Buying and owning a second home is a piece of cake, right?

Well, it can be if you're lucky enough to find the right property which suits your needs and lifestyle and it's well inside your budget range.

But, back in the real world, there is a whole raft of tripwires just waiting to shatter your dreams.

Here are seven things to consider before taking the plunge and buying a second property


Buying a second property, whether it be a city centre pad or country cottage, is a massive outlet of time, money and stress so it's worth considering in the first instance why you are actually doing it.

If it's a retreat on the coast or in the countryside then consider how often you will visit it.

If you are, realistically speaking, only going to stay there for a couple of weekends during the summer then it might be worth looking at a time share or simply booking a place to stay through a holiday company.

If you are thinking of buying a town centre pad to rent out to young professionals then do some solid research on the local rental market.

Are letting agency windows full of pictures of the same flats week in, week out because they just cannot shift them? Perhaps, the rental market is not quite as strong as the marketing people would have you believe.


One hears of parents buying student houses in the town where their offspring is going to university so they can provide them and their new friends with a place to stay and make some extra cash into the bargain.

That's all well and good but if said offspring is living 200 miles away then being their landlord suddenly becomes a massive headache as fixing problems in person comes with a huge petrol bill.

And what if you need to hire a local tradesperson who you can trust to do with a job properly without ripping you off? This is whole lot more difficult if you don't know an area at all.

If you are looking at the student market, consider somewhere closer to home where you can keep an eye on things in person, you know the area and hopefully have a network of local tradespeople who you trust and can tap into.

Professionals sometimes buy a smaller property close to work while their main residence is out of town which they only stay in over the weekends.

Have a good scout around the area and look for potential problem spots - are there student halls nearby? Is the area full of noisy bars and nightclubs? How far is it to the main train station for that quick getaway on a Friday night?

That holiday home on the coast may get you closer to the surf but is it actually what you need?
That holiday home on the coast may get you closer to the surf but is it actually what you need?


This is the part where major problems can start before you have even acquired your second property.

Have you found that dream second property but the budget is tantalisingly just out of reach unless you make some big sacrifices elsewhere in your life?

If you have the money to buy something outright but it's not quite what you want, should you go down this route instead?

The key thing is to sit down with your calculator and be brutally honest with yourself about what you can and cannot afford.

If you are planning to take out a second mortgage then have a cap in mind as to what you can afford.

Factor in a buffer for unforeseen circumstances as items such as broken boilers can come with eye-watering bills.

There are tax implications to buying a second property too.

Since April 1, 2016 there has been a three per cent stamp duty surcharge in place on second homes.

It works on a tiered system so second homes with a price tag under £125,000 now attract a three per cent charge instead of zero per cent.

Properties between £125,000 and £250,000 now have a five per cent rate (up from two per cent).

For the super wealthy, second homes carrying a price tag of over £1.5 million will be attracting a 15 per cent charge, instead of 12 per cent.


Should you remortgage your first home or use it as a guarantee to finance the second property?

What type of mortgage can you get on a second property and will this be dictated by its use, e.g. buy-to-let?

Timing is a big thing to consider.

Maybe you're due a big promotion at work so you would be able to double the size of your deposit by just waiting for a year or two before taking the plunge and buying that second property.

Big cities may be full of properties to rent but does that mean there aren't enough renters?
Big cities may be full of properties to rent but does that mean there aren't enough renters?


This is a difficult one as the old adage about 'getting what you pay for' applies just as much to property as it does everywhere else.

Sure, a cute but run-down, neglected cottage in the middle of the country may well look like the bargain of the century but, if it needs tens of thousands of pounds spending on it to make it inhabitable, then it could be a poisoned chalice.

If you are very practical and skilled then this could be the way forward but for those who don't know one end of a chisel from the other, then the financial and mental costs of trying to spruce up an old property yourself can be both prohibitive and ultimately counter productive.

This is a tricky line to tread so think about how much budget you have to play with when it comes to renovating the property and that will dictate how run-down, and therefore cheap, your purchase can be.


Unfortunately, the cost of owning a second property doesn't end once you have signed on the dotted line and taken delivery of the keys.

If you are using your second property yourself, as opposed to entering the rental market, then you will have to cover everything there as you would at your main residence.

This includes items such as house insurance, broadband, telephone and TV licence and that's alongside general, day-to-day bills like electricity and water.

Sure, these shouldn't be anywhere near as high as at your main abode, especially if you are only using your second home for a few weekends a year, but it will probably still need heating throughout the winter to stop the pipes freezing whether you are there or not.

This should form part of your budget planning when deciding how much cash you have to play with.

Shared ownership

One way to share the burden, stress and cost of buying a second property is to team up with some family members or close friends (but pick some you can trust).

Banks should be receptive to having multiple names on a mortgage contract provided you can prove that everyone has the financial means to keep up with the repayments.

And it will dramatically cut your monthly outgoings.

If you are buying a second home for weekend escapes, then having more people visit the property regularly will help with things like cleaning, maintenance and keeping appliances active and working.

Plus, the local burglars will be far less likely to target your property if they see it in regular use.