We interview Amanda Lamb about buying property abroad
An interview with Amanda Lamb by Jayne Howarth
How to find your Place in the Sun
September 28th - 30th 2012
Do your homework and don’t rush any decision-making if you are planning to buy a property abroad, Amanda Lamb advises Jayne Howarth
Areas of the Euro zone might be in crisis, but now could be a great time to snap up a bargain property overseas, says Amanda Lamb, former estate agent, model and now television presenter.
The face of Channel 4’s hit series A Place In The Sun, Amanda knows her stuff when it comes to buying property abroad and will be part of the presenting team when the annual A Place In The Sun Live is staged at the NEC in September.
The event attracts thousands of would-be buyers and investors every year and 2012 will be particularly interesting because of the impact of the Euro crisis on purchasers and sellers.
It’s not all bad news, though explains 39-year-old Amanda, who first fronted the television show that follows would-be overseas property buyers in 2000.
A combination of lower property prices and a strong pound against the Euro means buyers can pick up a fantastic bargain if they play their cards right.
“Whilst buying activity is down across the board as many Europeans have been hit by austerity measures in their own countries, the fact is that reduced prices, also across the board, mean it is a great time to buy if you have cash,” says the former model from the famous Scottish Widows advert.
“Add in the fact that the pound is currently at a three and a half year high against the euro, and it means there are some great deals available to British buyers. Some are a little wary of Greece, but Spain, despite its economic woes, is still in demand.”
Spain and France are still the two main property hotspots for British buyers, but there is also plenty of activity in Florida and Turkey as we seek sun-soaked getaways further afield. Italy, the Caribbean, Albania and Montenegro are four other regions that are of increasing interest to UK buyers, she said.
It doesn’t matter where - or why - you plan to buy, the basic rules will always apply. And doing your research is top of the list. Surprisingly, it’s something that many buyers fail to do.
“Do your research and don’t rush into anything,” urges Amanda, who bought her own hideaway in the medieval town of Nardò in Apulia, Italy in 2007. “Don’t be swayed by price alone; remember a cheap price doesn’t mean a great deal.”
One mistake that many would-be buyers make, explains Amanda, is banking on being able to borrow 70-80 per cent of a property’s price and not actually having finances in place before putting in an offer.
Lack of homework might also result in buyers making costly errors: “Not realising the full extent of the costs involved in maintaining a second home; over-estimating the level of rental income they might make or not realising there can be restrictions on this in certain developments; and not taking sufficient legal advice,” she goes on.
“Also, make sure you are aware of all the purchase taxes and legal costs you will be liable for, as well as the costs for translators.”
Add to that purchase costs, which are steep in countries such as France and Spain, management fees of about 15 per cent if you want to rent out your property, as well as general upkeep costs and income tax on rental income.
It’s a lot to think about, says Amanda, which is why events such as A Place In The Sun Live can help potential purchasers to consolidate their thoughts and get a lot of free advice from the experts on the exhibition stands and on stage.
And also the criteria is different if you are buying abroad to enjoy lazy summers and catch some winter sun yourself, or purely for the investment potential.
“Investment should not be confused with lifestyle, although some properties can fulfil both,” says Amanda, adding that South America and the Far East are attracting buyers wanting to maximise their cash for investment purposes.
“With investment you need to consider locations and properties with the highest rental income yields, combined with the best possibility of capital appreciation. Personal taste or personal usage of a property have to be discounted for the best pure investments.”
Amanda, who has a three-year-old daughter called Willow Rose, said she is looking forward to the live event.
“It’s fantastic to meet people that are planning to, or already have, bought a property abroad. I love hearing about all their plans and find out why different people choose different destinations as there’s such a huge amount of choice out there.
“When we first broadcast the TV show in 2000, it clearly struck a chord with a nation of Brits looking to escape to warmer climes.
“Since then we’ve had to cope with the worst recession in recent times, but it hasn’t put people off and the exhibition still attracts thousands of visitors serious about buying a holiday home abroad.”
Amanda will be appearing at A Place in the Sun Live which takes place at the NEC Birmingham on September 28-30.
Touch Base readers can get free tickets at www.aplaceinthesun.com/touchbase