4 things to consider before buying a holiday home


With summer on the horizon, you may be dreaming of a few lazy days at the beach or escaping to a country cottage. Perhaps you're considering buying your own piece of paradise.

Buying a holiday home is not too different from buying a family residence or investment property. Location, price and the property itself are important, but there are extra details to consider when you're on the hunt for a weekender.

1. Location

Proximity to schools and employment hubs may not be essential for your regional retreat, but you'll probably want access to some amenities. A petrol station or local shop where you can pick up the basics would be useful. Is it really absolute seclusion you crave, or would you rather have cafés and restaurants nearby?

If you plan to retire to the property in the future, consider distances to hospitals, shops and a local community.

Consider how easy it is to get to the area you've selected. You'll want to be close to highways and maybe airports – but not too close. Much more than two hours' travel from home might make you think twice about that weekend getaway.

2. Features

When looking for a full-time home, you should decide on features such as how many bedrooms you need and how big you want the kitchen and living areas to be. Do the same for your holiday home.

Also, ask yourself how important it is to have views. Do you mind being close to the neighbours? How much land can you manage? Consider maintenance requirements: you want to relax at your weekender, not spend time making repairs.

Remember you won't be around all the time, so think about security. Check whether the property could be at risk of fires or floods, and what you could do to protect it.

As with any housing purchase, make sure you budget for all the costs. These may include a deposit, stamp duty, mortgage insurance and solicitors' fees.

3. Costs

As with any housing purchase, make sure you budget for all the costs. These may include a deposit, stamp duty, mortgage insurance and solicitors' fees.

Get inspection reports, ideally by people who are experts in the local area. Regional properties may face different issues from those you're used to in the city. Noxious weeds, for example, are unlikely to concern you if you live in central Melbourne or Sydney, but they can be a major problem in the country.

Factor in furnishing costs. Some holiday homes are sold with furniture and appliances. If not, you'll have to find money to fit out your retreat. And don't forget transport costs to get there.

4. Tax and investment

A holiday home is not your primary residence, so you may be subject to capital gains tax when you sell. You may also have to pay land tax.

If you plan to rent out your weekender when you're not using it, you'll have to pay tax on any income earned, although you may be able to claim deductions for expenses. You should always seek professional advice on financial and tax-related matters.

Remember, when you're considering buying your own slice of heaven, it's the little details that will make all the difference to your weekend getaway.


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