Cyprus Owners Guide
Owning a Holiday Home in Southern Cyprus
The appeal of Southern Cyprus as a location for a second home has a lot to do with the island’s varied and beautiful coastline with plenty of family friendly beaches and clean seas, in spite of some intensive coastal development in places. Add to this its wide use of English, friendly locals, lively town life, unspoilt inland villages, vineyards, citrus orchards, olive groves and forested mountainous centre, then its attraction to the holiday home buyer becomes clear. And then there is its long Mediterranean summer (sunshine 340 days a year according to one guide book) lasting from February until November. Spring and autumn are delightfully warm and ideal for walking and sightseeing; mid-summer is very hot, but relief can always be found in the Troodos mountains. These rise to 6,000 feet, and are delightful for walking at any time of year with their sheltered forestry trails and waterfalls and their majestic emptiness in pleasant contrast to the hotter, busier coastal areas.
As well as sunbathing or sitting in delightful tavernas watching the world go by over a plate of skordalia, there is plenty to do on Cyprus. Scuba diving and snorkeling are popular in the clear, warm waters off the island’s coast. Water-skiing and windsurfing are widely available, and there are now some respectable golf courses on the island. There are also various water parks when the children get bored of the beach.
For lovers of history, Cyprus offers archaeological wonders from the Greek, Roman, Venetian, Byzantine and Turkish civilisa- tions on the island. For example, the Graeco-Roman site at Kourion, or the remains of the Byzantian era can be seen at Asinou Church with its famous frescoes and Agia Paraskevi of the Kykkos Monastery. (Unesco protects many of the tiny byzantine churches in the Troodos mountains). Near Lanarka is the important Muslim shrine of Hala Sultan Tekka. The crusader castle at Kolossi is also of great interest reflecting this island’s strategic importance in ancient and modern times. Cyprus became divided as a result of civil war in the 1970’s. However, it is very easy these days to visit the north and to sample the beaches and visit the antiquities that are located there. You can visit, for example a Graeco-Roman site at Salamis, or perhaps the old castle at Keryneia/Girne , or the Gothic abbey at Belapais/Beylerbeyi.
These geographic and historic attractions are undoubtedly added to for the British by the availability of frequent flights from the UK’s regional airports for 8 months of the year and an established ex-pat community on the island. This is a Mediterranean paradise combined with some comforting similarities to home – a result of the island once being under British rule. Therefore, for example, you drive on the same side of the road as at home and English is widely spoken (and written) – particularly in the tourist areas and supermarkets – even the plug sockets look like those back home!
Learning about Southern Cyprus and getting about:
Take time to explore the country or even just the region that you know you want to be in. Try short rents in different places. Such exploration will reveal new things about the country and also help you to focus on what you finally want. You then get a better idea of which characteristics of a holiday home, and its location would be important to you. You will discover compromises you might have to make; the convenience of the town for provisioning and entertainment versus the quiet and privacy of the countryside. Also there is the familiarity/comfort of living amongst plenty of English speakers versus the feeling of being in an idyllic, traditional and unspoilt location. Southern Cyprus is a member of the EU and has a modern and efficient infrastructure. People drive on the left and English is widely spoken, so this is a country where you might feel happy to venture beyond the English speaking hot spots and to look at some of the very pretty villages in the foothills of the Troodos mountains, within easy reach of the beach by car, but cooler and more characterful than some more modern developments in the coastal towns.
Service and product providers
Make provision to pay for the essentials of owning property, particularly when you’re living in a different country most of the time. When planning to take on a holiday home, you must ensure that you budget for any ongoing mortgage payments, buildings’ and contents’ insurance for the holiday home, second home local authority tax and any service charges if your property is in a communal setting. And don’t forget utility bills, broadband etc. If there is a pool at your property allow for chemicals, special water rates and on-going maintenance and cleaning. Your insurer will insist that there is someone local to keep an eye on the place – to hold a key and to organise any necessary urgent repairs in your absence. You may well want gardening services to keep the garden from drying out and to give the impression of the property looking neat and lived in. And over time you will need to pay for builders, plumbers, electricians etc for maintenance and extensions etc.
Things to do when you are there:
Make the most of the area that you have chosen to live in. Get involved in the local community, culture, entertainment, miscellaneous activities, and keep fit and healthy. Learning Greek is not essential, though it might be a good idea if you wanted to be more involved in local Cypriot life. People everywhere appreciate it when foreigners living amongst them (even if only part time) learn the local language and will often be very encouraging of your efforts. As you grasp more of the language it will help you to socialise, shop at the little local shops and find the best of the catch with the local fishermen etc. You will enjoy testing out your language skills and be delighted as you understand more and become more understood.
Renting out your holiday home:
You may plan from the start to rent out your holiday home for holiday use, or you may find this option more attractive at some point in the future. You will need funds to market your holiday home. Your property will then need to be kept in an excellent state of repair and be very well presented, with clean furniture in good condition and pristine crisp linen for each new visitor. The house will have to meet all rental regulations and if there is a pool/ garden areas, these will need to be kept clean and safe. You will probably need to employ the services of a management company to do this. Adequate holiday home insurance will be required which should include liability cover and loss of rent.
If you are going to rent your home for holiday lettings, a freeview TV with DVD player may not be enough for today’s renters. You might wish to invest in providing a full entertainment package, multichannel television (which receives the home TV stations of the rental market you will be aiming at) and wi-fi. In that case you will be looking at the cost of on-going cable/ satellite packages, broadband. However these added facilities will hopefully enhance the income you could earn from holiday home lets.