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Property inspection trips to Cape Verde Islands

Sal, Boavista, Santiago, Sao Vicente, Maio, Santa Antao

Villa in Murdeira, Sal Rental villa, Sal Santa Maria building work

Be independent. The only free cheese is in a mouse trap

In 2005, we organised our own trip to the Cape Verde Islands. There weren't any subsidised trips when we bought our property. And we certainly would not have taken one, as we we wanted to do our own thing. We even thought we might be able to visit all the islands by ferry. (Wrong).

Which would you prefer? Meet who you want to meet, and go where you want to go? So that you can get the real low-down on what will still be a big investment, if not time committment for you. Or would you prefer to have someone organise it all for you at seemingly little cost and pay the long term price?

See, touch, smell, hear, feel - use your 5 senses

You could be down-wind of the local sewage farm, opposite dogs barking all night, next door to the local laundry, underneath the flight path, or six foot from your neighbour's house, unless you go and look yourself. How hot will you be, with the ventilation proposed, or do you want to get blown off your balcony .... How long does it take you to get to your property under your own steam and where/how would you do your grocery shopping? If you are going to have air conditioning, how many units will be installed, and if your kitchen will have a fridge will it be larger than a mini bar?

Think about how appealing your property will be to potential renters or future purchasers. What are they looking for, and what they will pay, to work out realistic yields. Cape Verde Jetaway offers all types of rental accommodation from one bedroomed flats to larger villas, and have been talking to exactly these people every day.

Visit several islands

If you don't know which island you might like, why not see several. To optimise your time, book your island hopping in advance. Compare and contrast, then decide what you like and what suits.

Stay where you want to stay, not where they put you

You're used to travelling and making your own decisions about where you want to stay. There is lots of choice, in lots of islands. Choose your own accommodation - why end up in an unpopular hotel, chosen by a developer when you could stay somewhere nice?

Take your time

Don't rush. No one else does in the Cape Verdes! Work out what suits you, and what may and may not happen. Use your trip to talk to locals. When I say locals, I mean Cape Verdeans who have lived in the Cape Verdes all their lives, or at least foreigners (non-Cape Verdeans) who have been there for several years and speak the language fluently. Decide for yourself what you think the right prices should be, and how realistic any future plans are, such as the much publicised marinas and golf courses, which have not materialised in many islands. At the time of writing there is an earth golf course in Sao Vicente, and a marina there.

Dont' take the free lawyer

Many developers are offering free lawyers. Generally this means thier lawyer. Find your own impartial local lawyer or business advisor - not the seller's. They can tell you things you need to know and will act for you, not the vendor. It's nice to think that it's possible to use a lawyer in the UK to work for you, but we would recommend a Cape Verdean lawyer as a result of feedback. Enquire about boring things like service charges, ownership of common parts, what the resort is classified as (aldeomento turistico or condomimium) condomium fees and rental yields and look at all the contractual arrangements. If you don't enquire about these boring things now you may never get answers later. Get an independent assessment by a financial expert of any claims of positive returns on your investment. Get to know and understand the local people and decide if the Cape Verdes is for you. Some developers have wrapped up their offer with financial engineering, or with nice people who will do all the job for you, and all you have to do is sit back and relax (would you believe this in the UK?) . Please take time to read the small print, and if there isn't any, it's not too late to run away! Don't let the heat get to your head - better still leave your cheque book at home til you can go back and think straight.

Have a holiday and some fun!

If you're buying a property as your holiday home, retirement home, or holiday rental, long term rental, then get a taste for yourself what it's like to be in the Cape Verdes. You need to check that what's on offer at your property matches what you or your potential renters/investors like doing. Be aware that the long term rentals command far lower rents than the short term holiday rentals. Become a holiday maker yourself and compare the Cape Verdes to other places you have thought of investing.

Do you treat your property in the Cape Verdes purely as an investment?

If so, look hard and cold. Look at the numbers and compare with investing in other types of less exotic investment, with less foreign exchange risk. Check out very carefully promises of guaranteed or promised rental income against previous developers' experience in holiday letting. Find out the costs of ownership, maintenance contracts, service charges, guaranteed income whether net or gross, and for how long. Some of the rental contracts offered are for many many years. Is that what you want? Sometimes seemingly attractive yields can be ways of disguising high initial prices. Are there any strings attached to your income, such as expensive furniture packs or costly required upgrades to your property?

Can you sell your property again?

Make sure that the price you are paying is a fair one, otherwise you may lose out when you come to sell again. If the developer tells you that prices are rising dramatically and that you are bound to make a killing, take your time to look around and see what the re-sale values really are, not just what the asking prices are, as many may be heavily inflated. Some property may have been hanging around for some time; some has been selling quickly. Ask yourself why? With the pound weak against the euro and the majority of buyers being British, what will happen to re-sales?

Save money in the long run - look on your inspection trip as an investment

If you rush out and rush back, you will find it hard/impossible to know whether you are paying a fair price for an investment taking into account a risk factor, whether it has correct paperwork, and whether you will be happy in the Cape Verde Islands (having a beach nearby does not guarantee happiness). If you are buying in a resort, then get in contact with the owners' groups to see whether the resort is being run correctly, by organisations with sufficient experience and competence. By investing time now, you could save money, or at least prove to yourself that you are confident about your investment decision. If you find something you like, allow yourself enough time to check it out with an independent lawyer of your own choice. You will be able to find your own contacts with independent views. At worst you will come back with a healthy suntan, and won't have lost a fortune!!

Talk to Cape Verde enthusiasts, who talk property from the buyer's point of view

We'll suggest the best-value trip to meet your needs. We monitor new flight routes, new airlines, new tour operators, new hotels and apartments and different ways of getting you to the Cape Verdes.

We can advise generally on which islands might be of interest, depending on your time horizons, and what you want to do with your property - ie live in it all year, visit occasionally, or view it purely as a revenue earner. Even if you are looking at property as investment-only, you will need to know where it is, what it's like, how near the local facilities are. Unless you are buying the equivalent of a timeshare, you will need to go and visit it, so it's important that you like the place, because like it or not, you are going to be visiting the Cape Verdes for years to come!

Letting your property in the Cape Verde Islands

We will shortly be publishing a guide with hints and tips on looking after your property, and getting your property ready to let and how to equip it to make it suitable for the Cape Verde environment. If you wish to talk to us about this please phone the number above.

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