Unique Living
July 12th, 2019 | by Serge Cowan


Known for their Midas touch, it was unusual then to read this week about the bad luck suffered by Ant and Dec at the hands of unscrupulous property developers who had plans to build a luxury complex called The Keys in the Algarve. 

Having ploughed more than £2M each for what they believed was going to be idyllic, neighbouring properties, the popular TV duo are now taking legal advice as the developers, Birchview Imobiliaria, went into administration in 2017.  As is often the case, the developers had spent a fortune on a glossy, and no doubt hugely expensive, marketing campaign without, it would appear, being sure the necessary funds were in place to deliver against the plans.

Now in the hands of their solicitors, it is a sorry end to what should have been a dream holiday home for each of them in this upmarket golf resort.  They are now seeking the return of their respective down payments plus compensation although the general consensus is that success will be unlikely and they will probably face years of legislation.

If this hugely successful, and one would assume, well-advised partnership have fallen prey to such an ordeal, there is clearly scope for it to happen to others and it has happened to many in the past.

Hand on heart; I would not allow this type of situation to happen through Unique Living.  Created to work on behalf of the previously poorly represented buyer, our aim is always to be transparent and encourage the same from others.  There is a well-used term in the luxury market, when someone is charged ‘the footballer’s price’ for something.  Put simply, this refers to unscrupulous suppliers pushing up the cost of something just because by dealing with a footballer, or celebrity, they assume that there is easy money to be made and therefore grossly inflate their profit margin.

At Unique Living, our strategy is to be transparent at all times.  That is why, since 2002, we have strived to ensure that every property we suggest is fully licensed, meets all necessary regulations particular to its territory and is marketed at a fair price. 

To avoid this type of situation, when buying off plan, we advise to agree only to stage payments that you are comfortable with and that are delivered against visible progress in the build project.  There are various other recommendations we would advise on, but the main, do not be bullied by a developer or estate agent, you must be 100% comfortable with your acquisition.

This is something that we can of course advise on and we negotiate for many of their clients on their behalf, this can sometimes include a range of suspensive clauses to protect the buyer. 

With many high profile clients to our name, it is a strategy that works well for us, as people know that we can be trusted to provide the best advice borne on nearly two decades of experience.  We often liaise with Family Offices and wealth management firms, who manage the wealth of their clients, as they know they can trust us to behave professionally and advise with the utmost integrity at all times. 

All this just serves to reinforce why our Buyers Advisory Service is so important.  Unlike agents who work on achieving the best possible price, sometimes even negotiating their own cut on the side, we derive the greatest pleasure from securing the property of your dreams at a fair market price.

In order to make a shortlist of properties for your consideration, we would have carried out thorough due diligence to ensure that the development was going to come to fruition.  Our advice, when working with developers of new projects, would always be:

Check their licenses and insurances

Ask to visit previous projects

Ask to speak to previous clients to obtain testimonials first hand

If you are looking for a luxury villa in Portugal, we would be delighted to suggest this stunning option.  This palatial villa offers every conceivable luxury from the spacious and welcoming entrance hall to they gym and the master suite that boasts its own private terrace and walk in wardrobe.  In addition to a swimming pool, the outside space offers a large putting green and a covered bar with day bed and stools for more relaxed entertaining.

There is also this classic villa between Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo, in the heart of golden triangle location.  Set on a large plot of 9,600 sq.m, the property offers 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms as well as separate living rooms all tastefully decorated and well maintained.

If you prefer the Western Algarve, there is this lovely listing in Ferrel less than 10 minutes from Lagos.  With indoor and outdoor pools, a summer kitchen and a wine cellar, the villa includes everything you could possibly need for entertaining on any scale.

If we can help you in any way during your search for a luxury overseas property, please be in touch and let us ensure the process is as enjoyable and rewarding as it should be.   If anything can be learned from this week’s news story, it is the importance of good and sound advice but don’t just take my word for it, read what some of satisfied clients have to say here.

Serge Cowan

Serge Cowan

Managing Director and Founder

Serge has an extensive marketing background, after a broadcasting career, Serge moved into marketing where he worked for BSkyB & a number of leading Public Relations agencies.
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