Get your glad rags on and chequebook ready; it’s the OPPLive Gala Dinner!

United Kingdom

In just 2 weeks time, the great and the good of the overseas property industry will be getting their glad rags on and making their way to the auspicious OPPLive 2013 Gala Dinner.

Held at the Natural History Museum, one of the finest buildings in Central London on Wednesday 27th November 2013, attendees of the OPPLive Gala Dinner will read as a “Who’s Who?” of the industry as developers, agents and international property professionals alike gather for an evening of celebration.

Marking the close of the first day of the OPPLive 2013 event, the Gala Dinner will also reveal the winners of the OPP Awards of Excellence 2013 and host, for the second year running the Frontiers Foundation charity auction.

Xavier Wiggins, Founder and Organiser of OPPLive, comments,

“In 2012 our prestigious social networking event, the OPP Gala Dinner, made a spectacular return after a three year break. As well as playing host to the annual OPP Awards for Excellence, the OPP Gala Dinner is an excellent opportunity to entertain existing and new partners and also to host your colleagues in an environment of fun and networking.

With over 400 guests already confirmed, superb food, drink and entertainment lined up, the 2013 OPP Gala Dinner is sure to be a glittering event not to be missed.

The evening will also host the Frontiers Foundation Charity Auction for the second year running. Following last years highly successful auction which raised £7,750 for a Kenyan orphanage, this year the Frontiers Foundation Trustees are raising the bar, aiming to reach a staggering £10,000 for a very worthwhile schools project in Nepal.

With well-known industry personality Paul Owen of Sales Talent Spotters as auctioneer and some superb lots available including fine dining vouchers courtesy of Gaucho, a Methuselah of champagne donated by Barton Wyatt, use of a London black cab from Rightmove, premiership football tickets from SmartCurrency Exchange and a weekend in Cyprus courtesy of Property Frontiers plus many more, guests are reminded to bring their chequebooks!

For more information and to purchase your OPP Gala Dinner 2013 tickets or indeed reserve a table, visit

A word from our sponsors: Jana Korpova, Head of Business Development, Smart Currency Exchange

United Kingdom

With only 8 weeks until the opening of the overseas property industry’s biggest and best trade event, OPPLive, we speak with official co-sponsor, Smart Currency Exchange.

One of the fastest growing currency exchange specialists in the UK founded in 2004, the Smart Team focus on helping clients to effectively and efficiently send and receive payments internationally – an essential part of the international property buying process.

Striving to save their clients substantial amounts of money – especially when compared to banks – Smart also help clients to manage their risk associated to foreign currency movements. Now in their second year of sponsorship of OPPLive and the Awards of Excellence we hear from Jana Korpova, Head of Business Development, a well-known personality in the overseas property arena, about what being an official sponsor means to her and the Smart Team:

Smart Currency is a lead sponsor of OPPLive, when and how did you first hear about the show?

I first visited the show when I joined Smart Currency Exchange in 2007. Since then I’ve never missed an opportunity to either visit, exhibit or be a panellist at one of the many seminars. OPPLive really is more than an exhibition – it is a hub where professional, likeminded people working in overseas property can meet, do business and compare experiences. I would recommend attending to anyone who is looking for partners or is interested in what industry leaders have to say about the industry’s latest trends.

You’ve sponsored a number of other industry events in the past, so what made you choose to support OPPLive?

Smart sponsored OPPLive and its Awards last year and found it well worth it. As well as it being our way of giving something back to the industry and the OPP media platform, we see it as a great flag-waving exercise. Business to business partnerships and understanding what making our industry tick are crucial to the on-going success of Smart, so we want people to see our brand and name, and know we’re open for business. I think most people reading this will understand how valuable good partnerships have become over the last few years, given how tough the economic environment has been.

Why do you feel that it’s important for Smart to be a sponsor?

Personally, I believe that our partnerships with the industry leaders such as Rightmove, A Place in the Sun and indeed OPP are key to us achieving our vision, namely to become the UK’s number one foreign exchange provider for private individuals buying property or moving abroad. Sponsorship of the industry’s most recognised awards plays a key role in the message that Smart wishes to send out to everyone: We are proud to talk property before currency.

What do you hope to gain from sponsorship / exhibiting at the show?

In terms of business opportunities, I would like to see our business development team speaking with as many trade partners as possible. Our approach to potential partnerships is about much more than just gaining access to new clients’ databases, it is more consultative and long-term. It is important for us to understand how successful the industry professionals are, what their problems are and how we can help them. I hope my team will gain a lot of industry insight at the show and that conversely, other exhibitors, as well as visitors, will find our own information and talking to us both useful and interesting.

Do you think that sponsorships still have a place in property marketing today?

Previous to sponsoring OPPLive, I was sceptical about its long-term value and how it would assist us in marketing Smart and our partnership programme. But following the success we have had, I believe that sponsorship does have a place in property marketing. However, there is a fine balance between just paying for your brand to be displayed and being a true sponsor that believes and supports the industry on a day to day basis.

