16 top tips on buying a home overseas in 2016

16 top tips on buying a home overseas in 2016

Portugal Spain United States
  • Fall for an area, not an individual home
  • Know what you want BEFORE you visit
  • Think about what you will want in the future, as well as what you want now

The arrival of New Year provides a chance to take stock, make plans and look to the future with a positive frame of mind. For many, this will include the excitement of finally planning to buy their dream home overseas, providing the perfect antidote to the months of grey, chilly weather on offer in the UK.

Whether it’s a detached villa with pool on Disney’s doorstep in Florida, a stylish apartment close to the beach in Spain or a perfectly located country retreat in Portugal, the overseas property market is awash with great value properties for those who know where to look.

Chris White, Founding Director of Ideal Homes International, comments,

“We’re predicting great things for the overseas property market in 2016, with Spain and Portugal, the US and Cyprus all appealing in unique ways to buyers from the UK. We would always advise buyers to be cautious though, particularly if they haven’t bought overseas before – it’s really important to do your homework and buy through a trusted and reputable company.”

In that vein, Chris and his team have put together their 16 top tips on buying a home overseas in 2016, to help buyers turn their dreams into reality.

The Ideal Homes International 16 top tips on buying a home overseas in 2016

  1. Investigate on the internet – research potential areas thoroughly, rather than individual properties. Find out about local amenities, from beaches to restaurants, based on your priorities. Think about how those priorities may change in the future as well – a holiday home bought this year could serve as a retirement pad later on, so what facilities would you want on hand then? Don’t fall in love with a particular property until you know the location is right for you!
  2. Use an agent with form – opt for an organisation with a good track record. Make sure they have been in business for some time and have a long list of satisfied customers happy to speak about their experiences.
  3. Budget carefully – buying overseas isn’t just about the property price. Be aware of the buying costs like fees and local taxes. These can vary hugely from country to country, so do your research and budget accordingly.
  4. Plan a trip – once you’ve identified the places you like on the internet, hop on a plane and check them out for yourself. You will quickly be able to get a feel for whether or not a place is right for you and a few hundred pounds invested at this stage can serve extremely well when it comes to finding the perfect location for your new home overseas.
  5. Know what you want BEFORE you visit – think about how many bedrooms you need, whether proximity to the beach or a local golf course is important to you, whether you simply must have your own pool and whether the local supermarket can be reached on foot or by car. Whatever your preferences, have them firmly fixed in mind before you visit – and be sure that your agent understands them too. This will ensure that he/she is able to show you properties that perfectly suit your requirements and avoid wasting time spent touring unsuitable homes.
  6. Think about the journey – work out the journey from your current home to the area in which you plan to purchase. What are the flight times and costs like? Is there just one airline that flies into the local airport or several? Can you hire a car easily upon arrival if you need to? These factors will impact on how relaxed you are by the time you arrive at your overseas property each and every time you visit, so think the journey through in detail.
  7. Find a reputable lawyer – this is one of the most important elements of buying a second home overseas. A good agent should be able to recommend a reputable lawyer, or you can do your own research on the internet and by speaking to others who have bought property in the area. Chat on the phone with the lawyer and meet him or her when you visit – test their knowledge and be sure to choose someone you are comfortable with.
  8. Think about money matters – once you’ve bought your property, you will need to get money out to that country regularly in order to pay bills, take care of maintenance issues and so forth. Look at what you need to do to set up a local bank account and plan to do this as early as possible in the process. Bear in mind that many overseas banks also have a branch in London where you can take care of some of the initial paperwork should you need to do so.
  9. Remember the insurance – before you commit to purchasing a property, check that it is insurable and at a reasonable rate. If the area that you like the look of is prone to flooding or sink holes then it might be time to look elsewhere.
  10. Ask about hidden requirements – speak to your agent and conduct your own research online to ensure that you know everything you need to. In Portugal, for example, you need a fiscal number in order to purchase a property. You can get one quickly and easily from the local Finanças department for a small fee – or you can appoint a lawyer to take care of this on your behalf.
  11. Consider other significant expenses – what other expenses might your property purchase give rise to? One of the most commonly overlooked items is the need for a car, so think about whether you can access your new home on public transport, whether you will pay for a hire car each time or whether you would prefer to purchase a car of your own overseas.
  12. Is the property just for you? – if you plan to rent your property out as well as using it yourself then be sure that it appeals to a wide range of holidaymakers. Neutral décor and access to a pool can make a big difference to the number of people choosing your holiday home over another one.
  13. Speak to the experts – join some online forums and Facebook groups and chat to those who have already purchased in the area you like. Even better, find people who have moved fulltime and benefit from their experiences of local life.
  14. Know the market – understand price trends in the country and region you like in order to know whether or not your expectations are realistic based on your budget. Knowledge of local prices will also help you to gauge whether you are paying over the odds or picking up a real bargain.
  15. Think about maintenance – unless you are planning a permanent move, you will need to consider how best to maintain your property from afar. An isolated villa might be your dream holiday home, but an apartment on a managed condominium might present far fewer headaches in terms of regular maintenance, particularly if you plan to rent it out as well as use it yourself.
  16. Use an agent who does it all – find an agent you trust and who can offer you the whole package. They will be able to support you with every step of the process, from finding a reputable lawyer to arranging an inspection trip. This can often be by far the quickest and cheapest approach – and also the least hassle!

