Monday, March 31, 2008

It's a Buyer's Market - It's Official

Lest we be accused of 'talking down the market' - heaven forbid - we said we'd spread some good news to shake you from your Monday blues. And the news? Well it's not news to everyone and merely looking at things from a different perspective for some others.

It's a buyers market. You know what they say about clouds and silver linings as well as ill winds that blow no good? Well that's where we're at right now, or at least rapidly approaching it in any case. If you're in the market for a property overseas - particularly in the UK, US or Spain - then the world is your oyster - there are thousands of investors and homeowners out there willing to take your hand off from the elbow down, or possibly even the shoulder.

Home repossessions are running at all-time highs and, if you're a potential investor, this is good news. Obviously it's awful news for those having their properties repossessed, but you're refusing to buy the houses isn't going to help them any and if you don't buy them someone else will. The poor misfortunates don't normally own these properties anymore in any case, most of them are being sold by their current owners - cuddly, loveable banks.

If you're looking for auctions and valuations in the UK you could visit or or For Spain take a look at the Direct Auctions site. If you're in the market for foreclosed property in the US this particular initiative in Florida may be of interest.

If you've got cash and don't have to borrow, or at least don't have to borrow more than 50% of the value, then you are even better off. Once effusive banks are rapidly becoming very reticent to shovel cash out over the counter to buy-to-let investors since their activities in the sub-prime market has shown them to be a complete shower of muppets. So now they're gone into reverse and even those with meticulous credit records are finding it difficult to raise finance. We're returning to the old scenario of banks not being willing to give you money unless you can prove you don't need it.

On the positive side (and this is a very positive post) the Euro is at record highs against a number of currencies, most notably Sterling and the US Dollar, so our purchasing power is significantly better than it was not that long ago. Not only that, if cross currency rates return to their former levels you'll have made a paper profit with no extra effort. Of course there is no guarantee that they will return to these levels, but the potential can add a nice bit of extra spice to your investment in any case.

Warren Buffet very famously said one of the keys to investment is to be 'Fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful' - well others are absolutely bricking it at the moment so the time to strike may well be nigh. Just be wary, re-possessed housing isn't always located in the best areas so be certain you're very sure of the area in which you're proposing to invest. Just because it's cheap or is being sold for 1/3 the price for which it was purchased doesn't necessarily mean it is good value.

For a selection of property from around the world click here.

For a listing of agents selling overseas property click here.

For independent articles on overseas property click here.

For advice on purchasing property overseas click here.

For news on the world of overseas property click here.

For new releases and product updates from agents around the world click here.

For a list of upcoming overseas property exhibitions around the country click here.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Direct from the Developer - MRI Exhibition

Just a quick note to anyone intending to visit the 'Direct from the Developer' show in the Citywest Hotel today and tomorrow, this is an MRI (MacAnthony Realty International) exhibition.

Of course MRI are perfectly entitled to hold such an exhibition, the problem is that, in breach of guidelines issued to them by the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI), the company have 'forgotten' to mention in the advert that this is an MRI exhibition. This particular show is being run by the development arm of the Spanish based company so it is presumable that it will argue it is a different company to the parent MRI company and felt that it wasn't obliged to abide by the same rules.

Dates for upcoming shows can be found here.

If you're looking for a bit of background on MRI take a look at this Ask About Money transcript of an Irish Times report on the company from a couple of months back (we've included the AAM version because if you're not a member of you'll have to pay for the Irish Times version). If you can find it there is also a very interesting BBC documentary on the company and its activities but it is difficult to track down (MRI are heavily into legal threats when anything like this pops up).

If you wish to make a complaint to the ASAI about this matter you can do so here or you can contact the National Consumer Agency here.

More Bleak News for UK Property Owners

The UK's biggest building society Nationwide says house prices are now going up by just 1.1 per cent a year - the slowest pace of growth for 12 years.

The mortgage giant also warns that property values could fall by as much as 5 per cent this year.

And despite the Bank of England cutting the base rate of interest to 5.25 per cent in February, the Nationwide, along with mortgage lenders owned by rivals Halifax and Lloyds TSB, are raising interest rates on some of their most popular deals.

See the full blog here on Sky.


UK Property Links

For a selection of property in the UK click here.

For a list of agents selling property in the UK click here.

For independent articles on overseas property click here.

