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31st May, 2017

The Fine & Country Second Home Guide

The Fine & Country Second Home Guide

Thinking of buying a second home? You’re not alone. According to a survey taken in 2016, over 2 million people in the UK have found a ‘home away from home’ in their holiday property. Whether you’re looking for a home in Bournemouth or Barcelona, holiday home hunting is one of the most enjoyable real estate shopping experiences. However, there are some important things to be aware of before you sign on the dotted line.

When it comes to purchasing a second home, the world is truly at your fingertips, but your lifestyle will certainly influence the location. Are you a jetsetter who will book a ticket and fly off to Paris or Spain with only a moment’s notice? Then a holiday home abroad may be your perfect getaway. If your work prevents you from taking spontaneous (or even planned) vacations, a holiday home in the UK might be the right decision. When it comes to choosing the location, it’s best to abide by the two-hour rule: if you can’t get to your holiday house within two hours, whether it be by plane, train, or car, then it’s too far away. Zoie Hawker of Fine & Country Portugal attributes this to the success of many holiday homes in the Algarve. Hawker says, “we have daily year-round flights to most UK airports, and this makes it possible for owners to pop down for a long weekend or short break.” The most used holiday homes are normally within two hours of the owner’s primary residence.

Owning a holiday home in a different area means that, at least while you visit, you’ll need to change your lifestyle. Be sure to visit the area where you’ll be purchasing a home more than once. It’s a good idea to make sure that all your standard amenities (supermarket, activities, etc.) are reasonably close by. Your hobbies will play an important role in your selection of second property, as will your children. Gary Hartley of Fine & Country Loughborough says, “parents should carefully consider the age of their children and whether they will soon reach an age where they resist going away for weekends to a second home. Many teenagers are far more interested in staying at home in their fast-developing social lives, better than being dragged off by enthusiastic parents to the new weekend retreat away from their friends.” If you have teenagers (or will have them soon), consider a second property that’s closer to home, or even a popular holiday destination where friends may be likely to holiday as well.

Waterfront Property
Whether it’s the beach or a property with a pond, owning a home on the water is a dream come true for many people. It’s the perfect getaway during the summer months, but the charms of properties on the water don’t end there. In the autumn and winter, a beachside town is perfect for a quiet weekend getaway. Once you decide to own a home on the waterfront, cast a critical eye on the water features of potential homes, and ask the owners how often they use them. After you’re satisfied with the water features on the property, look at the house. Check for wear, tear and erosion, and make sure the home has storm shutters.

Rural Property
Rural property provides some of the best ‘escapes’ from the modern world, which makes it perfect for a second home. When you view a rural property, ask plenty of questions about any woodland on the grounds, and be sure to take a look at the boundary map to make sure that you’re getting all of the land you see. Loving the land you purchase is absolutely critical, as Colin Thorpe of Fine & Country Braunton says, “you can always change what it is, but you cannot change where it is”.

Stamp Duty
Since April 2016, second homes are charged an additional stamp duty based on their price (3% for homes under £125,00, 5% for homes under £250,000, and homes over £1.5 million must pay an additional 15%). If stamp duty is making you think twice about owning a second property, there are ways to make your second home more reasonable. Looking outside the most popular holiday home sites you can decrease the amount you’ll pay on stamp duty.

People buy a second home for all kinds of reasons, but using the knowledge you’ve gained from buying your first property is essential. “Make a list of the things that don’t work in your current home to avoid making mistakes” advises Simon Bradbury from Fine & Country St. Neots. Consulting a local expert is one of the best ways to get the most out of your second home. As Nuno Durao of Fine & Country Portugal says, “owning a second home is an emotional decision, but with a lot of rational decisions along the way.”

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