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  • Property-a-holics

    Invest at home or abroad?

    I’ve been weighing up whether to invest my hard earned savings of 56k into property in England or whether to buy a holiday home bolt hole abroad somewhere.

    I’m feeling kind of scared off by the amount of hoops I’ll have to jump through here in England and there seems to be so much doom and gloom around buy to let.

    Thoughts appreciated as I’m truly torn!
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    I’ve got some experience of buying/selling property in Spain and from my experience if you think there are hoops to jump through here there are more abroad !

    Just one example is when I sold a house in Spain for a loss I still had to pay capital gains tax ( and yes you have read that correctly ! ) The system is you pay it then provide evidence after the sale to the tax authorities and claim it back . It took 3 years and numerous calls to get it back and I had to keep a Spanish Bank account open just for this purpose .

    The excuses were unbelievable and included ‘we don’t have a Government ‘ ( when post election coalition talks dragged on for 9 months) to ‘we are shutting for the summer holiday and we will be back in September’ ( this was early July ! ) .

    Stick to the UK .
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    Stick to the UK and what you know . There is a real mental burden to owning a holiday bolt hole abroad .

    You cannot relax fully when you are staying in it as you are still partially in investment / ownership mode  and cant help worrying about maintenance and does the exterior need a lick of paint . Or the tap doesn't run freely and the carpet is a bit frayed  and that annoys you and plays on your mind whilst you are just trying to chill and recharge your batteries etc etc. 

    Your mind should at this holiday time be in super relaxed mode and someone else should be worrying about fixing routine stuff . I took this decision about 15 years ago when I was thinking like you are now . I instead bought a boring dull ugly ex LA flat in a downbeat estate 5 mins from me . I wouldn`t holiday there in a million years but I call it my holiday flat . It cash flows about 5K a year and I can have a couple of lovely 2 week holidays for that in Spain if I wish without any cares in the world

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    Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com


    Thanks guys, I see the logic there Jonathan. Best way forward is better the devil you know then I guess. I’ll press on and invest in my chosen area in England then as at least I’m going into it with my eyes wide open to all the legislation etc.
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    Stick to the UK and what you know - no question!

    Buying overseas is at far, far greater risk and you won't use your bolthole as much as you think!

    With sites like Secret Escapes you can have a long weekend away in a 4 star luxury marina yacht hotel in Gibraltar for £250.00 per person these days, so you can holiday somewhere different every trip if you like, without the commitment of owning somewhere in a foreign place that you might not fully understand and where you capital might be at high risk.

    Invest in the UK and use that money to fund your weekends away. Smile

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    I've had a place in Spain, and friends have places across Europe, and we always feel we should spend as much time there as possible because we 'own' them, even when we really want to go elsewhere. The stress is high! Therefore, Vanessa's comment is perfect!

    Invest in the UK. Investigate whether it would be best for your personal situation if you set up a Ltd Co. Try to avoid leasehold at all costs! Take a look at an auction... older properties may not look sexy, but they will probably still be standing in 15 years time!

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    Thanks for commenting Lou.  What I find interesting on these TV shows is how people talk about friends and family coming to visit them and using their property.

    We have never had a single member of our family take up an offer to stay in our holiday lets free of charge, and they are in the UK!.  It all sounds lovely, but I fear the reality is somewhat different when life gets in the way ....

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    A friend bought and later sold a property in Italy. The red tape made a UK transaction look like a walk in the park and the fees were horrendous. Never again for them.
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    We have a house in Europe, and while we spend all of August there, as Jonathan said, there is always something to do. Last year we had to replace the roof, this year we have to fix the patio. 

    It would be cheaper and more relaxing to just rent a house for a month.
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    If buying in the U.K. consider travelling time to get there, up to about 90 minutes and you will see use at weekends.

    The longer the travelling time the longer you will want to be able to stay to justify the travel time and therefore probably less frequent visits.
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    I agree with Essex.  Ideally, an hour, but any more than 90 minutes and you will find excuses not to go as the drive time will put you off.

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