If you are thinking about selling your holiday home, you’ll need to do those improvements first


Holiday home owners who ignore improvements, put off general repairs and don’t bother to update old décor risk are risking getting a much lower price should they decided to sell, it is claimed.
A study of 2,000 holiday home owners in advance of the annual post summer rush to sell holiday homes, has found that 53% of British holiday home owners have a lackadaisical attitude towards maintenance of their property compared with a more house proud approach to their main home.

‘The allure of time away from the grind for the quarter of a million Brits who own holiday homes in the UK and beyond, means the usual keeping up with the Jones behaviour is abandoned, and household snags that would usually irritate at home, are overlooked,’ said John Candia, chief executive officer of online property portal the iProperty Company which carried out the survey.

While 100% of participants said they bought their holiday home with every intention of improving it, some 79% admitted they hadn’t so much as picked up a paintbrush since their first holiday even although 58% said that they visit their holiday home at least four times a year with some going as often as once a month.

Top household horrors overlooked included broken toilets, floral carpets, mismatched sofas, leaking taps and avocado bathroom suites. Other décor faux pas that have slipped down the priority list include net curtains, odd and novelty crockery and flocked wallpaper. A typical holiday sloth is also guilty of having out of date tinned foods in their holiday home and will rarely wash up straight after a meal, dust shelves or mow the lawn.

Nearly a quarter of respondents admitted to having ignored light bulbs that needed changing, 33% said their homes needed a lick of paint and 67% revealed missing doorknobs and/or handles on drawers.

Top reasons for such apathy given by survey participants were wanting to do nothing while on their hard earned break, the reduced threat of an uninvited visitor and continual procrastination leading to a next time we will do it type of attitude.

Those who plan on selling should have a major clear out and consider redecorating as well as using professional cleaners as this will add significant sales value if you can´t face doing it yourself. Also, holiday homes tend to end up as depository for ugly and unwanted items and owners should be ruthless.

How to buy a holiday home and become part of the local community

Its is the perfect time to look at investing in rural holiday homes but part of that investment has to be the time to become part of the community that the property you buy is located in.


It is only until recently that second home owners have left community villages like ghost towns in winter when the DFL’s (down from London) leave their properties empty until summer and this naturally caused resentment amongst locals.

According to the Daily Telegraph, owners would whizz down on a Friday night and then back on a Monday morning contributing nothing to the village growth, future or community.

They dressed all wrong, they flashed their cash, they spoke Estuary English at the top of their voices, and they couldn’t tell one end of a cow from another. In a word, they were a menace. All that may now be changing, however. The grumbling has not completely stopped, but there now seems to be a more widespread acceptance that people owning second homes are a fact of modern life, and not an exclusively West Country problem.

“I have lived in the West Country for 15 years and in my experience the majority of locals appreciate the contribution that second-home owners make to the economy,” says Edward Heaton of Heaton and Partners. “But there is certainly a small but vociferous minority who object to the fact that they are being priced out of the villages in which they grew up and forced to move to bigger towns and cities such as Plymouth.”

The further west you go, the more vociferous that resentful majority becomes, says Heaton. A mere whisper of dissatisfaction in Wiltshire becomes something of a rant in Penzance. Indeed, local misgivings about second-home owners came to a head in 2012, when Cornwall county council became the first in the country to scrap council tax discounts for second homes.
It also introduced an additional tax on homes that had stood empty for two years.

In a county often referred to as the second-home capital of Britain, this stance was understandable. Some five per cent of those resident in Cornwall are second-home owners, according to a 2011 census. But this figure rockets in the most sought-after coastal villages. In the parish of St Minver Lowlands, near Rock, for instance, second-home owners account for 41.9 per cent of the population.
Some of the resulting social problems – notably the distortion of the local housing market – were well documented. So why not hit these well-off outsiders where it hurts – in the pocket?

Farmers market
But even in Cornwall, attitudes seem to be softening. From Newquay to Truro, there is a tacit acknowledgement that demonising second-home owners is ridiculous and self-defeating. After all, the biggest concentration of holiday homes in Britain is to be found not in Cornwall, but in London. And they themselves have also done their bit, making more effort to be immersed in their local communities.
“The high number of second-home owners did cause some angst for permanent residents, particularly when, say, post offices had to be closed because the villages were so quiet in the winter months,” says Duncan Ley of Humberts in Truro.

