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2nd homes. Pros and cons

(30 Posts)
PollyPerky Mon 17-Apr-17 11:07:14

Anyone have a holiday home ? UK only. National Parks areas or thereabouts.

Wondering on the pros and cons.

Would be bought outright and only 'loaned' to friends and family for a nominal rent now and then.

I am thinking about:
council tax (may rise according to change of governments)
insurance (not occupied full time)
re-selling (some properties are very slow to shift)

Did you get tired of going to the same place?
How far is a sensible driving distance? (We could easily fund properties 4 hrs away, less choice within a 2-3 hour drive.)

Are they more hassle than they are worth?
We'd be semi retired so could use it for more than just weekends.

PigletJohn Mon 17-Apr-17 12:26:38

you only really live in one home.

You will end up not fancying all the effort of packing, driving for hours, arriving and unpacking, then a day or two later doing it all again.

You will end up with two lawnmowers, two dishwashers, two microwaves, two pairs of wellingtons, two pruning shears, two bottles of sunscreen...

You will have twice as much cleaning to do.

It's possible, if you are a couple, that you will spend ever-diminishing amounts of time in the same house together, until one or more of you decides to make a clean break.

Allthebestnamesareused Mon 17-Apr-17 12:34:55

It sounds all very well but my friend ends up spending all her holidays cleaning or fixing the place they are holidaying in - including burst tank one winter!

PollyPerky Mon 17-Apr-17 12:40:44

Anyone actually own a 2nd home who can comment honestly?

Obviously it would be as low maintenance as possible- no large garden and no lawn!

Would not be using for short 2 day stays.

I am more concerned about the financial implications rather than the 'packing up and driving' - because it would be a 2nd home and the only things to take would be personal clothes.

Bluntness100 Mon 17-Apr-17 12:53:52

We rented a house for six months in the summer once due to a house move, and the home next door was the holiday home for a family who lived in central London. They used to spend every weekend there with their kids.i think it depends if you will genuinely use it or not.

They did and it was just like their home, they did laundry and hung it out, shopped, did the garden, just normal family at home stuff. During school holidays etc they were there longer. Just usually during the week they lived in central London.

It was a beautiful house and they were incredibly wealthy, he was very successful and well known (we were a bit "ooh" when we realised) , but they just liked to escape london, be normal and see their (young) kids playing outside in their garden etc. It was basically the rural country cottage idyll and probably about a 90 min commute for them.

So if you think you will use it often enough, buy it.

caroldecker Mon 17-Apr-17 13:04:23

Think of cost of ownership per year (including getting a 5% return on the money you spend on the house) divided by the number of weeks you will use it. Compare to cost of renting per week. Does it make financial sense?

PollyPerky Mon 17-Apr-17 13:13:32

There is something very different about owning your own home though compared to renting a holiday home. You know what to expect and no nasty surprises.
I'm wondering if people eventually became jaded with the area, found locals unwelcoming to 2nd home owners, if they felt part of the community in any way, or outsiders...that kind of thing.

We've holidayed in a couple of national parks for over 30 years. It's always been a dream to have a home in one of them. But can't quite decide if it would be more hassle than it's worth- not so much the everyday stuff like cleaning( won't get that dirty when no one is there!) but long term maintenance, possible hike in council taxes for 2nd home owners, etc. Realistically, due to our age, we are unlikely to get more than 10-15 years' use from now, after which it would be sold or passed to the children as part of their inheritance.

homebythesea Mon 17-Apr-17 13:19:50

Just about to put our second home on the market.

You will not go there as often as you think you will. Weekends will be taken up with kids activities and your own social life. Leaving school holidays, and your children will increasingly whine that they never see their "home" friends. You will quickly exhaust all activities and attractions in the area. You will end each stay with a mammoth cleaning and laundry session so it is nice for when you next get there, only to go home and do the same again for your main home.

All the while you will be paying for Council tax, phone and broadband, utilities, Sky TV, gardener, window cleaner, repairs, insurance etc.

