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International properties, where is a good place to start?

publication date: Apr 24, 2007
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Should you offer a variety of countries or specialise? Are you able to leave your UK business frequently to visit the developments you are helping to sell – or not? Who will you work with? Can you trust them? Will your clients’ investment be secure?

The uncertainties may discourage some but with so much overseas development it is a shame to miss out. One of the easier entry points into this potentially lucrative market is the Brits’ old favourite – Spain.

Spain has been top of the pops for the Englishman abroad for decades. Although many investors are buying in other countries Spain’s popularity seems undimmed by shiny newcomers. 761,000 British people live in Spain and nearly 40% of the property bought by British people in 2005 was in Spain. Millions more would like to join them.

The demand is there – the properties are there – but buyers have so much choice they may struggle to make a decision. This is where the British agent can do so well by working with good developers in Spain. One developer, Bancaja Habitat, is very keen to work with NAEA members. As part of Spain’s third largest and most prestigious banks their security is undoubted. With an office in the UK and a network of offices in the across Spain, they offer a vast choice to the British buyer, help with obtaining legal advice from English speaking solicitors and assistance with raising finance. With 20 developments in Spain and more than 2500 properties there is something for everyone.

Bancaja Habitat believe that by working with UK agents they will meet confident purchasers who trust their local estate agent. “We like to work with professional estate agents who know their clients.” Says Miguel Martinez, UK Country Manager Bancaja Habitat. “The agent and client can discuss their needs, budget, location etc. and introduce them to us. With a friendly agent taking them through the various developments in our brochures and on the internet, they will have a much clearer idea of what they might like.”

The potential buyers may then make an inspection trip (which can all be arranged by Bancaja Habitat) and – hopefully – make their decision. With a happy client, the British estate agent then receives an attractive commission for playing his part in the purchase.

Visiting Bancaja Habitat developments in the Alicante region it is easy to see the attraction. Early March, a short flight from grey skies and rain to 28 degrees of sun beating down from a clear blue sky. Living in Spain is easy, less expensive than the UK and the properties are new, well built and superbly fitted.

I looked at three developments – one right on the seafront, one in the hills just behind the coast and the third a few miles inland with seaviews and a magnificent mountainous backdrop.

By the sea in L’Albir, the Los Alamos apartment development is small and beautifully formed. L’Albir is close to the bright lights of Benidorm but it is very different indeed! It has a white beach, a very attractive palm fringed promenade and many invitingly trendy restaurants and bars. Los Alamos is one row back from the beach and the 66 apartments are well on their way. I’d like the penthouse of course with its huge balcony and direct seaviews. Others may be perfectly content with one of the one, two or three bedroomed apartments overlooking the private gardens with swimming pool and sundeck. Top class apartments in a great setting from € 295,000.

Moving inland slightly I visited Mirador del Paraiso, at Altea la Vella. This is an exclusive residential estate offering plots for building or a choice of high level (in every way!) villas with their own pools, sundecks and incredible views. This area looks likely to become the ‘Beverley Hills’[ of Valencia with its curving roads and superb villas hiding behind the hibiscus bushes.

Onwards to the mountains! Polop de la Marina is a fascinating new development which takes advantage of the wide open hillsides above the sea. A grand backdrop of rusty coloured mountains sets off the multi coloured charming houses nestling into the hillside. These properties offer great value – just €199,000 buys a townhouse with its own garden, 2 bedrooms, terraces and communal gardens with a swimming pool. It is certainly away from it all but a short drive takes you to all the beaches and liveliness that you could want.

These developments represent the latest in Spanish design and quality but they retain some of the traditional features that we all like to see. They are a great way to get used to marketing overseas property!

If you would like to know more about Bancaja Habitat visit www.bancajahabitat.co.uk or call Miguel Martinez on Tel: 0800 093 10 20. You can also meet Miguel at the NAEA Congress and Exhibition on 25th May.