Generally speaking, it is not considered a good idea to view holiday properties during the height of season and those who are thinking of investing in a second home would be wise to put off their decision until other holidaymakers have left and some sense of normality has returned to the area concerned.
This is particularly true if the area is situated in one of South Africa’s busy coastal regions. December is regarded as the peak season and as such, even sleepy little coastal towns are inundated with visitors during this time. Apart from the difficulties associated with actually viewing a property, the entire exercise can prove to be extremely frustrating for both the buyer and his family.
Many of the smaller coastal areas have felt the full brunt of the economic fallout and there are many bargains to be found. Prospective buyers should rest assured though that this is not likely to change overnight and while checking websites and the property pages of local papers in order to get a feel for the market in a particular area is always a good idea, the actual viewing and decision to buy should be left to a later stage. Estate agents in these areas have always reported that although they are busier during the December holidays, the really serious buyers tend to leave things until later, with many of them returning during February or March.
This makes sense as many of the properties for sale accommodate holidaymakers during season. Trying to locate the keys or notify the ‘tenant’ that people want to view the property comes with its own set of challenges. Most buyers interested in holiday homes want a place that is in the middle of the action and just accessing these types of properties is often problematic.
But the main reason for not buying during this time is psychological. Holidays evoke happy thoughts and it is very easy to get caught up in the moment, particularly if prices in the area have dropped significantly. However, owning a holiday home does come with its own pressures and anyone considering investing should conduct a fair amount of research before doing so, especially if they are hoping to turn a profit by letting the property as holiday accommodation.
As with any bonded property, it takes time for rentals to actually show a positive return and it is unlikely, at least initially, that the rent is going to cover the costs of the bond. Another factor that many owners forget is that holidaymakers, just like the rest of us, want value for money and although many are willing to pay a premium for that perfect holiday, very few, if any, are willing to fork out thousands for a holiday hotel. This means that not only does the property have to be perfectly situated; it has to be comfortably furnished and be well maintained throughout the year.
As with any property transaction, buying an asset of this size should never be undertaken lightly or bought on a whim. The pros and cons need be carefully considered before a decision is reached.
Property is always a good investment and owning a second home in a holiday town has proved to be rewarding both on the financial and leisure fronts for many. The economic climate is perfect for those who are hoping to secure a bargain and by doing a little homework and by returning to the area during quieter periods, buyers will find that not only is it easier to make an informed decision, but realise the benefits of holidaying in an area during the quieter, off-peak periods.