Monday 30 November 2009

Attention Dubai Clients of Larionovo and Profile

Solicitor, Anthony Joyce, has been in touch with the site to say that he is currently looking for clients of both Ennis based Larionovo and its Dubai based sister company, Profile.

Larionovo, of course, went into liquidation in November 2008, but its former clients are undeterred. They have now formed The Dubai Action Group to fight their corner against what they feel is the unjust way in which they have been treated. Developments in which worried investors bought include: Eagle Heights, Bermuda Views, Stadium Point and Profile Residences; all are developments within the landmark proposed Sports City project. Other developments in which investors had become involved include: International City, Snowdome Residences, 050 Waterfront and the Island of Ireland in the, now infamous, World development 20 minutes off the coast of the Emirate.

Such was the volume of property sold by Larionovo, the Group currently has 200 members signed up with a further 100 who have been in contact and shown an interest in joining. The Group is currently recruiting new members with a view to instigating legal action. The Group will close before any action is taken and no new members will then be allowed to join.

The group has appointed Joyce to undertake litigation on behalf of the purchasers in relation to parties involved in the projects both in Ireland and in Dubai. Readers of the blog will be aware that Joyce has experience in recovering funds for overseas property owners, having taken a high profile legal action against Irish agent Kuvera regarding developments it was promoting in India. In July, Joyce used the new facility in the Commercial Court to secure property assets, company shares and cash for the Kuvera Action Group just eight weeks after injunctions were issued. A legal action is also currently in motion against the indemnity insurance that covered Kuvera’s legal adviser, Seymour Major. Action in India is also progressing.

See here for further information on the Dubai action.


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Wednesday 11 November 2009

Larionovo & Profile Clients Fear Money is Gone

A report in today's Irish Independent claims that investors in Ennis based Larionovo - which shut down a year ago - and its sister company in Dubai, Profile Properties LLC, fear that their investments are now gone forever.

From the piece:

"A group of small Irish investors who bought into a dream property scheme in Dubai now fear that as much as €20m of their money could be lost.

The Concerned Dubai Sports City Investors Group, which hopes to recruit hundreds of members, bought off-plan apartments through the now defunct Larionovo property agents. They are worried that as much as €20m - cash many hoped would fund their retirements - is caught up in Dubai.

The group is building up a war chest to help fund a campaign to retrieve their deposits.


A meeting of the group last week in the Citywest Hotel in Dublin heard that they have no idea if building work has even started on some apartments, such is the difficulty in getting information from developers. Some recently received letters telling them the project had been put 'on hold'."

The CEO of Dubai Sports City complex is U. Balasubramaniam (often referred to as Bala Subramanian or simply Bala), who can be heard here describing the progress of the project up to April 25th, 2007, at which stage he was quite bullish about the prospects of everything finishing on time.

According to the report above, however, the wheels would appear to have come off the wagon since that time as the credit crunch eventually hit Dubai with its full force. If you are to visit the Dubai Sports City website, however, you'd be hard pressed to tell that things were not as they should be.

Tuesday 3 November 2009

Jim Moore and Instant Access Properties Back in Action

This is from some time ago (February 2009), but worth noting nonetheless. Andrew Penman, of Penman and Sommerlad Investigate, which runs on the Mirror website, has been on the tail of Jim Moore, a name that will be familiar to many, but perhaps not to others. The guy was responsible for the phenomenally successful (for him) but spectacularly unsuccessful (for his clients) companies such as Inside Track, which mass-sold (or more correctly miss-sold) thousands of over-priced apartment units, most of which now lie empty, around the UK. Inside Track spawned another, equally useless, offspring called Instant Access Properties, which has now resurfaced as IAP Global.

I'll let Penman take over here:

"With property company IAP Global running seminars (aka recruiting sessions) nationwide, the following might prove a timely alert.

It's from a retired couple who were badly stung by IAP's predecessor, Instant Access Properties.

Both are the brainchild, if that's the right word, of former perfume salesman turned buy-to-let property guru Jim Moore. Not that many of the thousands of victims who raided their savings to attend his Inside Track property seminars or invest through his Instant Access Properties will consider him a guru.

Both companies are now bust, which isn't stopping Jim. He's back with IAP Global. Before you decide to fall for the dream of becoming a 'property millionaire', it's worth reading this tale we received today from a chap we'll just call Clive."

Read Clive's story here.

In case you've had dealings with any of these, here's another piece from Penman on the seamless handover of information from the Instant Access Properties scam to another con-operation, European Mediation (who've been mentioned before on this blog with reference to Fortuna Estates and Oanna) and then onto another entity called

Suffice to say, buyer beware - the overseas property industry (and the property industry in general) is still, essentially, completely unregulated. A simple Google search on any of the entities above would get you a huge amount of information, unfortunately, normally too late.

