Saturday, March 28, 2009

Habitation Licences for CANNA, ALOE & SEDUM

I am sure there is a facility to add a drum roll to this blog, but sadly it eludes me. However, please consider the drum roll delivered!

We are proud to say that we have received the habitation licenses for the first three communities on Vila Verde Resort Santa Maria. I have included a copy of one here, although it is a dry Portuguese document that in no way captures the excitement that we feel to see this project come together.

What happens now? Many of you will ask. It's quite simple. If you have a property on Canna, Sedum or Aloe then we now start preparations for title deed. From your point of view that involves ensuring that you have organised a second snagging inspection, if you haven't already done that, and that you have your finances in order.

We would also recommend the use of a money broker to obtain the best exchange rate. We have set up a facility with Moneycorp who say they will ensure that clients get the most competitive rate. Just click here and you can fill in the form and be linked directly to them.

We have notified all clients that have snagged their property that any necessary remedial work has been done. One client did note on a report that it was very windy! I am afraid that is just outside our scope!!

The best way forward is to contact your legal representatives and they will set a date for the title deeds. If they have a power of attorney then this process is totally painless and can be done literally in a day with only a few days notice.

We already have some preliminary dates set for next week so we look forward to seeing you or your representative soon and will be delighted to hand over the keys to your new Vila Verde Resort Santa Maria property!

Friday, March 27, 2009

So, how are we doing then?

Mark Twain once had to write: "Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated" or even "This report of my death was an exaggeration" depending on who we believe had the original quoted properly.

Whichever is true it must have been quite a shock for Mark Twain to have heard that he had been reported dead! Here at Tecnicil we were equally surprised to hear last weekend that we were going into liquidation, or was it that we had gone into liquidation...?

Whichever of the rumours you have heard, we can assure you that Tecnicil is financially sound and Vila Verde Santa Maria will be finished.

The people who are saying that Tecnicil have difficulties do not understand the building industry, even though they claim to.

Any big building project is completed via cash draw downs from the bank. These draw downs are released in stages by the bank. Vila Verde Phase I has now had all of the draw down money released and completion is now inevitable. Banco Espirito Santo (BES) is totally behind the project and we have their full commitment to finish the entire resort.

In these unsettled times it is easy to feel panicked. Our customers have invested a great deal of money and time and the project Vila Verde Santa Maria is finally coming to a close. We make no secret that we have suffered delays and set backs where we had ardently hoped we wouldn't. The sea port on Sal Island is tiny and disorganised and so shipments can languish for days before being released to us. Ships seem to simply get lost, or not appear for weeks and when they do they show up without the cargo we were expecting.

Please don't think we are holding up excuses. This couldn't be further from the truth. We feel that we are in business with our clients, so you need to be party to our problems, privvy to our worries.

With the disappearance of the larger real estate agents in the overseas property industry, we at Tecnicil have had to pick up the task of client communication. No small feat when you think that MRI alone had had dozens of customer service people to deal with the workload. Sadly these are no longer interfacing for us so we have to do it.

I'm sure some of you would say we are doing a poor job of it, but I can assure you that we are battling away for you. This blog has been launched to try and provide you with a forum to address us, and us with a way of communicating with you. Any questions asked here will be answered on a weekly basis.

However, just to recap and make it clear: Tecnicil is perfectly fine, the resort is on course to be completed. Like all great and wonderful projects (Wembley Stadium?!) we have fallen behind but these delays are small nuisances. They are not symptoms of some hidden problem.

The first three communities are going great guns and the feedback from the different clients and snagging companies is very positive indeed. Obviously we have come across imperfections and items that need to be corrected, but this is normal on any big development.
So after a long journey that we began together many months ago, the end is finally in sight. And we, at Tecnicil, are totally confident that you will be pleased and impressed with your investment in your resort.

Banks and mortgages in Cape Verde

MANY clients have asked us why there have been so many delays with their mortgage applications. Others have requested a recommendation for the best banks in Cape Verde and yet others have asked us if we think they will ever be able to get a mortgage...

As we have all been made painfully aware in the last 6 months or so, the banks in the whole world have been going through absolute chaos. Share values of the biggest banks in the world have been decimated in disastrous days of share trading. Trust amongst the international banking community is at an all time low.

Clearly this has dealt a blow to the banks in Cape Verde. Although none of the local banks have been involved in what the Spanish minister of Economy, Solbes, described as "Financial Engineering", they are all, in one way or another, linked to the international financial world and so have had to act with more and more caution.
But what of the other banks that operate in Cape Verde? Well, given the historical ties with Portugal, most of the banks in Cape Verde have a link of one kind or another with Portuguese banks. In some cases they are owned directly by them.

BCN, for example, (Banco Cabo Verdiano de Negocios) is owned By Banif (Banco Nacional de Funchal). BCA and Banco Interatlantico are both owned by Caixa Geral de Depositos, one of Portugal's largest financial institutions. And there is BES (Banco Espirito Santo).

The main bank that work with Tecnicil on the Vila Verde project is BES. BES is a Portuguese bank, one of Portugal largest banks.

Now, if we can rewind to last year, the banks operating in Cape Verde, with BCN leading the way, were quite open and aggressive about the conditions they would be offering.

ALL said they WOULD do non-resident mortgages with BCN talking of rates of up to 80% loan to value. BES was clear in that they did not want to go higher than 50%

HOWEVER, BES was the first to come forward and suggest that they might include the furniture package in the mortgage. BCN rapidly followed suit and soon it seemed everyone would be able to bundle the property with the furniture with BCN and BCA speaking of at least 70% loan to value.

Typical spreads were between Euribor +1.5 (BCA) and 3% (BES). For those of you new to the overseas mortgage, the "spread" is the amount of percentage points added to Euribor (The European version of Libor). This will then give you the interest rate that you ultimately pay.

For example, of you have Euribor + 3% and Euribor is 4% then you would have a mortgage at 7% Get it?

Then the banks all went to Radio Silence! Or perhaps "Silent Running" is more apt?

BES was the first bank to committ to new conditions.

50% LTV NO furniture allowed! Spread was Euribor +3% (According to status, obviously).

The other banks then followed this lead. Even the ambitious conditions that BCN had been offering seemed to evaporate in the light of BES' new conditions. Yet, to be fair, BES had not really moved their position. All they made clear was they were no longer going to contemplate any risk for furniture.

Does this mean NO other banks are lending? No, we have had approvals for clients through BCN, BCA and Interatlantico. The main difference is that BES has clearly decided to push the pace and is now approving much faster. BCN continues at a snail's pace and BCA are a bit like Google, or at least, WE can not perceive the logic in the way they work!

At Tecnicil we have been happy to take on any client mortgage application and run it past the banks. There seems to be a belief that "our" banks are BCN and BES, when the reality is that we place applications with most of them. Which are the best? That depends on your status, but it is clear that BES will approve faster than the others at the moment. However, their valuations have come down in the last few months so that 50% Loan to value can sometimes work out even lower.

So, if you want MORE information on this or would like us to manage your application then please write to Rosemary de Cruz on

Bom fin de semana!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Vila Verde Resort Santa Maria - Our first Blog

We thought it was time to pass from the newsletter format to the blog format. In this way we feel that the communication with our clients can be slightly more informal. This is not to say that we want to degrade the quality of this communication. Quite the opposite! We aim to use these pages to keep you informed and as up to date as possible on what is happening to your investment and dream home on the resort of Vila Verde Santa Maria.

On our side, we commit to providing up to date information, comments and opinions and all we ask from you is that you give us your feedback, your questions and, above all, your interest!