Places in the sun: Why own one holiday home when you can share ownership in four?

Published on  

July 11, 2024

Repurposed from an article featured in The Irish Times

Ian and Radka Everitt-Penhale live in Dublin with their two daughters – Alena (11) and Suzanna (8). Their home search started back in the spring of 2022.

“Ideally, we were looking for a home that was big enough to allow us to invite friends and extended family to join us, and although it was very much a lifestyle/leisure investment, we obviously wanted our purchase to be reasonably secure. But also, our first proper summer holidays in Europe [France] had been quite illuminating in terms of eye-watering costs in peak season, even for relatively modest accommodation,” says Ian.

However, when they were trying to decide where to start looking for a property, they found themselves “overwhelmed with choice”. They also discovered that their budget would only afford them a “modest apartment on a Spanish or Portuguese golf estate” or a “fixer-upper” in a more remote location.

“I actually visited Portugal and looked at a number of properties which looked good on paper, but disappointing in the flesh,” he says. “These didn’t really meet our brief and were not really suitable or appealing enough to invite extended family or friends to join us.

“We also became very conscious of the need to balance the capital outlay and annual operating costs with the actual utility we were going to be able to get out of our purchase – in other words, would we get enough use out of it to justify the resources committed? Also, there was the general question of the risks involved, such as, if the development was financially stable, what our legal protections were, if we knew enough about the locality we were investing in and if the costs – such as maintenance, security and taxes – were transparent. I previously owned a holiday home in South Africa, and the costs really do add up.

At some point in this process of online research, the couple came across the co-ownership concept and initially looked at some single-home co-ownership offerings. They then discovered the “August” model, “which really seemed to have great potential to meet our need, with multiple beautiful homes in wonderful locations at a price we could bear”, recalls Ian.

So, together with other families, they own a share of multiple-family homes, in the five locations.

One of the families homes in the South of France

“The primary reason for purchasing was to provide us with great family holiday destinations that were easily accessible from Dublin,” says Ian

August is a UK-based company which acquires homes in popular holiday spots and then sells shares in these properties to families. Each family has a 1/21st ownership interest of the properties, their accompanying land and all their contents.

August finds the properties, renovates and manages them, on your behalf, for a fee of about €550 a month, which means the beds are done and gardens maintained before each visit.

August is currently offering an opportunity to apply to join its Signature Collection for €425,000. This gives an average of 8-12 weeks a year in four- to five-bed luxury homes in Mallorca, Tuscany, Chamonix and in the South of France.

Once they decided to go down this route, Ian says, the marketing and onboarding process was very different to buying a property independently.

“August’s role is to curate and set up the collections and to bring together like-minded families,” he says. “They also oversee the renovation, furnishing and maintenance of the homes in your collection, as well as managing the allocation of time using a very equitable points-based system amongst the 21 co-owners (who were in our collection). Apart from the capital outlay, there is also an annual fee to cover administration and property upkeep.”

Lounge of their Chamonix apartment

This all happened for the Dublin family last summer, and now the properties have been purchased and are ready or almost ready for occupancy. The family have had video conferences with the other property owners to set out a system which enables them all to book available weeks or place themselves on a waiting list for available dates.

The properties, which sleep eight people, have all been recently renovated and are situated in beautiful locations. The couple feels they have made the right decision for their family and their individual needs.
“We haven’t had any hiccups in the process and there isn’t anything I would do differently,” says the father-of-two. “We certainly believe that our purchase is relatively secure, even though everything has some risk, as homeowners can choose to sell their membership either through the company or by identifying buyers themselves.

“There are enough weeks and homes to go around, and the points system is designed to ensure you will get some excellent options.

The family currently has trips planned to three of their new homes – in Chamonix and the south of France, and Tuscany – and are hoping to enjoy them for at least eight weeks per year in total.

“Under the agreement, we aren’t able to let our properties out, but we can invite and allow our friends and family to use them when we’re not able to,” he says.

He would advise others who are considering buying abroad to know what they want and make sure to do research in advance.

“You need to be 100 per cent clear on what you really want and why,” he says. “Know what is the purpose of the home – is it for family and friends too, to generate a rental income, how much time are you willing to spend travelling, and are you happy being tied to one location year after year? Once you’re clear on that, everything else becomes a lot simpler.”

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