For advice on purchasing in the UK click here.

For news on the UK property market click here.

For new releases and product updates from UK agents click here.

For a selection of property exhibitions featuring UK property click here.

Register now to receive our informative newsletter, save searches and tailor your experience to your own needs.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Bulgarian Black Sea Project to be Written Off

The Bulgarian property industry has been taking somewhat of a beating lately. Just as it had got some wind in its sails the global economy and economic crises around the world have threatened to conspire against it. The latest tale of woe is the 'writing off' of a 100m project in the Cape Kaliakra region.

The project couldn't sell enough product to ensure its viability, and has been bedeviled with complaints from environmentalists and architects alike, so it had to be condemned to the dustbin.

This ambitious project was the subject of a very high profile launch in January/February 2007 across Ireland and the UK. It was also very heavily promoted in the Middle East, particularly in the UAE, because of the Arabian theme running through the proposed development. The highest profile agent involved was Bulgarian Dreams, a company which has had significant recent troubles with its expulsion from the Association of International Property Professionals (AIPP).

You'll find a full report on the cancelling of this project here. Unfortunately, in the current economic climate, this is not the first, nor will it be the last, time that a project of such magnitude comes crashing to earth.

The project is still being promoted on many agent's websites at time of writing so be sure it is not sold to you as this would suggest that some of them are not even aware that the project has been abandoned.


Bulgarian Links on

Bulgarian Property Listing

Bulgarian Property News

Bulgarian Agent News

Bulgarian Property Exhibitions around Ireland

Agents Selling Property in Bulgaria

For all your overseas property needs visit:

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Spain - Can it Get Much Worse?

I know most people reading this blog will not have a lot of sympathy for estate agents, and those who know Spanish estate agents will probably have even less time for them. In our day-to-day running of the site we obviously have to deal with more than our fair share of them and, to be fair to them, they are a much maligned bunch. 90% of agents are decent, law abiding citizens who wish for nothing more than to make sure that their clients get the property they require and in return they expect to make a living from it. Fair enough, isn't that what the most of us want?

The problem for estate agents has been that, it being a largely unregulated industry, there is a magnetic attraction for the Arfur Daley's and Del Boy Trotter's of this world and it therefore meets with its share of calamity.

In any case, we know a lot of overseas agents and you can take our word for it, most of them are very decent people. Consequently we have a level of empathy when we see headlines like "Half of Spanish Agents Shut their Doors in 2007". A report in today's Financial Times isn't likely to fill those trying to sell a property in Spain with much joy either.

The end of the piece says: "Spain’s tourist hotspots have been hardest hit. According to a report by Aguirre Newman, the property consultants, residential estate developments in some parts of the Mediterranean coast now take an average of four years to sell, compared with a few days at the height of the property boom four years ago. About half of the new apartments on the Costa del Sol are sitting unsold, it says."

That's really gotta hurt.

On a lighter note. Here at the website we have a lot of Google alerts set up for various different topics in which we are interested. One of them is obviously Spanish Property. At one stage yesterday two alerts arrived in at the same time showing how two different organisations can have polar opposite opinions on the meaning of recent news:

Spain’s property market headed for a fall
Financial Times - London,England,UK
By Mark Mulligan in Madrid Spain’s residential property market is heading for a hard landing, as tightening credit conditions exacerbate problems of ...

Investors in Spain 'cannot lose out'
Holiday Lettings - Oxford,England,UK
Mr Walker added that Spain offers property investors a mix of accessibility and value for money. Although the strong euro will increase initial costs for ...

Whatever else you'll say about Estate agents, they're a great lot to keep the best side out.


To view properties in Spain: Click Here

To View Spanish Agents: Click Here

To View Latest Spanish News: Click Here

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Free Promotion on

If you are an agent and you want to promote your wares to the highly focussed audience of overseas property visitors you will find on the website then there are a few things you can do to make sure people find you.

Firstly, get listed. It's free and at least you've got a foot in the door. Simply click the Register link and choose to list as an agent. Fill in your details and once you have been passed by Admin that's it, you've got a presence on the site.

Of course a presence on the site isn't everything, because there are hundreds of other agents there as well, you need to promote your Unique Selling Point (USP). To be seen you really need to have content on the site, preferably reasonably regularly. Content can be in the form of press release articles, news, advice or exhibition dates.