Try to find out who is behind the company with whom you are considering investing your money. This will never be easy if they are a con organisation, so this should ring alarm bells for a start. If you do a bit of sleuthing around their website and documentation you'll often find hints, however. For instance, if you take a look at the following page in the IAP Global website you'll find the following statement:

“Rousing speech from Jim Moore!. I am open to options. I am very interested in high earning/high growth property/land fund. I consider property a safer investment than stocks and shares.”

Most of these con-men (they are predominantly men, but you should also be wary of the fairer sex as a few have also been implicated) are serial offenders, so you may well find a lot of information about them on the internet before you run the risk of losing your hard earned cash to their nefarious schemes.

Monday 2 November 2009

New AIPP Annual 'Investor Advice' Document

The AIPP (the UK based Association of International Property Professionals) has released its latest 'Green Cross Code' document, outlining what overseas property buyers should, and more importantly, should not, do when looking to purchase a property

The association certainly has been busy with positive initiatives recently. On top of a new newsletter promoting stories of a positive nature in the overseas property market, the AIPP has just recently also released a new version of its annual consumer guide, entitled ‘Buying Overseas Property Safely’.

There are a number of informative pieces in the guide, including the ‘top five’ pitfalls to avoid. Being honest, the pitfalls to avoid in purchasing an overseas property seldom, if ever, change, but there is no harm in having a look at some of them from time to time in any case. The ones who have made it to AIPP’s top five are, unsurprisingly, led by the need for an independent legal representative. If you avoid this step you’re simply looking for trouble so there is no surprise that it floats to the top of nearly every ‘How to’ or ‘Things to Avoid’ list when it comes to overseas property.

The guide also warns about the dangers of signing contracts too early, advice specifically aimed at stopping clients from signing binding contracts at property exhibitions. While you could argue that this particular problem is hardly critical at the moment, considering the paucity of property exhibitions these days, it’s good to know for future reference nonetheless.

The whole area of having a developer in breach of contract, one which is certainly a live issue at the moment, is also raised. The guide points out that, without sufficient legal input from your end you may get a contract that protects the interests of the developer, but not yours. The advice is to have your solicitor check through conditions of the contract, the type of guarantee of property delivery - if any - that is involved, and the circumstances in which you will be entitled to compensation. The advice is, admittedly, a little late for a lot of buyers, but it is still an area about which people should be aware and it is important to check out your contract’s provisions if you have not already done so.

Unreleastic budgeting is also addressed. Again, this advice is a bit late for many people, but will be very apt for others who are considering purchasing property, investment or otherwise, at lending rates that are currently as low as they can get. For such mortgages the only way is up, so investors should be very wary of this when making their calculations.

Finally the ‘5 Pitfalls to Avoid’ piece finishes with the ownership of land. It seems pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised how often it causes huge problems. Avoiding pitfall number one should normally suffice, but it is still important to note that the person who claims to be selling a piece of land or property, doesn’t necessarily always have the legal right to do so.

For further information on the AIPP guide visit

Monday 5 October 2009

US Property Investment Seminars - 5th to 8th October

Had enough of the bad news? Then you should probably take a break from it all and find out how the bad news currently prevalent in the market could be of assistance to you, particularly if you're still in a position to purchase investment property in the US.

Dublin based ClearSky Capital will be holding a number of seminars around the country over the coming week. The seminars take place from Tuesday October 6th to Thursday October 8th in Galway, Limerick, Waterford, Cork and Dublin (see the bottom of this blog for exact dates, times and venues).

Topics & Speakers

An Overview of US Property Market Fundamentals with Particular Case Studies on Boston, MA & Rochester, NY
Ciaran Hynes, Managing Director, Clear Sky Capital, Dublin

A Look at Relevant Taxation & Accounting Issues in the US for Irish Investors.
Including benefits of:
A. Capital gains roll over
B. Annual depreciation
C. Irish US Tax Treaty
Peter Avila, Accounting & Taxation Consultant, Boston, MA, USA

The 8 Key Steps to Buying and owning property in the US
Todd Fessenden, Operations Director, Clear Sky Capital, Boston, USA

Investing through your SSAS or SSIP pension fund – Building future wealth through focused property investment & development
David J Topian, President, Westminister Real Estate Advisors, LLC - Rochester, NY

Buying through a partnership fund or on your own – what’s right for you?
Ciaran Hynes, Managing Director, Clear Sky Capital, Dublin
Todd Fessenden, Operations Director, Clear Sky Capital, Boston, MA

