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The Sunday Times Rich List of the UK’s top 1,000 wealthiest individuals, was published this week. The brothers Sri and Gopi Hinduja topped the list with a combined estimated worth of £22 billion – more than the entire GDP of dozens of large countries around the world!

It got me and the team thinking; if you were on the list, how would you spend your money? And if you were going to buy some luxury overseas property, where would be the best places to invest right now?

After much thinking, debating and re-thinking, here are my top three picks for the best places to invest (whether you suddenly find yourself catapulted unexpectedly onto the rich list next year, or not):

Ibiza
The small Mediterranean island of Ibiza is one of Europe’s most popular holiday destinations for a reason. It offers something for everyone; from beautiful solitude to hard-core partying and everything in between.

Personally, I think that the west of the island is where you’re most likely to find an idyllic home, whether it’s for occasional holidays or longer-term stays. The area surrounding the beach at Cala d’hort is magical with stunning scenery, including the mythical Es Vedra rocks formations.

It’s the perfect place to live a leisurely lifestyle. You can spend the late afternoon and evening in bars, listening to amazing DJs while watching the brilliant Mediterranean sun sets. It’s great for apartment living. The food is fantastic too with some of the best fresh fish and sushi dishes you’ll find in the whole Mediterranean region.

It’s not only the lifestyle that’s appealing; in the luxury property market, values have rocketed by approximately 170% in the past ten years – and as much as 5% since the end of 2012 – and this trend shows no signs of changing as demand for property continues to outstrip supply.

In 2018 – according to Pisos.com – the average price of a property in Spain was 1,546 €/m² and the figure for the Balearic Islands, including Ibiza, was and average of 2,208 €/m². This is the second highest in the country after Cantabria at 2,639 €/m² and slightly more than the Spanish capital of Madrid 2,043 €/m².

Even better, for those that are fortunate enough to invest in Ibiza, a lucrative phase of regeneration is underway. The San Juan road running along the spine of the island has been widened and is now able to handle more traffic meaning the north of Ibiza is more accessible than ever.

Estepona
The resort town of Estepona on the south coast of Spain is a perfect place for apartment living with beautiful palm-lined promenades ideal for leisurely evening strolls in the golden sunlight. It’s part of the Costa del Sol so there’s no shortage of things to do, or opportunities for living luxuriously.

To take full advantage of Estepona, it’s best to have a small car and there are classic sandy beaches that are great for families in both directions along the coast. It’s a perfect place to enjoy a tapas lifestyle hanging out in cafes morning, noon and night.

If you were on the rich list, I’d upgrade from an apartment to a house or villa with a plot of land attached; requiring a more sizeable injection of cash. Whatever you choose, maximise your investment by using the property for yourself out-of-season, then renting it out during the school holidays.

French Alps
You miss the beaches and seaside but what you get in return by buying a luxury property in this region, is definitely a fair swap. The scenery in the French Alps is spectacular with some of the most breath-taking views in the whole of Europe.

Split between the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur regions, some of the mountain ranges of the French Alps are entirely in France, while others, such as the Mont Blanc massif, are shared with Switzerland and Italy.

But it’s not just the geography that shapes the region’s character, it’s the dramatic change of seasons from summer to winter too; although the Alps’ status as a global hub for adrenalin junkies and thrill-seekers around the world doesn’t change throughout the year.

Some of the best places to consider making a luxury property purchase include Chamonix, Annecy, Grenoble, Aix-les-Bains, Val d’Isere and Evian-les-Bain. Whether you’re looking for a place to hike peacefully, or a base for serious adventure sports, the French Alps is spectacular (and it’s only a relatively short drive to the beaches of the south coast if you want a change).

Thinking you might find yourself on the renowned rich-list? Let us know where you’d spend your hard-earned money and why!

Don’t forget to book a call with the Unique Living team to learn more about how we can help you buy your dream luxury property abroad.

