Rightmove Overseas Interviews Amanda Lamb
Ahead of the upcoming A Place in the Sun Live (1st-3rd October at NEC Birmingham), A Place in the Sun presenter Amanda Lamb talks to us about what you can expect to see at the exhibition, her own experiences of buying a home abroad and where the best looking men in the world can be found!
You can download free tickets to A Place in the Sun Live here
1. I would like to buy an overseas property and have cash available but I’ve heard using a mortgage is better, is this true and if so why? In some cases, cash-rich Sterling investors take out mortgages against a property they are buying in euros to protect the value of their investment from fluctuations in the Pound/Euro exchange rate. Another advantage of having a mortgage is that it keeps your investment liquid, i.e. you should be able to release equity through the mortgage provider without having to sell up, if the need arose. And a final benefit of getting a mortgage is reassurance. As in the UK, before lending you money, your mortgage provider will check the property’s title and valuation and if it’s not satisfied then alarm bells should ring about whether you should be buying that property at all.
2. What would you have done differently thinking back to your first overseas property purchase? Absolutely nothing! I got an independent financial advisor. I made sure I bought a property I could afford without having to rely on renting it out. I chose an area with good solid transport links and most importantly I took my time and didn’t rush it. I’m really happy with my beautiful apartment.
3. Apart from staying in your place in Italy where else do you enjoy visiting and why? Oh there’s so many places I love to visit. Marrakech is definitely a favourite. It’s just so unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been. It’s also so easy and quick to get to, just a 4 hour flight. I also love Australia, especially the Margaret River region south of Perth and of course Sydney is one of the worlds great cities.
5. In your opinion are there still destinations out there that are good for buying property purely for investment? We’ve heard that South America is the current hot spot. You should always be careful, but take extra care when buying for investment in today’s market. If you’re tempted by the hugely discounted properties in Spain or the US – or other European destinations – take a long-term view of capital appreciation as property markets aren’t likely to increase significantly in value for a few years. Only emerging countries, ones that escaped the recent financial meltdown and have the foundations for strong economic growth, could offer more exciting opportunities. But these tend to be more far-flung destinations with unfamiliar banking systems or property ownership laws, so the risk will be higher. Yes, Brazil could be one example, Istanbul in Turkey another.
There are isolated opportunities in cities or towns around Europe, for example buy-to-let developments for the domestic residential market. However, you’re often be competing against corporate funds with serious buying power. And given the climate, right now cash really is king – so wherever you decide to buy, have funds in place to strike quickly.
6. I’m considering retiring and emigrating overseas somewhere but I’ve heard lots of stories about red tape and difficulties getting visas and becoming resident. Are there any countries that are ‘friendlier’ to those retiring abroad? As a UK citizen, you’re free to move anywhere within the EU – just make sure you do all the necessary paperwork and inform the relevant authorities. Long haul destinations, including Australia, New Zealand, the US and Canada, are a different kettle of fish. Each has its own list of requirements and visa system. Generally speaking most use a points system, so in your application the higher your total the better your chances. A good tip is to check regularly which job skills are in demand in your chosen country – if you match what’s needed, you’re halfway there to getting a visa. The US is regarded as having one of the most complex visa systems – and getting a Green Card is not easy. Two tips though: using a registered migration agent will save you a whole lot of bother, and money still talks – if you’re a high-net worth individual with a clean record and prepared to invest a set amount in a specified way in your preferred migration destination, there will usually be a visa option for you.
7. Is there any gossip of what we can expect to see at the A Place in the Sun Live exhibition in Birmingham? As well as the usual interviews, chat and top tips from myself, Jasmine and Jonnie, there’s advice from the Association of International Property Professionals (AIPP) on buying abroad safely, loads of free seminars on buying in popular countries like Spain, Turkey, USA, Cyprus and Italy as well as dedicated theatres on France and Portugal where you can go along and ask just about anything to do with buying a home there. It’s a great opportunity for you to meet the agents face-to-face before you buy from them.
8. Apologies for this question but we’ve had a few requests from the ladies at Rightmove Overseas to find out where the best looking men are? There is one place right down on the most southerly point in Spain, called Tarifa – I don’t know what they put in the water, but everyone is truly beautiful – the men women and children are all just gorgeous.
Of course the men in Italy are known for being beautiful, but I suspect it might be something to do with them spending longer getting ready! The other place I noticed more than your average amount of good looking men was in Canada, particularly Vancouver for some reason.
9. Lastly, for people who are just starting to think about buying an overseas property what’s the best piece of advice you can give them? Several. Firstly and most importantly get yourself a good independent lawyer. Secondly, take your time and don’t let yourself be pressured into anything. It is after all, a huge decision and one you need to get right. Thirdly, make sure you have a really clear idea of what you want, where you want to buy and also, the one some people forget to talk about – why you want somewhere. Is it for a holiday home, or purely for investment and so on. Always be wary of deals that promise to treble your money overnight – if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Do your sums thoroughly and make sure you can really afford it. Not just the cost of buying, and repaying the mortgage, but any other costs that might crop up like repairs and travel to get there. Don’t bank on being able to rent your property out to generate some income. It’s a great plus if this does happen, but you need to be able to afford the mortgage if it doesn’t.
Above all, carry out as much research as you possibly can. Really get to know the area, the people, learn the language as best you can and do your homework on the agent or developer you are buying from.
Rightmove Overseas are offering you FREE tickets to attend A Place in the Sun Live on 1st – 3rd October at NEC Birmingham.
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