Your Great Escape: why now is the best time to buy  a holiday home abroad

Your Great Escape: why now is the best time to buy a holiday home abroad

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The US dollar is at a thirty-year high against the British pound, and rightly so American jetsetters are casting their eye across the pond and setting their sights on trips abroad that will now see their money stretch a lot further.

With a reported 50% surge in stateside searches for UK accommodation, there could be a flurry of American travellers exploring Great Britain. However, for those looking to get off the beaten track of London sightseeing, and instead immerse themselves in authentic Italy – I say there has never been a better time to consider buying a fractional share in an Appassionata property!

Now I know what you’re thinking, our properties are based in Italy, which of course they are. But, the properties are actually owned by UK based non-trading companies, meaning they are priced in pounds’ sterling. Couple this with the fact that the fractional ownership buying process is also very straightforward and avoids all the complexities and substantial costs associated with purchasing a property outright in Italy – it’s a savvy option for discerning Americans to consider.

So, if you’re reading this from across the Atlantic, then I will leave you with a parting thought; prioritising a lifestyle investment like this now could see you afford a third more luxury for your money. Looking to your future, you will own a one tenth share in a stunning luxury property, giving you a picture-perfect family space for five weeks’ escapism each year – and it will last a lifetime.

To read more about our property on the market, Il Riposo, and to find out about our Fractional Ownership model head here, and I hope to see you on a discovery visit to Italy soon.

Meeting people…

IL Riposo External Photo 37One of the reasons I love what I do at Appassionata so much is because I get to meet some really wonderful people. I am very opinionated, (quite a few people would tell you that, including my husband Charlie!) but I’m also passionate about everything I do… what is the point of doing something, anything, if you don’t throw yourself into it and do it properly? It’s a philosophy which guides everything I do at Appassionata, it’s ‘how we do things’.

Please allow me to explain.

A month ago when I was in the UK I got a lovely email from a lady who was enquiring about our property, Casa Tre Archi.

Casa Tre Archi

Casa Tre Archi

She had seen us advertised in Gate-Away’s e-newsletter. They were going to be in Puglia looking at properties and after seeing our advert decided to come up to Le Marche and visit us. Immediately I got a good vibe from her, she was very pleasant and asked all the ‘right’ questions. We had several emails back and forth and then 2 weeks later I was meeting them in Petritoli to show them around. Colleen, Duncan and Angus arrived just before lunch. After a long drive from Puglia on a rather warm day they were happy to be here. I showed them around and they didn’t give much away in terms of interest levels, but this is quite normal- usually the people who come and are gushing about everything from start to finish are the people you don’t hear from again.

I left them to enjoy some lunch with the local groceries I had brought for them and then we arranged to meet for dinner at Re Squarchio, our local Osteria, where we would also be joined by my parents, Dawn and Michael.

Osteria Re Sqaurchio, Petritoli

Ristorante Re Squarchio

For our business its very important to us that people meet us and we meet them. I won’t go as far as to say that we have an interview process where if you score less than 90% you don’t qualify but we seem to be able to tell instantly upon meeting people if what we are offering is going to be suitable for them and for us. We do seem to attract very likeminded individuals, families and couples. They all have a deep love of Italy and all it offers, they are all wanting to make a change in their life, setting aside time for themselves, family and friends, away in their home from home. Many of our owners have high powered/stressful jobs and so when they come here they re charge, relax and enjoy the peace and tranquility.

After a lovely meal out with the Rouse family and having spoken to them a little bit more about the house and the buying process we said good night and they wondered up to the local café to have a gelato and a digestivo. They said that they would be in touch but in the meantime would I send them the contracts and one of the current owners details so they could talk to them about their experience.

Within 2 days Duncan called and said that they had decided to buy. We were delighted as they are lovely people and we knew that they would fit in perfectly as part of the Appassionata family.

They have now completed the purchase process and chosen their 5 weeks to use this year and we are looking forward to welcoming them back in August. From viewing to becoming owners in Casa Tre Archi took 15 days.

