* If you buy a holiday home as an investment you will be wanting to do holiday lets. You won't get you a prime one for pounds 100k, so presumably there will be a top-up loan or other finance. You will need to place it with a letting agency, which will require a fairly high standard in terms of presentation and appliances, as well as relevant safety certification. If you want to use it yourself you will need to book your holiday before the agency lets it, and if you use a lot of prime weeks it may not be happy. You will be running a business, so prepare to be taxed on any profit and for CGT when you sell. In this south Cornwall village there are many holiday cottages and flats and not many of the owners will admit that they break even in spite of letting for more than 40 weeks per year. I would buy a property near your home if you must, let it and service it yourself, and use the money to holiday wherever you want. Sydney Burbrage, Helston, Cornwall * On two occasions we owned two properties, and both times were a nightmare. We had constant problems with the plumbing and electrics and went back and forth organising repairs, which took up a large amount of time and money and left us with disgruntled tenants. It's not an ideal investment. For peace of mind and maybe a nice little surprise every month, I would stick it in premium bonds, (the maximum pounds 30,000 each) and divide the rest among your children to do the same. Geraldine Blake , Worthing, W Sussex * My partner and I bought a three-bedroom cottage in a small Cornish village with the intention of renting it out as an investment and using it ourselves for holidays. As a holiday base, it has been fantastic. We go off-peak for longer periods than we would normally visit and settle down in a new environment in a lovely village with all our preferred home comforts. As an investment, it has not been so successful. Overheads are expensive. Water rates, TV/internet and electricity costs are approximately pounds 250 per month. We also need an insurance policy that covers us for public liability. People don't treat a holiday cottage as they would their own property. Be prepared for minor breakages and occasionally some major ones. Typical agent's fees are around 20% plus VAT of rental with an additional annual charge of pounds 250-300 plus VAT. That doesn't include cleaning and linen costs. Our cleaner is paid pounds 50 for a general clean and linen is on top - it works out around pounds 100 a changeover if we have a full house. After a few years of high costs and poor occupancy rates we decided to get rid of the local agents and advertise independently. I now use Owners Direct, which charges an annual fee but no commission. If you decide to buy, go for a local agent for the first year. Build up some local contacts during that time - plumber, electrician, cleaner/housekeeper - and then go independent. Overall, we have had great pleasure from our holiday cottage but I can't honestly call it an investment. Karen Mahoney , Cambridge , who wins this week's pounds 25 National Book Token * No one needs two houses. Buying a holiday home for around pounds 100,000 would deprive a local person of an "affordable" house. This, in turn, would increase pressure to build on surrounding land. Your pretty holiday destination may soon become a winter wasteland surrounded by newly built housing estates. It would be better to look at ethical investments with some of the money and spend the rest on holidays in our struggling coastal communities. Jonathan Waterfield , Abersoch, Gwynedd * We have been enforced second-home owners for the past five years, since the financial crisis made it all but impossible to sell the sweet, listed cottage in a holiday destination that I bought before I met my husband. My advice is that unless you buy a new(ish)-build flat- thus ruling out many holidaymakers who want to spend their vacation in a character cottage - don't do it. Old houses are a nightmare if you're not living there; they need exceptionally regular care and attention. They are a money pit and a major source of stress, anxiety and dread. ZainiBadi, at theguardian.com/money * A "holiday home" doesn't always have to be in some rural idyll. What about looking at a city? 100k won't buy you much in London , granted, but there are others. Manchester , Glasgow , Edinburgh ? Or somewhere like Lincoln or York if that is more your cup of tea. There you get a bolt hole where you can enjoy lots of activities, which makes it more useful as the grandchildren turn into teenagers and adults. ekk100, at theguardian.com/money Any answers? Eight years ago we put Kahrs wooden flooring throughout the downstairs of our house. It's been pretty good, but is now covered in dents and scratches and is looking a bit manky. I seem to remember when we bought it the fitter said it could be sanded down later on. Has anyone done this, and if so did it work? Did you do it DIY - or pay specialists to do it? Tell me that there's a cheaper solution than getting a whole new floor relaid. Email your suggestions to email@example.com or write to us at Personal Effects, The Guardian, Kings Place , 90 York Way , London N1 9GU. There's a pounds 25 National Book Token for the best answer.
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