For further details call Ideal Homes International on 0800 133 7644 or +351 289 513 434, email info@idealhomesinternational.co.uk or visit www.idealhomesinternational.co.uk.

British love for Spanish property still burns strong

British love for Spanish property still burns strong

  • €24 billion of Spanish property sold in H1 2015 (Ministry of Development)
  • Almost ¼ of all travel to EU countries in 2014 was UK residents flying to Spain (CAA)
  • International buyers accounted for 51.88% of all transactions in Alicante in Q2 2015 (Spanish Registrars)
  • Costa Blanca offers property bargains aplenty for those with less than €100k to spend (Ideal Homes International)

Britain’s love affair with Spanish property took some serious knocks when the market crashed back in 2008/09, but the latest figures show that Brit’s fondness for Spanish homes has far from faded. In fact, British buyers are surging back to locations like the Costa Blanca in droves.

The impact of buyers from overseas in such popular tourist areas is not to be underestimated. According to the latest Alicante market report from Data.kyero.com, median property prices in the area increased by 19.07% in the year to October 2015, with sales to international buyers accounting for 51.88% of transactions (as at Q2 2015).

Chris White, Founding Director of Ideal Homes International, comments,

“The British love for Spanish property is definitely still burning strong and locations such as the Costa Blanca are those that benefit the most. The attractions are clear – 320 days of sunshine per year, a huge range of beaches, golf courses and other attractions to choose from, a diet recognised by UNESCO and one of the top 10 healthcare services in the world according to figures from the World Health Organization. And that’s just for starters. It’s easy to see why so many Brits choose to own a second home in Spain, or even to make a new life there, when all this is just a short flight from the UK.”

More than 34 million passengers flew from the UK to Spain in 2014, representing almost a quarter of all travel to EU countries, according to the Civil Aviation Authority. And in early 2015, figures from Rightmove revealed that 48% more Brits were searching for property in Spain than they were a year before.

When it comes to the property market, Spain is enjoying a sustained recovery. Property sales totalled more than €24 billion during H1 2015 based on figures from the Ministry of Development, with transactions up by more than 10% when compared with the same period in 2014.

Brits looking to buy along the Costa Blanca have a wide range of options open to them. Prices in Spain remain below their 2007 peak, meaning there are some real bargains to be found. A three bedroom, two bathroom apartment with roof terrace including built in BBQ in Torrevieja can be picked up for just €96,000. You can even gaze across the rooftops to the sea for that price, with the beach just 100 metres away.

