Costa Blanca north
What we do
This was Stuart and Linda's experience and why we offer our FREE personalised property finding service.
Are you sitting comfortably and looking forward to a nice little nap?
When we decided to move to Spain we knew what sort of property we wanted but not exactly the location. This would be determined mostly by our budget and finding a property that was a near match to our dream.
At that time we had recently had a holiday or two on the Costa del Sol and started looking in that region. We had had a number of holidays in this area over the years and knew our way around fairly well, or so we thought. We took a week’s holiday, staying in what is known as a bungalow - slightly different to the British concept of bungalow as ours was built over three stories. This was in Calahonda and from here each morning we'd go in search of estate agencies with no pre-planning. This was a time consuming and very frustrating exercise as many shop fronts that we thought were estate agents were actually sales offices for property developments that did not fit our criteria. We travelled endlessly around the labyrinth of narrow streets both on the coast and up in the hills looking for 'For Sale' signs, little knowing that such signs are rarely put up. We would go into Marbella and walk around once again looking for estate agents and then staring in the window at £1m plus properties on the Golden Mile. We'd end up flopping down at a bar, worn out and thoroughly depressed. We tried some of the smaller towns and villages and even tried, when the price was right, to make the property fit our criteria. We realised that by doing this we had completely changed our specification and had totally compromised our true requirements. Some afternoons we would spend on the beach trying to make a partial holiday out of our trip and to discuss what we had seen and what our options were. We only viewed 2 properties on this trip neither one of which was anywhere near our specification. The week soon passed and it was decided that I would return to the area on my own a week later and concentrate all my time (no lazing on the beach etc.) in finding a suitable new home.
I thought that I would widen the area of search and spend my first few days visiting estate agents to gather a portfolio of properties to visit and then travel around looking at each from the outside before making an inspection appointment. I found that although the estate agents asked what I was looking for that they would offer me absolutely anything around and often well over my budget. In three days I only managed to find 2 properties of any interest and refusing the agents offer of an appointment to view went off on my own to check them out. Just as well really for the one that had really attracted my attention and I thought I would buy on the spot from the full colour glossy photograph was not quite what I expected. The picture showed a detached villa bathed in full sunshine and so it was but the picture had been taken in the late afternoon for on the south side of the property was an industrial warehouse. When I arrived in the morning the property was in full shade and where any light did penetrate the gloom, the dust from the activities in the warehouse gently drifted across the villa and garden. The other side of the property was waste ground that was being used as an unofficial dump. The second property was by now becoming more attractive and I eagerly looked forward to finding it. It took forever as although I knew I had found the right area I just could not spot it. I asked a number of locals for help but my lack of Spanish made this difficult and it was not until the sixth person asked did I find someone who spoke a little English. It turned out that I was right outside the property that I had come to view and the person I was now talking to was the owner. I showed him the photograph and he nodded excitedly saying si, si, si. He beckoned me to follow him and took me around the outside of his house to the rear and showed me the property in the picture. It was the rear view of his house and represented the half he was selling, yes half the house. Admittedly there were solid walls between front and back and no interconnecting doors, so it was set up as two separate apartments but still half a house and in one plot of land. It was also hideous inside, had no access of its own and included use of but not ownership of the garden.
Back to looking in agents windows, searching the classified ads in the English Costa del Sol News and driving aimlessly around looking for divine inspiration.
My third visit a few weeks later and staying further south in Sotogrande to once again widen the search area was no more successful. The same may be said of my fourth and fifth visits and by now all I had determined was that the type of property that we wanted could not be bought, for the money we had available, in this area. Should we lower our sites or look elsewhere. This was to be our new home so compromise was out of the question and we decided to look further up the coast.
Again without planning, we had obviously learned nothing, we headed off for a two week holiday/property search on the Costa Blanca. We stayed south of Alicante and repeated the useless exercises that we'd previously engaged in on the Costa del Sol. At least we found the properties more affordable and nearer our required specification but found nothing that we wished to view. Toward the end of the holiday we headed north of Alicante for a trip to Benidorm and a general look around. We had honeymooned in Benidorm a lifetime before and as we travelled around the towns and villages of this beautiful area with towering cliffs dropping into the crystal clear blue sea we felt that this was certainly the right area for us to live. As our holiday neared its end we decided that I would return the following week to scour the area and hopefully find something suitable.
The next trip was my 7th and as much as I love travelling it was becoming rather expensive and very frustrating. The properties that I liked in the estate agents windows had again taken me 3 days to identify but at least I had 4 to look at. The first 3, that took me all day to find, I dismissed for one reason or another as I knew that neither my wife nor I would be happy with. The fourth was some way up a hillside and although quite old, had a beautiful and large garden and I could just make out some fantastic views to the rear. The downside was the incessant noise of hammer drills up the mountainside but I realised that they would not be there forever and that this could well be the right place. I arranged an appointment to view and the following day arrived with the estate agent in excited anticipation. The garden looked even better when entering the property and was landscaped as it sloped down the hill. I spotted a garage that I had not noticed before and a small swimming pool at the back of the villa. I suppose that it must have been lunch time because the jack hammers went silent only to be replaced by what sounded like the noise of heavy traffic. As we approached the rear of the property I could see why as it overlooked the motorway just 50 yards or so away and the noise was intrusive and would always be there. One thing that my wife hates is road noise and as much as I tried to convince myself that the property was right I knew that we could never live there.
Linda came with me on the 8th trip as I was convinced that we would find something in this area but we went home again empty handed and realised that in all the trips made we had only viewed sixteen properties.
That evening we discussed at length each of the 10 properties viewed and one by one dismissed them until we were left with one. Naturally it was the one above our budget and although we could afford to buy it, our financial resources and therefore our money to live on would be seriously reduced. An almost sleepless night ended when we decided to buy this villa as I had really fallen for this one and it was almost our perfect specification.
We met the broker the following morning and told them of our decision and they contacted the agent only to discover that our villa had been sold the previous evening. Gutted we decided to spend the day looking at other properties but found nothing to compare with the one that we had set our hearts upon. We had two more days before returning home but had seen all the properties that were nearest to our specification and decided not to view any more. We discussed again all of those properties that we'd seen to try and see if one of the others would fit the bill but no.
We were sat at a bar the following morning, Linda with a coffee and me with a beer, feeling really sorry for ourselves. My mobile rang and it was the broker who told me that the other buyer of the villa we wanted had failed to provide the mandatory deposit to seal the deal and if we still wanted it to get down to the estate agents office right now. The broker met us at the office and within half an hour a contract had been drawn up by the estate agent who signed on behalf of the seller. I signed for us as I had the required documentation, handed over the 500,000pts that I'd carried around with me for the past 9 months and was now the proud owner of a villa in paradise subject only to payment and completion.
Thanks to the property broker we had at last found our home in the sun. They were there with us some months later when we completed the deal and the estate agent paid them their commission. As in the UK the price includes the estate agents commission for selling the property and he in turn pays the broker a commission for the customer introduction. We were more than happy to see them get their share of the estate agents commission as they had done a superb job for us and it did not cost us a penny more for the property purchase than it would have otherwise. That's why GET SPAIN would like to help other potential property buyers buy offering an even more personalised service and of course gaining the occasional commission.
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