Questions & Answers Session

Dates, Venues and Times

Tuesday 6th October 2009
Waterford - Tower Hotel Waterford - 12.30pm – 2.00pm
Cork - Silver Springs, Moran Hotel - 6.30pm – 8pm
Wednesday 7th October 2009
Limerick - Clarion Hotel, Steamboat Quay - 12.30pm – 2.00pm
Galway - Radisson Hotel - 6.30pm – 8pm
Thursday 8th October 2009
Dublin - Herbert Park Hotel, Ballsbridge - 12.30pm – 2.00pm
Dublin - Herbert Park Hotel, Ballsbridge - 6.30pm – 8pm
In order to guarantee space at the seminars ClearSky Capital ask that you register in advance.

When registering, please mention that you heard about the seminars on

Register online now or phone 01 514 3780.


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Thursday 1 October 2009

File your Tax Returns before October 31st

Not meaning to depress you or anything, but this is the first day of October, which means the filing date for tax returns for 2008 - October 31st 2009 - is just around the corner. Seamus Keating has been in touch to remind us that his company can assist in meeting filing obligations using a comprehensive tax compliance and planning service.

Keating says to remember that, as an Irish resident, one is obliged to return all sources of income including both Irish and overseas property rental income even where there may be a net loss or where funds have not been remitted to Ireland.

Keating also reminds us that the new tax on ‘second properties’ (in Ireland) of €200 Euro per property was due to be paid by September 30th. There is another month to pay up before a penalty of 20 Euro per property per month becomes payable. Only 15% of people have paid the tax thus far so we can see a significant windfall accruing to Revenue once they start to delve into this issue in some detail. The easiest way to pay is at

Many thanks to Seamus Keating for the updated information. Seamus is registered as a tax agent with both the Irish and UK authorities. He can look after filing tax returns whether you are an employee or self employed and look after the complete process regarding all aspects of income tax, capital gains and gift or inheritance tax.

For further information contact:

Seamus Keating Investments Limited
Fitzwilliam Hall, Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2

Phone: +353-1-6698569

Wednesday 23 September 2009

Google Sponsor's UK What House Awards '09

Google, one of the world’s biggest companies, is sponsoring this year’s What House? Awards . The ceremony is widely recognized as the ‘Oscars’ of the house building industry and will take place at The Grosvenor House hotel in London on November 20th .

The What House? Awards, in their 28th year, are the most prestigious and long established in the UK house building industry. They unveil exciting, dynamic new developers, delivering pioneering projects to their local markets, as well as highlighting the innovations of the industry’s major players who build across the country. Recognising this hugely important role Tailored Home ( are also sponsoring three of this year’s categories – Best House, Best Small Housing Association and Best Large Housing Association.

The editorial director of Showhouse and annual host of the What House? Awards, said: “It is fantastic to have Google, one of the world’s biggest brands, on board as a sponsor. It is a tribute both to the search engine giant’s commitment to working with the house building industry to drive traffic, leads and sales, and to the reputation of the What House? Awards, recognised as the ultimate new homes accolades.”

Ben Wood, head of property at Google, said: "Google are delighted to be associated with the What House? Awards and look forward to further strengthening our relationships with the UK house building industry.”

Google is the latest in a line of prestigious sponsors, all leaders in their fields, to sign up for the Awards, rewarding the very best new homes in Britain.

Despite an incredibly difficult year with new sites mothballed and reductions in build numbers, What House? Awards judges are reporting entries across 23 categories. As the company explains “Last year’s Awards ceremony was still a great occasion, rewarding the best, if a little less celebratory than usual, given the widespread redundancies in the industry. There are still huge economic problems to overcome and housing issues to resolve, but we have got a great feeling that this year’s Awards could prove a seminal moment in the new homes recovery, with some great house builders and homes in the mix for awards and the marketing opportunities they give the industry going into 2010, backed by a phenomenal line up of sponsors supporting this fantastic event.”

For ticket information for the awards please contact Derek Smith Tel: 0044-207-002-8300 or go to to download a booking form.

Monday 24 August 2009

Ask About Money Forum Loses the Plot

Well, it's taken some time, but it was bound to happen eventually - and it has come to pass. OverseasCafe has been banned from the Ask About Money (AAM) Overseas Property Forum. We bit our tongues on the state of this section of the much renowned investment forum for a long time - but eventually the dam burst - and the inevitable banning ensued.