A two bedroom Costa Blanca seafront apartment with communal pool is only a little more, at €128,000. As a frontline property, the views are stunning and there are plenty of restaurants and shops nearby, as well as a weekly market.

These kind of prices are certainly helping to reignite British buyers’ passion for Spanish property. Ideal Homes International’s Chris White concludes,

“UK buyers can get some real bargains in Spain at the moment, though rising prices mean that they may now have to shop around a little more than they did this time last year. However, there are still enough properties on the market at great prices that 2016 looks to be a fantastic year for purchasing Spanish homes, whether on the coast or inland. TINSA has flagged up the Mediterranean coast as one of the main drivers behind recent price growth, with average prices there increasing 3.6% in the year to October.”

From winter sun chasers to those looking for a more permanent residence in Spain, the scene is set for the Costa Blanca to enjoy an exceptional year in 2016.

For further details call Ideal Homes International on 0800 133 7644 or +351 289 513 434, email info@idealhomesinternational.co.uk or visit www.idealhomesinternational.co.uk.

The best places to buy holiday homes in 2016

The best places to buy holiday homes in 2016

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  • Got €50k? Head to Spain (Kyero.com)
  • For €100k seek out the Cypriot sun (Ideal Homes International)
  • Make Portugal your choice for €150k (Ideal Homes Portugal)
  • Try island living with €200k or more

The turning of the year is always a good time to start dreaming of sun-drenched beaches, the sound of the ocean lapping at the shore and lazy evenings spent eating al fresco while a warm breeze rustles through the leaves of nearby citrus trees. It’s a particularly popular pastime in the UK, where it can rain for days on end while plentiful sunshine is available less than three hours away by plane.

Europe’s attractions are many and varied for those looking to pick up a dream holiday home and you don’t need a huge stack of cash in order to turn the dream into a reality. Martin Dell, Director of Spanish property portal Kyero.com, comments,

“There are thousands of Spanish properties available for under €50k. Nor are they just remote country houses in need of vast repairs. €50k gives you plenty of choice in Spain these days. You can pick up a three bedroom townhouse, a six bedroom country cottage or a city apartment with a shared pool – there are literally thousands of possibilities.”

For buyers looking to spend closer to €100k, Cyprus offers excellent value for money. Ideal Homes International offers a range of properties in good locations for that amount, including this light and airy two bedroom apartment in Pafos with shared pool. Founding Director Chris White observes,

“Cyprus has got some real bargains at the moment and the stunning climate is perfect for those looking for a holiday retreat away from the rain and cold back home. The market is unlikely to move much over the next few months, which means UK buyers can take their time to research the area they would like to own in without fear of getting priced out of the market while they do.”

Chris White also runs boutique estate agency Ideal Homes Portugal and has chosen to make Portugal his home. It is there that he recommends buyers with €150k look for their dream holiday home in 2016.

Portugal’s Algarve is easily reachable from airports all over the UK and offers in excess of 300 days of sunshine annually, making it an ideal year-round destination for second home owners. €150k is enough for a two bedroom apartment with huge terrace and garden in the popular city of Portimão, or a three bedroom duplex with pool in Albufeira.

But when it comes to spending €200k or more, it has to be island living, says Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España. A resident of the Balearic Islands himself, Marc explains,

“There’s nothing like owning property in an island location for achieving ultimate relaxation, which is precisely what a holiday home should provide. For many people the sea has a calming effect and Mallorca’s plentiful restaurants, shops, beaches, golf courses and marinas really do offer something to suit all tastes.”

Taylor Wimpey España offers a range of stunning holiday homes on Mallorca, from two bedroom apartments with direct beach access from €235k at Costa Beach, to spectacular frontline townhouses with cliff top communal infinity pool from €625k at Cala Magrana Mar.

With such a wealth of property available so close to home, it’s clear that short-haul European destinations are going to enjoy immense popularity during 2016 when it comes to holiday home ownership overseas.

