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Second homes with a social conscience

| Help, Property | October 24, 2012

Many people who consider buying a second home (or vacation home) face a dilemma.

Even if you can afford exactly what you want, and justify the expense, it often feels socially, environmentally and even morally wrong to have a home lying idle for the majority of the time and not contributing to the local community.

Of course you could let your second home for holidays. But do you want your dream home to be sanitised and impersonal with your toothbrush no longer waiting for you in the bathroom? Don’t you want to use the property at the times when it is easily let? Do you want to manage lettings or manage the relationship with the agent letting the property? Unless you are in a prime holiday area, the effort and cost of holiday letting may not seem worth it.

So how do you have your second home and keep a clear conscience? You share it!

Sharing can take many forms, but they all fall broadly into one of two types: fractional ownership (or joint ownership), and flexible renting.

Joint ownership (or fractional ownership) is relatively well known and understood: two or more people buy an asset together.

Flexible renting is a newer concept: you let the property for broken periods over the mid to long term, say for 12 months. For example, rent to the same people who pay you a monthly “fee” or rent in return for using your second home:

  • every other weekend
  • every other fortnight
  • alternate months
  • specific months of the year
  • 12 weeks (say) of the year on dates agreed in advance
  • 50 days (say) of the year on a first come first served basis

There are endless ways.

The advantages of either joint ownership (or fractional ownership) or flexible renting, where only a small number of people use the property (say between two and four), are that you usually find that you can use the property whenever you want and you can leave your own personal possessions there. If you wish, you can always pay the cleaner to switch your toothbrushes over, put your special duvet cover on, or make whatever arrangements it takes to makes the house your own.

But if you don’t know anyone with similar values, a compatible requirement and an interest in sharing with you, where do you find them?

A new service called yours2share provides the solution. yours2share allows you to advertise for compatible sharing partners, communicate with them through a private mailbox, giving you a direct route to the perfect sharing solution. yours2share gives you lots of ideas and guidance as well as access to templates for the contracts you will need to set up the sharing agreements.

So if you are considering buying a second home that would be empty for most of the month, look into the possibility of sharing. You could buy the property with others, rent it flexibly or even buy it and then rent flexibly to a like-minded individual.

Or if you already own your bolthole in the country and it is nearly always empty, why not rent flexibly or sell a part share in the property.

Lionel and Sally had a large house in Sussex which they only used every second or third weekend. They now have a flexible rental agreement with another family that uses the house to escape from London every other weekend. Sally: “We’re pleased that our wonderful house is being used put to more use and our neighbours are delighted. It has also provided a useful income.”

A social conscience can be financially rewarding!

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