Press release articles include information on releases of new product, new phases coming on-line, promotions, price changes, etc. This information can be uploaded to the site directly from your account, simply log-in and click on Articles at the top of the page, then click on Add a News Article. Once the content has been passed by Admin your article will appear live on the site.

You can also present news articles to the site. These could involve details of changes to tax or legal rules, local news that would affect potential property buyers, etc. This information will have to be submitted by email to It will be uploaded with full credit to your company in the News section of the site.

If you have upcoming exhibitions or seminars around Ireland these can be promoted using the Exhibitions link at the top of your page when you are logged into the site. Once passed by Admin your exhibitions will appear live on the site.

Finally, you can upload property to the site for free. When logged in, click on Properties at the top of your screen and then on Add Property. This will allow you to upload your property details singly or in bulk.

All the above facilities are COMPLETELY FREE, but if you want to stand out from the crowd you will need to consider paying for some advertising on the site.

The cheapest method of promotion is to invest in some Premium Properties which appear at the top of all searches on the site. When logged in you can fund your account by following the Purchase Property Clicks link on the Properties page. Once you have funded your account you can change as many of your properties as you wish to Premium Properties (edit the properties and click on the Premium Property option, properties can be allocated and changed as you wish once funds have been assigned to the account). This will bring your properties to the top of any searches conducted on the site improving your visibility greatly. Remember to make the names of your properties representative of what you are selling, this will increase traffic greatly.

If you really want to be seen on the site and wish to brand your company on the Irish market then banner advertising comes highly recommended. Companies with banners on the site receive multiples of the amount of clicks as those who don't proving that, if people can't see your brand very obviously, they are less aware that you exist. When you have a presence they will associate it with other information and properties you have on the site which greatly increases the chance that they will visit your site and ultimately invest in a property or service with your company.

To upload banners to the site, log in and click on the Manage Banner Adverts link half way down your home page. Here you can upload banners to the site and dictate on what parts of the site you wish them to appear. It also allows you to calculate how many days the amount you propose to spend will last on the site for the pages you've specified. It is an extremely flexible system as you get to control exactly how much you spend and where you spend it.

When you are considering banner ads on the site remember that the more focussed they are the better they will perform. We recommend three step GIF adverts (these flash three consecutive banners of information to the potential audience, you can see examples of these on the site). These adverts can introduce the company and its logo on the first banner, a specific product or property on the second banner and the sales pitch on the third banner. It is a very efficient method of promoting your message to the highly focussed audience you will find on

You can also choose a package option, where we will suggest a range of ways in which your product can be promoted on the site and in its monthly newsletters. For full details of the packages available simply email and we will forward details to you.

If you've problems with any of the above please feel free to contact and we'll be glad to help you in any way we can.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

UK Apartments

The era of the 'Buy-to-Let Investment Club' (BLIC) phenomenon that swept Britain over the past decade seems, along with the bumper property price rises seen over that period, to be riding off into the sunset.

These clubs offered 'clients' access to significant discounts on standard rates for buy-to-let properties across the UK. The properties were very often in city centre regeneration areas and were predominantly apartment units.

At one stage such clubs were estimated to be responsible for up to ¼ of all apartment purchases in the
UK. These clubs typically negotiate bulk discounts of up to 15% for their members on large developments across the UK. The properties are then either 'flipped' on to other buyers or rented out with the rental covering the cost of the mortgage. So the theory went in any case. Unfortunately the proliferation of such clubs produced a false apartment market in the UK, which now appears to be in the process of collapsing. Many apartment owners across the UK are in serious trouble with no-one wanting to buy the units and no renters available to stay in them either.

The announcement by Inside Track, one of the largest of these clubs, that it is to discontinue its seminars, for which clients were charged anything up to £14,000, may well be the death knell of this spate of such 'bulk investment opportunities'. Many will not lament their passing.

Below are two interesting articles on the subject.

This Is Money, MoneyWeek


UK Property Links

For a selection of property in the UK click here.

For a list of agents selling property in the UK click here.

For independent articles on overseas property click here.

For advice on purchasing in the UK click here.

For news on the UK property market click here.

For new releases and product updates from UK agents click here.

For a selection of property exhibitions featuring UK property click here.

Register now to receive our informative newsletter, save searches and tailor your experience to your own needs.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

French Leaseback - The Perfect Investment?