For more information please contact:

Kyero.com: www.kyero.com

Ideal Homes: 0800 133 7644, +351 289 513 434, www.idealhomesinternational.co.uk or www.idealhomesportugal.com

Taylor Wimpey España: +44 08000 121 020 or www.taylorwimpeyspain.com. Those residing outside of the UK should call 0034 971 70 69 72.

10 years on, the overseas property market resets itself

10 years on, the overseas property market resets itself

Cyprus Portugal Spain United States World ,
  • Portuguese property prices due to rise 5% p.a. for next 5 years (RICS/Ci)
  • Florida property values up 8.2% over past year (Zillow)
  • Portugal, Spain and Florida are hot picks for 2016 (Ideal Homes International)

Over the past decade, the landscape of the overseas property market has changed vastly. Property entrepreneur and Founding Director of Ideal Homes Portugal and Ideal Homes International Chris White has been selling property through the good times and the bad. After a turbulent 10 years, he believes the overseas property market has finally reset itself – and that now is the time to look to the future.

In Portugal, where Chris White is based, the market crashed spectacularly following the events of 2006/07, along with residential real estate markets around the world. Lesser estate agents would have crumbled (many did) but Ideal Homes Portugal stuck with the market through the hard times and came out the other side even stronger. Today, the flourishing agency employs 35 staff, selling properties across the Algarve as well as in the capital Lisbon.

Chris comments,

“There were some tough years in the middle of the past decade, but it’s wonderful to see the Portuguese property market back on an even keel again now. Prices look set to rise at a comfortable rate over the next few years. I’d say capital growth of 3-5% per year should be achievable for those who invest in the market during 2016.”

Data from the RICS/Ci Portuguese Housing Market Survey concurs. The August 2015 report suggested that prices would increase by roughly 5% per annum over the next five years. At present, a lovely two bedroom townhouse with private pool in Quinta do Lago can be picked up for €375,000.

Spain, as well as Portugal, has seen its property market reset itself over the past decade, although prices in Spain have been slower to recover. For buyers in 2016, this presents an excellent opportunity, according to Ideal Homes International’s Chris,

“Prices are rising in Spain, but many areas are still priced below their peak. There aren’t as many opportunities there as there were a year or two ago, but Spain is certainly still a good bet if you’re looking for a real estate market that has the potential to keep expanding over the next few years. The Costa Blanca would be my particular tip for those looking for a second home in the sun that can double as a savvy investment.”

At Orihuela, two bedroom/two bathroom off plan apartments are available from €129,900. Due for completion in December 2016, the apartments will each feature two large terraces, as well as community gardens, sea views and two large swimming pools (one heated).

Florida is another area that’s now back in the game, according to Ideal Homes International. A modern, four bedroom townhouse in Kissimmee, ideally located for access to Walt Disney World, costs just $285,000 (€252,000). Part of an exclusive gated community, the home includes a private pool area, screened in patio and comes fully furnished.

Prices in Florida have risen by 8.2% over the past year, according to Zillow, while data from the National Association of Realtors in June 2015 showed the US market passing its 2006 peak to reach record highs.

Back in Europe, the other country that Chris White of Ideal Homes International has flagged up for attention is Cyprus. Chris comments,

“Cyprus is an interesting prospect as a place to buy a holiday home in 2016. The market there has been incredibly quiet there this year and we don’t expect huge increases in prices over the next 12-24 months. However, what Cyprus does have to offer is fantastic value for money. If you’re looking for somewhere with great weather where your money can go a lot further, then Aphrodite’s isle is an excellent choice.”

As an example, a two bedroom villa in Konia, on a small complex of just six homes with a shared pool, can be picked up for €149,000.

For further details call Ideal Homes Portugal on 0800 133 7644 or +351 289 513 434, email enquiries@idealhomesportugal.com or visit www.idealhomesportugal.com.

