Property Finders Advice: buying a second home

We are regularly asked a variety of questions on the subject of buying a second home.

Below, we’d like to share our answers to some of the key questions, as well as highlighting a few issues you should be aware of.

Different objectives of second home ownership

People purchase a second property for many different reasons.  They might include:

  • a holiday home used exclusively for your own purposes and recreation (and that of family/friends);
  • property similar to the above but one which you also plan to let out when you are not using it – the intention being to obtain income;
  • you would like to have a “pied à terre” in a big city which you use as a base for your normal working week before retreating to the tranquillity of your main residence at weekends;
  • perhaps you are purchasing a property exclusively for buy-to-let purposes and are becoming a landlord in the process;
  • as a separate and secure dwelling place for elderly relatives or for a child going off to University; etc.

All of these objectives require a certain type of consideration as part of property finding.  At Garrington we can assist you in identifying suitable properties for all the above conditions.

Mortgages

If you are planning to purchase an additional property using a mortgage you will need to be clear with your intentions for the property’s use.

There is a fundamental link between the purposes you are planning to use a property for and the type of mortgage you might require.

Employing the services of a good financial adviser is wise to ensure you have the best possible set up for your situation.

Insurance

It is also important to remember when taking out property cover, to make it very clear to the insurance provider if the circumstances relate to a buy-to-let property or one that is standing unoccupied for significant periods of time due to you using it only as an occasional holiday home.

Your insurance cover might be at risk in situations where you have failed to accurately declare its occupancy status as being let or “regularly unoccupied”. That might result in a claim being rejected.

Searching for a second property

Looking for any type of property can consume significant amounts of your time – if you allow it to.

Of course, as property finders, we can help you to avoid that.

There are some other general pieces of advice we would offer if you are at the earlier stages in terms of thinking about a second home:

  • consider your general target areas first and specific property issues second;
  • research (or ask us to research on your behalf) the area thoroughly in terms of its amenities, investment prospects, transport links and so on. As part of that, we will highlight to you any issues, such as if the local authorities have restrictions (or punitive measures) in place governing second holiday home ownership;
  • incline towards areas that are sensibly commutable to your normal primary place of residence and your workplace, if appropriate. That will enable you to take full advantage of long weekends, without finding that you are spending many hours on a motorway getting to and from your second home;
  • if you are looking for a buy-to-let property, be sure you understand the full implications, both legal and taxation-related that are associated with being a landlord today;
  • again in the context of buy-to-let, take our advice or do your research thoroughly about rental income projections in the area concerned. Some very attractive properties in beautiful areas might make ideal second homes but that might not necessarily mean they would also provide guaranteed high occupancy and associated income stream over longer periods;
  • do ensure that your overall budget position is clear and remember to take into account things such as stamp duty and the 3% surcharge on additional properties;
  • if your second home is likely to stand unoccupied for extended periods when you are not there, consider budgeting for a regular house inspection and management service. Not only would this provide you with peace of mind and keep the property clean and well maintained, it might also be a condition of your unoccupied property insurance.

Looking for a second home?

Whatever the type of second home you are looking for and whatever the objectives you have in purchasing it, we are standing by ready to help.

With our expert property finders advice and some advance preparation, finding the second property of your dreams is achievable and without necessarily consuming vast amounts of your time in searches and viewings etc.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

Further reading: What to look for in a second home

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Property finders: Our view on the property market

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