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Given its central position in the heart of the Mediterranean, it’s surprising more doesn’t get written about Sardinia – both as a holiday destination and a fantastic place to buy a luxury overseas property.

The Mediterranean’s second-biggest island (after Sicily and before Cyprus) may be a semi-autonomous region of Italy but it has a unique character all of its own.

Although Italian is widely spoken and remains the official language, there are numerous indigenous languages such as Sassarese, Corsican Gallurese and Algherese Catalan which create a colourful mix of cultures and traditions.

The landscape is equally diverse. Given its size, Sardinia has its own micro-climate with a wide variety of ecosystems form mountains, woods and uninhabited plains to rocky coastlines and long sandy beaches.

A little-known reason to consider Sardinia is that it shares an unusual claim to fame with the Japanese island of Okinawa. Together, the islands have the join-highest rate of centenarians in the world, with 22 people in every 100,000 living to over 100.

Whatever the medical reasons, the traditional diet and laid-back way of life are all part of what makes it easy to enjoy a long and happy life on the island; with all the creature comforts of modern life combined with a relaxed approach to life you struggle to get on mainland Italy.

In recent years, Sardinia has even become the centre of a revival in luxury wellness retreats. There are now several high-end health and fitness centres on the island, running exclusive getaways focussed on yoga, pilates, HIIT workouts and other popular treatments.

In terms of property locations, there’s a great variety to choose from. Nestled in the south, Cagliari is Sardinia’s main and biggest city. It has 150,00 direct residents in the city itself with another 280,000 scattered throughout the urban surroundings. Between the two areas, it combines ancient historical sites, beautiful sea views, elegant shopping streets, buzzing nightlife and relaxing countryside.

The east of the island is home to some of its most beautiful scenery, with sandy beaches, stunning rock ridges, ponds and mountains. It’s a great place to consider if you like outdoor activities, including hiking, surfing, diving, climbing, horse riding, canoeing and sailing which are all available in abundance.

The towns of Arbatax and Tortoli are the centrepoint of the east and, arguably, are its most traditional and authentic region. The area is characterized by awesome food, winding coastal roads and breath-taking roads connecting the Gennargentu mountain range with the shallow offshore coastline.

On the west of the island is some of its quietest and most secluded terrain. White waves crash against giant cliffs punctuated by secluded bays harbouring turquoise seas.

The town of Oristano is a lovely attraction and largely unspoiled by tourism. It’s packed with treasures and examples of traditional Sardinian life. The ancient town of Tharros and the beautiful Sinis Peninsula are must-see attractions if you’re in this region.

In the north is the ancient city of Olbia, which means ‘happiness’ in ancient Greek. It’s appropriately named as it’s rightly one of the most popular areas for property buyers.

The city is a gateway to some of the islands best beaches, five separate protected marine areas, nearly 80,000 hectares of stunning coastal landscapes and, if you’re interested in diving, breath-taking sea beds.

If you’re an EU citizen, buying property in Sardinia is possible at any time. The good news is, you’ll get the same experience as an Italian. The bad news is, you’ll get the same experience as an Italian.

If you’re familiar with doing business in Italy, you’ll know the bureaucracy can be significant. That’s why we’re there to make the experience fast, efficient and simple for you. Our team of buyer’s advisors can guide you through the administrative issues and the tax regulations specific to the island.

Have you ever been to Sardinia? Leave us a comment and share your stories with us. Never been, but want to see if it can be added to your overseas property search list? Contact the Unique Living team today! 

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With the Cannes Film Festival just days away and the unexpected announcement that “Bohemian Rhapsody” film star Rami Malek will play the villain in the upcoming instalment of James Bond, there’s no better time to look at one of France’s most popular destinations for overseas holiday investors, the Antibes peninsula.

It’s a beautiful destination for anyone looking for a luxurious retreat or investment opportunity and it has strong links to James Bond movie history.

1971’s Diamonds Are Forever, starring Sean Connery, was shot on location in Cap d’Antibes, the beautiful peninsula between Cannes, Juan-les-Pins and Cap-Ferrat. It’s a very exclusive area with secluded properties high up in the hills but simultaneously very close to the beach.

