23 October 2012

Are You Marketing Your Holiday Home as Best You Can?

Most people that own holiday homes rely on agencies and other websites in order to promote their house/villa/cottage as a potential place to rent, and most of the time that works well, but you have to make sure that you take the proper steps to ensure that your house is picked over a competitor.

At the end of the day, you will always be fighting against other people in the area also renting their properties out. You’ll need to present the best house possible. So here are a few tips about how that can be done:

08 October 2012

Albania Becomes Property Hotspot

Albania has had a particularly troubled past. After being ruled for most of the 20th Century by various Communist and Socialist governments, it finally gained independence in 1992 when it became a republic. However, the move into capitalism was a strained one, with a large amount of the country investing in Ponzi schemes and eventually losing a large amount of savings to the scams.

This resulted in a huge financial crisis for the country, which ahs struggled to develop into a prosperous and desirable country. Recently though, in spite of slow global recovery, Albania has moved to new developments and is beginning to see a bourgeoning tourist trade, with it comes investment in properties and holiday resorts. It’s not hard to see why. Albania is a stunningly beautiful country. The Lalzit Bay is an incredibly lovely view, offering sights across the Mediterranean, and Butrint gives its residents a wonderful view of Corfu, only a few kilometres off of the coast. Move inland and you find a handsome and open cities, including the capital of Tirana.

New developments planned in the Lalzit Bay include a new health club, an eight-story hotel and 500 properties available for purchase. The area is a great option for anyone considering emigrating, purchasing holiday homes for themselves or considering renting to other tourists. Homes along the coast can cost as little as £30,000 and a three-bedroom property with views of the seas will only cost about £100,000.

Albania is seeing a growing tourist trend, with 4.1 million people visiting the country last year, a huge mark-up on the 300,000 figure of 2004. British Airways flies to Tirana five times a week, meaning the country is always easily accessible and quick to get to.

All in all, it’s an exciting and rising country to invest in. Try to get in early before it really takes off and you can reap the rewards of owning an enviable and profitable piece of property before the house prices catch up with the trends.

28 September 2012

Never a Better Time to Buy Abroad

Buying properties abroad can be nerve-wracking, especially in today’s economic climate. The fact that you will be dealing with a wholly different market from the UK, and you have little interaction or immersion with different areas, can make selecting and committing money to a property incredibly daunting.

Now is the best time to start considering making an investment in holiday property though. The Great British Pound is slowly growing in strength against the Euro, in fact buyers can expect to buy 25% more Euros per pound than they could three years ago, when the exchange rate was almost equal.

It means that you get a lot more for your money. This is coupled with a housing crash in many European countries. Spain in particular is a hotspot for those looking to purchase a holiday home. Due to the severe economic downturn in the country, house prices have plummeted, with some Spanish banks offering some properties discounted up to 70% against their 2008 price.

Head of Savills International, Charles Weston Baker, revealed that they have recently sold a property, which was originally valued at £5million, for just £1.2million.

However, economists and property experts have warned that house-hunters be wary. Spain having more than a million homes unsold, it means that supply will not exceed demand for many years and means that recovering house prices will be significantly delayed and while the recession in the UK seems to be lessening, the Euro-zone crisis is still tempestuous and there is no guarantee that house prices will not tumble again.

James Price, a partner at Knight Frank International has said, “[O]ne may question how much of a bargain these are. Such markets are likely to take some time to recover. This would include parts of mainland Spain and the more developed areas of the Algarve. Put another way, certain spots may still be considered reassuringly expensive. The trick I would say is to look at firmer markets. Getting good value rather than a bargain is probably a good tack.”

In terms of finding lenders abroad, France is the best bet with some banks offering up to 80% LTV (loan-to-value) mortgages and interest rates between 2.3% variable and 3.6% fixed on 20-year terms. Spain, Italy and Portugal are less willing to supply loans, the LTV in Spain is around 60% with a 4.5% interest rate. The LTVs in Italy and Portugal are higher, but interest rates are higher at 4.7% and 6% respectively.

Now is definitely a good time to have a look at properties abroad, if you can afford it. But be cautious and logical. Don’t be fooled by low prices and great bargains, it’s most likely because they are placed in high-risk areas. Shop around and find the best deal and make sure that you’re confident before you commit.

photo courtesy of Andrew_D_Hurley

14 September 2012

MyExpat - The Telegraph’s Service for British Expatriates

For those of you living the dream, with a lovely home abroad on some sunny section of paradise who are planning on leaving the Great British summer of grey clouds and rain (why would you want to go?!) The Telegraph, great British paper that it is, now provides a service for expatriates to discuss news abroad and connect with other British nationals living overseas – MyExpat

The service has been running for some time now and has gained quite a following, and it’s perfect for finding out if you want to find out whether moving abroad is right for you, or meeting new people that live in the same area as you.

