Who are we?

A unique company specialised in snagging property in many countries.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009


... let me down", as the song goes, I believe. Sometimes there are moments that highlight just how important communication can be and how upsetting lack of communication can also be!

In Portugal, like in many southern European countries, the attitude towards communication can be very different to the Anglo-Saxon attitude. Imagine you speak to someone one day and you expect for them to email the next. When the next full day is gone and there is nothing you tend to think they've had a busy day. "Surely they'll write something tomorrow" is your thought.

Imagine then that 3 or even 4 days go by and still nothing. Now you know something isn't right! You might, if you're a compassionate soul, imagine - or worry! - that something terrible has happened or that they must have been so busy that it was just not possible to get back to you.

When you do finally reestablish communication you are totally staggered to find that they had every opportunity to contact you but just didn't.

Now you can feel a little - or a lot - foolish. Your plan to drop everything and go over now seems ultra silly. They have no interest after all!

So what do you do? Well firstly, remember it probably is cultural. They do things differently, after all. Well, it might be because you are persona non grata and they just couldn't be bothered to write to you, or it might be because there's just too much else on and your inconveniencing them.

The most common example that we see in Snagging Overseas is with real estate agencies. Some agencies seem to have employees that have clearly lost the ability, or the will, to communicate. And even in the best placed and highly praised agencies you can find them. They might promise things, but you can't be sure they'll keep those promises, regrettably.

Many times people overseas say "Surely they will send us something, even just to say they know nothing!" and it doesn't happen. "Surely they'll make the effort" and when they don't we try and interpret the situation by applying our idea of what we would have done.

This invariably fails. They are different to us. The whole thing is different: different mindset, different attitude and different culture. They might appear the same but they can be radically different!

So are we doomed? Of course not. Is it easy? It can be.

The best advice, when going abroad, be it on holiday or to live, is to adapt adapt adapt. Observe their culture and customs and try to at least understand them. You don't have to practice their customs, but at least you can better understand why they sometimes do what they do. They will seem different once viewed in this light.

"When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change" as someone once said.

Now we are not advocating an Elizabeth Gilbert like pilgrimage in foreign climes, just a more healthy approach to dealing with the natives. Be patient, try and understand that your reason for moving was to avoid the hectic pace of life in the UK. Our reply, with the greatest of respects, "What did you expect?". It is a stress free life on the Islands because NO ONE is in a hurry. Isn't this why you want to go there? Embrace it for what it is and you will enjoy it even more.

So if communication lets you down, don't fret. Because they won't.  
In the meantime, during the period of transition to carefree person who couldn't care less about communicating, allow us at Snagging Overseas to bridge the gap. We can provide patience to deal with the different companies so you don't have to.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Snagging your property and Where we have Snagged in the Algarve

Many people have asked us to put up a page of developments where we have already inspected or where have been booked to snag and clean. Remember that "snagging" refers to inspecting new build properties for imperfections and problems before going to deeds. It is our job to snag so you don't have to!

While Serafina applies herself to the dark arts of marketing and makes up a webpage just on this, I thought we could add a shortlist here of what we are currently up to. We can do a small list here of properties that we have snagged and developments that we have inspected and cleaned.

Starting in the fantastic Algarve, home is where the heart is!, a small example of properties snagged. Remember it is ALWAYS BEST to get independent, professional snagging services for your property. To see WHY you should do this you can see our Blog about why we should snag your property.

The Algarve has long been a British destination and the last few years has seen a boom in property sales. Home to arguably the best beaches in western Europe the Algarve's mild climate and stunning views together with its spread out and almost rural feel make it a winner for almost anyone who wants to holiday or live there.

So if you have purchased in one of the developments below and are coming up to completion then drop us a line.

  • Cabanas Gardens in Cabanas Tavira, in the Eastern Algarve
  • Village Marina de Olhao in Olhao
  • O Pomar, Tavira
  • Condiminio de Pinhal, Vilamoura
  • Parque da Corcovada, Albufeira
  • Monte da Balaia, Albufeira
  • Fonte Salgada, Tavira
  • Laguna Golf, Vilamoura
  • Vila Branca, Albufeira
  • Edificio da Nora, Lagos
  • Quinta da Barracuda, Albufeira
  • Monte da Eira, Albufeira
  • Olival da Colina Verde, Algoz
  • Aldeia da Colina, Algoz
  • Eden Resort, Albufeira
  • Monte Santo, Carvoeiro

In the beautiful Silver Coast we have inspected hundreds of properties. In fact, we are big fans of the rugged coast up there. Huge stretches of beaches and breathtaking views across the Atlantic.

Property started selling in the Silver Coast a few years ago off the back of A Place in the Sun's Amanda Lamb placed Portugal in third place in her "20 Best Places to Make Money" with a special emphasis on the Silver Coast. She remarked that average property prices in the Silver Coast were still around 50,000 Euros.

The good news is that we have inspected and cleaned many properties in the Silver Coast, and while the price is indeed low the spec is very high.