It has beautiful views of some of the most historic parts of Antibes, including Le Fort Carre, a 16th Century star-shaped fort.

The Cap d’Antibes is literally the ‘cap’ of the Antibes peninsula. The main town of Antibes is further back from the tip of the peninsula towards the main coastline and is probably the biggest town in the French Riviera.

Antibes is much more geared towards the needs of permanent local inhabitants than the more exclusive Cap d’Antibes area. So if you’re looking for somewhere to buy a holiday home, Cap d’Antibes is definitely the place to go, rather than Antibes itself.

Cap d’Antibes has a great selection of restaurants to fit everyday and James Bond budgets. There’s the five-star Cap d’Antibes Beach Hotel and the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, which is a well-known movie-star hangout.

If you prefer to explore the region, rather than hanging out poolside or by the beach, then hiring a car is a must. Parking can be a real struggle on the French Riviera so I’d recommend a small car, like a Fiat 500.

Elton John was famously filmed driving his Rolls Royce along the Boulevard de la Croisette in Cannes for one of his music videos but they didn’t show him trying to park it and, if you’ve tried to manoeuvre a big car around the towns of the French Riviera, you’ll know why.

However you choose to enjoy your time in the Antibes area, it’s easy to get to with regular flights to Nice from Leeds, Heathrow, Gatwick, Stanstead and Luton, which is only an hour and a half flight. Then Cap d’Antibes is probably only 20 minutes from Nice once you land on the other side.

One important point to take into consideration when buying in the Cap d’Antibes, or French Riviera as a whole, is price. Once people have invested in a property there, they generally don’t want to get rid of it. And sometimes they don’t even want to go anywhere else in general. It means housing stock is limited which inevitably puts a premium on prices.

If you’ve set your heart on a property on the French Riviera or Cap d’Antibes, it’s good to have eyes and ears close to the ground so you know about opportunities and properties coming onto the market as soon as possible. Otherwise, it can be a long wait.

To find the best property that’s absolutely right for you, you have to be in a position to buy. A lot of properties get sold under the radar so you need to be ready to press the button and to fly out at short notice to get the luxury property or holiday home of your dreams.

It’s also helpful to have a vision for the property you want above and beyond how it might be when you see it. When it comes to the French Riviera, you can’t afford to take forever.

If you hesitate because you find a great property but you don’t like every aspect of the interior design, it’s likely another buyer will grab it before you do. Make sure you don’t let incidentals that can be changed or altered after purchasing get between you and your dream overseas property.

If a property requires more extensive work, we can arrange builders and project managers to make sure you get the home you want without the risk another buyer will get to it first.

We’d love you to share your experience of times spent in Antibes and the surrounding French Riviera. But if you haven’t yet explored the area but would like to, or for general advice on buying a luxury home in Europe or the Caribbean, contact us today!

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Known for its glitz, glamour and of course the annual Film Festival in May, Cannes is no stranger to visitors flocking to the area to soak up a piece of this French Riviera paradise – if only for a short while.

But, what if you could own your very own piece of paradise in Cannes, an apartment or villa perhaps; where and how would you start the process?

That’s where Unique Living can help you!

We help you to take your concept and idea of owning a luxury property in Cannes or in fact anywhere else internationally, right through to it’s realisation; acting as a mediator between the sellers of Luxury International properties, and those wanting to buy their very own luxury property abroad.

Ensuring to pay equal attention and respect to both parties, our prime aim is to provide more robust support and guidance to those wanting to spend their hard-earned cash buying their dream home or investment abroad.

High-value investments of cash should equate to high-value emotional experiences, especially during home-buying, regarded as the most expensive types of one-off purchases made.

But all too often buyers are left without that emotional high that should come with a luxury home purchase.

And that’s why we stand in the corner of, and champion the buyers of luxury international property!

