The Call of the Sea

Cornwall is still the most coveted destination for those looking to leave behind the bright lights of Britain's cities in favour of a new life by the sea.

Thanks to years of television exposure and, the now household names of Doc Martin and Ross Poldark, Cornwall has been paraded through living rooms across the country in all its splendour, causing more people than ever to question whether there is life beyond the rat race.

With increasing numbers looking to relocate to the County every year, the demand for small businesses remains strong and the popularity of coastal and seaside opportunities in particular has spiralled.

For many such buyers, the focus is on ‘living the dream’ and, more often than not, the location and position of a business far outweighs the ‘bottom line’.

This is evidenced by the overwhelming interest we have received for coastal businesses in recent months. Ranging from beach cafes to imposing cliff top hotels and restaurants with panoramic sea views, it seems that everyone wants to be beside the sea.

Demand for such businesses is keeping values strong and most of the properties we have sold over the past year have achieved the asking price, or higher!

In many instances, multiple offers have been received which, invariably, means that some buyers miss out, many of whom are now actively looking to secure another opportunity ahead of the season.

The Mermaid Café, with an enviable beachside location at Gorran Haven, was purchased by a young family looking to move to Cornwall from Hampshire.

The Windward Hotel in Porth boasted a cliff top position with impressive views and was recently sold to a family relocating from the London area.

Schooners Bistro in St Agnes, with its beachside position and stunning sea views, was snapped up in a matter of weeks, despite being closed with no trading history.

 Bodhi’s at Fistral, like Schooners, ended up going to ‘sealed bids’ and achieving in excess of the asking price.

 Whilst highly desirable, there are still factors that need to be considered in order to capitalise on the demand and ensure you get the best price for your business. 

When marketing, it is important to focus on the ‘lifestyle’ you are selling; external photographs that showcase your position are crucial, as they will have far more impact than any written content.

For coastal businesses especially, it is important to ensure that the property presents well. Try to ensure that any obvious repairs, such as flaking paint or missing roof tiles, are attended to in advance, as a building that appears storm battered and weather warn will be less appealing. Buyers will often have a rose tinted view of Cornwall in the sunshine and it is important not to offer any reminders that our winters can be a very different story!

When meeting prospective buyers, ‘paint a picture’, (metaphorically) of how wonderful life is running your own business in this beautiful county; profitable months working with hoardes of happy holiday makers in the sunshine and lazy winters with your feet up.

If you are currently thinking of selling your coastal business please give me, Beverly Northey, a call on 01872 247031, or email me via bn@miller-commercial.co.uk.


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