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Tips For Buying A Summer Home

By on June 11, 2014

The Buying Agents offers five top tips for those looking to buy a holiday home this Summer.

1. Establish what you want from your second home

When buying your second home, whether at home or abroad, you need to first establish a list of reasons as to why you are entering into this decision and how you want to make use of the property. The first step is to sit down and make a list of all the possible functions for the property and then place them in your order of priority. Some of the things you may want to consider are the possibility for long or short term rental income, investment returns or suitability for family holidays and leisure time.

For example, if you are relying on rental income to cover your mortgage repayments then letting potential should be the number one priority on your list. A seemingly obvious question to ask that often gets neglected is how often you think you are going to make use of it. If you plan to use the property for regular weekend trips away for example, then transport links become more important than if, for example, you were planning to use the property twice a year and rent it out for the rest.

You might also wish to consider things like proximity to leisure facilities and tourist attractions if you are planning to spend a lot of holidays there or if you are looking to attract rental income from tourists. Bars, restaurants, heritage sites, beaches and supermarkets are all things you want ideally within walking distance or at least within a 5 mile radius.

2. Do your research

Whilst the internet is a wonderful tool and an excellent resource for information, you should spend as much time as possible talking to local people and expert professionals such as agents and solicitors to ensure you really gain a suitable understanding of the market. Find out a bit about the local culture, customs and etiquette from locals if you are buying abroad, this will give you a much deeper insight into the area and way of life. Even if buying in the UK you may be surprised at how different the local community is from your own, so it is also worth spending some time talking to full time residents about what life is like there on a daily basis.


Wherever you are, it is important to make sure you are not too isolated or cut off from vital amenities. This is especially important if you are looking for rental income which will be majorly affected by whether or not there are good transport links to cities and airports as well as proximity to shops, restaurants and the beach. The best way of researching the local area and the community it to first try renting there on a temporary basis so see for yourself what it might be like to own a property there before fully committing to the purchase. It is never a good idea to buy a holiday home simply because you have enjoyed coming as a tourist a handful of times.

A glorious and vibrant beachside town in the summer can look very different in the winter months and might be near impossible to rent to tourists outside of the peak season, which will not be suitable if you are relying on rental income to meet the mortgage payments.

3.  Remember exchange rates and added taxes

With the performance of sterling finally improving, more and more of us are being drawn back to areas on the continent such as Spain and France where it is possible to purchase a property at a fraction of the cost of a UK equivalent. However, when setting funds aside for your property purchase abroad, it is important not to get caught out by poor exchange rates. Talk with a specialist provider such as Moneycorp that could give you a much better rate than your typical bank or building society. Also, don’t forget to add on another 10% of the overall purchase price in your budget for stamp duty and taxes as well as legal fees, which can be a nasty surprise if not first taken into account.

4.  Good legal advice is worth every penny

With any property purchase, we always tell our clients to remember not to rely on everything estate agents tell them as their interests lie entirely with that of the vendor. That is why you should find an experienced lawyer with fluency in English, as well as a third party representative to act on your behalf during the search. Our team of international experts regularly help people with every aspect of their overseas property purchases across Europe and also parts of the US. You might also want to consider hiring a UK legal adviser for a second opinion and also to ensure that you have covered off all possibilities. Finally and most importantly, it is absolutely vital to make sure you do not sign any documents or legal paperwork that you do not understand. It is all too tempting during the final stages to rush through the paperwork to try and save time but you will definitely come to regret it if you do.

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5. Look for low maintenance

By virtue of the fact that this is not going to be your full time residence, you will probably not have as much time to maintain it. Therefore it is probably best to avoid properties that will require a lot of up keep. Extensive lawns, thatched roofs, outbuildings, shrubs and plants are all high maintenance features that are likely to depreciate and negatively impact on the overall value of the property over time. For this reason, new build properties can often be a good choice, especially if you are considering renting them out as they are less likely to have things go wrong with them such as leaks, damp or cracks in the walls.


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