Buying a holiday home or cottage

Last year was quieter than normal for leisure housing, but this summer’s good weather in early summer is expected to bring cottage sales back to normal levels. 

Buying a holiday home or cottage is a real estate transaction just like buying a home. It is a good idea to have a professional estate agent to help you. When buying a holiday home, it is important to know what you want and how much you are prepared to invest in it. 

Why would I buy a holiday home, and what kind should it be? 

It is easy to associate emotions and romantic images with the purchase of a cottage. But before you start shopping for a cottage, you should think about why you are buying one and for what purpose. For example, you should think about how much time you plan to spend at the cottage, as this will influence the type of cottage you should invest in. If you only spend time at the cottage in the summer and for short periods, a smaller cottage may be sufficient. If you spend a lot of time at the cottage, and also in winter, you may want a more spacious and better equipped cottage. 

There are many different types of cottages or holiday homes available. A simple cottage in the countryside, a traditional wood cabin beside water, or a villa? Simple cottages are usually modestly equipped and suitable for short-term use. A villa, on the other hand, may be equipped with modern amenities and be suitable for winter use. Ordinary homes in popular destinations such as Hanko are also being bought for holiday homes. It is important to know what you want from your holiday home, what amenities you need and how much you are prepared to pay for it.

Where can I buy a cottage? 

Holiday homes and cottages are available throughout Finland, with the most popular area at the moment being the south coast and its well-equipped holiday homes. However, traditional cottage regions such as the lake district of Finland, Savo, North Karelia and Pirkanmaa are also growing in popularity.

When choosing the location of your cottage, you must again take into account your own wishes and needs for your leisure time. Do you want a cottage close to services? Do you want a cottage near water? Do you want to go fishing? Do you want a cottage in a resort with entertainment? 

You should also think carefully about how far away from your home you want your holiday home to be. If you visit the cottage infrequently but for longer periods of time, a longer distance to the cottage is not a problem. If you visit the cottage for short periods, a shorter distance from home is a good idea so that the journey is not too much of a burden. 

Financing and additional costs of the holiday home 

When buying a holiday home, the financing is slightly different from buying a normal home. It is highly recommended that you have savings when buying a holiday home. The loan terms are customer-specific and negotiable, but generally the loan period is shorter than in a normal mortgage, around 10 to 15 years, and the pricing is higher than in a mortgage. When negotiating the loan terms, it is important to be precise and to agree in advance, for example, on grace periods and no-fee repayments.

There are also big differences in the price levels of holiday homes. A modest cottage can be available for a few tens of thousands of euros. A well-equipped holiday home can be in the price range of a detached house. Few people nowadays want a holiday home they have to renovate, and often look for a well-equipped cottage or holiday home at a higher price. 

In addition to the price of the cottage itself, other costs of a holiday home should also be considered. In addition to the purchase price, there may be costs for various connection fees, for example for connection to the electricity or water supply network. Heating costs must also be taken into account, and it is worth remembering that if the cottage is connected to the mains water supply, it must be kept at a basic temperature throughout the year so that the pipes do not freeze in winter. 

A holiday home must be covered by waste management even if you only spend part of the year there, and it is a good idea to get to know and prepare for the waste management fees in advance. There may also be costs associated with the maintenance of the cottage road. 

Holiday homes are also subject to real property tax, the amount of which varies from municipality to municipality and from cottage to cottage and depends on the taxable value of the holiday house. The better equipped and the newer the cottage, the higher the real property tax. Depending on the equipment of the cottage, insurance premiums for the cottage can amount to hundreds of euros per year.

Buying a holiday home is a real property transaction 

Buying a holiday home or cottage is a real property transaction, just like buying a permanent home. It is advisable to involve a professional real estate agent to guide you through the transaction, provide you with the necessary information and documents, and help you with the other intricacies of a real property transaction. 

When buying a holiday home, you need to check the same things as when buying a normal home. When making a purchase, you need to find out who you are buying from and what you are buying. It is a good idea to check the boundaries of the plot in the terrain to make sure that they correspond to those indicated on a map. Find out about debts and encumbrances on the real property, for example whether there is a road through the property to a neighbour’s cottage.

Also find out what other things come with the property. Does the sale come with a water right? How will the cottage be accessed? Does the sale include a boat slip or parking rights? If you are into fishing, you should find out whether the body of water adjacent to the cottage involves fishing rights that go beyond public right of access. 

The municipality is the source of information for the zoning and building permit situation in the area. This information is needed especially if you want to build an extension to your holiday home. 

When buying a holiday home, the buyer also has the same obligation to find out information as in a normal home purchase. Under the Code of Real Estate, the buyer cannot invoke a defect that he knew about or that could have been discovered during an inspection of the property before the sale. Similarly, the seller also has an obligation to find out information and a disclosure obligation. When buying a holiday house, it is a good idea to find out, for example, who built the cottage and from what materials. It is advisable to carry out a condition inspection, as in the case of normal housing transactions. 

If you are careful when buying a cottage or holiday home, if you make sure you have all the necessary information and documents, and if you think carefully about what you need and want, you can go cottage shopping with confidence. Then you can enjoy your leisure time in a relaxed way!