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Property - Buying Abroad with Liz O' Kane

Wednesday, 21 February 2007


Considering on buying real estate property abroad but not too sure about taking the plunge? Well Liz O'Kane is here with us today to help you get started on what is hot to buy abroad and give you the do's and don'ts on investing in property abroad!!

Liz O'Kane - House Hunter
Liz is best known to viewers since 2004 as the enthusiastic, chirpy presenter/expert on RTE's productions of House Hunters and House Hunters in the Sun where she lends her expertise to property hunting participants.
Liz has recently joined The Afternoon Show as their resident home finder and will be presenting a weekly property slot attempting to find hidden gems and property bargains around Ireland!

Until recently Liz has written a weekly property column for the Evening Herald newspaper and also submits to several other publications including the House Hunters in the Sun magazine.  Liz is currently shooting the House Hunters in the Sun series which will air in January '07 and running her home finding business she is married to Rory an architect and has two children, Rossa aged 7 and Ellie aged 5.

Where should we buy when it comes to abroad? With SSIA's maturing, people now have the money to dabble in the international property market. Is Europe the best choice, or are there opportunities in Africa, South America, USA, or Asia?
Currently the world is our oyster literally in terms of buying property internationally.  In terms of SSIA levels of money, there are opportunities to buy in new emerging property markets like, South America, Goa on the East Coast of India where entry levels for beach front properties can be as low as €17,000.  Europe will always remain traditional and popular and because of that will always be more expensive.  But if you're willing to go a little further a field your and invest, you could see your SSIA even further mature at Capital Appreciation levels that we won't see for a while here again.

Why should we buy abroad, is it a good investment? Are ski destinations, or are sunny locations the best bet? Is it places by the sea, or city apartments / houses?
Most individuals will chose to invest overseas because they simply cannot afford to buy a second property in Ireland.  I know of first time buyers who could not afford to buy here and chose to buy overseas to get themselves on the property ladder some way!  Cities are always a good bet particularly university cities and cities where there is a financial centre.  So, anywhere where employment is buoyant and there is a good student population will always command rental needs.  Sun is good but for God's sake go for a guaranteed rental agreement if you can 'cos there's nothing worse than managing a property in a country where you're not living.  It won't work!  Ski is lovely, but obviously very seasonal and the property could be idle for up to 7 months of the year.

Should you buy new properties or re sales?
Depends on your circumstances and financial position!  Most people who are first time investors are happy to buy off plan as they don't have to release so much equity immediately as with a resale, some people simply can't wait for their home overseas and just want it quickly so a resale is the way to go although generally can be more expensive.

How do you go about buying and renting? What kind of rent can people realistically charge?
Depends on the size, destination and location of the property.  This is like crystal ball gazing!  However just do it properly and correctly through a registered agent in the case of buying and renting and let somebody else manage it for you successfully.  Rental income will also be seasonal in terms rental rates and your local agent will be able to guide you through this.

What are the pitfalls / red tape that might snag investors?
Make sure the developer is bonded when buying off plan and should he go down the tubes, make sure your money doesn't also!  Every property purchase is a potential risk even at home and if the market should go pear shaped for a while, just wait for it to come back.  It always does! When buying a property abroad it is essential to know your objective. Is the property simply an investment or is it somewhere to live or visit. Do you want short term capital gain or do you want it to provide a one off profit over a particular period of time?
Every property whether at home or abroad is an investment even if it's the family home! No one wants to see their property de-preciate. Some people will buy property off plan and sell or flip it straight away for a quick profit, some will go for the longer burn and decide not to budge for up to 10 years!  Everyone's needs are different!

What are the most important questions you should be asking yourself and the sales rep when looking at investing property?
. If I buy now, what will be the price after I've signed the contract? 
. How long will it take you to sell should I throw it back on the market immediately?  What's the current rate of C.A. annually?
. Do you have a buyer for me now at an inflated price?

Do you know of any quirky property laws, that we would not be aware of? for example in Thailand when you buy a property you only own 60% of it as you are not a Thai national, and in Spain the government can put a motor way through your house, part of the law, they will give you a price for your investments but they will and can take down your property.

Are there any laws like these in any of your suggested investments?
No!  The only area of Spain that has an interesting law is in Valencia province where the local government has a 'land grab' law whereby they can seize your property for development and infrastructure improvements.  Always ask this question of your local solicitor and get them to explain all laws and if 'land grab' exists you should walk away!

The Properties
France - Cap D'Agde region
Agde city is picturesque, elegant, and unusual, steeped in history is one of the oldest towns in France. A Back country deeply authentic, naturally rich, on the road of wine-growers or fishermen. Medieval villages will leed you to lakes, mountains, rivers, wine-growing vine yards, and beautiful forests. The beach supplys you with plenty of activities from jet-skiing, boats rentals, parachutes, fishing, windsurfing board, diving, Water skiing, sail and cruise, . are so many water activities as Cap d'Agde propos. This area of France is a known nudist area, so be warned.
Still stores X6
. House
. Outside
. Kitchen
. Pool
. Boats
. beach
. Cap D'Agde region of southern France close to Bezier and Perpignon airports
. Rental income guaranteed typically for up to 9 years
. VAT can be reclaimed on the property of up to 19.5%
. Rental income is usually paid every 3 months and in arrears
. Rental income is subject to 25% tax in France
. 2 & 3 Bed-roomed townhouses from €78,747 to €134,148 excl. VAT
. 800 mtrs from the beach
. Outdoor pool, restaurants, laundry, tennis, library, play area
. Set in 6 hectares of shaded woodland on the coast.

