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Own, rent or timeshare?

Dreams and nightmares - the tales of a home in the sun are as many as there are expats. Author Tom Barry fictionalises and entertains with suspense and romance stories set amongst expats.

Beware the siren call of life in the sun
01 December 2012 @ 08:02


In the romantic comedy movie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Judi Dench leads an all star cast in a touching tale where hope defies experience. Tena Desae and Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire), provide the youthful love interest and the motorcycling skills.

In the film, a group of British retirees decide to “outsource” their retirement to less expensive and seemingly exotic India. Enticed by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel, they arrive to find the palace a shell of its former self. But India eventually works its magic on (most) of the silver haired adventurers, who  find the inner contentment that had been missing in their bleak lives back home.

This feel good film is likely to fan the flames of those of us who dream of getting away from it all and living the dream under the sun. And according to some statistics, 70% of Brits would emigrate today, if they only could. And in North America, millions of ‘snowbirds’ fly south each winter to holiday condominiums.
But those considering taking the leap into holiday home investment, might do well to first read When the Siren Calls. In my novel a band of hapless silver haired Brits are also lured to live their dream of a holiday and retirement home under the sun, but in this case the siren call is from idyllic Tuscany, to a hilltop paradise that seems to offer everything – the hot, romantic Tuscan lifestyle of lazy days and balmy evenings sipping prosecco and watching the sun set over the Apennine mountains. Not to mention a generous guaranteed rental income that will more than pay the mortgage on their dream home.
Too good to be true? Yes, you guessed it. Dreams quickly turn to nightmares as the stoic Brits are led a merry dance by the unscrupulous developers who enticed them away from a secure hearth and home, and strip them of their dignity as well as their retirement savings.
Which of the two scenarios – India or Tuscany – is the more likely experience for those who dream of a carefree life in the sun, or simply want to escape the clutches of the taxman? Well the exotic Marigold Hotel is probably as rare a find as a whore with a heart of gold, whereas tales of nightmare experiences with overseas property investment are as common as a welcoming smile on the face of a timeshare salesman. Having spent much of my working life travelling, and having followed my own siren call of a holiday home in the sun, I was able to draw on the deep scars of personal experience in writing my book. My suggestion to anyone considering quitting the day job and upping sticks to some foreign field – seek independent professional advice first and, oh yes, read When the Siren Calls  :)

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eggcup said:
01 December 2012 @ 09:33

You're starting to pique my interest, now Tom. I may put my hand into my long pockets very soon (I've got to build myself up to any item of expenditure).

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