There are always programmes on TV looking at people agonising over a property at home or away, or an apartment or house as a holiday home. I am not sure if these shows would help at all, and I am thinking a proper realtor would be a better option, but perhaps they might sway me over the choice of the country if I was in doubt.
Buying a home – whether it be the main home or a second one - is a big investment to make, and you want to do it right. My guilty pleasure (or is it an addiction?) is watching those relocation programmes where buyers are perhaps downsizing to a smaller home, and can now afford a holiday home abroad as well, or maybe they want to buy somewhere to rent out for an income, or indeed, just fancy moving to somewhere to enjoy their retirement in the sun.
One phrase that makes me cringe every time I hear it is: ‘It’s a good size!’ (good size for what? A small person? A family of seven?). Another phrase I hear is "It has potential!" (which to me translates as: "It needs a lot of money spent on it to make halfway decent!"). Or how about "Nice view of the sea!" (maybe if you crane your neck around the corner to spot the ocean tantalizingly sparkling in the distance, and disregard the roof-tops and satellite dishes in your near vision!).
Funny thing is, I am not even in the running for a new home, second one or not. It’s just a fascination to see the inside of these apartments or houses, to see what the country they are interested in is like, and then sit, chortling on my sofa, when I second-guess how much they are prepared to offer or will they go back to, I don’t know, wherever they come from, and put an extension on their existing house instead. Then there’s the couple who have maybe made 15 trips to Malta (or wherever) looking for something that doesn’t exist, then hope the TV show will find it for them. One couple even looked at an apartment again that they had already seen on one of their own investigative trips! I must admit, I am excited if Portugal is featured, particularly if it’s an area I know!
Why do they always say things like: "oh it hasn’t got much character" – surely as the buyer, they will put their own character into it? They can change the colour of the walls, the size of the beds, the pictures on the walls, even the knobs on the kitchen doors if they don’t like the ones gracing them already. Surely they would prefer to put their own ‘stamp’ on it anyway.
Another thing that aggravates me is when they talk about "not enough space for the children" (when they have six grandkids all needing somewhere to sleep). They don’t all need beds, just throw an inflatable bed on the floor – they will enjoy that so much more! Who are these people buying the place for? Not for themselves by the sound of it.
Oh dear, I am starting to sound like my mother now. Surely I can find something nice to say after all that! Well, these programmes do give potential buyers an insight into what you can get for your money, and it is a virtual trip into an unknown country or town you might like to explore. I do get a bit dewy-eyed if they make an offer and it is accepted, and their joy is palpable, especially if their accepted offer is several thousand less than the asking price!
And when the film crew have left and the deal is done, I often wonder what alterations they made – did they change those knobs? Did the kids manage to fall down that spiral staircase when they visited? Did the couple find the area too touristy or too rural in the end? This sounds like another programme just waiting to be made!