Scarlette Douglas has most people’s dream job. While we were all shivering in the first proper cold snap of the season, the TV presenter was in Florida filming the latest series of A Place In The Sun: Winter Sun.
It’s final decision day for a 72-year-old mum and her 49-year-old daughter: do they go for the family friendly townhouse that needs work, or the three-bedroom flat in a neighbourhood kitted out for the older generation?
Scarlette’s got her own opinion, but hasn’t a clue which way they’ll go: “They should go for the apartment – if the mum’s going to be there most of the time, it’s what works best for her.”
The presenter’s a big fan of Florida, as she has family there, and has been staying with her uncle while filming, just weeks after the result of the American election.
“My uncle said there were quite a few protests initially, but it has started to die down.”
Does she think the election result will dampen people’s enthusiasm to buy a holiday home in America?
“I think at the moment, nothing’s really going to change, especially with Brexit, things will kind of stay the same for the next two years – and over here, as much as Trump will be in office next year, nothing can turn around that quickly.
“I never really let anyone dampen what I want to do. I can’t imagine not doing something if it’s what I really want.”
Here are Scarlette’s top tips on where to buy and what to think about when buying your dream holiday home overseas…
The Brexit effect
“The pound has depreciated, but it’s fluctuating quite a bit, so we really don’t know what’s going to happen once we leave the EU. It’s never happened before, we don’t know what’s going to happen to the pound, it might get stronger, it might get weaker.
"All we’re saying is whilst we know what’s happening right now, buy as soon as you can, buy within those two years. If you’re really thinking about it, get in now before we leave the EU because we don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Tips for choosing where to buy
“The main consideration is definitely who are you buying for and what’s the age group? Is it a family, is it just you on your own? Are you going to live there full-time, is it a holiday home? Are you going for six months or a shorter amount of time? All these things are factored into where you want to go.
"If you’re looking to retire and do six months here and six months there, you may as well go further afield to Florida or the Caribbean and spend a longer amount of time here. If you’ve got kids and you’re just going to pop over during half term, or summer holidays, then Europe’s your best bet because you’re not going to waste a lot of time flying and you’re there straight away.”
Best locations to buy in Florida
“It all depends on the person. A lot of people like to go and buy in Orlando because that’s where they’ve got family, they’re close to Universal Studios and Disneyland, they can rent it out for a good amount of money.
"If you’re the older generation, wanting to come over and relax, I’d say that Fort Lauderdale is more the place for that. Miami is more the place for the younger generation that want to go partying. But it’s whether the younger generation can afford to buy a second home in the States. So, Orlando for the family vibe, Fort Lauderdale for the older generation and Miami for the younger generation.”
Best overall for winter sun
“I’d always say the Caribbean. My parents are from Jamaica and I love the Caribbean – you just know that you’re guaranteed good weather, there’s just the odd shower here or there. If you don’t want to travel that far, you could go to the south of Spain, but it does get a little bit colder there. The best sort of place is probably the Canary Islands because it does get a little bit colder, but you’re just off the coast of Africa, so it doesn’t get as cold as maybe Spain would get in the winter.”
Best for summer sun
“For summer sun, somewhere you’d just hop across the border, definitely Spain, because it’s so close, it’s just a two-hour flight from the UK.
"The weather is completely different when you land in the summer and it’s not too far for kids, especially if you’ve got younger kids - you don’t want to be on a flight for hours and hours. You hop on that flight, two hours, you’re at your holiday home and you’re by the pool. Portugal as well is great, but it’s a little bit further away.”
A Place In The Sun – Winter Sun is on Channel 4 on Saturday 10th December at 5.35pm and returning every Saturday and Sunday from December 29; A Place In The Sun – Summer Sun is on every weekday on Channel 4 this week and returns on January 3.
Are you thinking of buying a holiday home? Tell us in the comments box below