I think it's a great idea for when you have babies who don't care where they are, or when your children have left home. But for all the in between years it's a bit of a pain tbh. Financially it's been a good investment for us (although the increase in capital value will of course be subject to Capital Gains Tax)

user1491148352 Mon 17-Apr-17 13:21:32

For it to work you need a trustworthy local cleaner/gardener/ handyperson - and the money to pay them to maintain the property in your absence and to clean before and after your visits.
You also need the time to enjoy the second property - so if you are going Friday to Sunday pm ideally not more than two hours from your man home.
If you have DC (or DGC) remember that they will want to spend time with friends/play football/ballet etc at weekends and may not wish to go with you unless they have similar offers around the holiday home.
Ideally you want a spare room and spare bathroom so you can invite friends/relatives.

FinallyHere Mon 17-Apr-17 13:24:25

Close friends have successfully done this, in the run up to retirement. They knew the area reasonably well, but wanted to 'live' there before buying their forever house. They learned a lot about the area and ended up buying relatively further away. They said it was a useful help to choosing their forever home.

Not sure that helps...

SuperDiaperBaby Mon 17-Apr-17 13:35:13

We do. Live in London and own a similar size house about hour and half away for weekends. Bought specifically to be close to a family activity.

Cost of Council Tax at the moment not a huge issue for us.
Insurance, aside from the expense, there are limited options as it is a second home and quite a few restrictions are imposed by insurers about alarms and electrical checks. In particular if you intend to rent the house out, even to friends, you need to be very careful you have the correct insurance as you may be required to insure it as a business whatever rent you charge.
Do consider maintenance - we bought our house as it was an attractive period property. It does need a certain amount of time spent just keeping it all ticking over even without gardening etc. If you are semi retired and quite like that part of home ownership it may be less of a bind but for us it is a nuisance.
In addition you need to be there for annual boiler checks etc and then for repair men when there is a problem. Not always possible to tie those in with planned trips.

My experience with friends and family is that it is a minefield. If you charge even a nominal amount it is stressful when something goes wrong and you are miles away. If you charge nothing you have to accept that mistakes happen and everyone treats a house differently. A good washing machine and tumble drier are essential or you need to own a lot of sheets and towels.

I am not mad keen on arriving to a house that has been empty for a while. Ours is well furnished with everything duplicated but still takes time to 'set it up' and have been known to arrive to a dead mouse. If you are in an area where you can have shopping delivered it is a huge boon to arrange delivery timed shortly after arrival. When we leave it takes time to make sure we leave it ready to arrive back to. I am fanatical about not wasting food and transport half pints of milk and a couple of tomatoes back and forth.

We are selling shortly as we are ending our participation in the rural activity. Selling in a rural area is not like selling in a fast moving area and the cost of keeping 2 homes makes no financial sense. But if you are hoping to spend time in both areas and become part of both communities maybe it is an attractive prospect for you. If you are just hoping to spend some time in the countryside relaxing I would look at alternatives.

bear28 Mon 17-Apr-17 13:36:19

we just bought our second home that we are moving too. At first we were undecided if we were going to keep the other home. As soon as we bought the home we received a second house tax I think its 3% of the sale of the house but for us it was £8,000 which must be paid upfront. If your initial house sells within 18 months you get that money back so if you are looking to use a second home as a holiday home you wouldn't get that money back. Something worth looking into. Also, we are in scotland so I'm not sure if its the same elsewhere.

SuperDiaperBaby Mon 17-Apr-17 13:45:23

For us we have never felt unwelcome or grown jaded of the area - just of the second home ownership. It is the everyday stuff that is the nuisance - houses need to be used for everything to keep working well and to be aired to stay welcoming. Not sure that arriving to no heating or hot water is any more pleasant just because I own the house - just means I have to sort the problem rather than ringing the agent! A house that you own for 10/15 years will need work.

PollyPerky Mon 17-Apr-17 13:46:00

Thanks for the comments.

Home in my previous posts I said we were nearing retirement. Our children are grown up. That's why I said, being practical, I doubt we'd drive long distances beyond our late 70s, so the use for us would be short-ish term. It's been a pipe dream for many years but now we have the finances to do it I wonder if we've left it too late.

JT05 Mon 17-Apr-17 13:50:30

I have one 4.50 hours drive away, but less traffic the nearer you get. We bought it with a view to retiring there. Circumstances have changed slightly, so we downsized our main house and kept the larger second home.
The second home is near the coast and a national park, it is large enough for our DSs and their families to be there at the same time. We only have family and friends use it, no paying guests.

