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A home from home: tips for buying a second home

With increasingly busy lifestyles that seem to be continuously switched on and tuned in, escapism is about more than walking through your front door at the end of a long day. More and more property owners are investing in second homes as both extra nest eggs and alternative residences where they can relax and separate themselves from everyday life, whether that's in an old fisherman's cottage by the sea, or a quiet country house. Here are our five essential tips for buying a second home:

A home from home: tips for buying a second home

1. Assess the rental potential

One of the major benefits of owning a second home lies in its rental potential. Not only does this keep it occupied for most of the year, but it will provide you with a considerable supplementary income. Good rental properties are well-situated in or near tourism spots that will interest and engage your visiting audience, rather than simply suiting your own wants and needs. The house itself also needs to be as low-maintenance as possible so that you can leave it for periods at a time without needing to continuously return for updates and repairs.

2. Scope the local development

Second homes can be as much an investment as a source of pleasure for their owners. Rental income obviously plays a large part in this, but a substantial financial return could also come from rising local property values. Therefore, one of the smartest tips for buying a second home is to carefully scope out and asses current or future developments in the area to see where a price spike may occur. This equally applies to tourism infrastructure: the more that people are drawn to this locale, the higher demand for accommodation will drive up your home valuation.

3. Measure short term vs long term

Our needs change over time, which means your future requirements need to be taken into account now before you buy a second home. For example, a small apartment may be fine for a couple, but will you need some extra bedrooms in a few years when you start a family? Judge the likely period of ownership, and purchase accordingly.

4. Consider how often you'll be there

The type of second home you buy should depend on how you use it. It's not uncommon to visit just a couple of times per year. If this is the case for you, it's a good idea to buy a quaint low-maintenance property that you can arrange for a local agency to manage in your absence.

5. Understand the local holiday season

If you're looking to escape to your second house for months at a time, one of the most important tips for buying a second home is to understand the local holiday season. Certain towns that rely on tourism close down out of season, limiting your choice of shops, bars and restaurants. Some people enjoy the peace and quiet, but others are left wishing they'd found somewhere a little more evergreen.

With offices in more than 30 countries worldwide, Engel & Völkers has an in-depth local knowledge of all corners of the globe. This kind of understanding can prove invaluable to those needing a few tips for buying a second home. Visit the Engel & Völkers property search page to browse properties in your favourite holiday spots.

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