“But more recently, owners have become conscious of the stigma attached to them. They have made more effort to involve themselves in their villages and be contributors to the area, rather than just beneficiaries.”

Nigel Stubbs, director of Jackson-Stops and Staff in Truro, has also noticed a change in attitudes. “The buyers who stick out and have difficulty assimilating into their communities tend to be the ones who buy multimillion-pound properties on the outskirts of villages, or on the waterfront.

“The ones who integrate better are the people who buy with a view to moving to the area permanently in later life. It is in their interest to put down stable roots and play an active part in the community.”
One of the greatest concentrations of holiday homes in Cornwall is in the picturesque fishing village of Mousehole. Once a backwater, it is now becoming a cosmopolitan community, so much so that it has been likened to fashionable Padstow, in the north of the county.

Dylan Thomas spent his honeymoon in the Lobster Pot in Mousehole in the Thirties and no doubt drank the village dry. But times have changed. The hotel, where David Bowie once stayed, has been converted into luxury apartments – typifying what some would regard as the malign impact of holiday homes.
For administrative purposes, Mousehole is in the parish of Penzance, so the proportion of second homes is notionally only around five per cent, the average for the county. But in the heart of the village, it is very much higher – not that all the locals seem to be complaining.

“There was certainly a time when Mousehole had suffered because of the surfeit of holiday-home owners, but you wouldn’t say that today,” says David Marshall of Marshall’s estate agents. “What has been gratifying has been the way year-round living has slowly returned to the village.”
Phoenix Cottage, on the market for £289,950, is typical of the present crop of Mousehole properties. “The current owners have used it for holiday lets, andit has been renovated with that in mind,” says Marshall.

“Some of these houses letfor 40 or more weeks a year, so they can be good investments.But there has been a definite trend towards second homesthat are semi-permanent residences.”
To an extent, the two markets overlap. Many owners derive some rental income from their properties without necessarily viewing them as full-time buy-to-let investments. But the balance is shifting.
With more people working from home, at least part of the time, the old straitjacket of Monday-to-Friday jobs has been relaxed. “We see people whose main place of work may be London, but who are able to spend three or four days a week in Cornwall,” adds Marshall. “That affects the way they view the locals – and the way the locals view them.”

The challenges facing second-home owners in Cornwall are replicated across the West Country. And, everywhere, the second-home owners raising fewest hackles are the ones who make the most visible commitment to the area.

Kevin Underwood of Webbers in Barnstaple has seen an upsurge in what he calls “stepping stone” buyers. These are people moving in, getting a feel for the area and, after a period as semi-residents, converting their second home into their main home.

“They connect with their communities and build up a network of genuine friends. It is clear to me that this trend has accelerated in the last few years. More and more purchasers are determined to make a positive contribution to the area and support local businesses.”

Underwood cites a Midlands-based developer who bought a large property in Woolacombe, on the north Devon coast, and converted it into apartments, using local builders.
With the property market in the West Country recovering, interest in second homes seems likely to be on the increase. And, unlike 10 or 15 years ago, buyers from outside the area need no longer feel they are entering bandit country, likely to attract scowls from the locals.


All they will need, if they want to win acceptance, is patience, tact and a healthy dose of realism.
Londoner Georgina Clark has just bought a weekend retreat in Tisbury, Wiltshire, and has no illusions that she will be welcomed with open arms everywhere she goes.

“Yes, holiday-home owners are good for local businesses and we boost the turnover of pubs and restaurants. But then sometimes the pubs put their prices up, which the locals sometimes resent.”
Luckily, Georgina has local roots, and her parents live nearby, so she will have no trouble fading into the background. And for anyone contemplating buyinga second home in the West Country, she has one bit of advice: “If you bought a second homein France, you would need to speak French if you wanted toget on the right side of your neighbours.

“The same principle applies in Wiltshire, where the locals use the dialect word ‘grockles’ to describe non-locals. Just go into the village shop, smile sweetly and say, ‘Don’t worry, I’m not a grockle,’ and you will be all right.”