So be rest assured, after guidance through the buying process with transparency and honesty, that dream home in Cannes will be the right one for you and the lifestyle you want to lead. Our aim is to build a strong long-term relationship with you, our buyers.

And, around the seven year mark after first making your luxury home purchase, selling your luxury villa or apartment in Cannes might be a process you’ll need guidance with, and we’d want you to get back in touch with the Unique Living team again, because you trust us to do the job properly.

So, now you’re a little more aware of how we can help you visualise and buy with ease in Cannes, let’s take a look at what you can do when you’re there outside of Film Festival season!

Eglise Notre Dame d’Esperance

One of the best out of many churches to visit in the area. It’s a steep climb if you’re travelling by foot but totally worth it as you’ll be mesmerised by the architecture, tranquil atmosphere and the amazing panoramic views over the harbour and town that take your breath away.

Le Monastere Fortifie

Just off the coast of Cannes, take a ferry ride to St Honorat Island, owned by Monks. Here you’ll find Le Monastere Fortifie, an old fortress. It’s a must for those interested in history and architecture. You can also access St Marguerite Isle from here which has breath-taking views of The Alps offering the perfect backdrop.

Musee de la Mer

This multi-sectioned museum is one part prison museum, while another devoted to Roman artefacts. Temporary displays and art exhibitions are held throughout the year to enjoy.

Palais des Festivals et des Congres of Cannes

Prefer cultural activities such as the theatre rather than historical attractions? This is the place to visit. With a varied schedule of performances throughout the year you’ll get to spoil yourself with the range of operas and ballets on show. Plus there are many festivals and events held at this venue too.

Villa Domergue

A tale of three reasons to visit Villa Domergue;

Firstly, the wonderfully historic building; holds the attention of all those with a love of history.

Second, a stunning setting that includes beautifully luscious Italian gardens. And finally, I’m not sure you’ll get anywhere near the opportunity to see some of the most spectacular views across the bay of Cannes as you would here.

There are many more sights and attractions to enjoy in Cannes, perhaps even a hidden gem we don’t know about. We’d love to hear about your Cannes experience and of course, if you’d like some advice on buying a luxury home in Cannes or anywhere else in Europe or the Caribbean, contact us today!

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Amid the uncertainty of Brexit, one thing is becoming clear; enthusiasm for European luxury homes is higher than ever. Despite the confusion around what a final agreement will look like, reports show property buyers are continuing to invest in new homes abroad.

This week, the average asking price of a home jumped by nearly £3,500 – the biggest month-on-month increase in over a year. Estate agents say that home buyers and sellers have become bored of Brexit. Following the EU Referendum results, many buyers were concerned about the impact on their purchases in Europe. But more than a year later, we’ve now seen the impact is not what people expected.

Record Sales
As I wrote in November last year, it was totally understandable that in the build-up to the Referendum in 2016, many buyers were nervous. They were hesitant to commit to purchases given the absence of any clear precedents or signs about the possible direction of political decisions affecting the property market.

However, once a decision had been made, an ever-increasing number of buyers felt more confident about proceeding with purchases. Many have had the mindset that they want to secure a piece of Europe for their future, regardless of whether the UK remains part of it or not, while others just wanted to get on with their lives, we are not getting any younger.

The ‘Live for the Moment’ Effect
Last year I reported that a client called me to say he was putting his purchase on hold until we knew what was going to happen between the UK and Europe. A year later, this client called me out of the blue. “By the time Brexit has been sorted out,” he said, “I’ll be too old to appreciate my holiday home! I’m not going to let the government govern my own life or lifestyle. I’m not getting any younger and my family deserve this.”
He went on to complete his purchase.

As property website Rightmove announced this week, the average asking price on houses continues to rise. A desire to buy no matter what the political or economic impact of Brexit is an increasingly common mindset among buyers of all budgets, backgrounds and geographic target markets.

