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Secret Holiday Home?!

Secret Holiday Home?!

What happens when you buy a holiday home – but don’t tell your friends and family?

 

Trailing my toe in the infinity pool, I felt a twinge of excitement. Behind me, a terracotta-topped villa shimmered in the warm winter sun, only a tangle of fuchsia bougainvillea casting shade across its walls. Beyond the pool, row upon row of vineyards reached down towards the Mediterranean Sea.

“Our Spanish hideaway is a closely guarded secret”

Staying in such a spectacular pad provides a taste of another life; you know, the sort that other people tend to live. But this time, it was mine. Three months ago, my husband and I bought this beautiful four-bedroomed bolthole near Valencia for a steal from an owner desperate to sell.

 An estimated 1.1 million Brits have a European bolthole CREDIT: WESTEND61

Keep it under your sombrero, though, because our Spanish hideaway is a closely guarded secret. Bar our parents and siblings, we’re not telling a soul. And we’re not alone. An estimated 1.1 million Britons own a second home in the EU alone – France, Spain, Portugal and Italy, in the main – and a recent poll by survey company OnePulse revealed that around a third of them keep it on the QT.

“Once you let one friend stay, you open the floodgates to the rest”

 

The reasons are varied, but the most common concern (for 58 per cent of owners) is that friends and family will expect a freebie. Others worry that spreading the word would be seen as bragging.  In our early 40s, with a young son, our new purchase feels just reward for years of hard work – my husband in construction, me as a journalist – and being shrewd with our money. But we might not have thought to keep it under wraps but for a chance conversation with a friend last summer. We were discussing an imminent break to Mallorca when he whispered that he and his wife have owned a villa for 15 years in the very town we were visiting. No one, except their immediate family (and now us) had a clue.

“If it were common knowledge we’d have spent years fending off requests for ‘a week in June’ and the like,” he told us. “Once you let one friend stay, you open the floodgates to the rest.” When we subsequently confided our own plans to buy abroad, his advice was clear: keep it to yourself or it won’t be the escape you want it to be.

 

Keeping holiday homes a secret means they remain a "slice of paradise," according to one owner

 

Keeping holiday homes a secret means they remain a “slice of paradise,” according to one owner CREDIT: THE IMAGE BANK

It’s a sentiment shared by Andrew Burton*, 51, and his wife Jacqui, 43. Ten years ago, Andrew, a successful businessman, flew from Yorkshire to Quinta do Lago on the Algarve - second home to footballers including Steven Gerrard - with “£850,000 in my pocket” and returned with the keys to a luxury villa with private pool.

“We bought it as a retreat for us and our three kids,” says Andrew. “We wouldn’t invite other people to use our house in the UK for weeks at a time, so why should our villa be any different just because it’s in the sun? This way, it remains our secret slice of paradise.”

 

According to Chris White, founder and MD of Ideal Homes Portugal, an estate agency on the Algarve, it’s increasingly common for people to make surreptitious purchases overseas. “There are far more Britons than you would imagine with secret hideaways,” he says, “up to 25 per cent of our clients decide not to tell anyone about it.”

 

There can be benefits to being less guarded about one's holiday home

 

There can be benefits to being less guarded about one’s holiday home CREDIT: PHOTODISC

Although Andy Bridge, MD of holiday home agency A Place in the Sun, believes it’s “admirable” not to brag about a second home, he says there can be benefits in being less guarded. “For owners concerned about the running costs of a second property, letting others use it could help,” he says. “Properties benefit from being lived in, so having a paying friend or family member visit who can cut the grass while they’re there, for example, can be useful. And good for security.”

Still, good friends or not, they may not treat your home as you would. We’ve had plenty stay at our house in the Midlands who have left the guest room and en suite looking like a war zone -giving them the run of our holiday home would leave my nerves frayed.

But there’s something else at play, too. The lines between our work and personal lives have become so blurred now, that even on holiday it can feel like there is no escape.

 

'Even on holiday, it can feel like there is no escape'

 

 ’Even on holiday, it can feel like there is no escape’ CREDIT: THE IMAGE BANK

“Who, of our generation, doesn’t sometimes hanker after the days when we’d disappear to the Med for a fortnight and, other than calling home once from a payphone, there’d be no reminder of normal daily life?” says Natasha Greenhalgh*, 48, a stressed-out architect who bought a three-bedroom gite near Bordeaux in 2013 with her husband Nick, 51, and decided not to tell a soul.

“Letting others in on the secret would complicate it”

“Letting others in on the secret would complicate it. There’s something liberating about people not knowing exactly where we are – or that we even own a place in France. We don’t share holiday photos on social media either.”

When my husband and I invited friends over for dinner last weekend, they asked about our most recent long weekend in Spain: “Did you stay in a villa?”

We resisted the urge to exchange a knowing glance. “Yes, we did,” I replied.

“Would you stay there again?”

“Yes, I think we will,” I said, poker face in place.

Again. And again. And again.

 

Source: The Telegraph

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/what-happens-when-you-buy-a-holiday-home—but-dont-tell-your-fr/

www.idealhomesinternational.co.uk

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