The last decade has seen a vast improvement in Internet and mobile communications, and as a consequence the growing reliance on email as a secure and acceptable form of communication has changed the way we live and work. Working from home several days a week has become the norm rather than the exception, and subsequently, owning a primary home overseas at a commutable distance from the UK is now a feasible option.
The increase in budget airlines has also made living and working from abroad more popular. There are several things to bear in mind when considering the logistics of such a lifestyle change.
Look at the airlines that fly to your chosen country – do not rely exclusively on the budget airlines. Many owners in France and Portugal were caught out when Easy Jet and Ryanair cancelled their flights to rural airports due to increased airport taxes. Some owners were forced to sell up as the ‘commute’ became impossible.
My advice would be not to rely on British Airways, whose flights will always be affected by problems in UK airports, ranging from strikes to extreme weather, particularly around peak travelling dates. Investigate carefully the country-based airlines, which are more likely to do a ‘deal’ on ticket prices over a long period.
Choose the most easily accessible airport in the UK for your work. Gatwick and Heathrow are the obvious choices for Central London as both are served by several means of transport, virtually at all times of the day and night. Flights to and from Luton or Stanstead may well be cheaper but are likely to have limited services into town.
If you own your own business and need an official ‘base’ in London, look at serviced or virtual offices. Services and facilities now on offer are more professional than they used to be, and more widely acceptable. Call answering and mail handling will save a fortune on permanent office and staff rental costs, and if necessary private offices and boardrooms may be rented on an hourly, daily or weekly basis. Extra staff can also be hired as and when needed.
Your UK base
When choosing the right property to live in during the week, an important consideration is the distance from the airport, and from where you conduct your business. You do not want to waste time travelling to and from your base.
If you are not using an office and you work from ‘home’, it makes sense to be as central as possible, not only from a day to day convenience point of view, but because a well located smaller flat will be a better investment in the long term. Ideally look for apartments in well-run, possibly portered, blocks. There are many of these available in London. A friendly porter will look after your flat whilst you are away and will often arrange for cleaning and stocking the fridge with essentials before you arrive. They will also keep a regular check on the apartment if you are away for long periods.
Should your situation change and you no longer have the need to travel regularly, a well located apartment will always rent well either on a long or short term basis, particularly if it is situated in a well run building. There is always demand for these types of property, irrespective of general market conditions.