As a sponsor, how else will Smart be involved in the event?

Smart will have a stand at OPPLive, where we will be offering the chance to speak to potential partners about how they currently work with currency firms, what they ultimately would like to be achieving and how we could assist them. We all know that there are many FX companies operating in the overseas property industry, but only a few actually make extra effort to support their partners in achieving their goals, which are typically linked to selling more properties, getting more clients and adding value to the service they offer. At Smart we do our best to understand each individual partner’s needs and support them as best we can.

Why do you think international property professionals should attend OPPLive?

It’s a great place to network, meet like-minded companies and explore new opportunities for growing your business – or even set up a business – in the overseas property industry. It’s also fun and insightful bringing together visitors and exhibitors from all over the world.

Do you have any top tips for your fellow exhibitors?

The most important thing is to be enthusiastic and open minded to any propositions or ideas coming from either fellow exhibitors or visitors. The industry has suffered in the past few years, but there are reasons why this show is going to be a great place to share ideas and enter into great partnerships.

And here’s a practical tip from me, one I forget time and time again – ladies, wear flat shoes. It is going to be a long day followed by a great night at the awards, so bring flat shoes for the day and heels for the night!

OPPLive will be held on 27th and 28th November 2013 at Central Hall, Westminster, London with delegate passes are now available to purchases online at

Working 9 to 5; what a way to make a living – now do it from home

United Kingdom

The number of people working from home in the UK has increased by 13 per cent in the last 5 years according to a new TUC analysis of official figures assembled to mark National Work From Home Day, organised by WorkWise UK.

  • Number of people in UK working from home up 13% in last 5 years (Labour Force Survey)
  • Majority of new homeworking jobs created have gone to women
  •  By 2015 1.5 billion people will be undertaking mobile working (IDF)

The TUC analysis of unpublished data from the Labour Force Survey reveals that just over 4 million employees usually worked at home in 2012, a rise of 470,000 since 2007, with many millions more occasionally work from home. Geographically the South East, Scotland and Wales have seen the sharpest rise in homeworking over the last 5 years.

The report went onto state that nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of people who work from home are male with an increasing number of women making this choice. The research also showed that the majority of homeworking jobs created in the last 5 years have gone to women.

Further recent research from the Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion (ENEI) involving 55 UK companies found over 60 per cent believe a quarter of their staff will be making the most of mobile working practices in the next half a decade. Looking globally the International Data Forecast (IDF) predicts that by 2015, there will be 1.5 billion people across the world undertaking mobile working.

The Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer famously banned working from home earlier this year as she believes that the best ideas happen when workers are face to face and have the ability to collaborate with each other.  But it turns out that remote workers are more engaged according to Scott Edinger from Edinger Consulting Group.

So what does all this mean for us?

The problem that many will face when considering working from home is a reliable broadband connection and having the space to accommodate all the paraphernalia that goes with the 9 to 5.

Twitter enthusiasts will have regularly seen #wfh (working from home) where tweeters are happily munching on cupcakes, cuddling the cat and enjoying their favourite station on the digital radio without interference from traditional ‘colleagues’.

But the cold reality of home working comes down to comfort, space and the ability to shut the door and return to ‘home life’ at the end of your working day.  If your house is to become for work and for pleasure then it needs to be able to accommodate both without one part infringing on the other.

With the rise in popularity of working from home, house builders, retailers and interior designers have become incredibly inventive about creating work space in the home.

Many retailers are able to provide dinky desk arrangements to fit in the corners of a spare room, in alcoves and under bunk beds.  Some families have installed multiple desk suites in a room, creating space for Mum, Dad and the kids to all work/study together.

Richard Patterson, Director of My Online Estate Agent comments on requests he sees from buyers,

“Many purchasers are looking for an area in the home that is dedicated to ‘work’.  They are looking for a room where they can install filling cabinets, shelves, desks, an office chair and all essential Wi-Fi kit.  Most of our clients are content to ‘make do’ with turning over a spare room for this purpose although some need much larger spaces.”

Partner of award winning Surrey estate agency Barton Wyatt, James Wyatt comments,

“A good number of our clients have added a garden studio to their homes.  In Virginia Water there is often ample space in the garden and the choice of garden rooms is becoming far wider.  These multi-functional ‘sheds’ can be as simple or as sophisticated as you desire, from a plain insulated cabin arrangement to an all-singing, all-dancing heated, plumbed and networked suite that includes a bathroom, soft seating area and a small kitchen.  Clients working from home include architects that need huge drawing desks, Pilates instructors seeking floor space and beauticians who want an aesthetically pleasing and peaceful environment.”

Luxury developer, Millgate, create homes that already incorporate modern day working areas.