It's a pity really, it was quite a good forum once upon a time. People with genuine queries went there in the hopes of getting them answered. People who had put down deposits on properties abroad went there to query why the companies with which they had been dealing had suddenly disappeared - with their money. Those who were having problems getting developers to finish properties to the standard promised made sure that everybody else knew the score. If guaranteed returns were guaranteed to do nothing more than disappear then you would find someone writing about it there. It was used as a forum to enable those most vulnerable in the whole overseas property pyramid scheme - the misfortunate investor at the bottom of the pile - to gain some traction in an otherwise arcane, unregulated and unyielding industry. In its prime it was a vibrant and excellent example of what a forum can be and that to which many fora (forums, take your pick) should aspire.

Then it all changed. Most likely because of the popularity of the forum, agents and developers didn't like having their names in lights for all the wrong reasons - heaven forbid people should know how they actually ran their businesses - so they did what all good companies do - they threatened legal action. It's a natural, and very cheap, reaction to such blatant bad publicity - get your big-shot lawyers to send threatening letters and hey-presto - 99% of forums couldn't be bothered with the hassle and will remove their posts as quickly as they were put up there. And unfortunately AAM was no different.

All this legal traffic eventually became a bit tedious for the Mods at AAM though. For a start they don't really consider overseas property purchases to be 'investment' per se. It's always been treated as the idiot child of the forum - it had to be there but if it was going to cause nuisance then it would be severely reprimanded. No credence was ever given to the fact that overseas property is the least regulated investment in the spectrum, in what has proven to be a pretty miserably regulated industry to begin with, so it perhaps needs more, rather than less, assistance from those in a position of power such as the Great Ones at AAM.

Regardless, the Mods started introducing posting guidelines that essentially strangled the forum to death. Visiting it now is like passing through an old Wild West prospecting town after the gold rush - there is tumbleweed drifting down the deserted streets where once there was the vitality and virility of public opinion and debate. You essentially can't breathe a word about anything worth mentioning on the forum, so anyone of any consequence either got banned or left of their own volition.

In our case the disenchantment with the forum had been growing for some time. Shortly before the banning a completely innocuous thread about a book on the overseas property industry, on which we had posted a number of comments, disappeared completely without a mention of why this should happen. There was certainly nothing in the thread that, even in the newly regulated environment of the AAM overseas property section, could be found in breach. Some Mod obviously decided it simply shouldn't be there - as AAM Mods seem to do.

Our banning came in relation to another relatively innocuous posting that yet another overseas property agent, Property Secrets, had gone to the wall. The poster put in as an aside that: "This overseas forum is itself looking like it is going under! first it was consigned to a sub thread of property investment and now there is virtually no one posting any more. Have we all deserted at the bust? Is there anyone still out there? Where are all the regular posters!"

Well, that was it. The tongue biting could be entertained no longer. The question was out there and it had to be answered, so it was, in a frank and forthright manner (you won't find it there now, of course, the Mods at AAM are much too thin-skinned to leave criticism of the way they run their empire exist online).

We received a severe dressing down from the chief Mod via Private Message (PM) - apparently all this sort of stuff must be done in private, no dirty laundry washing in public. We sought to disagree with said chief Mod's interpretation of what the general public should be entitled to expect from the most powerful financial services forum in the country. We offered to have the debate on the issue publicly, which wasn't even entertained, and we were accused (as you'll see on the picture accompanying this blog) of being offensive. I can assure you we were not offensive in any way, but we did have an opinion we wished to express. Being offensive in AAM parlance is, apparently, speaking your mind and this is not to be entertained under any circumstance. It is an environment that seems uncomfortably close to the Communist ethos of suffocating the truth rather than the Democracy one would expect to find embraced by any forum seeking to deliver worthy debate on the topics that matter.

In any case, that is the price of having an opinion on AAM it would appear. It is somewhat of a standing joke in Irish forum communities that most other forums were started because people were banned from AAM for expressing an opinion that differed from that of the AAM Mods. Hopefully some good will come to pass from this incident and someone will set up an overseas property forum that will actually serve the community rather than being subservient to the opinions and desires of those who set it up.

It is a great shame though, AAM had the ideal platform, and for a time, served the overseas property community very well.

AAM Overseas Property Forum - RIP 2009


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Thursday 13 August 2009

Property Secrets Calls Time

We're interrupting our annual summer hols, unfortunately to inform you of another overseas property agent that has bitten the dust. Those of you who have visited the Property Secrets website since August 11th will have noticed that the company is no more. You'll be greeted by the following message:

Dear Property Secrets members,

I regret to inform you that Visium Group, the owner of, has closed its doors for further business and ceased trading as of Tuesday 11th August. In the end the recession has been too deep and too long to survive.