Join the Millionaires’ Club: The best 7 figure homes around the world

Join the Millionaires’ Club: The best 7 figure homes around the world

Cyprus Portugal Spain Turkey United Kingdom , , , ,
  • Enjoy easy access to London from your Grade I listed home in Surrey (Barton Wyatt)
  • Buy a villa in Turkey so high-tech you can manage it from your phone (Universal21)
  • Relax in style in the Costa Blanca’s most sought-after postcode (Kyero.com)

Being able to spend a million pounds on a property opens up a huge choice of homes available. Knowing whether to opt for a plush pad perfect for accessing in London or a sprawling beachfront villa overseas can be a tough choice.

Within easy reach of London, the delightful community of Virginia Water offers an exceptional standard of apartment living for just under £1,000,000. The Grange at Virginia Park is a prestigious, gated development consisting of a handful of beautifully finished apartments set in a magnificent Gothic Grade I listed building, from renowned local estate agent Barton Wyatt. £935,000 will buy a two/three bedroom, two bathroom apartment with secure underground parking for three cars, 24 hour manned security and extensive leisure facilities including an indoor swimming pool with Jacuzzi and sauna, a well equipped gym and a tennis court.

For those who prefer to spend their million pounds overseas, Spain, Portugal and Cyprus all offer a host of fabulous properties. In Spain, €1,350,000 (which equates to around £1,000,000 at the current exchange rate) is sufficient to purchase a four bedroom, three bathroom villa with private swimming pool in one of the northern Costa Blanca’s most sought-after locations.

Martin Dell, Director of Spanish property portal Kyero.com, which covers sales, long-term rentals and holiday lets, comments,

“A million pounds is enough to secure some really beautiful Spanish properties right now. With prices in Spain still below their former peak, it’s a great time to buy, before prices rise substantially again, so you can pick up a fabulous second home that’s also a good investment for the future.”

Prices in neighbouring Portugal are also still below their previous peak, with the market having bottomed out in 2014. Buying through Ideal Homes Portugal, a four bedroom, six bathroom villa in Varandas do Lago, complete with private swimming pool, outside terrace and BBQ area within a 1,030 sqm plot, is available for €1,425,000.

Meanwhile in Cyprus, available through Ideal Homes International, the captivating resort of Minthis Hills near the city of Paphos includes a fabulous three bedroom, three bathroom villa for €1,350,000. Architects Woods Bagot have opted for convenience, comfort and luxury in the design of these stunning homes, which boast panoramic mountain and coastal views, an on-site clubhouse with restaurant, a spa and health club, housekeeping and a round-the-clock concierge.

For buyers wishing to head further afield with their million pounds, Turkey offers an excellent choice of second home location. The stunning Oceanic Bay View villas from specialist local property company Universal21 are available for TRY4,825,274 (£1,064,865). The luxury residences offer smart house systems, whereby devices in the villa can be controlled via computer or smartphone. Rainwater harvesting, solar panels and a wind turbine ensure that these homes offer the latest in green credentials, while the same care has been given to social facilities on the development. A clubhouse with indoor and outdoor swimming pools, fitness club, spa centre, restaurant, sauna, Turkish bath and steam bath provide the ultimate in rest and relaxation amenities.

Whether it’s a plush apartment in Surrey, an ultra high tech villa in Turkey or an opulent country home in Portugal, it’s clear that £1,000,000 opens up a vast array of property options to the modern buyer.

For more information please contact:

Barton Wyatt: 01344 843 000 or visit www.bartonwyatt.co.uk

Kyero.com: www.kyero.com

Ideal Homes Portugal: 0800 133 7644, +351 289 513 434 or www.idealhomesportugal.com

Ideal Homes International: 02477 050 898 or www.idealhomesinternational.co.uk

Universal21: 0203 287 8700 or www.universal21.com

Portugal v Cyprus – which makes the best second home location?

Portugal v Cyprus – which makes the best second home location?