Places we have worked:

  • Sao Martinho do Oporto
  • Nazaré
  • Figuera da Foz

A complete and above all FREE guide to the buying and inspection process overseas can be obtained by registering on our main site. If you are a client of one of these developments then we can help!

We would also recommend browsing the A Place in the Sun's Country Guide to Portugal.

to be continued...

Monday, 27 April 2009

So what is it...?

that has so many wanting to buy overseas? If you're stuck at home, in the cold, wondering what to watch on TV, missing so much what is out there, just beyond your reach, you should know that it might not be that difficult and, above all, that you're not alone, even though it might seem like it.

According to a Mintel survey a couple of years ago, 54% of UK adults stated that they would like to buy a property abroad in the next five years. This is a staggering number. Of these people 36% say that they would prefer Spain and the rest are spread across preferences in France, Italy, Portugal, the US - now dropping again as the dollar weakens - and then far away places like Thailand and Cape Verde.

The reasons cited had little to do with the destinations themselves. People wanted to get away. Overcrowding, traffic, crime issues and the cost of living were the main reasons given in the survey.

The Tsunami and 9/11 had contracted the spreading waves of UK buyers, driving them back into the closer destinations. Now, several years on this tendency has remained quite solid and the "established" markets like Spain and The Algarve have benefited from this.

The recent credit crunch clearly can not contract the market geographically, but it is affecting prices. This pressure has driven prices down and so, as we commented in an earlier Blog, we have seen a return to the older, more established markets. Markets where the steady price increases of the past few years had acted as a barrier to many buyers.

This barrier has now dropped and so, at perhaps the worst time for the overseas market, some incredible bargains are starting to emerge. Not only is Spain the NEW Spain, but the Costa del Sol is the new Costa... again.

So if you are one of the people who want to get away some time in the future, make the move sooner rather than later. You will never get value for your money like you can get now.

Examples we have picked up from the Internet of great opportunities:

Property in Costa del Sol - 50% off!

Silver Coast, Portugal, Reduced prices

Both of these developments are finished and we have snagged some properties there and they are perfect for permanent living.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

New Snagging Overseas Dubai Blog

We are thrilled to announce that we have launched a seperate Blog to accompany the Snagging Overseas division in Dubai.

Due to the huge demand for our services in Dubai we have opened
snagdubai.blogspot.com to better cater for the people who have purchased there and wish for us to snag and clean their property in Dubai.

This does not mean you can not find out what we are up to in Dubai on this Blog. We will keep you posted.

So join us in wishing the new team in Dubai good luck! They have already flown there in the new Airbus A380 so they have started off on the right foot, or wing, as the case may be.

If you want more information on snagging for your property in Dubai contact us on info@snaggingoverseas.com

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Treasure in the Algarve

The Algarve has long been a draw for people from the UK. Clearly there is something in the Algarve that attracts your average Brit.

The natural beauty there is clearly enough to stop anyone concentrating on their day job.

It reminds me of the words of that long ago song "Echo Beach" by Martha and the Muffins.

"The only think that helps me pass the time away
Is knowing that I'll be back at Echo Beach some day"
Tourism figures for the Algarve are holding their own in what is elsewhere a falling market. The only other market that we have seen with stable figures was Dubai.
The question that arises is, can these figures be trusted? Most countries use some kind of public entity to track tourism figures and the problem with this, like with all public systems, is what criteria they apply.
In Spain for many years the National Institute for Statistics used the level of Hotel Occupation as a measure of tourism. This led them to believe that there was an increasing crisis as time went on. They then discovered that traffic through Spanish airports was UP while numbers in hotels were going down.

What was happenning? It was the advent of the so called Residential Tourism market. People would fly out on holiday, stay in a hotel and purchase an apartment. The next time they came out they would stay in their apartment so the hotel numbers would fall. Simple. So how do we track it best? Surely airport numbers are the best indication?
In the Algarve they decided to use the traffic through Faro as an indicator. However, is this reliable? Anyone who has flown into Faro will notice a large number of Spanish people on the plane. They are clearly using Faro to then go into Spain. It would also be fair to assume that other nationalities on the plane might be going to Spain too.
So, what do we measure now? Well, we can carry out surveys at the airport. Find out where the passengers are going. But the fact remains, that it is difficult to measure exactly how The Algarve is doing with regards to tourism. Our feeling is that, as it has never been the mass market that Spain was, it has probably not suffered as much.
Let's hope The Algarve remains strong as it does have some of Europe's best beaches, friendly people and some of the best food in the world! 

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Snagging Overseas Meets East Meets West......

Now that we’ve hit the Town….

With a toe in Europe and the rest of its body in Asia Minor, Turkey is rightly regarded as one of the “Cradles of Civilization"

This really is East meets West – much more than an apt description of one enormous country from its simply spectacular commercial capital of Istanbul, to the history and legacy of all the different cultures that based their empires here, cultures reflected in the enormous architectural and archaeological heritage found all over the country.