It is intended, however, that the Property Secrets website publishing business will continue as unaffected as possible, ensuring all advertising and membership commitments are met during this process.

This includes continually updated property investment advice, research and services currently available on the Property Secrets website, but does not include support for any previous investment property sold through Property Secrets.

i-PropertyAssets clients are advised to contact their letting and management partners directly or make alternative arrangements.

Notices to creditors will be issued over the next few days, notifying them of a meeting to be held on 8th September at the offices of the proposed insolvency practitioner, Walletts (click to download a pdf of the letter of notification of the creditor meeting).

In the meantime, a core team will remain to continue to provide a live website and collect outstanding payments such that amounts owing to staff and creditors can be met as best as possible, and that the value of the website and publishing business can be maintained should a potential purchaser be found by the insolvency practitioners.

Any statements of interest in purchasing some or all of the business assets of Visium Group Ltd should be directed to Walletts using the contact details on the letter of notification of creditor meeting.

On behalf of the directors of Visium Group I'd like to say thank you to all our customers, partners and staff for the last 10 years, and we wish you all the best of luck with your investments.

Best wishes

Neil Lewis, Peter Bennett, Simon Shepherd, Jez Touch
Visium Group Ltd

Monday 27 July 2009

Simple Overseas Properties' Clients Threaten Legal Action

Irish overseas property investment company, Simple Overseas Properties (SOP), is facing court action from a number of its investors for allegedly taking deposits on developments in Morocco which were not subsequently passed to the developer.

The developments, called Asilah Marina Golf and Asilah Beach Resort, are two of a number of Mediterranean coastal Moroccan developments that the agency was promoting in Ireland at the height of the boom.

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No Place in the Sun - Book on Overseas Property

If you've an interest in overseas property and you're looking for an easy read this summer you might be interested in the latest release from former overseas property agent, John Mulligan.

There's a pretty good review of the book on the website here, it might help you make up your mind whether it's likely to be something that is of interest to you or not.

The book retails for €9.95 and can be found in all good bookshops or by visiting

Wednesday 8 July 2009

Derek Quinlan Retires from Quinlan Private

Derek Quinlan has decided to step down as the head of the high profile Irish property investment firm, Quinlan Private. Today's Irish Times reports that the 61 year old has "withdrawn from a management role within the firm in recent times to focus on his personal investments. He has also been spending more time at his homes in London and France."

The piece by Simon Carswell continues: "Quinlan Private gained a reputation for attracting cash-rich investors into high-profile property deals financed with high levels of bank borrowings and completed in quick transactions. The global economic slump and financial crisis has forced banks to seek renegotiated loan agreements with Quinlan Private – and Mr Quinlan on his own personal investments – due to falling values across the property markets."

There is no doubt that the myth of the 'canny Irish property investor' which circulated the planet in the late nineties and early noughties, was to a great extent propagated by the many headline deals struck by Quinlan and his group, albeit that many of these deals were struck at, or close to, the peak of the market.

According to the Times piece: "The company came to international prominence in 2004 when Mr Quinlan led a group of Irish investors to buy the luxury Savoy hotel group in London for €1.1 billion." He has also become well known for high profile deals such as the Four Seasons in Budapest, Santander in Madrid, Canary Wharf in London and expensive personal and business investments in Manhattan and around New York.

Those with a slightly jaundiced view of the world may well say that Quinlan has, much like Bertie Ahern, waited until things have gotten tough to leave the mess for someone else to clean up. He is, however, not leaving the company completely. The Times reports that "the former tax inspector will remain a significant investor with the company which will continue to be managed by its four existing partners – Olan Cremin, Peter Donnelly, Thomas Dowd and Mark O’Donnell."

The piece concludes: "Mr Quinlan has been trying to sell properties including a house in Manhattan for €23 million and offices, also in New York city, for €19 million and has reduced the prices in a bid to secure sales. He has recently been involved in negotiations with some of his banks about his investments."

Pieces on Quinlan's retirement in the Irish Times can be found here and here.


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Tuesday 30 June 2009

International Law Partnership To Cease Trading

John Howell’s International Law Partnership is to close, reportedly due to a collapse in income at the firm.

The UK-based law firm, specialised in overseas conveyancing and legal issues. It is to cease to practice from July 10th 2009.

Howell has said the company had written off over £500,000 of anticipated income so far this year, while actual income had fallen by nearly 75%.

“Over the last few months our clients – and, in particular, our developer clients – have been going bust at a catastrophic rate and many of our other clients are unwilling or unable to pay their bills,” said Howell. “We have, therefore and with great regret, decided to close the business.”