Cyprus Portugal World
  • Portugal’s Algarve is Europe’s cheapest beach resort (Post Office)
  • Cyprus offers summer average of 26°C (Holiday Weather)
  • Properties in both locations offer excellent value for British buyers (Ideal Homes International)

With more than 300 days of sunshine per year, stunning beaches and a wealth of good value luxury property, Portugal and Cyprus have a great deal in common. So which makes for the better second home location?

According to the Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer 2015, Portugal’s Algarve is Europe’s cheapest beach resort. In terms of overall holiday cost, Portugal took the number two spot in this year’s survey, while Cyprus was in ninth place. But while cost of living is an important consideration for second home owners, a host of other factors also come into play.

Portugal enjoys extremely easy access from the UK, with a host of budget airlines (including easyJet, Tap, Monarch, Ryanair and Flybe) offering regular, year-round flights of around two and a half to three hours in duration. Budget airlines also fly to Cyprus throughout the year, with a flight time of roughly four and a half hours.

Climate-wise, both Portugal and Cyprus have long, hot summers. According to Holiday Weather, Cyprus’ popular city of Paphos averages 26°C in August and 13°C in January and February. Portugal’s Algarve averages 24°C in July and August, with a low of 12°C in January. So Cyprus just takes the lead when it comes to climate – an important consideration for weather-obsessed Brits.

Portugal has the advantage when it comes to a supply of clean, family-friendly beaches, netting 299 Blue Flags during the last round of awards, compared to just 57 in Cyprus. However, Cyprus may just have the edge when it comes to sea temperatures. Both countries are blessed with powdery sand and remarkably un-crowded coastal spots, even in the height of summer (if you know where to go). Yet Cyprus’ Mediterranean waters enjoy an average sea temperate of 27.8°C in August (Paphos area), while Portugal’s Atlantic temperature averages just 20.8°C – a big difference for those who enjoy splashing around in the waves.

Both Cyprus and Portugal also offer tax incentives to foreigners who may be considering buying property or moving there, which are an important consideration for those looking at a second home as a potential retirement option. Portugal’s non-habitual residents regime can offer tax-free living for up to ten years for those claiming pensions from overseas, as well as for certain other types of income.

Meanwhile Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades this summer announced a 50% cut in property transfer fees as part of a raft of measures designed to attract high net worth foreigners to his country’s shores.

Both countries also offer a citizenship-by-investment (golden visa) programme, allowing wealthy foreigners essentially to buy the right to residency and to travel freely within the Schengen Area. Cypriot citizenship can be obtained for a €300,000 real estate purchase. Portugal requires an investment of €350,000 to €500,000, depending on the location of the property being purchased. Both programmes have been influential in attracting Chinese, Russian and Middle Eastern buyers.

When it comes to properties, both countries have a lot to offer. Chris White, Founding Director of boutique estate agency Ideal Homes International, which sells homes in both countries, comments,

“Second homes in Cyprus and Portugal represent incredibly good value compared to house prices in the UK. The exchange rate has made a difference in recent years as well. This time in 2010 the pound was worth €1.16. Now, it’s up to €1.35. That makes a big difference when it comes to what you can get for your money property-wise.”

By way of comparison, €150,000 is enough for a two bedroom townhouse in a gated condominium with adult and children’s pools in Branqueira in Portugal’s Algarve. Over in Paphos, the same money is sufficient for a modern, two bedroom townhouse with veranda, roof terrace and shared pool. Both are fantastic value for those buying with sterling.

With so much to offer, the two countries are neck and neck when it comes to offering the ideal location for a second home. Really it comes down to personal preference and circumstances. Keen surfers might prefer to opt for the heavy rollers of the western shores of the Algarve. Windsurfers may prefer to head to Cyprus. As Chris White concludes,

“Whether Portugal or Cyprus is your personal favourite, both provide a wonderful, sun-kissed location for a second home and offer great value for money when it comes to buying property there.”

For further details call Ideal Homes Portugal on 0800 133 7644 or +351 289 513 434, email enquiries@idealhomesportugal.com or visit www.idealhomesportugal.com.