Jonathan Cranley, Sales and Marketing Director explains,

“It is an essential today for most of our clients to have a spacious area to work from home; many are international business men/women who often work remotely at all hours of the day.  We endeavour to always include a room designed for this purpose with numerous electrical sockets and communication ports, a pleasing view and away from the noisy hub of the house.  Some of our homes afford rooms over the garages and these make excellent home offices; within these we create a large ‘living’ area, a bathroom and fully fitted kitchen enabling independence from the main house during the work day.”

Gallery of homes of the market that would be perfect for working from home:

Tavistock, Virginia Water, Surrey                             £1,995,000

This house has recently been subject to a complete modernisation programme including new heating system, rewiring, a magnificent new kitchen and luxurious bathroom suites throughout. The spacious accommodation is set over just two floors with generous room sizes and is well suited to contemporary family lifestyle with an enormous kitchen/breakfast/conservatory area, ideal for entertaining.

The house has a quiet study off the main entrance hall.  Being south facing, the house is incredibly light, with large windows and spaciousness being very much a theme throughout the property.

The rear of the house faces due south and has a lovely open view.

For more information please contact Barton Wyatt on 01344 843000 or visit


Alderbourne Place, Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire                    £2,100,000

Alderbourne Place enjoys a perfect blend of seclusion and comfort which offers the best of town and country living, nestled in rolling green-belt countryside.  This fabulous new development consists of 8 impressive country homes and 4 town houses reflecting meticulous attention to detail with architectural integrity, yet again setting the benchmark for building excellence.

The town house have been snapped up already but country homes with spacious studies are available from £2,100,000.  For further information or to arrange a viewing on 0118 934 3344or visit

Henley Road, Haslemere, Surrey                                                             £685,000             


This lovely 4 bedroom 2 bathroom detached period cottage has been renovated and extended by its present owners to create a unique reverse level home.  If you think you might need working from home facilities for more than one of you then this property is perfect – it has a studio annexe, double garage and a garden office. The original part of the house is thought to be around 300 years old and retains a great deal of its original charm. The house sits in a wonderful elevated position with stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

For more information please contact My Online Estate Agent on 0845 257 1101 or visit

Waterford House, Wentworth Estate

Waterford House is superbly situated within the Wentworth Estate on arguably one of the most prestigious roads within Wentworth. Both the Wentworth clubhouse and the village are within easy walking distance.   This house has plentiful accommodation with five bedroom suites, five reception rooms, cinema room, games room and a three car garage.

If you are working from home within the main house there is study and a studio annexe sits over the garage which could be used as an office.

For more information contact Barton Wyatt on 0134 484 3000 or visit

Geers Farm, Heathfield, Sussex

An beautiful detached 5 bed period house oozing with character.  Parts of the house date back to 1450 when it owned all the land in the vicinity surrounded by woodland and wheat fields. Geers Farm is privately located in its own large garden with access via a long drive and electrically operated gates. The house has been extensively refurbished and re-modelled by the current owners and is now presented in superb order throughout.

A welcoming entrance hall with slate flooring and under floor heating leading into a spacious utility and separate kitchen. A magnificent Drawing room with stable door to garden and sun terrace, heavily timbered and with fine large inglenook fireplace and raised brick hearth and with French doors opening directly onto the large patio.

The first floor the property has two ´wings´ leading off to the newer part of the building is a large open plan reception area with oak floorboards and double doors to a decked balcony terrace which leads down to the rear garden.

The triple integral garage would make the perfect spot to develop an area to work from home.  There is lapsed planning permission to convert all of the garages.  And whilst this work is being carried out why not use one of the 5 bedrooms as an office.

For more information please contact My Online Estate Agent on 0845 257 1101 or visit

Holland Place Sunninghill, Berkshire
Guide Price from £3,500,000

Three luxury contemporary private residences in soon to be completed in a gated private road.  The houses are located just two miles from Ascot High Street in the picturesque village of Sunninghill.

These 6 bedroom residences each sit within substantial landscaped grounds, reflecting meticulous attention to detail in design, specification and architectural integrity – again setting the benchmark for building excellence.  Well thought out studies are on the ground floor of each home and large media rooms in the roof give options for setting out your home.

For more information contact Millgate on 01189 343344 or visit

Haunted castles and high-heeled vampires – is no property safe from ghostly happenings this Halloween?

United Kingdom

As Halloween approaches, ghostly tales and spooky happenings are once more front of mine. With such a long and rich history, it is perhaps not surprising that almost every area in the UK can produce a local legend at this time of year, perfect for telling around the campfire.

  • Phantom children come out to play at Farnham Castle
  • Vampire Sampiro dresses well in Albania with high-heels
  • Mannequins reposition themselves in North Dakota

Take the town of Farnham, in Surrey, for example. With a pretty river, attractive architecture and hidden gardens, this delightful town attracts tourists and high-end property buyers throughout the year. Yet as Halloween approaches, locals mutter about the elderly lady who appears to walk the churchyard of St Andrew’s Church, while Latin singing can be heard emanating from the building.

