Free tickets for A Place In The Sun Live at NEC Birmingham
Buying a holiday home overseas is a life-long dream for many people looking for sun, relaxation and even a place to retire
And despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and what it might mean for ex-pats living abroad, it seems sun-seekers are not letting it get in the way of their ambitions.
We chatted to presenters Jasmine Harman, Jonnie Irwin, Laura Hamilton and Amanda Lamb ahead of A Place in the Sun Live, which comes to the NEC Birmingham later this month, about how to turn that dream into a reality.
Property expert Jonnie tells Weekend that although our rollercoaster journey to leave the EU may have deterred a small number of sun-seekers, the vast majority are carrying on with finding that new home regardless.
“Brexit has inevitably slowed the market down, but most people out there looking to purchase overseas are cracking on with their plans. I guess that explains why we’re constantly filming new TV episodes and have welcomed thousands through the doors at our A Place in the Sun Live exhibitions this year.
“Countries like Spain for example have given British buyers added assurances that they won’t be affected by Brexit once the UK leaves the EU, but things could change, so it’s best to be prepared,” he says.
And as it’s not yet known what will happen after October 31, Laura says it’s vital that people continue to research everything carefully so they are prepared for every eventuality.
“Unfortunately, no one at present truly knows what a post-Britain European Union looks like, so it’s difficult to offer advice on that front. But whether a deal is agreed or not, things are going to be different then they are at the moment. I can’t reiterate enough how important it is to swot up on your research before entering the buying process. Visit shows like A Place in the Sun Live, speak to industry professionals and listen to advice from the UK government,” she adds.
So why do thousands of Brits every year pack their bags and jet off to start a new life in sunnier climes?
“Lots of reasons really, but I’d say the weather is the biggest driver,” says Amanda. “Holidaying here in the UK would be great with guaranteed sunshine but this is rarely the case. So now, people are taking it upon themselves to purchase holiday home boltholes that they can escape to at a moment’s notice. And when it’s vacant, they can always rent it out to generate some income.
“For retirees, these people have worked long and hard their whole lives and crave a release from the manic way of life over here in old blighty,” she tells us.
France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and USA remain popular hotspots for British buyers, but other destinations are rising in popularity.
“These countries have been popular with British buyers for a very a long time now, with Spain again being number one, but below that things are always changing.
“In our 2019 Top 10 report both Greece and Turkey have increased their popularity this year. We Brits are very often drawn to the Mediterranean, so it’s nice to see some alternative destinations such as Bulgaria and Barbados entering the mix,” says Jasmine.
“I always consider France an ideal country for a family getaway. You can drive there easily from the UK and it has so much to offer – stunning countryside, ski resorts and beaches, the appeal is endless.
“The Algarve in Portugal is also another family favourite. Spain is extremely popular with British retirees for several reasons, the hot climate, golf courses, affordable properties and sandy beaches just to name a few. Plus, we Brits are naturally drawn to the familiarity of the Spanish way of life.
“For young professionals, buying a holiday home and relocating somewhere permanently are very different, because for a young professional looking to buy overseas, they would need to consider their employment options. Depending on their qualifications and skills, or whether they can work remotely. Either a big city where if they speak the language they can get ahead, or somewhere that offers opportunities to work with tourists or ex-pats, like I did when I moved to the Algarve in my early 20s,” says Jasmine.
Many people fall in love with an area when they are on holiday – but there is a big difference between spending a week or two in a destination and living there full-time.
“It’s important to be certain that where you purchase suits your long-term needs and requirements. Think about transport links – flights, trains etc, nearby schools, hospitals and the ex-pat population. In some Spanish towns the population decreases by thousands each winter, so are you willing to mix it with the locals instead?,” says Jasmine.
When you’ve decided on your dream destination, you can start to look at type of properties on offer to match your budget.
“Viewing a property for the first time is really exciting, but also overwhelming and you can easily overlook a lot of things, I would always advise on a second viewing. The first time you view a property, I would suggest making a list of key things you should ask; what are the transport links and flight routes like? Who lives in the surrounding properties?
“Are they holiday lets or owner occupied? Why are the owners selling? How much are the communal fees and what do they include? On a second viewing you can inspect the property itself and the surrounding area in more detail,” says Laura, known for her passion for property renovation and interior design.
“Buying abroad is such a thrilling experience and a dream that not everyone gets to fulfil, so enjoy the search. Although the market is moving quickly in particular parts of Spain, don’t feel rushed or pressured because there are also lots of properties for sale.
“I’d always advise that you appoint a native lawyer and other professionals to look after your interests overseas. They’ll ensure that no stone is left unturned and that everything is legally binding,” she adds.
Getting the most for their money is a common desire shared by buyers.
“Like buying a property here in the UK, don’t be afraid to negotiate on the asking price within reason. The worst that can happen is that it gets rejected by the seller, but circumstances can always change in an instant so be prepared to react quickly. Cash buyers always have an advantage when negotiating too,” says Jonnie, who began presenting A Place in the Sun – Home or Away in 2004.
“Buying a property overseas is an emotional purchase and although this is perfectly natural, it’s important you seek independent legal advice to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible. A lawyer is your legal representative and will steer you through the buying process and raise questions with the vendor where necessary.
“I always stress this on the TV show and at our exhibitions, and I’m also a director of a law firm specialising in people buying overseas, so this is always at the top of my advice list!,” he adds.
A Place in the Sun Live in Birmingham, which runs from September 20-22, features 120 exhibitors from all over the world showcasing homes in locations such as Spain,the Canaries, Balearic Islands, France, Italy, Portugal and Florida.
Alongside the property agents, there will also be experts on legal, financial, tax and currency on-hand to talk visitors through the buying process and answer questions as well as free informative seminar sessions and talks from the presenters.
Amanda, who became the main presenter of A Place in the Sun in 2001, says there is wealth of help available for buyers. “Not only do we have a TV show which helps people buy abroad, but we also have aplaceinthesun.com, a quarterly magazine and run exhibitions nationwide.
“These platforms are perfect for all types of buyers regardless of where they are in the buying process. There are thousands of properties for sale on aplaceinthesun.com, case studies and market insights in the magazine and plenty of professionals to speak to at our exhibitions,” she adds.
*A Place In The Sun Live is offering readers tickets to the Birmingham show – and they’re completely free. To book visit click here https://apits.circdata-fusion.co.uk/rfg/publish/APITS19BIR/?source=EX&offercode=freetickets