As winter approaches, the temperature starts to drop in the UK, and the prospect of buying a luxury villa in a warm country becomes more appealing. There are a lot of advantages to purchasing in the winter, and for seeking out locations that offer something all year round, not just in the summer months.
Spring and summer are both popular seasons for house-hunting abroad. Whether lured by the scenic coastline of the French Riviera or the Italian countryside, there’s something about viewing luxury properties at this time of year that inspires buyers to put in an offer.
However, we believe there are plenty of good reasons to purchase a property once the high season is over. Here’s more information.
You’ll See Things in a Different Light
In an ideal world, your holiday home should work for you and your family all year round. When viewing a property in the summer, you’ll see it when the sun is shining (showing that beach off to the max), and you’ll experience the surrounding area at its peak, with all the local attractions and amenities open.
Visiting in the colder months gives you an idea of whether the villa will be suitable in the winter (should you want to use it then). For example, places like San Tropez become very quiet after September; whereas locations like Chamonix, Samoens and Morzine in the French Alps offer year-round entertainment, with outdoor activities in the summer and skiing in the winter.
You Might Get a Better Deal
It’s a myth that house prices drop after the summer. However, it’s true to say that sellers are more open to offers once August is over, and by putting in an offer later in the year, you’re more likely to get the property at a lower price.
It’s mainly a matter of psychology. Before summer, the seller is usually full of confidence that their property will sell (and in many cases, it does). But if it’s been on the market for a while, that confidence might take a dip – making it a good time to put in a lower bid. This may get rejected, and you’ll probably have to spend a few more weeks in negotiations; but generally speaking, most buyers are happy with the final agreed price. You can always leave an offer ‘on the table’, you will be surprised by how many vendors come back after they have had time to digest.
You May Change Your Focus
Luxury villas are usually prized for the lifestyle that they offer in the summer; the beaches, the nature-walks, the scenic drives around the coast and so forth.
While it’s perfectly acceptable to set this as a top priority, we always urge our clients to take some time to consider other options too. It’s undeniable that the Costa Del Sol is the ideal summer base from May to late October, but what about out of season? Likewise, Ibiza is hugely popular when the sun’s out and the DJ’s are in town, but is undeniably quiet when the temperatures drop. Does this work for your long-term lifestyle? It’s worthwhile assessing, just to make sure.
For example, the Caribbean might be an option that works better for your family. It’s a longer way to travel, but offers sunshine throughout the year, not to mention incredible beaches. Annecy is another place that’s worthy of mention. It’s by a lake, so offers a glorious lifestyle in the summer, (with plenty of activities from walking to paragliding) and is also close enough to the Alps to be ideal for skiers in the winter.
That’s not to say that the Costa Del Sol won’t work for you in winter as you may well enjoy the peace and quiet; but it’s important to make sure before committing to buy.
There’s Less Competition
Fewer people search for beach resort properties in Europe after October. This makes the process more relaxed, which is useful when undertaking as serious a task as investing in a luxury villa. Although fewer properties come to market at this time (which is why we’d recommend keeping an eye on the latest homes for sale, via reputable companies like ours), you’re likely to have less competition and more time to consider your options.
Consider Rental Potential
If a location offers rental opportunities in the winter as well as the summer, this significantly increases the property’s profit-making potential. It also gives you more options; such as living in the house yourself during the summer, then renting it out in winter (or vice versa).
It’s worth thinking about, especially if you’d like your property abroad to generate a source of income for you.
Have you ever purchased a property abroad in the winter? How did you find the experience? If you’ve got any opinions or tips for other buyers, we’d love to hear about it. Find me @sergecowan