Whether you opt for a country cottage, a ski chalet or a villa on a sunlit shore, having a second home guarantees peaceful, relaxing holidays abroad. If you find yourself returning to a beloved location time and time again, investing in local property can be both an intelligent business decision and a way to get even more out of your downtime. Choosing a home in a destination with which you're already familiar will be an advantage, but it's important to ask yourself the following questions before committing to a purchase.
It is easy to reach?
Think about how often you want to use the property and how far it is from your first home. If you need to drive to the airport, fly for three hours and then drive for another hour or more, long weekends away won't be feasible. However, if you plan to spend a few months of every year at your second home, the same journey at the beginning and end of a season will be workable. Take proximity to airports, main roads and train stations into account, particularly if you're planning to rent out the property.
What are the rental opportunities?
Investigate what the local laws are regarding short-term property rental. Most countries will require you to register as self-employed and declare earnings on your tax return. Next, look into the average weekly price of similar holiday lets in the area, to get a sense of your earning potential. It's also worth thinking about the type of visitor the area typically attracts and whether the property would suit them. For example, young families will require childproofed rooms with cots and high-chairs, whereas older couples will likely be happier with cosier accommodation.
What amenities are nearby?
Great schools and super-fast broadband connections are less important when choosing a holiday home, but leisure-based amenities gain significance. Journeying to a remote area sounds romantic, but spending hours in a car to reach local attractions can take some of the joy out of a vacation. Ensure that there are restaurants and convenience stores within walking distance. Golf courses, beaches, ski resorts or hiking trails within the surrounding area will all widen the home's appeal.
What will the running costs be?
You may not be in the property year-round, but you will still need to pay for gas, electricity, water and taxes. If you decide to rent the property out, you'll need to think about agency fees, while security costs should be factored in for homes that will often be left empty. It's important to take all the costs of care and maintenance into consideration so that you have a clear picture of the associated expenses before investing your time and money. It's worth doing some research into phone tariffs, so you can spend as long as you need on the phone to your local representatives and staff without incurring high charges.
Throughout your search, you'll need the partnership and guidance of an expert local real estate agency. With an extensive portfolio of high-end properties located in 39 countries over six continents, Engel & Völkers are ideally placed to assist with every step of the sale, from targeting the most desirable neighbourhoods in your chosen region to negotiating the right deal for you.