Wifi really does influence choice

wifi accessA third of Brits will choose their hotel or holiday home based on Wifi availability but won’t care about network security

A majority of UK consumers admit that hotels or self catering properties not offering internet connectivity are no longer an option, according to recent research.

The study, carried out by One Poll on behalf of ESET in July 2014, examined the attitudes of 1000 employed UK consumers and revealed that over a third would determine their choice based on WiFi. This is driven by a need to check emails and keep in touch with the office while away.

The findings revealed that 44 % of respondents are likely to take their work-enabled mobile device on holiday this year and that over a fifth will be checking their work emails on a daily basis. Despite these findings, 36% of respondents admitted that checking emails will actually make them feel more stressed, rather than relaxed during their break.

No security

The survey also revealed that 67% of respondents will carry work-related data on the mobile device they take on holiday. However over a third admit to having no security on the device what-so-ever to protect the data.

In addition to this, 35% admitted that they don’t check or care if the WiFi network they connect to while on holiday is secure and private. This could ultimately put corporate data at risk of cybercriminals and theft.

British Tourism needs to do more to accommodate disabled customers



The Daily Telegraph report this week that thousands of customers are being turned away from hotels and self catering accommodation because there is not enough suitable rooms to meet the demand.

According to the Daily Telegraph, disabled people are not holidaying at home because not enough of Britain’s tourist attractions are wheelchair accessible, according to a Government-backed study.

It found thousands of customers who were planning ‘staycations’ were being turned away from hotels and self-catering accommodation because there are not enough suitable rooms to meet demand.
Research published by the Department for Work and Pensions today found travel companies said it was easier to arrange holidays for disabled people overseas than in Britain.

Two thirds of Britain’s top 100 tourist attractions were not fully wheelchair accessible and little more than one in ten said all staff receive disability awareness training, according to Vitalise, a respite charity.

Mark Harper, the minister for Disabled People, said: “Everyone needs and deserves to enjoy a summer holiday – and people with disabilities are no exception. I’m calling on everyone in the British tourist industry to look at what more they can do to better cater for disabled travellers.”
Eleven million people in Britain – with an estimated combined spending power of £80billion – have a disability, he said. Research also showed that disabled people tended to stay longer on holiday than able-bodied people.

Mr Harper added: “So, as part of our long-term economic plan, improving the accessibility of hotels and self-catering apartments and tourist attractions for disabled travellers is a no-brainer.”

The Disability Holiday Directory, Britain’s biggest disabled holiday company, said it was unable to accommodate 20 per cent of its clients looking to holiday in the UK every year because of a shortage of accessible accommodation.

Accommodation was particularly hard to come by for disabled people in coastal areas like Devon and Cornwall where half of those with a disability were told they have to choose somewhere else, stay at home or travel abroad.

Sir William Lawrence, the chairman of Tourism for All, said: “When disabled people go away they are much more likely to travel with family and companions, stay for longer and spend more money. “But before booking, they want to know they are going to be catered for. Even the smallest and inexpensive of changes, like a hearing loop or hand rail, can make your business more disability-friendly. It doesn’t necessarily need to cost the earth, but could be the deciding factor between you and a competitor.”
Paul Nadine, the managing director of the Disabled Holiday Directory, added: “The situation is quite bad at the moment.

“It’s often easier to arrange a holiday for someone abroad than it is here in Britain. Many will want to go abroad, but for those with more serious disabilities or who prefer to enjoy what Britain has to offer, it’s become more and more difficult.”

Booking.com increases self catering portfolio by 10,000 properties


Booking.com, world leader in booking accommodation online, announced the expansion of its Villas.com portfolio with the introduction of cottages4you, adding more than 10,000 self-catering holiday cottages to its accommodation offering. The decision to expand comes off the back of a huge increase in demand experienced by Booking.com from domestic and international travellers for self-catering accommodation in the UK.

Booking.com has seen demand for its UK villa bookings almost triple during 2012/2013 and expects similar growth this year, combating industry predictions that staycation demand would slow in 2014.

A recent survey conducted by Booking.com proves that UK travellers are actively choosing to holiday at home in summer 2014, while an ever-increasing number of international visitors – from as far afield as China and Australia – look to the British countryside, with self-catering accommodation seen as the perfect way to experience our outstanding rural areas.