So back to where I began. I knew instantly that Colleen was someone who, like us, was passionate about Italy, and together with her terrific sense of humour, shared by her husband Duncan and their son Angus, we had a fair amount in common; they were likeminded people, both with us, and our other owners, the Appasionata family, and we’re delighted that they have joined us.

Spring clean

Spring clean

The clocks have gone forward an hour, our evenings are longer and lighter and the air feels different, it smells of summer. This is the time of year to de-clutter and spring clean, both at home and work!

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Le Marche

The last few weeks here in Le Marche (where? I hear you say… on the east coast of Italy about half way down the boot), my husband is relieved that I am no longer sneaking the thermostat up on the central heating! I’m actually going around the house and throwing open windows, letting the blend of mountain and sea air float through the rooms, bliss.

In our house I have to admit that every month a ‘Spring Clean’ has to take place. With two small children, a dog and my husband, there is a constant trail of mess! I turn my back for a few seconds after cleaning one area to find that Millie-Mary, our young daughter, has decided to tip up the bag of toys I’ve just packed away! Cornflakes are found in the bath, the dog’s water bowl has been tipped over again, and the neatly stacked pile of clean laundry has been thrown around the lounge! It’s a never-ending game…

However, in my business life things are different. When a Spring Clean takes place at Appassionata HQ, it really does happen, and we can step back and be proud of what has been accomplished and really see and feel the change.

During the past week on Estate Giacomo Leopardi, Charlie and his team have been very busy. The exterior of Casa Giacomo has been painted, the main gates stained and all the plants (including hundreds of lavender) have been pruned. It looks wonderful- all fresh and clean, neat and tidy. Over the next couple of weeks similar work will be happening in Casa Leopardi.

Casa Tre Archi 2

Casa Tre Archi

Casa Tre Archi, the house we are currently marketing, now has all its garden furniture out on the roof terrace. With newly potted plants on both the roof terrace and the decked garden area, its now ready for owner’s to sit outside, relax and enjoy their surroundings.

Most exciting of all is the big ‘Spring clean’ on our website. After 3 years we thought it was now time to update and de- clutter our old site and go for a cleaner, slicker and more elegant site.

We have grown and matured over the last few years and so to reflect this we are creating a more sophisticated website. Colors, fonts, images and style will now reflect the business Appassionata is today.

Having just completed a two day intensive course in London with e-consultancy (highly recommended) on digital marketing, I now have a real understanding around the value of a website to a business. The importance of making your website work for you and getting as much traffic to your site as possible.

I found it very interesting and learnt so much- and I’m sure the information I have gained will be a huge help as I move forward in helping to grow our business over the coming years.

Having recently been handed the reins to the Appassionata’s social media accounts including facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest etc, it’s amazing to see what grabs people’s attention and what doesn’t. We are delighted to have welcomed many new followers throughout our social media channels and we hope you will all enjoy watching us grow.

Exciting times ahead for the Appassionata Team. Keep a look out for our new website coming soon…..

Ciao,

India

Inner city life – demand for Italian urban living soars

“Holidaymakers don’t want to see only Italy’s touristy areas anymore. They want to experience real life – to immerse themselves in the country and its way of life, to eat where the locals eat, to feel part of the town they are staying in.”

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For Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs, founder of fractional ownership company Appassionata, this has been a learning experience. Appassionata’s first two fractional holiday homes, where owners buy a one tenth share of the property and use it for five weeks per year, were located in rural Le Marche. The properties offer the ultimate in luxury rural Italian living, including pools, a tennis court and a working estate producing its own wine and olive oil.

“I was surprised by just how much the owners wanted to embrace the true Italian lifestyle,” comments Dawn. “Of course they enjoyed sunning themselves on the beach and skiing in the mountains, but they seemed just as delighted – if not more so – with buying fresh fish from the local fishermen early in the morning and learning how to make pasta with a local chef. They wanted to embrace Italy in a totally different way.”

