18 July 2016

Buying a UK holiday home – some things to think about

Earlier this year, St Ives Council held a referendum to ban part–time residents from buying new–build homes in the popular Cornish holiday retreat. The result was overwhelming – over 80% of voters wanted new properties to be reserved for people who live in the town all year–round.

If other towns and villages follow St Ives’ example, buying a holiday home in the nation’s top summer spots could become more difficult in the future. But if you’re thinking about opting for a part–time property, it’s worth weighing up the decision carefully. Here are some of the considerations…

How often will you visit?

Having a bolt–hole in an idyllic location can be a great asset – you can head to your weekend retreat on a whim and spend summers by the sea or in the countryside. But think carefully about how it will fit into your lifestyle.

If you have a demanding job, a young family or a lot of commitments, you may not have as much time as you’d like to visit your holiday home. Think about how often you’ll realistically be able to go, and whether you’ll get enough value out of it to justify the purchase price and ongoing costs.

It’s also worth considering how it will fit into your lifestyle during the winter months – will a weekend at the beach still appeal in December? Ideally, your holiday home should be somewhere you’ll get pleasure from visiting all year round.

Second home or holiday let?

Think about whether you’ll keep the property just for your own use, or if you’ll let it out to guests. If it’s going to be a second home, it’ll be unoccupied for long periods of time, which means you need to think about security and upkeep carefully.

An older property especially will need regular maintenance, and you’ll need to be able to keep an eye on it easily. Knowing your neighbours and making sure they’ve got your contact details could help set your mind at rest, especially if the property’s far away from your main home.

What kind of mortgage do you need?

Contact your lender to find out what you can borrow, and whether there are any restrictions on buying a property to use for holiday lettings. Some lenders will allow properties to be let out on a short–term basis, but there may be extra charges to pay.

What will it cost to run the property?

As with any property, there will be ongoing costs to think about, including council tax, insurance, utilities and upkeep costs. Some of these depend on how often you use the property, but others will need to be paid year–round even if you don’t visit at all.

To get a clearer picture of the costs, you could create a budget that estimates the monthly costs of running your holiday home. Our budget calculator might be helpful.

What are the other options?

If you know you want to invest in your travel and leisure plans but you’re still weighing up the idea of buying a holiday home, think about the alternatives too. Could you use the money to pay for a series of traditional holidays, whether in the UK or elsewhere? Another option might be a mobile home or caravan, which is likely to be cheaper and can be moved between locations at different times of the year.

If you’re thinking of investing in a holiday home, take a look at our range of mortgages or have a chat with one of our advisers. We can lend on holiday homes, as long as they’re not rented out for more than 18 weeks a year.

All mortgages are subject to underwriting and criteria. Minimum age 18.


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