At Farnham Castle, phantom children have been observed running along the upper balcony, while the shadow of a young girl dances on the stairs where she is said to have tripped and died. A bell can often be heard tolling in the keep, where it used to be housed, and in the cellar a long-dead soldier who was shot in the face causes visitors to twinge as they explore.

Jonathan Cranley, Sales and Marketing Director for award-winning developer Millgate, which has three detached 5 bedroom country homes at Lower Bourne, on the outskirts of Farnham, comments:

“Ghostly tales are such a great part of the British culture. No matter where you live there’s always a spooky local story to add spice to the location.”

Millgate’s Tattingstone properties at Lower Bourne match generously proportioned interiors with substantial gardens, which are perfect for luxurious family living. Farnham is just three miles away – close enough for easy shopping at the celebrated local markets, yet far enough to avoid the castle’s ghostly residents!

Spooky happenings are not just limited to the UK. Around the world ancient legends are revived as Halloween draws near. Montebello Castle in Rimini is home to the tale of Azzurrina, Italy’s most famous ghost and the subject of a movie out later this year. Azzurrina was a little girl when she chased her ball into a basement on the summer solstice in 1375. The soldiers playing with her waited at the top of the stairs (the only exit from the basement) but Azzurrina never reappeared. When they went down to look for her, neither Azzurrina nor her ball could be found.

Montebello Castle is popular with tourists and over the years many have recorded a little girl’s voice crying out in the castle at night. Visitors have also reported hearing a child calling out to her mother and at other times childish singing has echoed through the rooms. Casa Leopardi, just over an hour away in Le Marche, makes the perfect base for those wanting to explore Italy’s rural treasures, such as Montebello Castle. The 5 bedroom, 5 bathroom house has been restored from tumbledown farm buildings, with as many original features retained as possible.

Appassionata, who undertook the renovation work, manage the property as a luxury fractional ownership home, whereby owners of Casa Leopardi have exclusive use of the house for five weeks per year, plus a share in the wine, lavender oil, olive oil and truffles produced on its five acre estate – all for just £185,000.

Across the Adriatic Sea in Albania, vampires are the legend of choice. While various tales exist, the vampire Sampiro has to be one of the most engaging. Eyes glowing, Sampiro follows its victims around making kissing noises before feeding on them. But Sampiro hasn’t let being a member of the undead impede its fashion sense – the legend is that this vampire’s fondness for high heels causes it to walk with a delightful swaying gait as it stalks its pray.

Those looking to escape the dark embrace of Sampiro would do well to invest in the stunning beach resort of Lalzit Bay Resort and Spa, where running along the pristine white sands of the Adriatic coast is sure to defeat Sampiro’s heels. Prices start at just €30,000 for a one bedroom apartment in this award-winning development, which is tipped to become the most exclusive beach community in the country.

Halfway across the world, in Williston, North Dakota, spooky goings on of a different kind have been reported in the town’s Old Armory, which housed soldiers for several decades before being turned over to the townspeople for the hosting of a range of social events and activities. Those using the building have been known to hear disembodied whispers and see ghostly apparitions, while the mannequins are reputed to move on their own.

Investors looking to avoid these spooky happenings can redirect their attentions to nearby Watford City, where North Dakota Developments has almost finished construction of the first phase of its Great American Lodge. Designed to house the oil workers flocking to North Dakota due to the state’s on-going energy boom, Great American Lodge provides high-end, fully serviced, executive hotel suites, along with a host of communal facilities. Investment begins at just $30,950 for a fractional share of a studio.

So as Halloween approaches, it seems that no matter where people buy in the world, whether as an investment prospect or a personal residence, ghostly tales and haunted locations are never far away!

For more information on any of the featured properties, please contact:

