Like it or not, Theresa May’s decision to call a snap general election could well go on to be seen as a masterstroke in timing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from happy with where we are in terms of our political situation but if we are to head in the direction we seem to be pointing, there certainly needs to be a mandate. But before I (re)moan anymore lets bring it back to……timing. Property in terms of investment is pretty sluggish. Real-time prices move slowly even in extreme markets but that’s not to suggest that your own incisive actions can’t have a huge impact on the price you pay for an overseas property.
By comparison the currency market moves at light speed. When Mrs May announced her plans, the currency markets reacted. The move up in the strength of the pound has a huge impact on the budget of a purchase. This should be greeted as long overdue good news for overseas property buyers, but only if they act at the right time. Having a currency expert at the end of the phone or an online account means you can take advantage of these moments that are a gift to purchasers looking to stretch their budgets as far as they can. But be pragmatic - If you have £100,000 worth of Euros to buy with the level hovering at 1.19 for a day or two, don’t wait for it to hit 1.20 before buying the whole order. Get a position, even buying a small amount, so you know that if the price drops back to 1.17 you know you've at least had a piece of the upward shift.
The timing of any trips you make to research areas or even view properties is paramount to making the most informed decision. I’ve just returned from Southern Spain and whether I’m filming or working with private clients, it’s one of my favorite times to be there. The mornings are fresh but not cold, the days are pleasant enough to be working without feeling stifled and the resorts and beaches are empty but not entirely dead. You get a real sense of spring in The Med; that notion of a season’s promise of what lies ahead.
From a property perspective you also get an idea of an area in the low season, something so many buyers ignore when considering a purchase. For many of my clients, the ability to let their property to holiday makers is the key ingredient to its’ affordability. I often remind them that this type of income should be viewed and budgeted for, in terms of contribution towards, and maybe covering the running costs of an overseas property as opposed to being a distinct income generator - especially for those looking to use and enjoy the property themselves.
It’s these spring months and the shoulder-peak weeks either side of the summer season that many of these investors are most likely to use their overseas property. The peak season will ideally be rented out to paying guests so these quiet months are a great time to view and get a sense of what the area (and weather) is really like at this time of year. It’s at this time that you need to ask; how accessible is it? Are there regular flights? Do the amenities and facilities still open?
If a property is in a popular area, it should ideally be let-out during the high season so it’s unlikely you’ll get access to view. Give yourself plenty of time before the holiday makers descend to allow your viewings and complete the deal or wait until things quieten down again - the prospect of another winter with no income from the property can often open an owners mind to a reduced offer!
For me, a property purchase is the sum of a plethora of decisions and actions a buyer undertakes in the run up to the submission of their offer. Timed well, they can have a huge overall impact on the success of any purchase.