The real estate market for vacation homes…How does it impact our travels …A sad horse photo….

This photo was taken after the sun had fully set on Friday night, not shown in yesterday’s post. Witnessing this coloration in the sky was breathtaking.

The riad in which we’re living, Dar Aicha, is for sale. There was a showing yesterday for which we were giving several days advance notice. It was over in 15 minutes and we were only disturbed for a few minutes, none the worse for the wear.

For the link to the real estate listing for Dar Aicha, please click here.

We weren’t surprised since that was also the case for the house we’d rented in Kenya, which had two showings while we were there.

As we’re all aware, economic conditions have resulted in the devaluation of many homes worldwide, prompting many vacation rental owners to decide to liquidate before the market declines further.

Friday, late afternoon, the tourists arrived for the weekend, filling the Medina and the souk.

In some areas property values have begun to rise once again, currently motivating property owners to sell, taking advantage of what may prove to be a temporary rise in value. Who knows how long this will last or when prices will change? I spent 25 years as a broker and company owner and I don’t have a clue nor do any of the predictors out there in the marketplace and on the news.

As we move from vacation home to vacation home, we discover that some of the homes we’re renting may be on the market. In reality, it’s none of our business if they’re for sale except for two following factors:

1  We aren’t inconvenienced with showings.
2. We don’t have to move out early if the property sells and closes escrow prior to our moving out. Of course, we have signed rental agreements in each case protecting our rental period, but, we all know contracts can be broken in desperate times. (In neither of the above two cases have we thought there was any risk of being asked to leave early due to the integrity of the owners, more than the executed document).

The school bus arrives in the Big Square around 6:00 pm, dropping off the children.

For us, the distressed market has made our travels all the more affordable for these reasons:

1.  Many vacation homes were previously listed for sale that didn’t sell, inspiring the owners to rent them as a vacation home, enabling them to use it themselves from time to time between renters.
2.  Many homeowners of more expensive homes have either lost their jobs or retired and can no longer afford to live in their homes. They move to less expensive or senior housing either managing the vacation rental themselves or leaving the management of their homes in the hands of family members or agencies that typically handle vacation homes.
3.  During the better times in the market, enthusiastic investors purchased homes with the hope of a great future investment. Now, unable to rent the homes full time to cover their expenses, they rent the houses at daily or weekly rates with the hope that the house will be rented consistently which is rarely the case, except for in a few markets, such as Hawaii.

Workers and vendors begin setting up their wares to be marketed in the Big Square in the evening as the tourist crowd arrives, prepared to “shop til they drop.”

When property owners find themselves unable to rent their vacation homes for the prices they ask, at times, they are willing to negotiate for better pricing for us due to our long term commitments. You know, a bird in the hand.

Then, of course, there are the prime vacation rentals, managed by whomever the owner so chooses, that rent for premium prices that don’t budge for long term renter such as us. We can spot these in a minute when observing that the nightly rate is comparable to that which we’d be willing to pay monthly. We avoid even making an attempt to negotiate these in most cases, as mostly a waste of their time and ours.

Had we been able to travel the world in 2003, it wouldn’t have been affordable. The travel market was booming (although it’s now on the rebound) and fewer vacation homes were available.  Plus, the vacation home rental sites such as listed here as one of our advertisers, weren’t as prevalent as they are now. We use all of the major players, many of which are owned by the same company as in the case of who owns four or five websites.

I always feel bad for the horses pulling the buggies. Some flail around seeming uncomfortable with their bit or harnesses.

Over time, the public has become less suspicious of sending prepayments to property owners they don’t know all over the world. With many sites offering insurance to avoid the risk of scams, many vacation renters freely send payments through PayPal and via credit card without giving it a second thought. 

I can’t say we don’t give it a second thought since based on our being constantly on the move, the insurance would become a prohibitive expense. Paying by credit card or PayPal gives us some assurance. 

But, in the long haul, we’ve prepared ourselves and budgeted accordingly that someday we may pull up to an address and no house it there, just an empty lot, or that the photos were all fakes and the house is a dump.  Yep, this could happen.

We were shocked to see this horse’s bloodied neck obviously from wearing the usual bulky harnesses as shown in the above photo. Thank goodness the owner had put on a lighter weight harness. But it still looked as if it must continue to irritate the poor horse. This was heartbreaking to see.

The likelihood is relatively slim that this will happen, especially when we communicate with each owner or manager through dozens of emails, research the owner’s name online and through Facebook, and read every review at our disposal. 

If and when our instincts send up a red flag, we pull away before sending any money. If suspicious, we’ve called the company that hosts the owners listing asking if there have been any issues.

So far all of our experiences have been good except the first house in Belize where we had no regularly running water. We moved out in a week, losing our first month’s rent which the owner refused to refund.
Oddly, this first experience didn’t deter us and we carried on, determined, and full of hope, having had nothing but great experiences since that time.

Another ice cream truck trying to find a good spot to park for attracting the most business. After a few minutes, a policeman told him to move to another location.

With the time from May 15, 2015, yet to be booked as we research the world deciding where we’d like to travel from that point on, we feel comfortable that we won’t have any problem finding desirable homes in fabulous locations.

We continue on, looking forward to leaving this coming Thursday for a three day/two night trip to the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert. Will we ride a camel in the desert? You’ll find out right here!


Photo from one year ago today, April 6, 2013.

This little table and chairs were on our veranda in Belize. We weren’t kidding when we’ve said we were steps to the beach. Waking up to this view every morning was pure pleasure. There were two padded lounge chairs on the veranda where we lounged every afternoon after pool time. It was heavenly. In 39 days, we’ll have views of the ocean from our veranda once again although much further from the water.  For the story and remaining photos from that date, please click here.

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