Millgate: call 0118 934 3344 or visit

Appassionata: call +39 073 465 8775 or visit

Lalzit Bay Resort and Spa: call +44 845 125 8600 or visit

North Dakota Developments: call +001 (605)-610-0310, email or visit

Booming Asia: New unmissable conference at OPPLive announced

United Kingdom
Here in the UK, we may be rejoicing in falling unemployment levels, reports of house prices rising at their fastest rate for seven years and the Chancellor proclaiming that the economy is “turning a corner” but whilst these are indeed positive signs of recovery, they are nowhere near the immense levels of growth seen in Asia in recent times.
Compared to China and the Philippines’ 7.5% GDP growth recorded in Q2 2013, the UK’s 0.7% increase hardly stacks up making investment in Asian markets even more appealing. Indeed according to the latest Global Property Guide survey, Asian housing markets are leading global real estate recovery with prices in Taiwan soaring 14.52% during the year to Q2 2013 and the luxury homes market in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, outperforming Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Mumbai according to the experts at Jones Lang LaSalle.
Xavier Wiggins, Organiser of OPPLive 2013, the international property industry’s biggest and best trade event, comments,
“Since the economic crash we have all seen international property companies based in the West looking East to secure buyers. The booming Asian economies, especially China and Singapore, have changed the whole pattern of international property in recent times so it is only natural that this market plays an integral role in OPPLive.
“We have therefore created a dedicated “Booming Asia” conference at the unmissable event held at Central Hall, London on 27th and 28th November 2013 bringing together expert speakers from a variety of Asian nations to offer their insight into this lucrative and fast changing market.”
Short in duration but high in content and value, there will be a wide assortment of seminars held during the Booming Asia OPPLive conference including:
What next in Asia: Key concepts and challenges of this market.
Marketing to China: Who, what, where and why are they buying? How to market successfully to this audience.
Marketing to Singapore: The cultural and practical problems associated with selling and doing business in this territory.
Marketing to Emerging Asia: How to find, work with and retain partners in emerging Asian markets.
Smart Media Selection – Smart Media Buying: The choices of media available in the major markets and the top three marketing tips for each market.
In addition to these scintillating seminars, Booming Asia will conclude on Thursday 27th November with a Champagne Networking session enabling delegates to meet with speakers and exhibitors over a glass or three of bubbly!
With delegate passes selling fast visit for more information and to register your attendance.

Let’s get physical! New Post Office survey reveals Brits want sport and adventure while abroad


Far from spending their days sunning themselves on the beach in a state of almost stupor-like relaxation, it appears that British holidaymakers are demanding more and more from their holidays. The latest Post Office Travel Money Activity Barometer has revealed that an astonishing 75% of 18-64 year old adults are looking to try out a new sport or physical activity while on holiday.

  • 75% of British adults want to try out new sports or activities on holiday
  • Two thirds have already tried out new activities during past breaks
  • 40% of adults drawn to water-based activities while on holiday

The survey listed 27 activities and found that two thirds of respondents had already taken part in one or more of them while on holiday in the past. The favourite activity to try was rally car driving (58%), yet further research by Post Office Travel Money found that no overseas rally car driving activities were available for the price point set by survey respondents.

For leading Spanish homebuilder Taylor Wimpey España the survey results come as no surprise. Sales and Marketing Manager Marc Pritchard explains,

“We’ve found that those purchasing our La Floresta Sur holiday homes near Marbella are keen to take advantage of the plethora of activities available in the local area. Although rally car driving isn’t available locally, buggy safaris through inland Marbella are extremely popular, as is go-karting. They say that variety is the spice of life and this is certainly true for buyers in southern Spain, with activities ranging from mountain biking, to deep sea fishing, to potholing. All holidaymakers need to do is choose their desired adrenalin level!”

Other popular activities identified by the Post Office survey were adventure sports, with 40% of respondents looking to try a water-based sport, including scuba diving (49%) and white water rafting (43%). Taylor Wimpey España’s Costa Blanca properties are particularly popular with those looking to try their hand at scuba diving. From novices to qualified divers, the Mediterranean Sea offers something for everyone.

The five star Lalzit Bay Resort and Spa, nestled on the beautiful Albanian Adriatic coastline, also recognises the popularity of such activities. The resort recommends white water rafting through the magnificent canyons of the Osumi River, which opens up breath-taking scenery that is usually hidden from most tourists’ eyes. The best time to go is during the spring, when melting snow allows navigation through the entire length of the canyon and creates a series of amazing waterfalls.

For winter adventurers, snowboarding was one of the most desired activities (41%). Family-run company Appassionata, which offers fractional ownership of its two luxury holiday homes (Casa Giacomo and Casa Leopardi) in Italy’s beautiful Le Marche region, has found this to be true of its owners. Snowboarding in the nearby Sibillini Mountains is particularly popular with owners during the winter months, as is skiing.

Over in Germany, the same is true of the 4* Alpen Club, in the spectacular Bavarian Alps. The family-friendly hotel, which offers hotel room investment through Property Frontiers, provides access to an incredible natural playground during the winter months, with sledging, snowboarding, Nordic hikes, ice skating and snow-tubing all extremely popular. Skiing at one of the two ski resorts (Spitzingee and Bayrishell) within a 15 minute drive of the hotel is also a favourite activity for holidaymakers.

While adventure sports capture the imagination of many holidaymakers, mainstream activities such as fishing, cycling and golf were still picked by 27-28% of the Post Office survey respondents. The Villages Group, which offers active properties for those in the gay community aged 50+ at its Canal du Midi village in southern France, affords residents the opportunity to explore the beautiful landscape of the Languedoc through access to the 250 km long Canal du Midi cycle path. The path is one of France’s most popular cycling tours, both with those exploring just a small area of it and with more committed cyclists who intend to journey along its full length.

With so many incredible options for active holidays just a short flight away from Britain’s shores, it’s no wonder that holidaymakers are taking advantage of their free time to engage with a more active lifestyle.