If you're new to investment in property you may, at some stage, have come across French Leaseback property. Many will also have considered it the best thing since sliced bread (which brings up the obvious query 'what was the best thing before sliced bread?').

Anyway, guaranteed rental for up to 11 years, index linked and your VAT returned, sure it couldn't get any better, could it?

Unfortunately, as with many things in this world, it's not quite as clearcut as this and you should do a lot of investigation before you invest your hard earned cash in a French Leaseback development. As a start you might read this article on the pros and cons of investment in one of Ireland's favourite investment classes. It will at least outline some of the things you should keep in mind when considering such an investment.

For further links to French property on the site please see below:

Property in France

French Property Advice

News relating to French Property

French Real Estate Agent News

Selection of French Property Agents

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Free Property Listings for Everyone

If you have an overseas property, or are an overseas property agent, then you'll be delighted to hear that you can list your property for free on the website.

If you haven't already done so, click here and register as either a user or an agent, whichever is appropriate, it only takes a minute or so. If you are a normal user with more than one property to sell you'll have to register as an agent as normal users are only allowed to list a single property at any time.

Registration is completely free and will also allow you to tailor the website to deliver the information you want using Saved Searches. Agents can input all the information relating to the company which will be available for browsers to view on the site once it has been authorised by admin.

Agents can list 'normal' properties for free on the site. If you want your properties to be more easily visible to browsers you have the option of investing in 'Premium Properties' which will bring your properties to the top of any list on which they appear. For further information email and we'll be more than happy to help you set up your account.

Normal users can also list a property for free on the site. When logged in simply click on the 'Properties' link on the toolbar at the top of your page where you will find a link to upload your property to the site. It couldn't be simpler.

It is a good idea to include pictures with any properties you load on to the site as these grab attention far more often and more quickly than those with no photos.

To see a full list of properties on the site click here.

For a full agent listing on the site click here.

Register now to receive our informative newsletter, save searches and tailor your experience to your own needs.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Syndicated Property Investment - Tread Warily

Syndicates, a new way to invest? Well not really, syndicates have been around for decades, but only recently has it become a common vehicle for the 'ordinary investor'. Before this it was a vehicle only applicable in the realms of the Bill Gates' and Warren Buffet's of this world. By an ordinary investor we mean those with 50-100k to invest. OK, so it's not buttons but in terms of property it is not an astronomical amount of money.

The proliferation of syndicates in Ireland over the past five years or so has meant that, as with anything else available in bulk, quality has suffered. Indeed, an investor I met recently visited a seminar by a company purporting to have lined up several properties in Germany for an upcoming syndicate. Unfortunately for the company, the owner of one of the properties was Irish, was present at the seminar and swore blind he had no intention of selling the property in question seeing as he had only bought it six months previously. What are the chances?

It just goes to show, if you are getting involved in a syndicate you need to know that the guys with whom you are getting involved aren't going to pull the wool over your eyes. It is now, more than ever, extremely important to do a certain amount of due diligence on the company, their products and the property they are claiming as part of their proposed fund.

For a full advisory piece on the pros and cons of investing in syndicated property investments have a look at this article.

For a list of general advisory articles on investing abroad click here.

For a list of syndicated investment opportunities click here. If you want to be updated when syndicated opportunities are loaded on the site log in and Save the above search. You will then be emailed every time a syndicated investment opportunity is uploaded to the site.

Register now to receive our informative newsletter, save searches and tailor your experience to your own needs.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Declare that Overseas Property - Or Else!!!

If you're one of the many Irish who emptied their matresses to buy property in Spain back in the mid to late nineties then be afraid, be very afraid.

There was a short, but very interesting, piece by Ian Kehoe on the front of the Sunday Business Post yesterday (March 16th) about the revenue stepping up its investigations into property owned by Irish citizens overseas. It claims that it has received the names of thousands of Irish citizens (directly from the Irish agents as far as we're aware but this isn't stated in the piece). It says it is predominantly targetting Spain and France at the moment but there is no doubt that this will be spread out to cover all the usual suspects such as Portugal, Hungary, Bulgaria, etc. before too long.