There are some buyers who want to invest in Europe now, with the option of moving out of the UK in the future. It’s a good time to buy while the UK is still in the EU. We don’t believe Brexit will make the process of buying abroad any harder. However, it indicates that it may be the ideal time to secure a luxury villa for sale in France, Italy, Spain or Portugal; and then enjoy the benefits further down the line.

Will It Be Harder To Buy After Brexit?
Some people will tell you it will be harder to buy after Brexit. However, you only have to look at house purchases made outside the EU to know there can be a thriving supply of properties whatever kind of Brexit we get. Barbados is most definitely not in the EU but it attracts a regular stream of prospective buyers from all over the world.

Adopting a Measured Approach
The golden rule is to approach your house purchase as you would any other business opportunity; put Brexit out of your mind and do what feels right for you and your family. If owning a luxury villa is a dream of yours, then go for it; it’s a decision you’re unlikely to regret, even if there is a lot of political wrangling in the back ground.

As mentioned in several other of my blogs, review all your options before making a big investment decision. It’s you and your family’s lifestyle, needs, and future requirements that are most important to a successful luxury overseas property investment. Sure, an EU country may well be the place for you, but alternatively, there are a virtually limitless numbers of opportunities.

How has Brexit affected your buying ambitions, goals or actions? We’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions. Do you feel concerned about the future or do you feel the EU luxury property market will continue to be strong?

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The amazing climate, lively cities coupled with rich history and not to mention the stunning countryside, is what makes the French Riviera one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe.

The region comprises of Aquitaine, Midi-Pyrénées, Corsica, Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and the Southern parts of Rhône-Alpes and Poitou-Charentes; each of which has something special to offer.

Any property for sale in the South of France attracts a great deal of attention, and maybe it’ll pique your interest too…

Let’s take a look at what each area has to offer and maybe it’ll help you decide where you’d like to visit and even buy your very own dream overseas property

Saint-Tropez: One of the principal towns in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, St-Tropez is the epitome of luxury and a hotspot for the rich and famous. It has some of the most outstanding beaches in the world, and harbours filled with luxury yachts as far as the eye can see.

People looking for luxury villas for sale in the South of France often choose this destination so that they can enjoy the chic glamour that this amazing place has to offer.

Cannes: Once a small fishing village, Cannes is now a vibrant town commonly associated with sophistication and luxury, especially when it comes to the properties that are for sale here in Cannes. A favourite hotspot amongst celebrities, and of course the annual Cannes Film Festival draws the rich and famous from far and wide.

And if you’re a fan of water sports and yachting, you’re in luck as they are two of the most popular types of pastimes here.

Arles: If history and culture is your thing, a property in Arles could be your preference. Expect modern museums, seventeenth-century buildings, theatres, an amphitheatre and winding, maze-like streets. This town is associated with Van Gogh as he created some of his most famous masterpieces here.

Nice: Nice is one of the first cities to come to mind when you think of the South of France. It’s only rivalled by Paris as a French tourist destination. The capital of Alpes-Maritimes département, it’s a great place for those who relish indulgence in a little retail therapy from time to time. Interesting places to visit in Nice include the Matisse Museum, the Russian Cathedral, Vieux Nice and Promenade des Anglais.

Montpellier: Want a faster pace of life? Then you’ll love the city of Montpellier. An eclectic mix of traditional buildings and modern developments makes this a very interesting place to be. Montpellier is a great place for those who enjoy fine dining and lively nights out. Other things to do in this city include the Modern Art Museum, a planetarium, a zoo, the botanical gardens and the Musée Fabre. All this, and yet it’s still only a short bus ride away from the beach.

With no shortage of expert chefs to prepare the array of delicious food the region has to offer, you’ll get to sample the best of the traditional foods such as Bouillabaisse – an old tradition amongst the local fisherman of rich fish stew, this meal is now known the world over.

Events Throughout the Year in the South of France:

There are some amazing events that take place throughout the year in the South of France, such as the Tour de France that passes through the region in July; a boon for cycling and sports fanatics. Other sporting events include the Iron Man France taking place in Nice during June, and the autumn yacht regattas in Cannes and Saint-Tropez.