For more information on the wonderful properties mentioned above, please contact:

Taylor Wimpey España: call 08000 121 020 (or +34 971 70 69 72 from outside the UK) or visit

Lalzit Bay Resort and Spa: call +44 845 125 8600 or visit

Appassionata: 0039 073 465 8775 or visit

Property Frontiers: call +44 1865 202 700 or visit

The Villages Group: +33 1 4007 8625 or visit


A word from our sponsors: Shameem Golamy, Head of Overseas at Rightmove Plc

United Kingdom

With event sponsorship a proven brand building and lead generation exercise and OPPLive being the world’s biggest expo for international property professionals, it is no wonder that organizer Xavier Wiggins was overwhelmed with offers for this year’s show.

Keen to partner with the best in the business, Rightmove Overseas, the UK’s leading overseas property portal displaying over 100,000 properties in over 65 countries, was successfully selected as a sponsor of OPPLive 2013.
In this exclusive interview we hear from Shameem Golamy, Head of Overseas at Rightmove Plc and well-known character in the international property arena on what sponsorship of OPPLive means to him:
Rightmove Overseas is a lead sponsor of OPPLive, when and how did you first hear about the event?
When I joined Rightmove back in the autumn of 2007, the OPPLive took place on my second day in the job. I remember thinking it was a great place to do business and I’ve been a great supporter of OPP and OPPLive ever since.
You’ve sponsored a number of other industry events in the past, what made you choose to support OPPLive in particular?
When I heard OPPLive was coming back as a stand-alone exhibition I was very excited. The Gala Dinner in 2012 was a massive success and the OPP team has proved themselves time after time as being the leaders in putting on a great trade event.
Why do you feel that it’s important for Rightmove Overseas to be a sponsor?
The overseas property market is growing and evolving at a phenomenal rate with lots of new agents and developers coming to market. Whilst is the 7th most visited website in the UK and a household name here, Rightmove Overseas is practically unknown in most other parts of the world. With that in mind we have to work just as hard as any other company trying to establish themselves with the trade as a market leader in the industry and due to its global delegate attendance, it’s essential that we are at OPPLive.
What do you hope to gain from sponsorship / exhibiting at the show?
It’s often hard for agents and developers to take the time out and really think about the high level marketing activity such as branding and lead generation. Being highly visible at OPPLive with a working area is going to be useful for us to sit with our existing advertisers and offer them a full account review.
Enquiry levels to agents have nearly doubled year-on-year so we’ll be talking to our advertisers to ensure that they are getting their fair share of leads. We’ll also enjoy the opportunity to meet with people in the industry we don’t directly work with today to share with them market insight from our perspective and hopefully form some new business relationships.
Do you think that sponsorships still have a place in property marketing today?
Absolutely, I have no doubt in my mind we are strongest when we work together.  There are so many companies out there to talk to it is important to use as many opportunities to build your network as possible. Sponsorships of events such as OPPLive are a great way to put the team in front of people face to face which is the fastest way to build trust and strong relationships.
Aside from being a sponsor, how else will Rightmove Overseas be involved in OPPLive?
We are going to lend our support in any way we can. We are on the judging panel for the OPP Awards of Excellence – it’s always exciting to see overseas property professionals putting their best foot forward – and I’ll be presenting a “how to go mobile” seminar which hopefully will provide an insight into the importance of mobile communications now and in the future.
The most important thing we’ll be doing is having our “working area” at the exhibition. We will have a number of PC stations set up and we want to go into depth with our customers or anyone who is interested to share insights into the marketplace, our website and demonstrate just how easy it is to access a huge pool of buyers through a portal like Rightmove Overseas.
Why do you think international property professionals should attend OPPLive?
The industry is going through massive change and it is a case of evolve or die. OPPLive through its seminar program has picked up on the hot topics right now and will be useful to anyone trying to grow or establish their overseas property business.
Do you have any top tips for your fellow exhibitors?
Sure, we are seasoned professionals at the exhibition game now! Experience has taught us to come armed with energy drinks and painkillers as well as an extra box of business cards. The ladies in the office have told me that they always stash an emergency pair of flat shoes, high heels always seem like a good idea on day 1 (apparently)!
Delegate passes are now available to purchases online here with a special Early Bird Rate of £195 for one ticket or two tickets for £295 available until Friday 6th September 2013.
About Rightmove Overseas 
Rightmove Overseas is the UK’s leading overseas property portal, displaying over 100,000 properties in over 65 countries. We are the place for people looking to invest abroad or make the move overseas. Our advertisers are overseas property estate agents, developers and private owners who are keen to showcase their property listings to potential buyers from all over the globe. We are delighted to be sponsoring OPPLive and are looking forward to meeting many of our customers and friends within the overseas property industry at the show.

Sun, sea, sand and Speedos… The quest to find the perfect beachfront property


The world has a lot to offer holidaymakers. Skiing retreats, theme parks, safari adventures and city breaks are just a few of the options. Yet it seems that what people want more than anything is a relaxing beach break. The 2013 Expedia Flip Flop Report, an annual survey completed by holidaymakers around the world, found that 46% of respondents had taken a beach holiday in the past year and that a further 64% were hoping to take one during the year ahead.