“With more than three quarters of us planning a domestic break this year, the UK ‘staycation’ is definitely here to stay,” said Megan Anderson, Global Director of Villas.com “The flexibility and choice that self-catering accommodation brings to a holiday seems to be incredibly attractive, and in response to the trends we’ve been seeing, we’re extremely happy to announce our partnership with cottages4you this summer. It brings a diverse range of more than 10,000 beautiful cottages, perfect for couples, families and groups of travellers looking to personalise their holiday.”

Booking.com customer data explains the motivation behind the self-catered accommodation the freedom and flexibility that they offer. More than half of UK travellers (63%) reported that they like staying in self-catering accommodation because it provides freedom of choice, access to some of the most beautiful parts of the UK and, moreover, to live like a local.

Having the space to accommodate the whole family or a large group is incredibly important to more than a third of those surveyed (37%) and being able to take the dog on holiday is also another driving force behind the popularity of self-catering accommodation, with more than one in ten (12.3%) stating they love self-catering accommodation because they like to take their four-legged family members on holiday too.

Outdoor space is not just key for our pets either. Over half of us (52%) said that the most important facility for summer travel is a garden or balcony/terrace. British weather doesn’t seem to be a deterrent as nearly 1 in 4 (24%) respondents state their UK self-catering accommodation must have a swimming pool!

When it comes to types of self-catering accommodation, cottages rank as the most favoured option for UK travellers – chosen by just under half (40%) of those surveyed – closely followed by apartments (21%) and villas (20%).

Thinking about renting out your holiday home?

Here is a great little video about things to think about if you are considering renting out your home.

Want to own a tribe of holiday homes…

…try Mouseholing

Who hasn’t indulged in a little perambulatory property porn when they have been on holiday?

That cheeky peek into estate agent’s window while idling about with a flat white dreaming of buying a boutique hotel-styled holiday home with extensive sea views.

Yet most of us don’t give this idea much thought once we are back into the day to day routine of home, family and work. At best, we’re rely on friends who have invested in one sensible second home and concoct differing scenarios in order to steal a cheeky weekend in their ‘house by the beach’ – though of course it’s nice that the house is being used…!

However, a new class of bolthole-buyer has emerged in recent years: a tribe who are snapping up three, four, five holiday homes like souvenir snow globes.Yet these purchasers are not shelling out on palazzos in Italy, sprawling villas in St Trop or estates in South America, but following a neater, more manageable trend: “mouse holing”.

Mouse holes are small, solid property investments in semi-rural areas in can include a portfolio of properties across the globe

It may be a new apartment block in an up-and-coming village, or a small-town house in a newly affordable French village. Classic mouse holes are those which can make long-term investments as well as easy getaways and are easy to rent out.

Old-style holiday homes get visited on average six weeks a year religiously, and then shut up in between if the owners do not wish to commercially rent them out. These owners can sometimes resent not being able to justify holidaying anywhere else, while the cost of maintaining a second home is prohibitive. However buying a few smaller places instead means you can rent them out whenever you don’t want to use them, so they earn their keep, and you don’t feel the family must go every year.

However the secret of being a successful ‘Mouser” like any property investor is finding the right location, location , location!

Grayson Perry designs his own holiday home

Grayson Perry Holiday Home

Get inside artist Grayson Perry’s head by renting the Hansel & Gretel house he has co-designed in North Essex as part of Alain De Botton’s Living Architecture project.

Overlooking the wide Stour estuary in North Essex, set in a swathe of vivid green fields, a small, glinting gingerbread house has appeared, as if Hansel and Gretel had just touched down. Called A House for Essex, it was designed by the London-based FAT Architecture practice with Britain’s best-loved cross-dresser, Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry, as a holiday rental for the Living Architecture company, the idea of Alain de Botton.

Philosopher and author De Botton talked to Essex-born Perry about a house in Essex based on Essex, and then asked award-winning FAT, which has a record of unusual buildings, to work on it. 

The house’s extraordinary appearance was collaborative from the start. “We all sat down,” explains Charles Holland of FAT, “and had the idea of a chapel you could live in, with references to wooden Russian architecture, too. Because of Grayson, we had the idea of a ‘pottery’ building, with the inside designed around artworks he is making for it. So Grayson went off and started on some tiles for the outside.”