In light of the recent rise in co-operation between countries, particularly those in the EU - with relation to taxation, banking and asset ownership - the question at this stage is not whether the Revenue will find out about undeclared money invested in overseas property, it's merely a question of when. If you've got a property overseas and haven't declared it, or more importantly the money with which it was purchased, now might be a good time to bite the bullet and make a voluntary declaration. You'll be treated far more favourably and save yourself all the extra taxes and penalties you'll incur between here and the time your purchase is investigated.

The Revenue is going for the jugular, it's not overly interested in the rental income achieved by the properties in question (although you can be sure it will ask for a declaration on this) what it is specifically targetting is the capital used to fund the initial purchase and where exactly this came from. If it hasn't been declared in Ireland, then bingo, it's hit paydirt.

The article can be found here but it will move to the archive at the end of the week.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Is Bulgaria Following Spain

Coastal property owners facing property demolitions, it can only be Spain? Unfortunately not, misfortunate property owners along coastal Bulgaria may now be starting to become slightly apprehensive as the government has announced that it is to demolish property that has been illegally built along the coastline.

Bulgaria's Directorate for National Construction Supervision (DNCS), which started inspecting the legality of completed and ongoing construction along the Black Sea coastline on February 25, has already issued orders for the demolition of 57 units. Twenty five of them are on the north coastline and 32 are along the southern coast, the institution announced on its website. 24 units are to be demolished in the Golden Sands resort (pictured).

For the full story visit the site. The directorate has also decided that it will extend the period over which it will look into illegal construction, see here.

Hopefully this won't deter you from having a happy St. Patrick's Weekend.

Bulgarian Links on

Bulgarian Property Listing

Bulgarian Property News

Bulgarian Agent News

Bulgarian Property Exhibitions around Ireland

Agents Selling Property in Bulgaria

For all your overseas property needs visit:

Friday, March 14, 2008

How Sound is the Irish Banking System

We don't want to be harbingers of doom but, if things are to go pear shaped, is it not better to be informed for potential evasive action?

A quick browse through Construct Ireland magazine (March/April '08 issue) brought us to a piece by Richard Douthwaite on the potential for disaster in the Irish banking system. It makes pretty chilling reading. I'm not going to re-invent the wheel by regurgitating it all here but, suffice to say, Irish banks are not in the finest of rude health considering the slide into which our property market has descended and their almost complete reliance on this sector for building their asset values and loan books.

The piece is not on-line yet but probably will be in the not too distant future at the Construct Ireland website. In the interim you might like to have a look at a brief overview on just how precarious a ledge the Irish banks now stand. It is only three pages long, is not written in Cyrillic like a lot of this stuff tends to be and is by Morgan Kelly, Professor of Economics at UCD, so it does bear some weight.

There is a link to the piece here. You'll need a PDF reader to read it which you can get for free from if you haven't got one.

Interesting reading if nothing else and it might concentrate the mind if you've got a lot of money resting in an Irish bank account.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Irish Property Law Website

Those of you unfamiliar with Michael Lynn and his recent antics you should take a look at our previous blog on the matter.

Recently while browsing around the web we were surprised to find more than a few remnants of the bould Mick lying around the place (apart from the obvious references to his failures to appear in court, mortgage fraud, etc). For a start the website for his overseas property law firm,, is still alive and kicking (or at least it was at time of typing this blog) and looking very well it has to be said.

The part of the site which claims 'Irish Buyers Misguided on Need for Lawyers Overseas' is extremely ironic and would be funny if the whole episode weren't so serious for those individuals defrauded by Mr. Lynn.

Actually, the contents of the site are fine, and most of the information there is factual and correct. It is just unfortunate that Lynn appears to have taken the 'road far less travelled' and done a bunk with money from, not alone the banks, but from a large selection of unsuspecting property buyers as well. We did try using the contact details on the site but, surprise, surprise, they don't work.

The Kendar Holdings and Kendar Global websites have now passed into oblivion, although the latter did hang around in Ireland for a lot longer than Lynn himself. Lynn has also maintained his position on but it's hardly a ringing endorsement of his professional career in Ireland. Long before there were any rumblings about his property dealings and multiple mortgage scams there were some atrocious reviews of him and his practice on the site. Maybe the Law Society should use it as a means to flag potentially dodgy solicitors, as they don't seem to be capable of finding them by any other means.

If you want to find a more reliable listing of advisors who may be able to help you in your quest to purchase overseas then you should search the advisors on the website.

For a list of articles on the site relating to Lynn and his activities click here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Is Brazil Destined for Greatness?

