Buyers are looking for live/work properties thanks to the post-summertime blues.
When Dolly Parton belts out the chorus of one of her greatest hits, we all join in with heartfelt abandon: “Workin’ 9 to 5, what a way to make a livin’; barely getting’ by, it’s all takin’ and no givin.’”
Whip-smart Dolly knows how to tap into emotions and escaping the daily grind is something many of us are desperate to do, especially at this time of year. The post-summer holiday and post-Christmas periods are peak times for making plans to escape the rat race. Those suffering from the back to work blues often look at live-work properties as a way of keeping a roof over their head while becoming self-employed. Businesses in the most beautiful parts of Yorkshire are top of the hit list.
“We’ve seen a rise in sales year on year and a lot of them are to first-time buyers who have never run a business before,” says Stuart Moorhouse, of Yorkshire-based business agent Ernest Wilson. “We get a lot of people in their late 30s, 40s and 50s looking for a lifestyle change. They want a home with an income and tend to go for cafes, tearooms, guest houses, kennels and catteries.”
At the lower end of the market, there is a cafe/gift shop with two-bedroom accommodation above in Saltburn-by-Sea for £149,950 with Hilton Smythe, hiltonsmythe.com. It also has a newsagent service and makes bespoke cakes. The turnover is £125,000 with a gross profit of 35 per cent.
Guest houses are popular with older buyers who want a lifestyle change. Nick Henderson, of Hendersons estate agency in Whitby, says: “We’ve just sold a nine- bedroom guest house to a man in his mid-50s. He is turning it into four luxury suites with the upper floors as owner accommodation. His plan is to run it for ten or 15 years until he retires.”
There is a lot of scope for refurbishing guest houses, according to Nick, who adds that novices often underestimate the amount of work involved in running them. “It is demanding but I know owners who get work-life balance by shutting in September and taking three or four months off.”
Other live-work options include shops with accommodation. Yorkshire Dales estate agent JR Hopper is marketing a gift shop in Reeth for £350,000. It comes with four bedrooms and scope to extend the business.
If you are semi-retiring and don’t need a large income then properties with ancillary accommodation are useful. Letting an adjoining annexe via Airbnb has become popular as it allows tax-free earnings of up to £7,500 thanks to the government’s rent-a-room scheme. However, the government is consulting on removing this tax break for short stays and it could soon only apply to “long-term lodgings”.
Whatever you choose be aware that getting a mortgage may not be straightforward as most live-work properties are classed as commercial. “A lot of people don’t realise that they need a commercial mortgage and that they usually need at least a 40 per cent deposit,” says Nick Henderson. It helps to get advice from a specialist. Ernest Wilson offers this service.
You should also check out the internet connections in your preferred location. Broadband speeds are often lower in rural and coastal communities. Ofcom has a website that allows you to check average internet speeds, though the data isn’t always reliable. It’s far better to visit local shops, pubs/restaurants and ask them.