Howell will be well known for his regular appearances at exhibitions and seminars at which he was invariably one of the best respected speakers. He has also been a regular advisor on TV and radio shows in both the UK and Ireland. It is to be hoped that he and his company will not be lost to the overseas property community completely.

The full story on the closure of ILP can be found here.

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Monday 29 June 2009

Considering relocating to Spain?

If you've ever had any notions about relocating to Spain then a read of this rather in-depth piece in our Editorial section will be very well worth a visit.

Justin Aldridge of Eye on Spain (who is a British expat living in Spain) gives a full run-down of all the issues that were dealt with on the recent ITV series - Paradise Lost.

Essentially the programmes outline how a selection of Brittish expats have managed with investments, homes and businesses in Spain. If you are feeling a little squeamish then it might be best you didn't read it, but if you are considering moving to Spain for any reason, it should be considered at least.

It's not for the faint-hearted, but then the time for the reality check is before you consider such a huge investment or move, not when you've already taken the first steps.

Enjoy, you'll find the piece here.

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Tuesday 23 June 2009

Making Agents and Developers Liable for their Activities

There's an interesting article by Diarmaid Condon in our editorial section of the site. The basis of the piece is the need for a proper framework within which overseas property buyers would receive the protection that any other consumer would receive when purchasing a product or service.

The main issues addressed are around where the responsibility for due diligence lies and what levels of governance should be expected by Irish citizens purchasing property anywhere.

A very thought provoking piece - you'll find it here in its entirety.


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Saturday 20 June 2009

Investors to Lose Money in Pirin Park Resort, Bansko

A recent report in the Sofia Echo says that 300 British and Irish investors claim to have lost nearly six millions pounds sterling, or 13.2 million Bulgarian leva, in the Alpine resort of Bansko.

In a joint letter sent to the investors explain that they fear that their investments are likely lost because the future of the enterprise in Bansko now appears very uncertain.

The group claims that a combination of "bad circumstances, poor management and rampant corruption is to blame."

In its defence, the company promoting the development, Bulgarian Development UK, has argued that the problem lies with alleged corruption in Bulgaria and the global economic downturn. Investors, however, claim there has been financial mismanagement and that the company has used investors' apartments as guarantees to finance other projects.

Bulgarian Development UK has insisted that they were obliged to adopt such measures in order to pay the builder, MRI Construction, the construction arm of MRI Overseas Properties based in the Costa del Sol. Bulgarian Development UK claims that complications ensued after MRI had terminated construction operations, even though it had been paid fully by the customers in advance.

The investors have established the Pirin Park Resort Residential Association to conduct negotiations on behalf of affected clients.

The full article is available here.


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Tuesday 16 June 2009

Bulgarian Property Action Group Formed

If you've had any problems with property purchases in Bulgaria - and quite a few Irish investors have significant problems there - then you'll be glad to hear that someone is trying to do something to relieve the plight of Bulgarian property owners.

The Bulgaria Property Action Group (BPAG) is seeking to bring together as many people as possible that have experienced problems with off-plan property purchases in Bulgaria in an attempt to help resolve any issues which have arisen.

The group aims to provide help, support and information for those who need it. It is also an action group of people who want to see changes that will help them seek justice and recompense for any losses they may have incurred.

Pamela East, the project's administrator, says: "There are currently huge problems with the way that real estate transactions are conducted in Bulgaria. The group want to see legal and structural changes that will give protection and provide a legal framework in the Bulgarian property market. We also want to see a process which will enable them to seek redress for any losses and to prevent such problems happening again."

For further information on the group and how it can be contacted visit the full press release on the website.


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Monday 8 June 2009

Michael Lynn Continues to Generate Headlines

He may have fled the country in disgrace two years ago, but Michael Lynn just can't keep himself out of the Irish newspaper headlines. Two stories, one in the Irish Mail on Sunday and the other in the Sunday Times, yesterday, prove that the on-the-run Mayo solicitor is most definitely alive and well.

The Mail on Sunday article, once again written by Michael O'Farrell (who seems to have become Mr. Lynn's tail in Europe) features Lynn directly. Apparently he's being accused of locking clients in his Cabanas development in Tavira on the Portuguese Algarve out of their swimming pool. 

Residents at  the complex have apparently, taken court action to be allowed to use their own pool. A letter was received by owners from Vantea (to whom Lynn transferred ownership of the development but is a company strongly suspected to be owned by him in any case) asking them to pay management fees due. 

Owners at the complex are quoted as saying that; 'TV's and fridges have been removed from a number of apartments and that guaranteed rental payments owed by the management company had not been paid.'

The swimming pool and bar area are now, apparently, locked up and signs have been removed from the entrance to the pool area. 

