Holiday homes - are they worth it?
There is something innately heart-warming about the idea of a holiday home that makes many of us wish for the opportunity to own one.
The desire can be linked to certain locations where we spent time in our formative years, or perhaps a favourite spot we discover during our travels.
Wherever the drive comes from, the attraction can be both romantic and sentimental. And when strong feelings and real estate combine, it's important to take a step back and ensure we make decisions that are based on emotion but justified with logic.
In this article, we'll run through the key points to consider whether you are thinking of buying that dream holiday home, or you already own one and are trying to decide whether to keep it.
Most properties are a smart investment (long term).
When it comes to owning real estate, it's hard to go too far wrong as long as you plan to own the property for a decent period of time. That way, you allow time to ride out any bumps in the market and drastically increase the likelihood that your asset appreciates over time.
But it's not about the money...
I know what you're thinking, buying a holiday home isn't about making money. But if you are going to buy one, you might as well make sure it's a decent investment. You don't want to buy a property that ends up being a burden on future generations.
Where else could you go?
Holiday homes are inherently a trade-off. You are choosing reliable access to accommodation in one fixed location, over a wide range of potential holiday destinations.
Once you own a holiday home you feel compelled to use it. And unless you are already retired, you only have so much time off each year. If most of that time is spent at your holiday home, you are forgoing all the other experiences you could have if you were free to travel anywhere you desired.
So before you take action on the holiday home dream, it's important to speak to everyone involved to find common ground around what you all want for your leisure time moving forward. Do you want stability and comfort? Or variance, adventure and possibility? New places with different cafes, bike trails, beaches and weather.
Do the math.
Tally up the annual costs of owning your potential holiday home. You'll have mortgage interest, maintenance, insurance, local rates, utilities, renovations and travel costs. Now consider - if you set aside this amount of money for holidays each year, what sort of adventures could you have? Chances are, you could accumulate plenty of positive experiences if you spent anything like what you might spend each year on a holiday home.
But we can't go anywhere right now!
In a global pandemic world, the free-wheeling travel of yesteryear could be a thing of the past. In our current environment, the pull of owning your very own safe haven near the beach (or forest, or whatever you like) is even stronger.
There's also the potential that owning your own holiday home makes it easier to get away, removing hurdles from the process. If you already know where you are going, all you have to do is pack up the car and drive! That might result in more time off and more quality time with loved ones, moving forward.
Are you buying freedom or a burden?
For most families, unless you buy a camping spot in the middle of nowhere, owning a holiday home will end up being a yearly cashflow-negative decision. That means, each year you will have to find the money to pay for it, or risk being forced to sell. And in a down market (if we ever have one again), holiday homes are often the hardest properties to sell.
You might be earning a great income right now. But what events do you see in your future? Is there any chance you will want to take time off to study, have kids, change jobs, or take a mini-retirement?
All real estate purchases reduce our financial freedom in the short term but can increase our freedom in the long term if we make smart choices.
At the end of the day, buying (and owning) a holiday home comes down to how much weight you put on the sentimental attraction of a fixed-holiday base where life-long memories can be made, versus the freedom of keeping your travel (and investment) options open.
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