It has great tips for dealing with overseas education, health and finance issues and it’s kept up to date by the people living abroad who have been through it all before and who know what information you need, people who are living through it now and keeping up to date with everything going on in the countries that can affect expats.

You can use the service to streamline your move abroad, or use it as an informal way of keeping up to date with information if you’re already overseas.

It’s a definite recommendation to anyone planning on moving abroad and just a suggestion for those already out there, chances are you know what’s going on. Either way, it’s a good platform for keeping in touch with your British roots, even if you can’t stand the weather.

06 September 2012

Top 5 Best and Worst Countries to Own Properties

Property markets have been fluctuating all year. Some countries fared better than other but for the most part, countries saw a slight drop in property value. For those of you who own property abroad, or are considering it, here are the 5 countries that bucked the trend and prospered followed by the worst hit areas to have an estate (all figures are adjusted for inflation by Global Property Guide).


  • Sao Paulo, Brazil
    • Year-on-year gain: 15.56%

  • Norway
    • Year-on-year gain: 6.26%

  • Delhi, India
    • Year-on-year gain: 6.23%

  • Germany
    • Year-on-year gain: 5.34%

  • Switzerland
    • Year-on-year gain: 4.86%

The gains are incredibly impressive, and reassuring for the economies of those countries. Brazil’s development is obviously the most impressive, with the market growing far beyond anywhere else in the world.

These places are great for holiday properties, if you want to purchase one you’ll have to pay more but can be confident that you’ll see a rise in the value of your chosen property. If you choose to sell, then you’ll be getting far more than last year.

Unfortunately some countries struggled over the past 12 months.


  • Ireland
    • Year-on-year loss: 16.85%

  • Spain
    • Year-on-year loss: 13.18%

  • Greece
    • Year-on-year loss: 11.92%

  • Portugal
    • Year-on-year loss: 10.95%

  • Holland
    • Year-on-year loss: 10.12%

The worst hit areas reflect the countries that are struggling within the Euro-zone. Ireland, Spain and most notably Greece have all suffered since going into recession several years ago and have required bailouts from other European countries. This has caused a huge amount of uncertainty and a lack of faith in the economy and house prices have fallen as a result.

Don’t worry too much, there’s no need to sell your holiday homes yet. Tourism and holidays are seeing a rise, especially throughout Europe. Just don’t try to sell right now, it should all pick up soon.

31 August 2012

The Top 3 'Most Liveable' Cities

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has released its table of the liveability rankings of cities across the world. Some noteworthy changes to 2012’s copy include; the drop of London 9 places to 51st, due to the riots that plagued the city last August and the ongoing clean-up since then, and the placement of Vancouver in third.

The latter came with a disappointed outcry from Canadians, as Vancouver had been ranked the best city to live for almost a decade, until the EIU dropped it two places in 2011. The EIU claimed the drop was due to increasing amounts of congestion throughout the city and surrounding areas.

But for 2012, the top the 3 cities to live in the world were:

1. Melbourne, Australia

Officially the most liveable city two years in a row, Melbourne is a diverse and exciting place to live. It is known as the cultural capital of Australia, as well as being the capital of the state of Victoria. It boasts a huge music and art scene, which launched the Australian impressionist art movement (termed the Heidelberg School) and was the birthplace of the world’s first feature-film. It has been named a UNESCO City of Literature. The city is home to a multitude of theatres and venues such as the Victorian Arts Centre, and features more than 100 galleries, including Australia’s oldest and largest art gallery, the National Gallery of Victoria.

The climate is warm and temperate for most of the year, those who travel from Europe should be aware of the season shift too (due to being on the southern hemisphere of the globe, Australian summers happen through December to February etc.)

Rated 100 out of 100 on the EIU Liveability report for Healthcare, Infrastructure and Climate, anyone planning to move abroad should definitely consider Melbourne as a destination, especially those with children entering the higher levels of education.

2. Vienna, Austria

Attracting around 5 million tourists a year, the gorgeous city of Vienna also plays host to many international businesses and organisations, including the UN and OPEC. In recent years the city of Vienna has seen a lot of expansion and urban development to house a growing population, often used as a case study by urban planners (and hosting many urban planning conferences) it was Vienna’s innovative take on urban redevelopment that caught peoples’ eye.

