Well Sarah and I are back from our grownup/no kids holiday in Stoupa, The Mani, Greece and while I did feel a teensy bit guilty about leaving the kids (they love Stoupa) I soon got over it as I really needed a rest.
I’ve got so much to tell you about Stoupa I don’t know where to start. Our first day, we walked down the hill to the beach and of course had to stop in at Pefko Taverna, presided over by Elias Hontzeas, my old friend of 20 years, who was amazed to see me after 6 years but ran up the road to give me a big hug!
Elias is the hardest working man in Stoupa I reckon, and so is his wife Stella, who cooks for 17 hours a day!! Actually, everyone in Stoupa works hard in the tourist season, but I’ve heard stories of Elias’ mother in the olden days, having to walk for two days on a GOAT TRACK, to take produce to Kalamata to sell (with bits of leather tied round her feet) but you would never think it to see her sitting in the garden of Pefko shelling beans and smiling at everyone.
Anyway, I usually spend a day with Elias and go look at his current properties; he’s a great builder of houses for both holiday homes and retirement, he usually tries to sell me one and I’ve never been able to do it, because you need a 30% plus deposit and a second mortgage, but I’ve always said I will get him to build me one “to spec” one day. He builds new but in the style of old Maniot tower houses, using local materials, as the Greek building regs are very strict now, because they realise that tourism is rapidly becoming their main earner, and they don’t want to ruin things like they did in Spain.
Stoupa is just lovely, barely changed at all, slightly improved but not mucked around with too much. The two beaches are still lovely, Katerina’s Supermarket is still great fun, the Five Brothers Taverna still serving the best “chicken on the grill” I’ve EVER tasted and the classical/jazz/dance music at the Paralos Beach Bar the most laid back and eclectic on the planet.
Day Two, and I wake up really early due to the 2-hour time difference and while Sarah snoozes, I think I’ll go get a Nescafe Frappe at Pefko, and enjoy the bay, always so still and beautiful in the early mornings.
Elias is already there, it’s quiet and he comes over for a coffee and a ciggie (Greece has gone non-smoking in public places but it’s all outdoors anyway!), and we get talking about business, mine and his. He tells me that the credit crunch bit early and deep in Greece, but the banks are just starting to lend again, however, where he was selling houses as fast as he could build them two years ago, he can’t sell at all now, due to his target market not being able to get refinance in the UK.
So he’s selling at a deep discount (around 30% BMV on two years ago) but it’s still not shifting them as the buyers just can’t get finance.
I asked him if he had ever thought of selling on a “vendor finance” or “rent to own” basis as that would take the banks out of the equation and oddly enough he said he had tried to do two deals like that the previous year, where he acted as the bank, to try and save the sale, but his English wasn’t quite good enough to explain it to the couples concerned.
Then he said the fateful words “Would you like one on that basis? And do you think you can help me to sell the rest of my houses, Nicola?” and that was the rest of the holiday sorted. Sarah and I discussed it on the beach in the afternoons, then put some of our ideas into action in the mornings, and you can see the results of our early efforts (and put your name and email in for more info) at http://www.StoupaProperty.com
Essentially, he’s willing to “rent to buy later” lovely holiday homes in and around this idyllic village, with a small deposit, typically 5%, then we get the use of them for five years plus the rental income, while agreeing a fixed price now for sale in five years. Discounted already remember. Then, in five years, if we can get finance at home, we will, and buy him out or if not, he will then act as the bank for the remaining twenty years at a fair interest rate.
Do you love Greece? Fancy a holiday home but always thought you wouldn’t be able to afford a deposit? Perhaps you can’t get a mortgage but would love somewhere of your own to take the kids every year and rent out the rest of the time?
Are you interested? We are thinking of doing a live webinar in late August, then an info evening in London early September with a long weekend viewing trip in early October.
What questions would you have? Please come to the blog and let me know or become a fan of our StoupaProperty.com page on Facebook and ask me via the wall?
This is part of the bigger plan we have to create Money Gym Holidays – a blog and membership site – where we help all our members who have holiday homes market them more effectively.
Our successful pilot of Money Gym Silver Elite is come to an end and some of the pilot group have had some amazing successes….just some of the quotes are amazing and not everyone was even in the programme, just been inspired by it! See the testimonials box today for some more insights into what Silver Elite could do for you if you want “your hand held, your bum kicked and absolutely nowhere to hide”.
Back a week and just time for a late night poker game last night, which, combined with a very early beauty appointment today, knocked me out a bit! Only time she could fit me in, and i wanted to see the boys before I go….did ok too.
Packing again at the moment for three weeks in Casares, Spain, leaving Monday. Rona and Adrian have lent us their beautiful townhouse and while I’m there I’m going to be taking lots of videos of the house and surrounding area – I only found one in total on YouTube.
Hoping the kids won’t get too bored out there, I have my book to rewrite, but there are buses up and down from Casares to Estapona, the nearest beach and town. We have cars but will save them for the longer trips, I think.
They can also explore the village and there’s a village municipal pool, which has been being remodelled, but hopefully is finished now.
And it’s festival or fiesta season so some great street parties to look forward to.
Have Fun, We Always Do!