The highlight of the whole year is, of course, the aforementioned Cannes Film Festival in May. If you are looking for properties for sale in the South of France, you’ll have lots of choice from the wide selection of living spaces available in the region. Where you decide to buy a property may largely depend on how you want to spend your leisure time, as each is very different and they all have their own unique benefits.

Do you have a favourite hotspot in the South of France? Leave us a comment, we’d love to hear your thoughts…

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Are you concerned that you’re ‘difficult to please’?

That you’ve got too many criteria and won’t ever find the right luxury villa or apartment? As far as I’m concerned, it’s all about adopting the right approach. I don’t believe in finding a great luxury property, then strong-arming a client into it.

It’s all about listening to the client’s needs, then identifying exactly what they require from their home purchase. True, it’s a technique that takes time and effort – but it’s worth it for the excellent results. Here are just some of the questions I ask when I sit down with my clients;

What Lifestyle are You Looking For?

In my years working as a luxury international property advisor, I’ve found that broadly speaking, my clients fall into two camps:

• The adventure-seekers. These people want a property in a specific location, so they can explore and enjoy the surroundings. For them, it’s all about what’s outside the villa or apartment – the accommodation itself is usually regarded as less important.

• The comfort-enjoyers. Other clients want convenience in their lives. They want to relax and appreciate their nearby surroundings, with every amenity in easy reach. As such, the property itself is often a top priority.

At our initial meet-up, we’ll spend some time working out what matters to you. This helps me to identify what sort of location and property will be most suitable.

What Sort of Area?
Every location has its own unique personality. Take the Costa del Sol for example. Marbella has a completely different feel to Estepona, and Sotogrande is a world away from Benalmadena.
Fortunately, we know all our locations inside-out. My team have spent time in each one of them, so we’re well positioned to answer all the questions you might have about them.

To use another example, if you told me that you loved the Costa del Sol but wanted to be away from the buzz of the seaside towns, I’d probably recommend Benahavis as an option, which is situated in the craggy hills behind the main beach resorts.

For Yourself or Others?
This is another key question. Will you be using it exclusively, or renting it out to others? If it’s solely for you, then we can focus on exactly what you want, and what will work for your family. But if you’re planning to rent it to holidaymakers, we’ll need to consider their requirements too. If you want to generate an income from it, it’s vital to choose a property that appeals to your target rental market.
For example, if you’re considering renting, a gated development could be a good option. They usually have all the amenities holidaymakers need, right on the doorstep, and it’s easy to maintain the property.

Thinking into the Future.
I’ll also be asking you about your long-term plans. It’s important to focus on finding a property that’ll work for you for years to come, not just in the immediate future. For example, that huge pool might be ideal while you’ve got young children, but will you still want it when they’re older?

Being near Malaga might mean you’ll enjoy visiting the museums and historic locations; but will you still want to be there once you’ve seen all the attractions several times?
It’s true that I do spend a lot of time talking to my clients. But as far as I’m concerned, that’s the secret to Unique Living’s success, understanding our client’s family dynamic. By identifying exactly what each client really wants, I’m able to find them the perfect property, every time.

What are your top priorities when looking for a luxury villa or apartment? Have you got any words of wisdom to pass on to others? If so, we’d love to hear them.

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Being an expert in the international property market requires understanding trends and caring about the needs of my clients. Each property market has its own unique features which influence the best way to approach it, but no matter what, I’ve found that it is essential to always, approach every deal and each property with a “buyer first” mindset.

The risk that comes with local agents

I only work with local agents who have many years of experience in the local property market. It takes many years of experience to fully know the local area, to understand how a property is affected by regulatory requirements, and frankly, to build up the gumption to be truly honest about the condition and circumstances of a property and its history.

Very often you get estate agents who move to an area and think that they know how to sell properties. They get together a few local contacts, create a website and off they go. But they don’t have the experience of someone who has lived and worked there for 20 or 30 years. A long time ago, I saw how necessary it was to only deal with estate agents who are longstanding residents of the area. Not just people who work in the area, but people who live there every day and are passionate about their home.

