge to those that you know or secure a rental income from it.
When you’ve made these decisions stick to them or you may find that you end up bidding for the dates where you want to stay in your own holiday home!
10. Longer-term plans
There is no point in thinking short-term when you buy a second property, it should be considered as any other investment whether you want to rent it or not. Think about the sales potential that it has and make sure that longer term you are least likely to get your money back.
Take the time to research into developments that are planned locally and for any contentious situations that may impact on your property before you agree to buy a second home.