What to consider in a holiday home
IF buying a second home is on the cards this year, national agents Strutt & Parker suggest following some simple rules to make purchasing a perfect holiday dwelling more lucrative.
Whether it's a beach hut to while away the summer days or a plush country pad to rent out as an extra income, the financial benefits of investing in a holiday home are becoming more and more popular, they say.
Hannah Edge from Strutt & Parker's Exeter office said: "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."
Hannah's advice comes amid a strong demand for holiday homes to let in the UK, particularly in popular towns, coastal shores and attractive, quintessentially English villages for which Devon is renown.
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"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," added Hannah.
She advises those looking for a second home to use at weekends and for holidays, it should be accessible from your main residence: "Anything over a three-hour drive will make travelling a chore rather than a pleasure."
The idea is to relax so somewhere near a local inn or pub which serves good food is ideal: "Checking local restaurants and amenities before you buy will help you decide if the area is to your liking," says Hannah.
"A garden is very handy to sit out in and relax or for children to play in, but ensure it is easy to maintain. 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," she added. Edge 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, also don't forget to inform your insurers that it is primarily used as a second home."