So, you’ve bought your dream holiday home in the sun and it’s ready and waiting for you! However, have you thought about the upkeep of your home and the costs that come with this? We explain what some of these costs might be and how to protect them from currency fluctuations.
Get a quote from us today by completing our simple form. We’ll take a look at your requirements and arrange to speak to you at a suitable time to offer the best possible solution for all of your upcoming currency transfers.
You won’t need us to tell you that costs are rising right now, but how do prices compare across popular relocation areas? An EU report on household prices from last year found that Greece was among the lowest prices, at an average of €15 per 100 kilowatt hours, with France on €18, Portugal about €22 and Spain and Italy both around €23 to 24. In the UK it is around £17 (or €20 at today’s GBP/EUR exchange rate).
That exact same pattern was repeated for gas, with Greece cheapest and Spain most expensive. Whether you have mains gas will depend on where you are, but you’ll soon get used to bottled gas.
You may be surprised to see bills at the end of the summer quarter higher, due to air-con and the pump of your swimming pool
Expect seasonal spikes in bills, depending on when your property is used. You may be surprised to see the pattern of bills the opposite of the UK, with bills at the end of the summer quarter typically higher. This is thanks to air conditioning usage and power used by the pump of your pool, if you have one. Don’t forget to include annual buildings and contents insurance in your budgeting.
In some countries, utility bills with be included in community fees.
This will vary between the kind of property and ownership structure you have. In Florida, for example, a condominium or property in a gated community is likely to come with homeowners association (HOA) fees. For a single family home these are usually $200 to $300 per month (£150 to £220). They cover such things as pool maintenance, landscaping and lift repair, parking areas and gyms, all of which require maintaining.
While this covers around 25% of US properties, even more properties in Spain belong to a comunidad de propietarios (community of owners) where the owners must pay for the upkeep of shared areas. The funds are pooled and overseen by a designated committee of owners. Costs vary – anything from €100 per quarter to €1,000 – and as you would imagine, the larger and more elaborate the facilities and grounds, the more expensive the monthly fees.
Note, these are different to council tax.
As more of us grab the opportunity to buy a holiday home and use our full “90 days in every 180” allowance to work from home from the sun, great broadband is more vital than ever.
Just like the UK, you will normally pay monthly. In the most recent Property Guides Cost of Living Index, with no data limit this varied from as low as under £10 in Spain and France to as much as £20 to £25 in Greece, Italy and Portugal.
If you own a property, you will need to pay tax and complete a tax return each year in some countries. This is the case even if you are not a resident.
You may need to pay property tax, which is the equivalent to council tax in the UK and personal income tax if you choose to rent out your property.
Holiday home management services
If you are short of time and struggling to manage your holiday home from afar, you could engage the services of a holiday home management company. This can be especially useful if you are renting out your property, as the company will be on hand to deal with any issues that occur, can sort out any complaints and could even manage the online presence of your holiday home.
However, these services obviously come at a price! If renting out your property, the company could typically take between 15-30% of the income or you may be able to pay them in monthly installments.
How can I protect my regular transfers and payments?
Luckily, it’s easy to protect these regular transfers by setting up a Regular Payment Plan with Smart. Using a Regular Payments Plan saves the time, trouble and expense of making each transfer individually and manually. It also takes away the risk of missing a payment. Even better, if the exchange rate is locked in with a Forward Contract, an RPP means that your payments will be the same every time. Then if the pound should weaken, your payments won’t be affected.
Register for an account with Smart Currency Exchange via the form below, and talk to us about how to keep control of your costs when buying a holiday home abroad.
You can fix the exchange rate for these payments for up to a year with a forward contract, which means you’re protected and it’s not something you need to constantly worry about. You’ll then have plenty of time to concentrate on enjoying your new, exciting property abroad.