I want the assurance that the partners I’m dealing with offer me the best portfolio and the entire picture, because the buyers who come to us for help in finding a luxury property need the assurance that they’re getting the best deal possible from us. And, anyway, if there’s anything wrong that they aren’t telling me – believe me, we’ll find out!

I’ve also found that having this approach helps to keep my finger on the pulse of what is really happening. This has helped us to move into newer areas such as St Kitts and Sardinia. This has also meant that we have moved out or reduced our activity in other areas. Because of my connections with local estate agents, I know exactly what is going on in my areas.

Putting myself in the buyer’s shoes

There is always an element of trial and error in any line of work. But by putting myself into the shoes of the buyer – asking, what would I want from my advisor? – means taking the time to build a network of trusted local agents and gather together the knowledge and expertise needed, and that helps to eliminate most of the errors I would have made without that attitude.

For instance, I know from experience that buyers need to be aware of the wider influences in the property markets, even if something doesn’t look related on paper. Take summer and winter. What difference does the time of year make to a luxury overseas property purchase? Well, a lot, if you think about the cycle of people renting out their properties to tourists for the summer months. You may find that prices are a little higher in the run-up to summer. That’s why most international property markets generally have defined sales cycles.

Ultimately, putting myself into the mindset of a buyer is how I secure the best deals for my clients. It helps me to ask the right questions, look at the right properties, and be suspicious of opportunism when I need to be! If you only take one piece of advice away from my blogs, take this one: if you need to find an advisor for a property purchase, find one with a buyer first mindset.

What are your most important needs as a buyer? Get in touch with me on LinkedIn – I’d love to hear from you.

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Unique Living had a record year in 2018. It was incredible – I’d say 95% of all our business last year ended in securing a great deal on the right property for the right buyer. Now we’re getting into the real meat of 2019, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on our enormous success. I think the single biggest factor was my decision to be more public about my true mission – championing the buyer of international property, which I’ve written about elsewhere – but there were other important influences, too.

The dreaded B-word

Brexit turned the whole of 2018 into a year of deep uncertainty in the UK. And yet it was also the year that many of my clients, some of whom have been mulling over plans to buy property in Europe for years, decided to pull the trigger and press ahead with their purchases. Why?

For many of them, the idea of Brexit simply lost the fear it once inspired. Many said, “Screw it, I’m fed up with being dumped on by politicians and I’m not getting any younger.” They still wanted a piece of Europe, so they bought a plot of land in Europe. It’s as simple as that.

International luxury property is an ever-changing market influenced by three main things: what buyers want, politics, and the media. Scaremongering is a huge problem in my industry. Newspapers need to be sold, websites need traffic – I used to be a journalist, I understand these things – but at some point, the PR becomes harmful, and at times it has discouraged buyers from approaching a perfectly good property market. But the fact is, many people around the world have purchased properties in non-European countries as a lifestyle choice, not only Barbados but also the USA and many more, without being stung by taxes. And when my clients realise that, they set their sights back on Europe and the reality of life.

In short, I’ve learnt that I need to be firmer in teaching clients something I had to learn the hard way a long time ago: do not to listen to the media or politicians when it comes to the luxury property market. Listen to advisors like us who want you to know the truth, there is always an agenda when there is negativity.

 

The importance of real relationships

Much of what I’ve learnt since becoming the International Property Buyers Advisory has been from my clients. Even though things in the world change, the basic needs of people don’t. People who have the ability and the desire, who want to own a home in the Costa del Sol, Cote d’Azur, Tuscany, Algarve, St Kitts or Barbados to name a few. Being able to learn their needs and then provide the best solutions for them is part of the unique services that we aim to provide.

