Common Misconceptions about Owning Abroad
Owning a second home abroad is one of those topics that people like to make assumptions about. Common misconceptions about your circumstances, your desire for endless visitors and that you have beautiful, warm sunshine all day every day, are all too common.
If you have a home overseas, or are an expatriate in Europe or an international country, whether you have a full time job or have been able to take early or standard retirement, you will come across a number of frustrating misconceptions about your situation. Here are a few of the most common and ways to handle them, without being defensive.
Your Financial SituationLet’s get the big one out of the way first. When you own a home abroad, whether it is your only home and you live there full time or a holiday home to be used whenever you can, you will find that friends, family or acquaintances will assume that you are loaded.
People will say things like ‘I would buy a house in the sun if I won the lottery’ or ‘you are so lucky to have a house in Spain/Italy/wherever’. This can be terribly frustrating as you may have saved for many years to be able to afford it, or have a large mortgage to pay. You may also have won the lottery or be very lucky, but that is far less likely. The truth is, people like to have a reason, or excuse, as to why they have not done something, or that it was easy for you to achieve it. We know that’s not true, but it makes people feel better.
A good way to handle such infuriating comments is to say ‘the estate agent found us a really good deal – do you want their phone number?’ or perhaps ‘it almost makes all those years of working at X worth while!’ This will stop you sounding defensive, but will allow you to not seethe in silence.
You Love Having Visitors All the TimeThis is a tricky one because there is no doubt that having visitors to you home abroad is wonderful – sharing the local vino in the evening and enjoying the sun in the day – but you probably did not plan to run a free B&B for your friends and family.
People can think that, because you have a home abroad, they are always welcome and you love having a full house. The only way to deal with this is to adopt some strict diary management and learn to say ‘no’. If you and your partner are planning a week away for your anniversary or birthday, don’t feel obliged to invite any one else along.
Another good way to handle this is to find a decent, well-priced local B&B or hotel. If your friends and family want to come and visit at a particular time that doesn’t suit you, they can still make arrangements to have a holiday. You get the best of both worlds as you get to see your friends but do not have to run around keeping everyone happy.