It was owners’ feedback that guided the location of Appassionata’s third property, the urban fractional holiday home Casa Tre Archi, in the medieval hilltop town of Petritoli. The three bedroom, three bathroom house with large roof terrace is perfectly located for owners who want to experience urban Italy, from sipping coffee in a piazza to the sound of church bells tolling, to heading to the fruit and veg market to pick out locally grown produce that’s bursting with flavour.

The trend is reflected in official figures, with the Italian Revenue Service reporting a sharp upturn in the country’s buying and selling rates in Q3 2014, an increase of 3.6%. The buying and selling of urban properties was the main driver of the upturn, in line with feedback from Rupert Fawcett (one of Knight Frank’s Italian team partners) in November, who commented that, “there has been increased interest this year in city living.”

Fawcett’s observation was that buyers from the UK and US were leading the charge. Certainly this has been the case with Appassionata’s properties, though they also have owners from South Africa, Switzerland, Scotland, Ireland, France and of course Italy itself.

A one tenth share of Casa Tre Archi can be purchased for just £65,000 and it is this low price point that adds to the property’s attractions, as Dawn explains,

“The beauty of factional ownership is that buyers can get so much more for their money than if they were buying a second home outright. Given that the average second home owner is unlikely to use it for more than a few weeks a year anyway, fractional ownership makes perfect sense. Our owners arrive to find their home ready for use and never have to worry about the upkeep of the garden or minor repairs – it is the ultimate in relaxing holiday experiences.”

For more information visit www.appassionata.com or contact the Appassionata team on +39 33154 13225.

Sea and ski – why Italy is the perfect destination this winter

Travellers looking to escape the grey skies of the UK this winter are currently eyeing up southern Europe and, as ever, Italy is one of the top destinations for those looking for some winter sun.

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“Italy is incredibly popular as a winter holiday destination,” comments Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs, founder of fractional ownership company Appassionata, who moved to Italy with her family in 2004. “Here in Le Marche there is so much to do during the winter months. The coastline offers some stunning scenery and extends for over 100 miles, making it perfect for walking, hiking and cycling holidays.

“The slopes of the Sibillini Mountains are also extremely popular, with everyone from amateurs to wannabe pros donning their snow boots and grabbing their skis or snowboards. We find that, for many of our owners, the combination of sea and ski provides the ultimate winter holiday experience.”

The owners Dawn refers to are those who have purchased shares in Appassionata’s luxury fractional ownership properties, which include stunning rural houses such as Casa Leopardi, complete with a roaring fire that is perfect for snuggling in front of with a book and a glass of wine from grapes grown on the estate as twilight falls on a winter evening.

Appassionata’s latest fractional ownership property – the three bedrooms, three bathroom Casa Tre Archi – is ideal for those looking to head south for some winter sunshine. The spacious property boasts outdoor space on three levels, allowing owners to maximise their time in the sun. In the medieval hilltop town of Petritoli, the townhouse is perfectly located for local shops and restaurants while also providing easy access to the Sibillini Mountains and the coastal town of Pedaso, which is famous for its fabulous seafood restaurants, large fish market and some of the best mussels in Italy. A one tenth fraction in Casa Tre Archi, which entitles the owner to five weeks’ exclusive use per year, costs from £65,000. Just one share remains available at this special offer price.

Overall, Italy attracted 47.7 million visitors in 2013, according to the World Tourism Organization. While big cities such as Rome and Milan and well-known areas such as Tuscany attracted their fair share of tourists, those seeking out the ‘real Italy’ are increasingly heading to Le Marche and many of them are looking to ski during the winter months.

In fact, for Brits looking to ski overseas, the 2012/13 season marked a turnaround in the market, with a 1% increase year on year in the number of skiers travelling abroad. It is the first time the sector has seen an increase since its 2007/08 peak, according to the Crystal Ski Report, but with countries such as Italy doing all they can to court tourists over the winter months, it seems that the 2013/14 season might be an even better one.

For more information on fractional ownership and the wonders of life in Le Marche, contact the Appassionata team on +39 33154 13225 or visit www.appassionata.com.