Brazil is being highly spoken of as one of those legendary 'property hotspots', perhaps more so than any other country in the world at the moment. Is the information we are getting just 'spin' from agents and developers to get us interested in the next place they will make a large amount of money or is there some substance to what is going on there?

We decided we should send one of our intrepid reporters over there to see what all the fuss is about, you'll find the resultant article is extremely informational. Times overseas property writer, Gordon Miller, is the reporter who got the enviable job of travelling around this huge country and he was impressed where he didn't expect to be and unimpressed where he felt he would be. To read the article click here.

If you want to get your hands on a listing of Brazilian property you'll find it here.

For news articles on Brazil click here.

For news from Agents on what is new in Brazil click here.

For a full listing of agents selling property in Brazil click here.

Remember, if you want to be updated on any of the above categories all you need to do is log in to your account and use the 'Save Search' link at the top of each search page to be updated when anything new is loaded to that specific category. It couldn't be simpler.

Haven't got an account, then click here and register, you'll be able to save searches to have the site provide you with the information you need and you'll receive our highly acclaimed monthly newsletter.

If you want to be updated on what is happening in this blog just click on the Atom or RSS feed links at the bottom of the page and you'll be able to read this blog on your own RSS reader (you can get one free from google if you don't have one).

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Although the site provides plenty of search options within the site, there are times when an off-site search is more appropriate, or will yield results referring to the site that you will not necessarily find on the site.

A very useful tool is the Site: command run in the search bar of a search page. It will work with any of the main search engines such as (MSN), and

Basically, if you wish to search for all references to 'French Property' on the or all references to it relating to the site then type in the search box of your search engine "site: French Property" (without the inverted commas) and you will be given a page (or several) pages of results for your query. It is a very handy option and can throw up a far more comprehensive list of results than you could find searching the site alone.

It is also worth trying more than one search engine, as they all use different criteria for their searches so they will all throw up different lists in different orders. Just click on the links to see an example of the results of the "site: Overseas Property" query for MSN Live, Yahoo & Google.

Just be aware that search engines don't crawl sites every day so you may be limited to content that has been loaded up to a week previous to the search. An on-site search will still be more appropriate if you are looking for up to date content. Happy searching.

Monday, March 10, 2008

When is a Governing Body not a Governing Body?

The Irish overseas property industry is completely unregulated then? Well not completely, but almost at the moment. If you take a look at our piece on the newly created NPSRA (and a bit of a blog on it previously) you'll have noted that there are moves afoot, intended to make the Irish property industry a whole lot safer for the consumer. Let's hope the NPSRA is successful and give it all our support to enable it to do its job properly.

On that issue, however, you may have noted that there are a number of 'associations', 'federations', 'organisations' or 'unions' to which various developers and agents are often aligned. It is, of course a perfectly pertinent question to ask, "what validity do any of them have and what exactly do they do?". Well, some of them do absolutely nothing, apart from acting as a means of promoting those in their organisations, others do perform some form of regulatory function, except with limited recourse to actions against their members. The NPSRA is the only statutory body that we are aware of to take on such a function, and that's not in full operation yet as it needs to have final laws passed to enable it to perform the functions envisaged for it.

Of the more common bodies you'll find in the overseas industry both the Federation of Overseas Property Developers, Agents and Consultants (FOPDAC, which has recently teamed up with the NAEA in the UK) and the more recently formed Association of International Property Professionals (AIPP) are pretty well known and both are fairly highly rated in the industry. Both have 'vetting procedures' and 'codes of conduct' to which members are obliged to comply, otherwise they face expulsion. Unfortunately for both, this is as far as they can go, there is no means of preventing the offender from being involved in the overseas industry. Until the legal advent of the NPSRA here, there still is no body that can essentially 'shut down' a rogue agent.

Another organisation we have come across is the EEAU which doesn't seem to be held in the same esteem as the others mentioned. Apparently the organisation was thought to have disbanded a few months back but seems to have bounced back from what would normally be seen as a terminal problem.

The feedback from within the industry is that this organisation was previously known for getting information into the media that 'wasn't necessarily correct' and that it is essentially a 'for profit organisation masquerading as a trade body.' It has no vetting procedures and its website is essentially a property portal (nothing against that, we are a property portal, but we're not claiming to provide regulation within the industry). In any case, the information gleaned could hardly be considered a ringing endorsement so we wouldn't advise you to put too much faith in the EEAU badge if you do come across companies using it.

