Beach Huts Selling to Friends

Beach Huts Selling to Friends

“Beach Huts”

Selling to Friends

In my blog Beach Huts, Business or Pleasure, I posed the question about whether you should sell your beach hut to a friend, family member or neighbour?  You’ve probably had the conversation at some time or other about whether it’s a good ‘idea’ to mix business with pleasure.  Today, I’m going to lay out my 7 reasons why selling to friends requires a good deal of thought in advance.

Life is never black or white.  But giving due consideration to a decision can save a lot of heartache in the long run.

Image you’ve made the decision to sell your beach hut.  You probably have very strong reasons:

  • You don’t use it much anymore
  • Your children have grown up into teenagers and it’s no longer ‘cool’ to go to the hut, unless it’s with friends.  Certainly not with parents!
  • You’d like to free up some extra cash for a new extension, kitchen, holiday, car…
  • Your pension isn’t quite what you expected it to be…

Let’s tackle my 7 reasons why selling your beach hut to friends or family isn’t necessarily straightforward:

Selling to Friends – My 7 Top Tips

1. Doubt

A casual conversation about selling your beach hut, maybe while you’re having a coffee together, or a chat across the garden fence as you prepare your garden for the spring, is all about being good neighbours.

Then your friend/neighbour mentions they’ve been thinking about buying a beach hut for ages.  Maybe the friend has even joined you at your hut for the odd social occasion.  There’s a world of difference between spending ‘free time’ at your hut, and taking on the responsibilities of purchase, annual licence fee, maintenance, insurance, etc.

But what if your trivial remark leads to a potential ‘business’ relationship?  What are the consequences for your ongoing friendship?

2. Solid as a rock…

Or shifting sands? Now, your friendship moves into brand new territory as your friend mentions his desire to buy your hut.

Let’s consider some of the questions you may face:

  • “How much are you selling for?” Should you give mate’s rates?
  • “I’m serious, we’ve been wanting a beach hut for ages, but never got around to it!” How serious is your friend about buying ANY beach hut?
  • “We’ve got the money.” Cash? Now?
  • “You’ll save money by selling direct to us!” What if he wants to negotiate?
  • “We’ll be ready in the summer!” What timescale are you thinking about? You could be desperate for a quick sale to pay for your kitchen extension, garden landscaping, new car etc.  He’s a bit more laid back.
  • “It’ll be great!  You can still come and visit your old hut!” Is your relationship likely to change once he’s the owner and you’re simply ‘visiting’?
Introduce your Agent

Selling your beach hut to a friend can seriously affect your social health!  As the saying goes, “Don’t mix business with pleasure”.

My advice is, if you’d like to sell to your friend, tell him to call your agent to express his interest.

Let your agent take over from here on to check that

  1. his reasons for buying are solid
  2. he has the money available and is deadly serious about buying! This is the best option for working out the re-defined boundaries of ‘beach hut social sharing’.

3. Love, love, loss of love

The most obvious reason for not mixing business with pleasure is the potential loss of ‘love and friendship’ when things go wrong.  Maybe your friend has a change of heart, deciding to ‘pull out’ of the ‘business’ relationship.  How will you feel if the sale doesn’t complete as agreed?

The euphoria of thinking you’ve sold to a family friend/neighbour could very quickly dissolve into disappointment at ‘being let down’.

4. Beach hut ‘flirtations’

If your friends and family LOVE joining you at your beach hut, it wouldn’t be surprising for them to ‘flirt’ with the idea of buying a hut of their very own.

But things are not always what they seem.  They may have a completely different idea of what it is to own a beach hut.  You know for sure that it involves responsibility, money, maintenance and repairs! An honest chat about these things, sooner rather than later, would be very wise.

5. Socializing overload

We humans are social beings.  But too much can be unsustainable.  You cherish ‘me’ time, ‘family’ time.  How will your time shared at the beach hut with friends and family change once it’s no longer yours.  Will your friend have expectations that things haven’t changed?  Are you going to continue to invest in the friendship, or go off looking for new experiences? What you most certainly won’t want is a strained atmosphere if you decide you don’t want to socialise every time the ‘gang’ gets together.

6. Relationship Dynamics

By selling to a friend, i.e. mixing business with pleasure, the dynamics of the relationship change.  Your reasons for selling may signal a desired change of direction in your life, leaving behind the ‘old’ you whilst looking for pastures new.  Enjoying a barbie at the beach with friends on the odd occasion is one thing, but …

7. Matching Expectations

Congratulations if you and your friend have sat down and worked out the intricacies of the beach hut deal.  But if one of you pulls out of the transaction for whatever reason, it could leave your friendship in doubt.

People change their minds.  Your friend could regret their initial enthusiasm for ‘offering’ to buy your property on the prom.  He could feel embarrassed, guilty, or even disappointed if the deal doesn’t go through for whatever reason (his partner doesn’t want a hut, funds are needed for house repairs, nursery fees etc).   It’s not worth risking a valuable friendship when a business relationship between friends goes wrong.

During lockdown, beach huts were in high demand, sending prices sky-high.  Sometimes, people want what everyone else has got – the latest ‘craze’.  So be it if beach huts are the latest craze.  Buyer remorse can surface.  You certainly don’t want to hear your friend/neighbour/family member wishes he hadn’t bought at all!

Have you sold to a friend, neighbour or family member?  Write telling me your experience in confidence to