Buying coastal property – seen through the eyes of the buyer

When people are away visiting another region or area while on conference, annual vacation, golf tour or another form of sporting event, while buying property may be the last thing on their minds, their visit may ultimately result in a real estate acquisition at some point, says Dina Porteous, Pam Golding Properties area principal in Margate on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast.

A scenic view of the Margate coastline

“Although their visit is not with a view to buying property people often fall in love with an area - and then begin thinking that they could easily live there or would like to come back on holiday with their families to a home away from home. And so the idea often stems from an emotional rather than an investment perspective.

“Once the idea is converted into reality the buyer will often discuss this prospective investment with friends and family who have other ideas of where the ideal holiday investment should be made and much debate then ensues.  Children themselves have a big influence on the decision as they would like to spend their holidays were most of their school friends go.

“As a result of this we on the South Coast find that when second home buyers start looking in this area they commence by looking for the best value money can buy in the best position, however safety of the investment almost always wins the day!” 

Porteous says that second or leisure home buyers who look at property on the KZN South Coast will often compare these to properties from Ballito to uMhlanga on the KZN North Coast to Port Alfred, St Francis, Jeffrey’s Bay, Wilderness, Plettenberg Bay and Knysna in the Eastern Cape and Garden Route, just to name a few. In addition, tropical island getaways such as Mauritius, Seychelles and Mozambique are becoming serious contenders.  Modern technology and effective internet search engines make their initial comparisons much easier – and from the comfort of their homes. 

“As a result, it is evident that sellers of coastal property who want to ensure that their property is sold quickly need to consider that potential buyers look beyond what may perhaps be considered the normal trend of only comparing properties in this particular area. 

“At Pam Golding Properties Margate we find that well priced holiday investment properties can sell within three months of listing, however when agents take listings that do not compare favourably with other areas, these apartments and homes could well be on the market for up to two years.

“Coastal property trends are constantly evolving, and they specifically move from one area to another based on value for money, tourism attractions and security aspects. The main buyers of these homes or apartments in our area remain investors with children who are still at school. We do also have buyers who have retired and spend their winters in the area, but to them security in the area and investment are more important than position.

“Our advice to serious sellers in this market is to take note of current trends buyers are following and price your property accordingly. If you haven’t yet decided to sell, work with a knowledgeable agent in the area who can provide advice and will keep you informed on your investment.

“If you are not serious about selling, rather take your property off the market and sell it when the market conditions are right. Keeping a property on the market for too long, which then becomes ‘stale’ is a waste of time and is to the detriment of the seller.”

Porteous says think of your property at the coast like any investment on the stock exchange - you can’t sell your stock when other stock in the same investment class is cheaper, even if you originally paid more for your stock. Don’t think that giving your stock to as many agents as possible is going to make any difference - it may only add to your frustration. “Work with an agent who can give you the best marketing insight and often it will be the agent who gives you a well-informed marketing price rather than the agent who simply tells you what you want to hear.”

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