Known as the City of Music, the cultural history of Vienna is hugely ingrained in most of the tourist attractions. Composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn and Brahms have all lived and worked in Vienna and Johan Strauss (I & II) were born within its districts.. Theatre and opera is also a huge part of its cultural heritage, with classical concerts played frequently in the cities many theatres, featuring music from Strauss and Mozart. Due to its placement in the centre of Europe, the city’s history is catalogued throughout its many museums and shows how the city has changed through the past World Wars, the Austro-Hungarian separation all the way back to the many Roman artefacts that reveal the true historic nature of the city. The ‘Historic Centre of Vienna’ was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001.

Viennese balls are of course a huge part of the nightlife, with almost 200 significant balls every year, with more private and smaller functions numbering even higher, and is a must for anyone living or visiting Vienna.

3. Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver is one of the most diverse cities in Canada, with over 50% of citizens for whom English is not their first language and with more than 2.3 million residents in the metropolitan area, it’s the third most populated area in the country.

Offering more than just an urban cityscape, Vancouver is known for its forests that surround the area. With evergreens across most of the area, it remains a stunning place throughout the year. As night descends however, you’ll see the true majesty of such a sprawling metropolis as the lights of Vancouver’s signature high-rises beginning to glow. The only city to rank at 100/100 on the top-ten list of the EIU’s Liveability rankings, Vancouver is a great city to explore and assimilate in.

The climate, as expected for such a northern city, is fairly cold on average year round. With averages of around 14 °C it can seem chilling but has been known to break into the 30s during the summer at the city’s hottest.

Libraries, museums and art galleries are all over in Vancouver, as one would expect from a high-ranked city, and each September the city plays host to the Vancouver International Film Festivals, showing over 350 films it’s one of the largest film festivals in North America.

The nightlife is also vibrant and there is always something happening. For those who don’t mind a bit of chill, Vancouver is a brilliant place to own a property.

12 April 2012

Got a Holiday Flat or House in London or Weymouth?

If you have a Holiday flat or house in London, this could be the right moment to make some extra cash. With the Olympic Games starting the 27th July and ending the 12th august 2012, many visitors are looking for a place to stay. Especially if you are close to the Olympic Games complex (Stratford), this could be quite profitable. The overall market prices in London have already risen by 16% from 2011 to 2012 according to some Real Estate Agencies . House prices have risen by 1.4% since 2010  in almost all areas of England.

14 March 2012

Top problems when renting holiday properties and how to deal with them

Renting out your holiday property is not just about finding a possible tenant with the expectation that they will pay their rent on time. After careful cleanup and preparation, property owners should anticipate problems while the tenant is staying in your property.
The following are the most common problems which owners have to face. We have also given some advice as to how you can effectively deal with the problem:
Late payment
Many tenants pay for their holidays very late which could easily cause a lot of problems to the owner, especially if it is there main source of income. But you can easily avoid this problem with the right paperwork and reminders. The document should clearly indicate the date of payment and its consequence. A friendly reminder a few days before the payment deadline should also help you to receive the rent on time.
Renters locking themselves out
It’s always a possibility that a renter will lose their keys for your holiday property. To avoid further inconvenience, the best solution is to install key-less door locks (a lock that only requires a code). Another solution is to give spare keys to the property manager or the housekeeper. Just make sure that the people handling the extra keys can be trusted.
Emergencies while staying in a holiday property
It’s always possible that something will go wrong while your tenant is staying in the holiday property. As a protocol, give your tenant a card or laminated paper with a list of phone numbers they can contact in case of emergency. It’s a very simple card they can place in the property for ease of use if something does go wrong.

photo courtesy of Jixar

22 February 2012

Time Saving Alternatives to Grass

Growing grass in your holiday property requires time, patience and money. If you do not take care of it, through regular maintenance it can be filled with weeds and grow tall degrading your property. The task of cutting the grass can become very tedious especially if you are not living in the property for the entire year.
Fortunately, there are alternatives to grass that help save time and are easy to maintain. Below we have listed some of the best solutions for your lawn;

At first glance, clover may look like it’s a type of weed that will only make your lawn look bad. But to an experienced landscaper, clover could be easily integrated or mixed with grass and the look of the lawn remains the same. It’s a perfect alternative especially when you don’t plan to step on the lawn as clover can beautifully cover your ground.

