Home Property EscapeOverseas Property Holiday homes: How to get your first home away from home

Holiday homes: How to get your first home away from home

by John Saunders
5th Oct 22 12:33 pm

As the days get shorter and a chill creeps into the British air, you might realise that you’re not quite ready to say goodbye to summer. But what if you could get your fix of the sunshine any time of year you like?

If you have the drive, resources and all-important wanderlust, you could buy your first holiday home out of the country and make that dream a reality. Whether it’s a sunny villa on the Costa del Sol, a glamorous Dubai penthouse or a Greek island getaway, buying up abroad could be just what you need to escape bleak British winters.

However, making an overseas purchase can be a daunting process. Luckily for you, we’ve put together this handy guide to help you commit — all that we ask for in return is a complementary 10-night stay at your future slice of paradise. If that sounds like a fair deal, then let’s jump right in: this is how to secure your first home away from home.

Choose your ideal location

We’ve all had a holiday so successful that it finished with a cab ride back to the airport browsing the local Rightmove listings. But beyond a good getaway spot, the first thing you should look for in a potential holiday home destination is its permanent liveability. Consider this: is it somewhere you could spend your time without the luxury hotel amenities or shuttle services around to surrounding resorts? If you’re unsure, your search might not be over.

If you plan on enjoying longer stays, consider factors such as transport links, shops, leisure facilities and the overall quality of life prior to booking any viewings. Make sure you get to know the area well — don’t be fooled by cheap property prices in tourist regions known for high crime rates, political instability or natural disasters. Your wisest choice is to invest in those that are safe and in demand, so hold the potential for high rental yield when you aren’t around — and this early research should inform which areas you’ll use as the parameters in your property hunt.

Consider your budget

You’ll want to make sure that wherever you set up base is the ideal destination for your budget, or you could run into problems down the line. Determining how much cash you have to put down for the deposit is just the tip of the iceberg: make sure to factor in the costs of solicitors, taxes and foreign currency exchange, as well as how you’ll pay your mortgages both at your end destination and back at home, if applicable. Not to mention, once you’ve calculated the costs, you should set aside some money so you can afford to make frequent excursions to your new home.

Notably, mortgage rules and norms will vary depending on where in the world you plan to buy. Research the different deposit expectations and mortgage interest rates in shortlisted destinations, and keep in mind that most UK banks and building societies won’t lend towards foreign property purchases — so you’ll need to enquire in your host country.

Check legal restrictions

Just to complicate things, different countries apply varying rights and laws to travellers from around the world, as witnessed in the EU following recent revisions for British passport holders. For countries such as Spain and France in the Schengen area, there are restrictions on the amount of time that can be spent in-state on a standard tourist visa, typically allowing for up to 90-days of stay within any 180-day period. But if you pursue residency in your destination country, there will be different rules — and in some nations, purchasing property alone is sufficient in order to apply for citizenship.

As a result, we recommend using a trusted agent to assist in your purchase and in avoiding legal difficulties. This way, you can ensure that you hold the appropriate funds and documentation, getting the help you need with responsibilities like reporting tax, capital gains, and conducting investigations on the property. Ideally, your representation should be accredited, reputable among international buyers, and English-speaking — communication errors can be costly when dealing with large sums of money.

Prepare for off-season

Outside of the summer months, many holiday homes sit empty and unloved. If you intend to let out your property when you aren’t there, you’ll need to be able to cover its costs during off-season, when mortgage payments, maintenance fees and unexpected fees may crop up. While letting your home for short-term rental can be a lucrative source of passive income, it’s challenging to manage your calendar effectively and ensure occupancy during the less popular times of year.

For this reason, homeowners in the most profitable rental destinations often choose to employ property management companies to market and co-ordinate tenant stays, such as agencies like Frank Porter in Dubai and Empty Spaces in the US. This can be an especially useful tool if you don’t know anybody well enough yet in your host country, providing you with staff to maintain your property in your absence and ensure that your home is kept clean, safe, and smoothly running. Local supervision is essential when letting property across borders — there’s only so much that a key lockbox can do to look after your home.

If you do it right, a holiday home can be just the escape you need from the slog of daily life, and a worthy property investment too. Plan well and follow these tips to reap the benefits. Bon voyage!

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