The piece also says that a group of investors is seeking to seize the land on which phase 2 of the project was to be built and the contractor, Bemposta, is also seeking to freeze the site as it claims it has not been paid for building work completed to date. 

The Mail on Sunday article isn't available online, but we've scanned a copy of it and will upload a link to it here in the next day or two. 

The second story, carried by the Sunday Times, refers to Lynn indirectly, via his former property agency, KenDar. Some of you might remember the company gave away a property in Bankso, Bulgaria on RTE's Late Late Show in association with the Property Expo and the Sunday Business Post. 

Well the winners, David and Olivia Timlin, who are co-incidentally also from Co. Mayo, never received the property (surprise, surprise) and, in the absence of KenDar, have decided to sue RTE for breach of contract. 

According to the piece: "RTE declined to comment on the case 'which is still ongoing'. The couple referred all queries to Manus Sweeney, their solicitor, who also declined to comment.

You can find the full article here

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Friday 5 June 2009

Investing in UK Distressed Property

Find out how to invest in UK bank repossessed property at a free seminar on June 22nd in Dublin.

The strength of the euro relative to sterling presents a window of opportunity for the Irish investor looking to invest in UK distressed property. Most commentators agree that the euro is currently overvalued and is likely to weaken against sterling in the coming months following a combination of some positive economic news from the UK and the European Central Bank’s ponderous response to the financial crisis.

It is currently possible in the UK to buy bank repossessed property at discounts of up to 50% on the property's previous sale value. If an Irish investor had purchased a typical city centre apartment in Manchester, for example, at £180,000 in June 2007 when the exchange rate was 1.47 euros to the pound it would have cost him or her €264,600. A repossessed property in the same block in many cases would now typically cost £100,000, while the exchange rate is now 1.15. This means that the same apartment, if a repossession, would now cost an investor €115,000 - a staggering difference of €149,600!

This is an example of a property recently sourced for an investor in Yorkshire:
  • Purchased for £74,000 in 2009
  • Previously sold for £184,000 in 2007
  • Discount of 60%
  • Gross yield 8%
Typical yields on bank repossessed property range from 7 to 9% so an investor can achieve good income as well as a healthy discount.

The seminar starts at 6.30pm, lasts for two hours and will cover the following topics:
  • The outlook for the UK property market
  • How to source distressed property
  • Distressed property criteria (what to look for)
  • The legal pitfalls of buying distressed property
  • Arranging Finance
  • The services on offer
Places are limited and allocated on a strictly first-come first-served basis - please click here to secure your place.

If you can’t make the seminar but would like to meet up or discuss distressed property please email us at and we can have same arranged.


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Thursday 4 June 2009

French Leaseback in Irish Times

Today's Irish Times has an extensive feature on French Leaseback property, outlining some of the pros and cons.

It's an interesting piece, written by Frances O'Rourke, a well respected property writer with the paper, and features some input from ourselves to boot. What more could you ask for?

Why not nip over and check it out, you'll find it here

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Links to French property information on the site:

Property in France

French Property Advice

News relating to French Property

French Real Estate Agent News

Selection of French Property Agents

Wednesday 3 June 2009

FBD Runs Aground in Spain

Irish insurer, FBD Holdings, has run into problems with the sale of some land adjoining its La Cala Golf development in Spain's Costa del Sol, according to today's Irish Independent

Shareholders were, according to the paper, hoping to benefit from a €50m windfall on the back of an €80m deal which was to be concluded on June 21st. The insurer has confirmed it is unable to meet an imminent planning deadline to clear the way for the sale of the land. This was to be the second tranche of a €200m deal agreed in summer 2006 where €120m was payable immediately for 58 ha while €80m was to become payable for the remaining 40 ha, subject to planning being received by June 21st. 

According to the Indo report by Laura Noonan, the 80 acres will now be legally transferred to FBD although finance director, Cathal O Caoimh, stressed that it would have no financial impact on FBD since the €80m gain had never been recognised.

The 40-hectare site, which is adjacent to the group's La Cala golf course, already has roads and sewage and has planning permission for residential development.

The full article can be found here

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To view properties in SpainClick Here

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To See a Listing of Upcoming Spanish Exhibitions: Click Here

To See a Selection of Advice on Purchasing in SpainClick Here

Tuesday 2 June 2009

Farewell to 'Raising The Roof'

It is with a great deal of sadness that we have learned of the demise of the 'Raising the Roof' 'blog.