As an amusing aside, the first paragraph of the EEAU homepage claims to offer protection against "rouge estate agents", so if you know of anyone in the industry who isn't wonderful at applying make-up or uses too much foundation you might report them.

Friday, March 7, 2008

We Welcome Helen Carson to our Journalistic Team

We are delighted to welcome the property editor of the Belfast Telegraph, Helen Carson, to our journalistic team. You can see her first piece for the website here, based on one of Northern Ireland's most famous sons, legendary footballer Gerry Armstrong. We hope to get regular pieces from Helen which will make for interesting reading for our growing band of viewers.

Helen's commentary will complement regular pieces submitted by our other contributors to the site who are Gillian Nelis, Cliodhna O'Donoghue, Gordon Miller, Ginetta Vedrickas, Margaret Carragher, Diarmaid Condon, Shane McGinley and Rose Martin. All in all the site boasts an exceptional journalistic team and we are very proud to bring information from these great writers direct to your desktop.

Keep visiting the site at and thank you for making the site such a great success.

Click here for property listings

Click here for Editorial

Click here for News

Click here for Agent News

Click here for Advice

Click here for exhibition listings

Click here for agent listings

The team.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Give NPSRA a Chance

You'd have to feel a bit sorry for poor old Tom Lynch in the National Property Services Regulatory Authority (NPSRA). This is the new body set up by the government to regulate Ireland's property industry. If you want a bit of a brush up on the authority you can see an introductory piece on our website here.

The authority hasn't even been fully legally set up yet and it's getting it in the neck from all directions. Catherine Cleary in the Sunday Business Post had a bit of a cut off it last Sunday in an article called 'Still Waiting for the Regulator' (if the link doesn't work the page may have been moved so you may have to do a search for it).

It's not enough that the authority is getting it from the print media, it's also getting a bit of a pasting in the blogosphere. Value Ireland has posted several less than complimentary pieces on the prospects of the new authority, the first of which is called 'Another Useless Irish Regulator on its Way - Lucky Us'. You'll find others if you visit and do a search for NPSRA.

Ok, so you would have to admit that our history in Ireland of running effective government regulatory bodies isn't exactly inspiring, but lets give it a chance to prove itself before we condemn it to the dustbin. If the authority has not been able to see through its remit after a couple of years of statutory regulation then it will deserve our wrath. But let's give it the benefit of the doubt and at least wait until it can legally regulate the industry before passing comment, positive or negative, on it.

To give credit where it is due, no other government in the world, to our knowledge, has entertained such an initiative so it is a real step into virgin territory. Perhaps it will be an unmitigated success, like the smoking ban has been.

Tom Lynch seems like an honourable, decent guy who is intent on carrying out his job in as effective a manner as possible. It is very possible that he will not get the resources or powers necessary to carry out his job properly, but then again he just might. If he does our property industry here could be one to hold up as an example to the rest of the world, so let's let him get on with his work and judge him on his achievements or lack thereof at a later stage.

If you've any interest in property, Irish or overseas, and how it is likely to be regulated in Ireland in the future then it is worth a visit to the NPSRA website.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Light at the end of the tunnel for Orient Palace investors?

For those of you not up to date with all that is going on, or more precisely, not going on, at the Orient Palace development in Bodrum on the southern Turkish coast, you should take a look at the Eye on Worldwide forum or some of the posts on Ask About Money. This will give you some idea of the problems and complaints that buyers there have had and, unfortunately, are still having.

The picture here is of the Orient Palace in Alanya, by the same developer, which was built with no great problems and is the basis on which many investors took a punt with the proposed Bodrum version.

Things have so far being going pretty badly, the developer has run out of money because stage payments were tied to delivery of Tapu's, unfortunately the local council stopped issuing them for a time, which meant that all the developer's cash ran dry. Never a good thing in a development. But there may be some light at the end of the tunnel, we just hope it is not the light from an oncoming train, as the saying goes. Although talks with an unnamed proposed German investor appear to have fallen through at this stage, it would appear that a new Turkish investor may well be on the horizon.