Fuerteventura - Corralejo
With tourism booming on Fuerteventura, Corralejo, situated in the north of africa and on the south side of Canaries, it is one of the most popular resorts on the island. Well worth an investment!! Corralejo which was once a small fishing village, has now grown into a lively colourful town.
Most of the shops, bars and restaurants are along the main street which leads right down through the music square and on to the harbour which looks across the other side of town and the sand dunes.

These dunes (which are a protected nature reserve) lie just beyond the town. The dunes spread for miles along the east coast and this is what makes Corralejo such a popular resort. See our gallery for more fantastic photographs.
Corralejo caters for all ages and there's a wide variety of things to do, from watersports, tennis, Glass bottom boat trips, Ferry trips to Lanzarote, Jeep Safaris, Island tours, Mountainbiking, Motorbike tours etc.

So with 1 bed apartments at Fuentemar, Corralejo, Fuerteventura with guaranteed rental for three years, it looks like a good place to invest property in.
. Outside
. Pool area
. Living room
. Kitchen
. bedroom

The Apartment:

. All priced at 145k
. Two six monthly payments totalling €4,350 (€362.50 pm)
. Owners have 30 days use per year except during April, July, August, December
. Ryanair now flying 3 x times a week
. Rental review after 3 years to continue with guaranteed rental scheme or not
. Agent - Key to Spain (Geraldine Flynn) 041 9882677 www,

Margarita Island - Venezuela - Caribbean
Isla Margarita (Margarita Island) Venezuela is a mountainous tropical Caribbean island paradise located off the north shore of Venezuela. Margarita is blessed with an average of over 320 days a year of sun, beautiful tropical beaches lined with palm trees like Playa el Agua or Playa Parguito and a temperature that is never too hot or too cold. It is known as the "Pearl of the Caribbean". Its location as an island in the Caribbean sea offers lots of beaches to explore, most of them virgin. Margarita Island is divided into two sections tenuously linked by 24 km. Sand spit which separates the sea from the fascinating Restinga Lagoon National Park. Wild deer, goats and hares roam the mountainous interior and the sandy beaches are only visited by the local fishermen. It sounds like paradise; we should all invest in property here and retire happy people!!!
DVD moving images

The Apartment:

. 38km off the Venezuelan Coast line located between Trinidad and Tobaga
. Tax free haven - so the shopping is second to none!
. Located under the hurricane belt so not affected by severe storms or hurricanes.
. Average temperature of 27c year round
. This resort is the area called playa el agua - 4km of tropical Caribbean beaches and totally set up for tourism.
. 1 - 3 bedroom apartment ranging in size from 400 sq ft - 1300 sq ft approx.
. Ranging in price from €53,500 - €173,500
. 8% guaranteed rental p.a. and a month of you choice p.a. included in the deal.  (Figures to be confirmed).
. Completion Ocotber '07

Sao Nicolau - Cape Verde
Cape Verde is seen as the luxury hotspot for European sun-seekers. You should really invest in property now as it is the place for Europeans to seek sun and relax, as the temperature averages is 22-27, all year round, how bad?! There are direct flights to Cape Verde, sandy white beaches, golf courses and developments been built for investment. It is hard to not take a look and see what they have to offer.
Still stores X 4-
. apartment complex with pool
. garden
. kitchen area
. Bedroom

The Apartment:
New frontline release in the undiscovered São Nicolau Island. Ten apart hotels available, fully furnished, starting from 60,000€ up to €90,000 Very good for a quite getaway second home or investment.
Reservation fee of €1.500
. 1 bed apartments all with views of the sea (duplexes) over two floors
. 550 sq ft aproxmimately
. Literally on a tropical island!
. Very modern and contemporary in design and handed over fully furnished
. €3,500 per annum for a period of three years is the guaranteed rental agreement.
. All facilities i.e. pools, restaurants, sporting facilities all on site
. 25c year round
. fully furnished, starting from 60,000€ up to €90,000
. Due for completion (?)

Cap D'Agde, France
. 2 & 3 Bed-roomed townhouses
. Fully furnished and 800 meters from beach
. €78,747 to €134,148

Fuerteventura, Corralejo
. 1 bedroom Apartments
. Close to beach
. 145k

Margarita Island - Venezuela - Caribbean
. 1 - 3 bedroom apartment,
. €53,500 - €173,500
. Completion: Ocotber '07

Sao Nicolau - Cape Verde
. 1 bed apartments with sea views
. From €60,000 - €90,000
. Completion:

Contact details
Sao Nicolau - Cape Verde
Ricardo Lobo Lima
Real estate consultant

Fuentepark, Corralejo, Fuerteventura
Mrs Geraldine Flynn, Manager of KeytoSpain.
+353 41 988 2677

Noelia Pérez
Office Manager
Spanish Home Net
+34 600 828 545

Cap D'Agde, France & Margarita Island, Venezuela, Carribbean
Prunty's Overseas Property
11 Harold's Cross Road,
Harold's Cross Bridge,
Dublin 6W
Tel: 00353 (0)1 4983733
Fax: 00353 (0)1 4983745