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A second home: From beach shed to luxurious villa

A second home: From beach shed to luxurious villa

How can you purchase a holiday home with a limited budget? And what do you get for € 20,000, € 60,000 or € 100,000?

The average house owner spends well over € 250,000 on a second residence, according to the Second Home Fair. But there is some good news for those who want to spend less.
“Not that long ago, we sold a nice cottage in the Veluwe region for € 30,000,” says Frank de Groot, manager of Vakantie Makelaar, specialised in Dutch recreational real estate. Rob Smulders of Mondi, the interest group for house owners abroad: “And if you are willing to pay a bit more you also have a lot of options across the border.” In the Netherlands the regions of  Veluwe, Zeeland, the West Frisian Islands and Friesland are most popular. Across the border it is especially Spain and France that are in demand, followed by Portugal, Italy and Austria. But what can you buy from the realtors and via the national and international real estate websites with a ‘limited’ budget?

Up to € 20,000
Whereas the waiting period for a beach house in Zandvoort was still three to four years a couple of years ago, it is now quite easy to acquire one in merely one year, via the association KV Voorwaarts for example. They say that a timber demountable house costs between € 1,500 and € 15,000, depending on the age and quality. Better insulated and ready-made units on the beach sell at € 20,000 to € 40,000. In these kinds of units the furniture can stay put if the house goes to the depot at the end of the summer. The additional costs amount to € 1,500 to € 2,000 per year, for amongst others membership and transport. Unfortunately these costs cannot be recovered by means of rental, as this is not allowed. You might think that this is a lot of money for a house that is only 7 by 3.5 metres, but you get plenty in return. As from mid-April to mid-September you can stay on the beach without restrictions, which means that you can have your morning bath straight in the sea. Or, if you want to have the real camping experience, you can take a shower in the sanitary building.

Of course you can also look for something else, a mobile home for example. You can have one on the Bakkum camping site, which is very popular with people from Amsterdam, for about € 9,000 via Marktplaats. The beach is at 1,500 metres. A seasonal pitch is available for € 1,700 to € 2,200, the most expensive of which having electricity and a personal parking space. These costs can be recovered by renting out the mobile home for a period of up to four weeks. Do you prefer something on your own property? “With this budget, that will probably not be possible,” says Frank de Groot, manager of Vakantie Makelaar. In his opinion, renting land is a valid alternative. “But do pay attention to the additional costs, as they can be quite steep.”

Up to € 60,000
Those who can afford a bit more can buy a brick house, in the cottage park Muiderberg for example. This park is a stone’s throw away from the  Oostvaardersplassen, the setting for the well-received nature movie ‘De Nieuwe Wildernis’ (‘The New Wilderness’). The detached cottages cost between € 20,000 and € 60,000. The site fee amounts to around € 800, but those who help pull out the weeds in the park a couple of times per year get a discount of € 200. You can rent out the cottage three weeks per year, which means that you can recover the costs quite easily. And good news: you can use the house all year round. All the facilities are available under one roof and the club house organises various activities on a regular basis, such as games of billiards and hiking tours. There is a tennis court in the park itself.

With this budget you can also go abroad, on your own land. In Germany for example. In the Eifelpark Kronenburger See, Vakantie Makelaar is offering a recreational house for € 55,000. You can choose yourself if you want to rent it out. “Those who are willing to refurbish this slightly obsolete cottage can make a nice profit upon resale. After all, the German housing market is still doing well,” de Groot promises.

Eastern Europe
You will not get very far with this budget in Eastern Europe, unless you are handy and are not afraid to buy a ‘fixer-upper’. The offer however changes every day. “Not that long ago there was a spacious villa for sale in Hungary for € 50,000,” Rob Smulders says. That is why it is advisable to check out the offer of foreign real estate agents on a regular basis. You can find an overview of customer reviews and extensive country information on the website of Mondi: www.mondi.nl. Or you can take a look on the comparison website www.huisenaanbod.nl. In the Czech Republic real estate agent Addy Coolbergen is doing good business. He says that with a bit of luck you can find something relatively cheap yet nice in this country. “To seniors I would recommend the border regions with Germany and Austria, as shopping across the border is a lot cheaper. There are many lovely cities there as well. The advantage of the Czech Republic is that the taxes on the rental income are quite low.” However, Coolbergen warns about dubious real estate people, as everybody can call himself a realtor in this country. You do not need a degree.

According to Mondi other attractively priced areas are the Costa Blanca and the Costa Cálida in Spain, central France, the northern region of Portugal and south Italy. The website www.casalasdunas.nl contains various Spanish flats of around € 40,000 that look really nice, at least at first sight. “But be cautious and remember that love is blind,” Smulders recommends. “At the moment there are around 100,000 houses in Spain without residence permit. It is therefore advisable to collect extensive legal and financial information before making a purchase. Abroad, you can already gain a lot of knowledge by consulting the land register for example, but it is not unwise to make an appeal to professionals too.”

Up to € 100,000
You can also buy a house as a pure investment by completely renting it out or by using it yourself only once in a while. But here too: use your common sense. Mondi knows numerous examples of people who invested their savings or inheritance in a holiday home abroad that still had to be built. They now run the risk of making a loss of several hundred thousand euros because the project manager went bankrupt. It is therefore maybe safer to invest in a so-called ‘leaseback construction”, whereby you buy an already existing house in a holiday park such as Landal GreenParks. This type of house is for sale on the website of Vakantie Makelaar as from € 50,000 up to more than € 100,000, in national and international holiday parks. In exchange for a fee a mediatory association takes care of the search for renters. You receive a return of up to 6 percent, depending on how often you want to use the residence yourself. You do not have to pay VAT on the purchase price and you do not have to worry about anything that has to do with the house, as the maintenance is also taken care of.

Albertjan Massier, financial advisor at Hypotheek & Buitenland, does give a short comment: “It is rumoured that the price of the houses is quite high. And although the risk of popular parks going bankrupt is minimal, it cannot be completely excluded. For those who like to play I safe it is better to select a house at another strategic location and take care of renting it out themselves. The cleverer you act, the higher your return will be.”

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