Holiday Home Lifestyle Decision by:Alan Hawkins
The decision to purchase a holiday home in South Africa for personal enjoyment and investment was covered extensively from a purely investment viewpoint in my last article. If you missed it and would like a copy, please contract firstname.lastname@example.org and request a copy. In this article I will cover a similar decision but will base the content on factors to consider from a lifestyle viewpoint.
As mentioned before, I am often asked by South African holiday home owners and those perhaps seeking to purchase a holiday house or apartment in South Africa, if this is firstly a good investment and secondly if they will be able to at least partially off set the costs by renting this to paying tenants or guests. The answer to this was a resounding yes to the first part of the question and a conservative maybe, to the second part, particularly consideration to the current recession and the purchasing opportunities that abound right now.
Once you have researched and considered all the investment, financial and risk related issues, where and what do you buy and how would you go about it. Starting with my first tip, where do you buy. The first consideration is logistics, if you live in Durban and are looking for a holiday weekend get away in South Africa, the West Coast near Cape Town, perhaps Paternoster, would clearly be a poor decision. If you are fortunate enough to have your permanent home on or near the coast, try and purchase your holiday home within an hour or two's drive for that weekend getaway. In an ideal world, you could knock off work a little early, say at 4 pm and still get there in time to light a fire before dark. This situation is perfect, there is a direct correlation between the amount of time in a year that you enjoy your holiday home and the logistical difficulties, call them hassles, involved in getting you and your family there.
A more difficult scenario is you live inland, perhaps in Gauteng, all distances are difficult, you already have a getaway or perhaps some holiday club points in Dullstroom or a game reserve location nearby and you are looking along the coast. But they're all far, I hear you say. Yes, forget the weekend getaway unless you have the funds to fly back and forth and leave a small car on site. The only reasonably located coastal destination for you is the often crowded Kwazulu-Natal coast, the next step, the Eastern Cape Coast, with most destinations still reachable in a day and then the longer stretch to the Garden Route or Western Cape. You have no choice but to take the logistical punishment if this is what you want.
Moving from location and logistics, remembering that this is still a decision to purchase, do you really want the same place each holiday? Are you intending to retire there one day, is it merely a holiday home to be sold when the kids leave home, why are you buying this, be aware of your personal reasons and this must have an effect on your decision. Buying a lovely cottage in a remote area f the wild coast by example, is not such a good idea if you intend retiring there, miles form medical care and baking your own bread because there's no supermarket. My personal view is, irrespective of where you buy, life's too short to be more than 30 minutes drive from fresh bread, fruit and vegetables. The second tip, consider your long term reasons for the purchase.
Tip number three on your holiday house is rentability, like it or not this is an opportunity for an income stream, if you do not intend doing this, skip this paragraph, if you are, consider the number of beds; bathrooms, access to tourist attractions, comfort and simplicity of furnishings. Ensure your house is fully fitted, not with the utensils and furnishings not good enough for your own home, dump them , why fit this new home, this investment, with content not good enough at home, this makes no sense, your tenants will notice this immediately and not visit again. Use a reputable agent , for obvious reasons we would recommend http://www.staysa.co.za, at the time of writing the only specialised rental organisation specialising in holiday rental and offering a fully managed service along the coast of South Africa. Many home owners are now realising that provided this is well managed, owners have an opportunity to earn an income form an asset when not in use.
Renting your holiday home also makes one feel less guilty when going elsewhere and also frees one to enjoy other holiday destinations in South Africa.
Another tip or suggestion is that, where possible, and provided all other criteria are met, a property that has low maintenance makes sense. Remember you are miles away, consider perhaps a complex of some sort, with a manager, this makes one's life a lot easier. Forget lock up and go, it doesn't really work, a holiday home, particularly along the coast requires maintenance and looking after, having someone appointed, a local handy man or manager is a good idea. Beware however, there is without doubt a tendency to over charge non-resident owners. A definitely different approach by contractors and small businesses in the resort villages along the coast, there is an old adage, if the tide is right, the weather fine, don't phone them, they're fishing. Whilst said in jest, my personal experiences as an owner and managing agent certainly supports this 100%.
Considering the two articles together and provided the content hasn't put you off this great opportunity. Don't hold back, go and find the home that meets your needs and buy it now. My personal favourite destinations right now are Port Alfred and it's close neighbour, KLeinmonde. Consider Oyster Bay near Jeffreys and even Hermanus and Plettenberg Bay where some bargains abound.
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Alan Hawkins - CEO.
About the author
Alan Hawkins is the CEO of StaySA. StaySA is a leading South African Accommodationportal. Visit StaySA next time you are looking for a kind of Accommodation in South African