Legendary figures from Agatha Christie to James Bond to Helen of Troy have all marveled at Turkey’s mystic beauty. Truly a land of Eastern promise.

Istanbul is the thriving metropolis that bridges the east west gap across the Istanbul Strait, known to us as The Bosphorus. The current name, Istanbul, means Full of Islam and is a reflection of the Muslim heritage that characterised modern Turkish life.

Perhaps the previous names of Istanbul conjure up even more mystical images for us, Constantinople and before that Byzantium. Names that seem steeped in history.

Some less well know facts we’ve found out …The World’s First Christian church was founded by St Peter on his odyssey from the Holy Land.

St Nicolas or Father Christmas as he became better known originated in Southern Turkey

It features one of the original 7 wonders of the world – Temple of Atriums

The World renowned Ephesus has been frequented by the “rich and famous “people as diverse as Cleopatra and even our own Sir Tom Jones (although not quite at the same time – Marc Antony would have been definitely been in trouble!!)

Interestingly it also has the second largest army in NATO – perhaps because it borders 7 countries – Can you name them without looking at a map?!

So, if you feel you can't wait anymore, relax! All things come to those who wait! Perhaps you'll get your dream sooner than you imagine! In the meantime Turkey can't wait to see you!

Monday, 13 April 2009

What happens when it just doesn't work?

Now it occasionally happens that we don't get the results we want from the developer. Imagine the situation, we have snagged the property, prepared the report and sent it to the developer and then... nothing!

Although lack of communication can be alarming, it is not always a symptom of problems. However, if nothing comes back ever again then it is obviously a sign of trouble.

Snagging Overseas will pressure the developer for you, as much as we can. In developments where we have many clients this frequently gives us the "critical mass" necessary to make the developer see that he should correct the imperfections that we have reported.

However, we have had some cases where the developer just does not respond nor correct anything that we have identified.

So, what do we recommend you do when it just doesn't work? What options are open to you?

1. Firstly, Snagging Overseas will already have liaised with your lawyer. With difficult cases we will request that your lawyer or legal representative communicates the list of defects to the developer with some strong "encouragement" to get them fixed. If this doesn't work then you can...

2. Inform the developer that you are not prepared to go to title deed unless these items are corrected. Your legal representative can advise you of the best way to do this.

3. Request that the developer provide an assurance and a time frame for the proper correction of the snags. In the meantime you can also...

4. Advise the developer that you will retain a small amount of the final payment until such time as the works are done to everybody's satisfaction. Snagging Overseas will be able to advise if the developer is complying with the assurances that he has given.

5. Do always liaise with other buyers if necessary. Again Snagging Overseas will be able to help, if required. It is important then to act collectively and try and ensure that the developer understands that you are not "rocking the boat", you are merely protecting your own interests and investment.

6. Don't agree to long term promises. We have seen in one
particular case in Portugal that we had pushed for all snags to be corrected and then the clients, via the Condominium meetings, agreed that the developer had up to a year to correct all snags! This meant they effectively signed away their ability to react for a whole year and a day.

7. Do listen to the experts. Your legal advisers, Snagging Overseas and possibly even your real estate agents have all seen these things happen before. Their advice will be crucial to help resolve the issues.

So, instead of worrying all night long ensure that you get the best professional help for your new brick house! Make sure you have Snagging Overseas as your new build inspection specialists!

Saturday, 4 April 2009

So what was it that springs eternal?

Michel de Montaigne once wrote "My life has been full of terrible misfortunes and some of them have even happened!" This was his take on worry! Especially how worry fills your life with negativity! Here are the Chinese characters for our topic.

Of course even the most optimistic of people can be forgiven for feeling a bit down in the current circumstances. People with tastes ranging from The Bangles to Brittney Spears have expressed their worry at the current crisis and say they don't see any way out of it.

However, perhaps the best attitude is to say, "Yes, there's a recession going on, but I am just not going to take part!". After all, hoping for the best and expecting the worst can be good, but surely it's better to hope for the best and so expect the best!

In Greek mythology, after Pandora famously opened the box and thus introduced disease, death and sorrow to humankind, she went back to the box and found that something was left: Elpis or Hope.

Far be it from Snagging Overseas to philosophise, but the G20 was held amid a climate of worry and fear for the future and clearly the world leaders were putting a brave face on the event. They advocate the injection of trillions (How much??) into the economy and many journalists are carefully not asking where this money has come from. Surely it has to come from, er, the economy? So it's come from the economy to be put into the economy. We don't really know how that works. And so it becomes easy to despair and think that there is no way out of this situation. However, although a large part of this sorry situation is a product of the dark arts of financial engineering, but also of a lack of Elpis, isn't it?

The property industry has been hit hard by this crisis, and overseas property is no exception.

So we wanted to join Obama and the other manically smiling world leaders in advocating optimism. Let's expect the best, and surely it will happen! Look to a bright future, because it will be bright. Hang in there and you'll get where you want to go.