The Council tax is the same as other houses in that band, the insurance requires an overnight stay every couple of months. We don't leave any computers, or valuables there. When it was refurbished we put in as many failsafes as we could, such as frost stat central heating, super insulation, particularly on all water pipes.

It's a personal thing, but we think it is really worth having.

oldestmumaintheworld Mon 17-Apr-17 14:00:17

I thought long and hard about buying a second home in the area I used to live in and loved. (moved three hours away for work). But didn't and now rent instead. It's much cheaper, doesn't tie up all my capital, I don't have the maintenance issues and it came beautifully furnished. I visit once every three/four weeks and my family and friends use it in between (for free). It's great. I would recommend this approach rather than the expense of buying.

Doesn't have a garden just a large terrace with garden furniture. So no maintenance. Its also very nearer the beach which is what I wanted. I get groceries delivered and keep basic supplies there.

PollyPerky Mon 17-Apr-17 14:08:40

Interesting perspectives JTO and Oldest.

Yes, downsizing current home and buying larger 2nd home (which would become 1st home) is another option.

Oldest so you rent...long term? being nosy what sort of cost? I'm imagining around £7K a year perhaps? It's an interesting idea but how do you feel about spending all the capital and getting no return on it? Do you have some sort of guarantee that the owner will not sell up for as long as you want it?

Shootsandleaves Mon 17-Apr-17 14:11:16

We have a second home and it really does work for us. It is very much a second home in that, though near the coast etc we have no interest in letting. We share our time such that we have as it were urban and rural experiences. You do need to factor in the additional costs and inconveniences. I think driving distance is a big factor to consider as are maintenance costs and at some point the balance tips and you need to think which might be the main home. Would either work or only one?
Our relationship hasn't suffered as suggested might be a factor nor have family relationships!
So far, our position has very much enhanced our lives . We do appreciate how fortunate we are to be able to live like this.

Our way of living works for us, possibly because we accept the difficulties which realistically you will have with two viable homes. But it has enhanced our life and yes, we do realise how fortunate we are to have this lifestyle.

homebythesea Mon 17-Apr-17 14:53:57

We thought about keeping the house for our "near retirement" phase (realistically 8-10 years away). But why would we want to sorbs periods of time in a place where we know nobody away from our friends and interests where we live? It was thus realisation that has prompted us to pull the plug. If we want to go away there, or anyplace else, we will book a hotel. It will end up cheaper. We are going to use the proceeds of sale to buy an income generating buy to let

Temporaryanonymity Mon 17-Apr-17 15:03:24

Not quite the same scale but I live in a seaside city. Most people I know have bought or rent a static caravan further west. They have got more and more luxurious over the years; I have stayed in lots of them!

It isn't for everyone and doesn't make any financial sense, but it is a very low cost way to keep a second home.

RebelandaStunner Mon 17-Apr-17 16:02:05

We use ours a lot because it's only just over an hour away. We still rent ours out as we aren't retired yet so don't pay council tax. We've not been bored ever as there is loads to do in the area and we came here often before we bought. We only let to family and one close friend. Others became a pain- moaning about silly little things.
We never want to sell as it's part of our retirement plan and use a specialist insurance which is reasonable.

RebelandaStunner Mon 17-Apr-17 16:05:29

Plus ours just has a patio so not much gardening​ required.

OnePlanOnHouzz Mon 17-Apr-17 16:23:03

I'm lucky enough to have been a position where we had more than one home - but need to either fly north to one or south to other - insurance requiring alarms can be a PITA as alarms can go off for no real reason ! So having a keyholder nearby can be useful - ideal if that key holder can do odd jobs too and brilliant if they accept a food delivery for you before you get there too !
If you can get things like this sorted then deffo recommend it !
Especially if you are semi retired and can spend more quality time together this way !
Enjoy !!

DancingLedge Mon 17-Apr-17 16:29:29

Trying to be gentle, but honestly, in this second home owners area, many locals will not feel welcoming to you.
Those who long to stay in the rural area they grew up in are not overly happy about your investment opportunity.

JT05 Mon 17-Apr-17 18:06:58

We are on the edge of a small town, we always shop locally when we get there, thus helping to keep the local economy alive. We eat in local restaurants, all the year round so supporting non seasonal economy.
We've never experienced any local aminosity, but have made a conscious decision to join in local activities.

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