In today’s busy world, spending quality time with the extended family is often a once a year occasion at Christmas, weddings and funerals. Not if you’ve got a property abroad! A holiday home can be fun for all the family, at any time of the year. Somewhere to bring the whole family together. For the kids to see cousins, parents to invite old friends or to pop out to see Grandma for a week, without feeling like you’re imposing on anyone. Here, Richard Way tells us why his Spanish property is a hit among his family and friends.

Buying a family holiday home

It’s hardly a revelation, but your future holiday home will have a very different karma to your main home. More than likely somewhere warm and sunny, possibly with sea views, you’ll visit it solely to have fun and relax, and you’ll leave each time – hopefully – with only fond memories. Your home back in the UK, meanwhile, is usually somewhere associated with the humdrum of everyday life…

A holiday home is the ideal environment for enjoying other people’s company, and bringing friends and family together

Which is why a holiday home should be the ideal environment for enjoying other people’s company, and bringing friends and family together. You’re in holiday mode, happy and relaxed, and able to share space and experiences you wouldn’t ordinarily share back home. Those warm Mediterranean evenings encourage everyone to sit out chatting, playing games or cards, just enjoying each other’s company.

Read more about buying a holiday home in your favourite country by clicking on the link: France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Cyprus, Greece, USA, Canada, Turkey, UK, Ireland

You don’t even have to be there yourself every time. Just offering the keys to friends and/or family can bring a new dynamic to a relationship – you’re not only admired for your generosity but suddenly have something new to talk about when you meet up for dinner back in the UK. Here are some common scenarios that the family and friendship benefits of overseas homeownership, some based on personal experience.

The generation game

It’s not unusual, space permitting, for three generations of a family to decamp to the family holiday home at various points during the year to enjoy quality time together. Uncles, aunts and cousins are often thrown into the mix too. The more the merrier, and of course, it means costs, general upkeep and crucially childcare can all be shared.

A family holiday home is a fantastic way to bring the family together without anyone feeling like they're imposing.

A family holiday home is a fantastic way to bring the family together without anyone feeling like they’re imposing.

For those who retire abroad, what tends to happen is you see relatives less frequently but for longer and better-quality periods of time, compared to when you lived in the UK. When my grandparents retired to the Costa Brava in the 1980s, as youngsters my sister and I would visit them for two weeks at a time during the school summer holidays, and often at Christmas I’d accompany my Dad over there for short festive visit.

Friends reunited!

I’ve let various friends use our place over the years (for mates’ rates!), only those I know well and trust. Equally, I wouldn’t suggest it to anyone I felt wouldn’t enjoy it. Our family holiday home is somewhere devoid of expat bars and thumping night-life. It’s more of a traditional Catalan beach resort geared towards families and couples. I’d politely recommend Ibiza or Magaluf for anyone wanting a hedonistic week dancing under a glitterball…

Brushing up on your negotiation skills could net you even more house for your money! Download our guide, How to Negotiate Abroad, for tips from a licensed estate agent.

Friends requesting to go back isn’t unusual, and really good friends will want to be there when you are. This happened to us last year – while we stayed in our place, friends of ours who’d been in previous years booked their own villa five minutes’ walk away. We enjoyed quality time together without being in each other’s pockets and of course the kids all loved splashing about in the pool together. It worked, so we’re talking about doing it again next year.

Catch up with old friends and relatives you don't see often.

Catch up with old friends and relatives you don’t see often.

Teenage kicks!

For families with littluns, the day will come when your children become young adults, sit you down with a large glass of wine and smiling sweetly ask for the keys to the holiday home. And, so long as you lay down some ground rules, why not?! It might be they want some romantic time away with their sweetheart, or more likely they want to treat a group of friends to a holiday after finishing college or a gruelling term at uni. Some of my most entertaining memories at our place in Spain are from my teenage years there with school friends. Thankfully, Facebook and Instagram weren’t around then to record any of it…

Buying together with family is a great way to double, triple or quadruple your budget, and to have somewhere everyone can enjoy. Find out how joint ownership works in our free guide.

Adult reunions

Busy lives running a household make it hard enough to catch up with old friends, but having a family holiday home can be the perfect incentive for organising reunions. You can take turns with your husband/wife/partner to head out there for a long weekend or longer with a group of old buddies, leaving your other half to look after the kids. Guys might build a day or two of golf into their stay, ladies might prefer a day at a local Spa…! Last time I did that, the old friend I was with went scuba-diving and persuaded me to go with him for the first time – only took me 30 years to try it!

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Richard Way

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