Obviously we don't wish to get investors in the project too excited, although this is probably a difficult task at this stage anyway because they have had so much heartbreak with the development so far. The fact that the last 'white knight' didn't materialise will make them far more wary of so called 'good news'. We are just hoping that this particular investor will be capable of seeing the project through, presuming he is signed up fully to begin with.

Unfortunately the advent of any investor is not going to rescue the rental guarantees which have been some of the problem with this project in any case. A guaranteed 10% return on investment for 10 years sounded too good to be true and, unfortunately for investors in the project, it doesn't much look like it will ever materialise.

Those invested in the development have had their sights lowered considerably. Most would now consider actually getting their property built and receipt of a Tapu (Turkish title deed) a success at this stage. This development has a staggering 66% Irish investors (over 440 units) sold by three agents in Ireland so the interest in this development is phenomenal. There will be a lot of people out there holding their breaths and hoping that the new investor will not alone come on board but will allow this project to be completed to a high standard. The development is meant to be 5* but the worry is always that a new investor, coming in with their own money and the power that brings, will want to change things.

If there is more info on this situation we'll let you know as soon as we do.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Dreaded Inspection Visit

Love them or hate them, you just can't avoid the fact that inspection visits (IV's) exist. A lot of people wish they didn't, but then there is nothing to force them to go on one, and some people can actually find the 'property of their dreams' while on one. Ok, so not very many people do, but there are some out there who can put their 'dream home in the sun' down to an IV.

If you want a full run down on what an IV actually consists of you should visit our advisory article on the site (link). This gives you a third party view of what an IV consists of and what you can expect if you go on one.

Let's be honest, if you really want to get to know an area and are intending spending any length of time there in the long term, the least you can do is commit to flying there for a few days (or longer preferably) yourself. With the advent of low cost carriers it isn't going to burn too much of a hole in your pocket to visit (and if it does do you really want to buy there anyway?).

As the article states, if you're going to spend a considerable amount of money in an area then use an IV sparingly, when you know the area quite well, or you could well end up being pressurised into buying something you don't really want. At best you probably won't get to see as much property by as many different developers as you would wish and usually very few, if any, resales because the commission on them is far lower than it is on 'new build' or 'off-plan' purchases.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Spanish Lowdown

Looking for a little lowdown on what's going on in coastal Spain? We'd all love to know who are the fraudsters on the coast, which estate agents to avoid and what are the latest scams on the Costas.

Well you might just be in luck. If you visit the Spanish Shilling blog you'll get some info on various different groups and publications that unveil wrongdoings in Spain, admittedly they are mainly aimed at the Costa del Sol, as this is where most ex-pats are located, and oddly enough, it is mainly ex-pats that are responsible for much of the wrongdoing against other ex-pats along the coast. They are predominantly British but the Irish are getting in on the act and our biggest drug dealers have famously set up camp in the Torrevieja region just south of Alicante on the Costa Blanca.

Also worthy of a mention is the Costa del Sol action group magazine (which features heavily on the previous site in any case) which seeks to uncover financial scandals across the province, some of the stuff is pretty chilling. You'll find it at

Mark Stucklin's Spanish Property Insight site has long been a source of information for those looking to invest in property along the Spanish coastline. The site, at, also has a Spanish property forum which is pretty good at uncovering various shifty dealings going on in Spain relating to property. Unfortunately the site has been threatened with legal action on a number of occasions by various companies which have been discussed. The most famous is MacAnthony Realty International (MRI), which has somewhat diluted its effectiveness but Stucklin has a lot of knowledge of this market so it is a site to visit if you're looking at Spanish property and seeking info on what and who you should avoid.

Closer to home you'll find the Overseas Property section of Brendan Burgess' Ask About Money (AAM), at has some useful discussions on the various ins and outs of property across a number of countries. Like Stucklin's forum, the AAM site has been threatened with legal action by a few companies, again most notably MacAnthony's (see a common thread popping up here anywhere?). In fact, MRI have been discussed so often and in so much detail on both sites, leading to a litany of legal threats, you'll find a sticky on both sites stating that discussion of the company is completely forbidden (with the notable exception of the complete reprinting of a less than flattering Irish Times piece on the company on AAM which is available at This Link.)

Eye on Spain is also worth a look, it has rating forums for most agents and developers you'll find along the coastline, very informative if you're considering purchasing in a particular development or from a specific agent. There is also a worldwide version at Eye on Worldwide.