Artificial Grass
Forget about cutting your lawn frequently and instead install artificial grass in your holiday home. Placing the material is relatively simple and it requires very little maintenance. Because of advances in technology, the look of artificial grass has greatly improved in the past few years.

Patio Xeriscape
This is one of the most popular alternatives to grass. Instead of focusing your efforts in planting grass, you can create a patio that takes full advantage of stones. It requires a little bit creativity but with proper design, you can easily create a beautiful patio xeriscape that requires very little maintenance.

photo courtesy of teofilo

02 February 2012

Purchase a New Property before Stamp Duty Change in March

Everybody pays taxes and they are very important because they ensure that public services run as expected. Without taxes, the government would not be able to provide the country with free services and assistance. For this reason, most people do not complain on the taxes they have to pay regularly.

Fortunately, the government provides some leeway for individuals and families looking for opportunities to save on taxes. The perfect example for families to save on taxes is the stamp duty holiday which is set to expire on the 24th of March this year. This offer is a stamp duty exemption for individuals and families purchasing properties for the first time. The stamp duty holiday is only valid for properties valued less than £250,000. This is a very rare opportunity for first time buyers because they get to enjoy a well-priced property without paying thousands more on stamp duty.
Aside from the stamp duty holiday, homebuilders are also providing additional perks for first time home buyers. There are companies that offer some type of return if part of the payment came from families and friends. More often than not, first time homebuyers also enjoy lower mortgage rate.
The perks and benefits coming from the government and private real estate companies set the perfect stage for first time homebuyers. With the savings they could enjoy through stamp duty holiday and the lower mortgage rate, owning property has never been more attractive.

31 January 2012

Opus Energy signs wind power agreement with Danish energy organisation

Opus Energy and Nordjysk Elhandel (NEAS) a Danish energy company have entered cooperation in the balancing and trading of wind power production from wind turbine generators within the United Kingdom. The agreement will allow companies to receive cleaner energy and will also increase the opportunities for you to add a wind turbine to your property and gain an extra income through power generation.

Charlie Crossley Cooke, Opus Energy’s Managing Director has explained that wind power generation is expanding in the UK and Opus Energy want to secure the highest possible set-up in the production management for wind power generation. The agreement with NEAS will help Opus Energy to access state-of-the-art services in balancing and scheduling of wind power and the competencies in trading wind energy. This will provide British wind power generators with the best service and maximum value for their associated certificates and production.

Currently there is over 5,970 MW installed capacity of wind power in the UK. Based on the figures of how many wind turbines are under construction, planned and approved the capacity of wind power in the British Isles is expected to rise to more than 10,000 MW by 2015 and over 20,000 MW by 2020.

Bo Lynge Rydahl, NEAS’ CEO has stated NEAS has invested many resources in building the strongest possible set up for the trading and production of wind power. The company has their own analysts and meteorologists forecasting production volumes and have developed specialised IT systems for the scheduling and balancing or wind energy generation. NEAS has years of experience in the trading of wind power in Sweden, Denmark and Germany. The agreement between NEAS and Opus Energy provides both partners with a highly competent company to market their services in the UK.

Opus Energy and NEAS expect to sign the first wind power PPA (production purchase agreement) in the UK by the end of the first quarter of 2012. They will market their services on the basis of an outstanding generation balancing service with a competitive and dynamic pricing structure.

12 January 2012

Tips for Renting Out Your Holiday Property in UK

Renting out your property during the holiday season is an ideal source of extra income, especially if your property is located in a popular tourist destination. You don’t have to exert a lot of effort but you are assured of an income because your property is practically working for you.
But before renting out your property in UK, there are some things you have to remember to ensure that you will earn a considerable fee while protecting a very valuable asset.

Check the Terms and Conditions of Your Mortgage
If you’re still on mortgage, check if you are already allowed to lease at least part of your property. Some mortgage companies do not allow leasing their properties to protect the asset. More often than not, this information is readily available from your real estate agent.
While checking the terms and conditions of your mortgage; also check out the additional tax you should pay and the exemptions you might enjoy. Visit directgov.co.uk for this type of information.

Create Rules…and Stick to Them
It’s always important to make some rules in your property especially if you’re only renting out a room. Even your pet peeves or small things that you really value should be indicated while interviewing a possible tenant. It may sound demanding but you don’t want your tenant to end up annoying you all day.

Sign the Document
A handshake could be considered a deal for some people but you can protect yourself from any problems in the future by letting the tenant sign a legal document. Of course, give your tenant some time to read the document and make sure they are within legal boundaries. It’s your best protection against property damages and other problems.

photo courtesy of hownowdesign