Buying a second home for the holiday season? Follow these simple rules

If you are thinking of treating yourself to a second home this Christmas, national agents Strutt & Parker recommend you follow some simple rules to ensure you find the perfect holiday dwelling.

The financial benefits of investing in this specialist sector are increasing as people realise the long term rewards that are possible. There is currently a strong demand for holiday homes to let in the UK, particularly in popular towns, coastal shores and attractive, quintessentially English villages. It needs to be a place that pulls in the tourists throughout the year, not just over the Christmas period or in summer months, and can provide good amenities and activities.

If you are buying a second home you want to use at weekends and for holidays it should be accessible from your main residence. Anything over a 3-hour drive will make travelling a chore rather than a pleasure.

Robin Thomas from Strutt & Parker's Exeter office advises: "As you won't be living there permanently, it is important that you buy somewhere that is either in good order or that you can put in good order fairly easily. The idea of a second home is to enjoy it and that it does not become a burden to you, so the less time fixing up a garden or carrying out general maintenance work the better."

When visiting a holiday home, you probably won't want to spend all the time in the kitchen preparing meals. The idea is to relax so you will want to be somewhere near a local inn or pub that serves good food; checking local restaurants and amenities before you buy will help you decide if the area is to your liking.

"A garden is very handy to sit out in and relax or for children to play in, but ensure it is easy to maintain" adds Thomas. "Don't have extensive areas of lawn to mow or flower beds that need weeding and watering. Good ground cover and plenty of colourful shrubs with some decking, terracing and trees will probably fit the bill."

People use second homes for an array of different reasons so it is important to establish why you want to purchase it. If you have a particular interest in walking you may wish to buy a property with a good network of local footpaths or easy access to a national park or a coastline. For those who enjoy shopping and eating out, easy access to a good town or city such as Exeter would be essential.

Thomas concludes: "Security can also be an issue for holiday homes, so make sure that the property can be well secured as there will be long periods when it is unoccupied. Ask a neighbour to keep a key so they can check the house, which will help give you piece of mind and don't forget to inform your insurers that it is primarily used as a second home".

19 December 2012

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