When the banking crisis hit Cyprus in March it was perhaps not the best time to be moving to the Mediterranean island but one couple have not looked back. Expats John and Claire Walters were waiting to move into their new home in Cyprus when the banking crisis began but they are now happily settled into their new life and say that many expats have been unaffected by the island's economic problems.
The Walters, from Porthcawl in Wales, arrived in Cyprus at the start of November 2012, when they signed the final contract for their bungalow in Liopetri, a village in the Famagusta district. Their property, which they found after contacting the Overseas Guides Company and local agents during two visits to Cyprus, was due to be completed in three to four months, so in the meantime, their estate agency provided them with free accommodation.
Delays meant completion was pushed back to the end of April, after which the developer would have been liable to pay a financial penalty. ‘Then in the interim the financial situation in Cyprus hit the headlines, as did a construction workers strike,’ said John, a 66 year old retired business advisor. ‘The developer used sub contract labour which meant he had limited control on progress. However, building resumed after we chased the builder, and we spent the first night in our completed new home on 27th April,’ he added.
John and Claire's bungalow has three bedrooms, two downstairs and the third master bedroom occupying the loft space, three shower rooms and an open plan kitchen diner and lounge. Their outside space is predominantly concrete with a small garden space. Since moving in, the couple have wasted no time in getting to know the local area and attend Anglican Church of St. Patrick on the nearby British Military base of Ayios Nikolaos.
Quote from ExpatForum.com : "Hi,I am intending to move to Cyprus in August.I just need some pointers and tips as to how to proceed with regard to renting an apartment for long term."
‘One of our favourite trips is our weekly visit to Famagusta's farmer's market on a Thursday. As a lawn green bowler I have joined a short mat bowling club at a local hotel and members can use the hotel facilities free of charge and get reductions on all purchases! So when I am bowling, Claire relaxes by the pool or on the hotel's beach,’ explained John. Asked if they have been affected by the banking crisis, John said not at all. ‘We had decided before leaving the UK that until we knew how the spring budget might affect us, we would continue to operate our finances through our UK bank and to continue paying UK taxes. So, all our money was safe in the UK,’ he pointed out.
From his own experience, John advises would be expats to research all options before buying a property abroad . ‘List your preferred requirements, including location and property style and do not be rushed into signing contracts by an agent or developer. Find out from your new neighbours realistically what needs to be included in the build contract. If it's not in writing it's not included,’ he said. ‘It might suit you to purchase the kitchen separately and if so, discuss this with the builder. Get everything agreed in writing and ensure that it is included in the contract. White goods included by a builder are often of a basic standard so have them specified in any contract. Get a snagging list agreed and signed by an authorised representative of the builder or construction company,’ he explained.
‘When viewing properties, don't be afraid to speak to neighbours or get their contact details to speak to them later about the area and property,’ he added.