We received the following message from the blog's writer, Kevin Brass:

"I regret to announce the New York Times, as part of its latest round of cutbacks, has decided to drop “Raising the Roof,” the international property blog. In recent weeks The Times, which owns the International Herald Tribune, has absorbed the Web activities of the Herald Tribune, downsized the weekly international-focused “Escapes” section and slashed the contractor budget. The last “Raising the Roof” post will go up Friday, May 29.

I will continue to write about property markets for the print edition of the International Herald Tribune, as well as occasional stories for the NYT. I will also be pursing other opportunities in the property industry.

For all those who read the blog and helped develop stories over the last couple of years, I thank you for your attention and support."

What can we say Kevin? We really enjoyed the blog and are very sorry to see it go. You'll be badly missed in the overseas property blogosphere and best of luck with your ventures in the future, we're sure they'll be very successful. 

Monday 25 May 2009

The Lucky Banker

Ok, at first sight a recent UK seller seems to have it all. He has just sold his Knightsbridge home for the princely sum of £18m. Some achievement, you might say, given current market conditions.

If you look a little closer though, all may not be as it seems.

The asking price for the house was a whopping £40m. before the bust hit. The developer actually rejected offers of £33m. before the economic hurricane swept all before it. 

The buyer in question is Raffaelle Mincioneo, who you might also think is the luckiest guy in the world, but he is in fact a banker - not a jolly lot these days - but then he's obviously doing ok for himself if he can afford to shell out £18m for a Knightsbridge home in the depths of the worst recession in our lifetime. 

He's obviously been blessed with good fortune in his life as he was once dating Heather Mills - now that is a lucky escape. 

The full story from the Daily Mail is here


Sign up for our informative newsletters just , it couldn't be easier. UK Property Links

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Thursday 21 May 2009 May Newsletter

Whew, there's been a phenomenal response to the May newsletter we sent out yesterday. We are experiencing a huge amount of interest in the properties listed in it in particular, which is no mean feat considering the economic turmoil the country is currently experiencing. It just goes to show, there is money out there looking for a home, it just takes the right product at the right price to get it moving.

We featured a number of UK repossessions as well as a selection of UK commercial property offering strong yields. That's one of them pictured, a very nice London commercial unit tenanted by Sainsbury's with four other shops and eight flats. 

Just so that those who are not signed up for the newsletter don't get left out we said we'd put a link to the May version here. If you want to view other past newsletters you'll find the index here

To make sure you are included in future email newsletters just sign up, it couldn't be easier. UK Property Links

For a selection of property in the UK click here

For a list of agents selling property in the UK click here.

For independent articles on overseas property click here.

For advice on purchasing in the UK click here.

For news on the UK property market click here.

For new releases and product updates from UK agents click here.

For a selection of property exhibitions featuring UK property click here.

Tuesday 19 May 2009

Legal Eagles Protect Unethical Practices

There's an interesting piece on the relationship between the legal profession and 'big business' in relation to overseas property in our editorial section. It is written by Diarmaid Condon, who has seen and done pretty much what is to be seen and done in the Irish overseas property industry. It's well worth a read - very thought provoking - particularly if you've been on the wrong end of some less than ethical practices in the overseas property industry - and let's be honest, there's plenty of this in evidence these days. 

It certainly raises the question of whether the average property purchaser overseas should have better access to lower cost and more effecient legal services in the quest to bring to book developers and agents who have failed to deliver on the promises made during purchase negotiations.

You'll find the article in full here

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Saturday 16 May 2009

Apologies for Site Outage

Apologies to our faithful readers for the outage to our website. 

Essentially OC is moving hosting providers but the one it's leaving isn't best pleased and is being less than accommodating in hastening the transfer of the domain name to the new providers. 

It's a real nuisance but hopefully everything will be back in action soon.

If you do wish to visit the site you'll find it here in the interim. 

Apologies for any inconvenience experienced in the meantime.

Credit Crunch Causes Cape Verde Development Fallout

There are signs of cracks on the veneer of the property industry of the idyllic island archipelago of Cape Verde. 

A judgement granted against developers Tom Sheehy (Cape Verde Development) and John Cahillane shows the level of distress that is being felt in the industry at the moment, particularly in 'emerging markets' such as Cape Verde. 

The case, brought by Brian Murphy-O'Connor and Ted Whittaker against the two developers, shows just how cashflow in the industry is rapidly running dry. Sheehy doesn't deny the money is owed but, like everyone else, they are finding it difficult to get their hands on funding at the moment.  Under normal market conditions you suspect a case like this would never make it to court. 

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For a selection of property from around the world click here.

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For news on the world of overseas property click here.

For new releases and product updates from agents around the world click here.

For a list of upcoming overseas property exhibitions around the country click here.