Claire, 48, an orthodontist, says: ‘My husband is a cautious man and was reluctant to sign up.But I have friends who home-swap and they rave about it.But sadly, this tactic does not always prove successful.Emma Myers, at Saga Legal Services, which provides fixed-fee legal help for people over the age of 50, says: ‘The beneficiary is entitled to reject the inheritance and this leaves liability for maintenance fees back with the person’s estate.’ She recommends owners check their contracts for a clause allowing the agreement to be brought to an end or requiring the company to buy back a timeshare after death.Others point to the difficulty of booking at peak times (school holidays being the most tricky), as well as the constant need to make the most of the investment – sacrificing the freedom to pick a holiday anywhere at any time.Jacqueline Stinton and her late husband Darrol bought a holiday property bond from HPB Management, the only firm in the market, 25 years ago for £5,000.When a member of one of the websites finds a property they like they can email the owner, or alternatively sit back to see what offers come in for their own home.When there is a match, owners spend some time agreeing the details – such as the dates of the swap, the care of any pets and any extras included, such as a car.
The owners of that house will take care of the Nightingales’ home – and their two pet cats – while visiting a relative in nearby Belsize Park.
But instead of paying the sum upfront, or a hefty deposit, customers can choose to pay a smaller deposit followed by 11 monthly instalments of about £25.
Its cancellations desk sells other families’ abandoned plans at a discount but is only open for two hours each day.
Those interested in a last-minute deal can call between noon and 2pm on 08.
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But he admits that, despite buying into property, returns are not guaranteed. Our investment is now perhaps worth £230,000.’ Exiting the deal may be subject to restrictions, such as finding another buyer first.