A second stay under the sun is no longer a privilege of the rich. What is striking is that we have a preference for Spain. Are you thinking about buying a second stay yourself? Answering these five questions will help you make the right choice.
Where to buy?
If you know where you want to buy, you would do well to take a look on the spot, so that you can see for yourself which neighbourhood you will be in. Maybe there is a road nearby that causes noise pollution, a tall building that disturbs the view, or you end up in a dead community…
Do you want to rent or not?
Some people see a second stay purely as an investment and for them the return comes first. This is a completely different starting point than when you are looking for something to enjoy yourself. In the first case, the location is even more important. After all, tourists want everything close by: the sea, shops, restaurants…
Also think about how you are going to arrange the rental practically. The easiest way is to give that – in exchange for a slightly lower return – in the hands of a local office. Check in advance whether this is possible in your region. If you’re planning to spend holidays in your second home and to rent out, it’s not a bad idea to consider an extra bedroom and bathroom. You can lock it up during your absence and keep it for private use.
How do you pay?
Black money disappears and therefore less and less is bought with own capital. Why should you? Loans are cheap, after all. The interest you pay is largely recouped by the increase in value of your second stay. If you already have a loan for a house in Belgium, you can make a repossession of the capital. This will save you a few thousand euros. Another possibility is to take out group insurance. If you put fresh money in it afterwards, it is tax-deductible. A loan in the country where you buy is usually subject to less favourable rates.
How much extra costs are there?
Determine a budget in advance and build in a small margin, but don’t go over that. Let the real estate agent know that your amount includes all costs, because that makes a big difference. Depending on the country you are buying from, you will have to charge an extra 7 to 15 percent for registration fees and the work of the notary and lawyer, among other things.
Don’t forget that you’ll need money for furnishing afterwards: furniture, textiles, washing machine… Do you have an apartment as a second residence? Then there is guaranteed to be an invoice for common costs every month afterwards. Finally, you will have to pay taxes every year on your second stay.
Who are you buying from?
In some countries everyone is allowed to call themselves a real estate agent and houses are offered by different offices. Try to choose the right, reliable party… Fortunately, there are a few criteria. For example, it is a must to work with a licensed real estate agent and preferably someone who has some years of experience. At least as important is that it is a Dutch-speaking real estate agent, so that you always understand and can ask for everything. A professional with an office both locally and in Belgium also has an advantage.
Another tip: in many countries the notary has a limited role. It is therefore wise to call in a lawyer who checks matters such as the building permit and the debt burden. If he gives permission, you buy in complete safety.