Looking After Your Holiday Home – Peace of Mind!

It took a lot of time and effort to find that dream holiday home. Endless hours scouring websites, trying to work out prices, is their a road or pig farm that Is not apparent. Is the agent still selling that honeypot property! Having assembled the list, it is then arranging travel and viewings.

Visits completed and one emerges. An offer accepted. Then it is deciphering the diagnostics and all the other documents that have to be understood. All explained in French. Who can help? Do I rely on the agent.

The date arrives and the Acte de Vente is signed in the notaires office. You have the keys and look forward to the many happy holidays to come. It is the culmination of a journey, it is laced with excitement. Many have made that same journey and can testify to the challenges that are presented.

We purchased our property in 2002 as a second home. Perhaps we were a little ‘green’. We were excited to own some history in a great location. We could not dream of this in the UK. But it had 3000m2, in hindsight a lot of land for a second home. Gardening ended up our biggest ongoing expense. We had several gardeners over the years. Things went missing and perhaps the period between cuts were at longer periods than the schedule that was agreed and paid for! We had plants that disappeared. A rhubarb plant on one occasion! Not wishing to put people off, but I am sure you get the drift.

Every time we returned to the UK; we knew it would be 8 weeks before we returned. We always had our mind in Normandy. Is the house ok. It can be a worry.

We never found someone to help look after the property reliably. We relied on honesty and in hindsight on a bit of a ‘wing and a prayer’. It would have been so comforting to a trusted person to visit every month, make sure the property is safe and secure, nothing missing and the gardener doing the job. A nice batch of comforting photos every month. Someone on call to deal with problems, get some quotes, oversea artisans doing work, hold the keys and accept deliveries. Prepare the property for guests.

We have found that it is difficult to get tradesmen to do small jobs. Again, this can be so much easier with a trusted property manager who knows the area and the good artisans.

A second home is a luxury purchase and an important investment. The intention is to enjoy many happy holidays and perhaps improve the property as an investment. Perhaps it will become a future home to retire to. All to often people do not realise the benefit of a bit of help when the property is not occupied. Also, perhaps opportunities for some holiday letting income.

We visited our second home many times during a 14 year period. Perhaps 100 visits. We did encounter issues. Also, we always worked when on holiday. We lacked the faith to find someone to help us. Perhaps we wanted to avoid some expense and save that money for the holidays. Without doubt if we had the time again, we would have sought out a caretaker for the property. It does not have to be expensive.


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