  • 64% of people hope to take a beach holiday within the next year (Expedia)
  • 21% of Italians exercise more before hitting the beach (YouGov)
  • 90% of French people find the Speedo to be acceptable beachwear (Expedia)

Such is the popularity of beach breaks that many holidaymakers go one step further and purchase their own beachfront holiday home. In recent years, Albania has proven a particularly popular choice for this. Areas such as the pristine Adriatic beach of Lalzit Bay are attracting increasing amounts of attention from holidaymakers. In particular the award-winning Lalzit Bay Resort and Spa, which is tipped to become the most exclusive beach community in Albania and which offers apartments from just €30,000 and villas from €117,000, has experienced a surge in overseas buyers looking to own five star beachfront accommodation.

Though beach holidays are in themselves relaxing, it seems that they require serious preparation beforehand. The latest YouGov survey on pre-holiday trends, conducted for, found that 19% of Italians increase their exercise regime before going on holiday, while 17% go on a diet. With Italy having over 6% of the world’s Blue Flag beaches, according to the Foundation for Environmental Education, perhaps it is not surprising that the Italians want to look their best before reclining on such delightfully clean sand!

Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs, founder of Appassionata, which has renovated the stunning fractional ownership property Casa Leopardi in Italy’s Le March region as a luxury holiday home (fractions cost £185,000 for five weeks’ exclusive use of the five bedroom/five bathroom house per year), commented:

“One of the things that has attracted our owners – as well as how wonderful the house and estate are – is Casa Leopardi’s proximity to the beach. We have three Blue Flag beaches (Pedaso, Cupra Marittima and Grottamare) all within 10 km. As holiday home owners become more discerning, they are increasingly listing access to a beach as one of their key requirements.”

Spaniards are also concerned about their summer appearance, with the same YouGov survey finding that 21% exercised more before their holidays and 14% dieted. With beach names like ‘Paraíso’ (paradise) perhaps this is understandable. This stunning beach on the Costa Blanca has long been popular with holidaymakers and now leading Spanish homebuilder Taylor Wimpey España is offering them the chance to own their own slice of paradise with its fabulous La Vila Paradis apartments. With direct access to Paraíso beach, as well as the pool and private gardens of the development, all for just €249,000, it’s easy to see why the two and three bedroom apartments are so popular.

While the French don’t feel inclined to exercise en masse before a beach holiday, they are the most open of European countries in terms of their attitude towards that most famous of beach garments – the Speedo. While invoking strong feelings in other European nations, Speedos are highly approved of in France, with over 90% of the country’s beachgoers finding trim trunks acceptable, according to the Expedia survey.

The Villages Group, which runs the Le Village –Rainbow, a gay active living retirement community in France’s beautiful Dordogne region, features superb indoor and outdoor pools on site as well as being only 29 km from the beach of Narbonne, on the Mediterranean coast. Their eco-friendly properties start from €180,000 for those within the LGBT community looking to enjoy an active retirement. Of course, choice of suitable swimwear is left down to each individual owner!

European beachgoers were also the most permissive with regard to sunbathing topless on the beach, with 23% feeling comfortable with upper-half nudity. However, 48% of the total respondents were unhappy with the idea of dropping their tops (or more) while on the beach. For those looking for a holiday home in a place with a slightly more conservative attitude towards topless sunbathing – as well as powder-fine sand and clear, sparkling seas of course – the Caribbean has long been the favourite choice.

Within the Caribbean the island of Grenada is currently the top spot for those looking to own a holiday home overseas, having been predicted to be the fastest growing market in the Caribbean from 2011 to 2021 by the World Travel and Tourism Council. At Bacolet Bay, Property Frontiers is offering incredible five star sea view hotel suites from £248,500 as an investment opportunity that also includes four weeks’ personal usage every year. As well as access to the secluded 300m long white sandy beach on Grenada’s tropical southern shore, owners will be able to enjoy the resort’s waterfront restaurant, bars, gymnasium, swimming pool and spa.

It seems that wherever people prefer to holiday, the perfect beach property is ready and waiting.

For more information on buying a beachfront property abroad, please contact AB Property Marketing by calling 0845 054 7524, visiting or emailing

Video may have killed the radio star but what has it done for property sales?


The idea of using video to sell property has been around for some time. Videos can show homes in ways that brochures and glossy photographs simply can’t. Once shot, a video can be used online for advertising the property, either through an agent or via the creation of a dedicated social media page.

  • Nearly 41 billion online content videos viewed in one month in the US (comScore)
  • 30.9 million estimated smartphone users in the UK in 2013 (eMarketer)
  •  10% of all video starts watched on smartphones and tablets (Adobe)

Online video content is increasing in popularity. The latest comScore Video Metrix showed that US viewings of online content videos reached nearly 41 billion in May 2013. Interestingly, an increasing number of videos are being watched on tablets and smartphones, with the 10% barrier broken for the first time in Q4 2012, according to the Adobe US Digital Video Benchmark. The same research showed that digital video saw year on year growth of 30% when examined across all platforms.

