BY LISA BATHURST
New developments are springing up all over the world, ripe for investing. For an investor interested in buying property abroad, choosing the right property is key.
International property specialist and founder of Hurst & Wills, Lisa Bathurst, says working through a property specialist, will ultimately save you money. “There are so many developers out there, it is important to know which developers are reputable and have done good work, and which developers – and developments – to avoid,” she says.
“Obviously, developers only sell their own stock,” says Bathurst. “Developers often build properties that are unpopular with tenants. We’ve seen many developments that haven’t been designed with the end-user in mind, making them challenging to rent out.”
“Developers who have built in the wrong locations can mislead overseas buyers who don’t realise that one street to the next in certain neighbourhoods can make a big difference,” she says. “They are also under pressure to sell the ‘hard-to-shift’ units in otherwise popular buildings. Buying the wrong apartment in a block can make it tough to rent out. If you are not satisfied with what you have bought, recourse can be tricky as international developers often don’t have a presence in South Africa,” she says.
“Independent firms – like Hurst & Wills – have access to several developers across many markets. We are able to offer clients a variety of different investments to best suit their investment strategy,” says Bathurst. “We are aligned with the buyer, not the developer, so our clients get balanced advice. As investment property is our core business, we visit the projects our clients invest in several times a year and provide unbiased updates,” she says.
“We only work with reputable developers who have satisfied our own due diligence, who have been in business for many years, successfully completing projects and whose developments achieve high occupancy. Buying new property can carry financial and development risks, the better developers have good financials,” she said. “We only work with the best.”
“Independent specialists will also highlight the many other considerations an investor should be aware of before buying offshore. Issues such as cross-border tax planning, structuring and capital allowances, all form part of the larger decision-making process,” she says.
“We do our own Return on Investment (ROI) calculations to ensure each investment we recommend stacks up. We have seen investors being lured in by developers offering guaranteed returns, but these are not always the best investment,” says Bathurst.
“As an independent firm, we are able to tailor a shortlist of investments to suit our client’s unique needs, in-line with their own wealth strategy and objectives,” she says. “Based in Cape Town, we focus on developments that suit South African investors. Our experience and expertise make the process of investing in overseas property less risky for our clients.
SOURCE: Hurst & Wills