I have found that the importance of building relationships is just as important for the client as it is for me. For example, meeting clients face-to-face helps build trust between both sides. From the buyer’s point of view, they can get a better insight into the complexities and intricacies of buying a property overseas. They can also see that we are not your typical real estate agent who is more interested in selling property to them. Meeting directly with buyers give us the chance to show that we are championing their cause.

From my point of view, it is also important to see how involved the buyer is in the process. Sometimes, buyers come to us with ideas of where they would like to buy a home. However, you can quickly see if they are genuine or not.

I have also learnt that, as political climates can change, so can the personal lives of our potential clients. This is another reason why building relationships is important for us. For example, I try to connect with clients who have mandated to us in the past but who didn’t buy. Very often, things have happened in their life and they are in a different place now than a year or three ago. However, they may still have the same ambition to buy.

This is why having a face-to-face meeting is extremely important for me now. It gives me the opportunity to speak to them as a human and not as a salesperson – because I want to understand their lifestyle objectives.

Now is a good time to take a moment and reflect back on your year. What did you learn? How have you grown? Reach out to me on LinkedIn – I’d love to hear from you.

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Some locations boast a beautiful beach. Others have amazing nightlife, or some of the most exclusive luxury villas on the planet. It’s very rare that you’ll get a place that offers everything – but somehow, the Costa del Sol manages to deliver…

There’s no denying it – the Costa del Sol is an excellent all-rounder. It’s a multi-faceted location, which offers a variety of different lifestyles for those who live there. Like Queen’s Greatest Hits Volume 1, it really has got something for everyone.

Even Freddie Mercury enjoyed holidaying on the Costa del Sol. After Live Aid in 1985, he included Marbella on the Queen Magic Tour, their final tour together, where they played many of their greatest hits from that album at the Estadio Municipal de Marbella on the 5th August 1986.

The ‘All Inclusive’ Vibe

When looking for a luxury home abroad, some clients place great value on amenities. They want everything to be within easy reach – the beach, the restaurants and cafes, a local supermarket, the gym and so on.

This can be tricky to achieve in some locations, particularly if the villa is situated in the mountains, away from the nearest town. But many of the Costa del Sol’s towns are compact. Several cater specifically for the luxury villa owners, with exclusive bars, eateries and boutique stores close at hand.

If you’re looking for everything to be conveniently close by, then it’s a great option.

Gated Developments

If your idea of a perfect lifestyle is to have everything you need even closer (i.e. a few minutes’ walk away) then one of the Costa del Sol’s gated developments might appeal. Several of these developments have sports courts, impressive pools, golf courses and more – and all these amenities are literally just outside the front door.

There’s the added benefit of 24-hour security too, which is a major draw for those who plan to leave the property empty for extended periods.

Living the High Life

The Costa del Sol knows how to appeal to party-goers. Marbella is the perfect place for those who want to work on their tan, showcase their latest designer clothes on the promenade, or dine in some exclusive restaurants. There’s also the old town of Marbella too, with its quaint winding streets and cafes. It offers a great change of pace, and this sense of contrast really appeals to some people.

Of course, if you’re looking for the ultimate in high-end living, Puerto Banus is the place to start your property search. Think sipping champagne while looking at the millionaire’s yachts pulling into harbour, or watching the yellow Ferraris race by!

Mountain Peace

That’s not to say that the Costa del Sol doesn’t offer beauty and tranquillity – it does. The luxury villas further away from the coast feel immersed in natural surroundings, with many that are close to traditional Spanish villages such as Benalmadena Pueblo.

These are also the perfect places from which to explore the mountainous terrain. Ronda, nestled amongst dramatic rocky scenery, is just a short drive away; and feels as far removed from the glamour of the beachside resorts as can be imagined. Looking through that Queen compilation, if there was one song to symbolise the Costa del Sol, it would have to be Bohemian Rhapsody, an all-encompassing song, with a range of genres entwinned into a beautiful harmony, the perfect song for the idealistic and eclectic destination.

Do you have a property in the Costa del Sol? If so, what area do you live in, and what do you love most about it? We’d love to hear more about your experiences.

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