Xmas Specials

My previous article was on making the best of Xmas property shopping while inland. To recap, property-shopping inland can be a good idea for the serious property hunter over Xmas due to the thinning out of competition the fact that only serious or desperate sellers stay active in this market.

This week, lets take a look at resort towns.
The opposite seems to hold true for resort properties. Go down to Umlhanga or Hermanus in December and the whole world is there with you all thinking fondly about relocating and sipping cocktails one day while watching the whales frolic from your patio.

A town like Hermanus' population explodes five-fold over the peak seasons and creates what can only be described as a fantasy situation (bar the traffic jams, that is) for visitors. Everything is vibey and bright and everybody is in a good relaxed, partying mood. This ambience can be catching but don't let it seduce you into buying property blindly.

A holiday home is very different to a second investment home as the dynamics of renting and selling are very different in these locations to elsewhere in South Africa. If you're willing to fork out a substantial amount of money for something that is only going to be partially used, that fine. Just remember if you're purchasing it hoping that you'll subsidise your bond with temporary tenants you might be sorely mistaken. Most these resort towns have tons of holiday homes and in some instances they make up whole suburbs, all with owners hoping to subsidise their bonds with some income. You're all vying for the same tenants/holiday-makers exactly at the same time and this at the time that you want to be enjoying your prized property yourself.

Selling is much the same, with slow seasons and high seasons coinciding with the arrival of the lemmings every season. If you need to sell your property in a rush and it is rainy, cold June in the Western Cape, the chances are that you'll have to take a knock on your selling price to even tempt any out-of-seasoners or locals into a nibble. You'd have better luck at trying to catch perlemoen out of season without a license in the middle of the night than finding a decent buyer.

Maintenance at the coast is something else that the estate agent never bothered telling you about. That salt-laden air, although invigorating, wreaks havoc with wood (and your dream house is sure to be made mostly of wood) not to mention the corrosion of anything else that isn't wood.

Oh, and that dratted estate agent forgot to tell you that even with a state of the art alarm system, the odds of your home being burgled while you're off working to pay for it, are something that no self-respecting bookie would touch.

Now this shouldn't serve to prevent you from buying that holiday property, but if you're going to do it, do it wisely. Do it out of season. Do it for the right reasons. Buy it from that schmuck that bought it in season while he was high on the spirit of Xmas.

Bah Humbug! Happy Xmas!

Article by: Dave Welmans - (www.thepropertygame.co.za)