Perry wanted the house, which he likens to a jewel box, to tell a story, as if it belongs to an imaginary woman called Julie. The décor inside will relate to Julie’s life and include tapestries and ceramic tiles by him. Two thousand tiles were handmade for the outside of the house by Shaws of Darwen in Lancashire, which is known for making Butler sinks, while the aluminium roof sculptures were made by Millimetre, in Brighton.

In its isolated and beautiful setting the house also belongs to an ancient tradition of wayfaring chapels, which were designed to shelter and comfort exhausted travellers. Just unveiled, the result is fantastic. Its shimmering gold, steeply pitched copper-alloy roofs are graduated in size and make the house look as though, if you pushed it in at each end, it could collapse into itself like an accordian.

Beneath the roofs, with their curved gable windows, the walls are clad in Perry’s glossy, green-and-white, equilateral-triangle ceramic tiles, all bearing moulded motifs. Topping everything off, the golden roofline flaunts four outsize finial-sculptures, including what appears to be a painted egg, a naked pregnant woman and a weather vane that looks like a ship’s compass, all in aluminium.
It’s a house designed by the Lego generation - a kind of folly. But it’s still a real house, with two bedrooms and a kitchen and bathroom, and, when the inside is finished, it will sleep four. Once you walk in through the red double doors at one end, there is an impressive double-height living room going right up to the steeply pitched eves. 

From some time next year, once the inside is completed - a date has yet to be announced - anyone will be able to apply to rent A House for Essex for short stays via Living Architecture. Since 2012, the not-for-profit organisation has been working with architects to design striking holiday rentals, to let people experience what it is like to live inside a world-class building.

A House for Essex will be its sixth property. Two more are in the pipeline for next year: the Life House in Wales and the Secular Retreat in Devon. In the daring design stakes, the whole Living Architecture concept is a sort of spin on the Serpentine Pavilion, the temporary structure by a different leading architect every summer, commissioned by the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens. But in the case of the Living Architecture houses, it is the inhabitants who are temporary, rather than the building. 

Fitness retreats and boot camps

fitness retreat boot camp cottageWhat better way than to banish the guilt of a 4 course dinner with friends and perhaps a glass too much wine than to have a trainer turn up in the morning and get you motivated?
Now, thanks to Bourne Breaks, you can combine the two with one of our new fitness retreat breaks. Bring a group of friends to stay at one of our larger rural properties and we’ll arrange a weekend of bespoke fitness training for you with a leading personal trainer.
The programme will be arranged with you in advance to suit your needs and level of fitness. The trainer will bring all equipment needed and will deliver a personalised package throughout the weekend, ensuring you meet your goals and at the same time have fun. Why not complete the weekend with a celebratory barbeque – healthy of course!
Prices will include accommodation at one of our larger luxury properties, the weekend’s fitness programme and nutritional advice.
For further details please call us on 01323 410777 today. We’re always ready to help.

Any friend of ours?

OK, so you’re lucky enough own a second home that you don’t get to use as often as you’d like and you’d like to see some return from it whilst still getting to use it yourself.
According to today’s Sunday Times there’s a nifty new site that allows you to rent it out to ‘trusted friends’ of fellow users of the site. On the surface it sounds like a good idea. Only let your property to someone that someone on the site knows. Only problem is, you don’t actually know the someone, or the someone they know who has just let your house!
There’s no denying there’s a small risk in letting your second home to strangers but there are ways to minimise the risks and maximise the income, whilst still being able to use the property at the times you want to.
Here at Bourne Breaks we specialise in taking on owners who’ve not let their properties before, and we are flexible about how long you want to let your property for and how often you want to use it yourself. We’re happy to work with owners to ensure that the experience is a good one and that the risks to the property are minimised. There’s always going to be a small risk, no matter who you let it to, a friend of a friend or not. Here at Bourne Breaks we’re the ones though that keep an eye on this and seek to manage this, not you.
So, if you’ve a second home that you’re interested in letting, no matter whether for a short time or on an ongoing basis, give us a call on 01323 410777 and have a chat or read more here before you think about letting it to someone on a websites friend!