Creating a video allows potential buyers to get a true feel for a property before they decide whether or not to view it in person. The increased use of mobile devices – eMarketer’s research shows that UK smartphone users are set to top 30.9 million this year and reach 43.4 million by 2017 – means online property viewings can now take place when and where the potential buyer chooses. This can avoid inappropriate viewings and save time for both buyers and sellers.

Award-winning developer Millgate has used video on its website for a number of years to sell its stunning selection of homes, such as the three storey, five bedroom Rushton House in Oxfordshire’s Hinksey Hill. Designed for modern family living, the home makes the perfect candidate for an online video, which can show off its elegant features perfectly.

YouTube is also a popular means of displaying properties online, such as Barton Wyatt’s Wilton – a magnificent family home on the Wentworth Estate in Surrey. This delightful contemporary home can be viewed in full via a YouTube link, giving potential buyers from across the UK (and further afield) instant access to it.

When it comes to viewing international properties, video can be even more beneficial, saving potential buyers money on wasted trips abroad to view properties which simply aren’t right for them. Instead, professionally shot videos can open properties up to a global audience at very little expense to the owner. Luxury Italian fractional ownership holiday home Casa Leopardi, which has been lovingly restored by the family-run company Appassionata, can be explored extensively online, including the five bedrooms, five bathrooms, gym, private swimming pool, terraces and gently undulating surrounding hills covered in vines and lavender.

Online video content can also be used to show the area in which a property is located, so that potential buyers can see beyond the house itself and know what to expect from its surroundings. Leading Spanish homebuilder Taylor Wimpey España uses the technique to provide a range of information, with the video for its Los Altos del Golf properties showing off the beauty of Andratx, Mallorca, along with exterior and interior shots of the houses themselves. The video also includes practical details, such as a map showing the distance from the airport to Andratx, floorplans of the Mediterranean-style townhouses and the charming coloured façades, verandas, spacious terraces, gardens and communal swimming pools of the village.

Video is also increasingly being used to show properties which are under construction, so that investors can see progress being made. North Dakota Developments is employing the technique throughout the construction of its Great American Lodge development, which will offer high-end executive hotel suites to the oil workers attracted by North Dakota’s energy boom. Investors and potential investors are able to view construction progress through a series of videos on the company’s website.

Extended even further, this concept can also show investors what a development will look like upon completion, through the use of CGI technology. The luxury 5 star residential development Lalzit Bay Resort and Spa in Albania can be seen in all its glory in this way, enabling investors to picture the finished product while construction is still underway.

Whether it’s a professionally shot mini documentary, a series of images, maps and plans set to stirring music or a computer-generated tour, online video inspires an emotional engagement that brochures simply cannot rival. With 59% of smartphone owners using their devices to access the internet daily and 31% having used their phone to make a purchase (according to Google thinkinsights), the use of video to sell properties is set to increase during the years ahead. It will be interesting to see how the medium is developed over the coming years, as videos become more creative and dynamic in order to reach out to an even wider audience.

For more information on any of the properties mentioned above, please contact AB Property Marketing by calling 0845 054 7524, visiting or emailing

Last chance to be an industry award winner: OPP Awards entry deadline extended

United Kingdom

With already twice as many entries as last year, the 2013 OPP Awards are proving popular with those in the international property industry. So popular in fact that, due to demand, the entry deadline for this year’s wards has been extended to Friday 16th August 2013.


Free to enter, the OPP Awards for Excellence, which have been running since 2008, recognise the best talent in the international property arena with more categories than ever before including new accolades for best small, large and new estate agency as well as the best property investment advisors.
OPP Award organiser, Xavier Wiggins, comments,
“The Awards team has quite simply been inundated with calls and emails from overseas property professionals from all over the world asking us to extend the OPP Awards entry deadline so that they can get their entries just right and, as part of our commitment to raise standards within the industry, we think they should be.
“For this reason we have extended the entry deadline by a fortnight to Friday 16th August with the independent judging process headed up by John Howell commencing swiftly afterwards.”
Being an OPP Awards of Excellence winner bring clear benefits whether you are a developer, agency or service provider. Leading international agents and businesses want to work with the best and a holder of an OPP Award of Excellence clearly identifies those companies with which to do business.
As Tan Sri Dato’Sri Leong Hoy Kum of Mah Sing Group Berhad, winners of Best Developer Worldwide 2012, comments,
“This award will definitely raise our profile in the international property market.”
Sponsored for the second year running by website Rightmove Overseas and foreign exchange specialists Smart Currency Exchange, the OPP Awards for Excellence will be presented at the glittering OPP Awards Gala Dinner on Wednesday 27th November in London´s Natural History Museum.
To enter please visit to download your application pack or call +44 208 540 2224 for more information.