In this episode, we hear from Steve who recently relocated his vacation home from Portugal to a 3-bedroom villa in Bédar, Almeria. You’ll hear how saying yes to opportunities can lead to great things! We discuss Steve’s property search process, his budget, his challenges, and all the fun he has when he’s there.
- Why Steve chose to move from Portugal to Spain [3:00]
- On the resources Steve used to research properties [3:38]
- On the property itself [4:21]
- How often Steve and his wife use the property [5:15]
- On Steve’s budget [6:28]
- The most challenging part of buying the property [9:58]
- What Steve would do differently if he were to embark on the process again [11:28]
- Steve’s advice for others [12:05]
- What Steve loves most about owning a home in Spain [12:44]
- A typical day for Steve in Spain [13:33]
Welcome to the Kyero.com Spanish Property podcast where we interview real people who recently purchased a home in Spain.
They tell us what worked, what didn’t and what they’d do differently next time.
I’m Beth Davison and today I’m speaking with Steve, who purchased a villa in Bédar, Almeria, complete with both a pool and sea view
Just wait until you hear about how saying “yes” to opportunities can lead to great things. For Steve it was all about dog walking amidst the natural beauty of Spain.
He worked with estate agent Olive Properties to find his dream home in Spain.
Check out the show notes at kyero.com/podcast to find links and resources mentioned in this episode
Body of Transcription
Beth: Do you want to start by introducing yourself, and letting me know what you do, and the type of property you decided to buy or rent.
Steve: OK, so my name is Steve and I’m retired. We moved our holiday home from Portugal also, this year, where we’ve been for twenty years. We decided to move to rural Spain, Almeria region, and we started the search of property in May of this year.
Beth: Fantastic, and then at what point did you close that and you bought the property?
Steve: OK, so, we probably did a search in the Almeria region for probably about thirty, thirty-five properties. We ended up visiting the village that we bought the property in, which is a little village called Bedar. Which is a rural location, about a half an hours drive to the coast of Mojácar.
We were guided by the agent who was fabulous. We got an idea that we wanted something rural, but not too isolated. We wanted a village that had some bars and restaurants within walking distance. In the end we bought something that’s fabulous, that we hadn’t identified from the agent’s make_groupperspective. In other words, we went to see some properties and the property that we ended up with wasn’t on our list.
Beth: Oh great, so what was it about that specific property that made you change what you were looking for?
Steve: Well, it ticked all the boxes: it was the location, it was very rural, the view was stunning and it was the understanding of what the village was about which is very much a community. The main reason that we went to the area was that we wanted a community, but we also wanted pretty good sunshine throughout the UK wintertime.
Beth: Yeah, fantastic. So, you can just escape, find a little bit of warmth. It sounds like it would be amazing.
Steve: Yeah, we typically go out for six weeks at a time because my wife, Amanda, and I were both retired, so we take our dog with us for six weeks and then we come back to the realities of the UK weather and we can’t wait to get back out there.
Beth: Yeah, I’m sure. So, you already had a place in Portugal, why did you decide to investigate Spain as a second option?
Steve: OK, so we were also fairly rural in Portugal, but rural Algarve, and it was just getting busier and busier and we just wanted something just a little bit quieter. The properties that we viewed all around the area were fairly quiet, but this just happened to tick so many boxes.
It’s very, very peaceful. You don’t hear road noise. You haven’t got aircraft going across. The downside of the area is that it’s about an hour’s drive to the nearest airport, but that’s sort of worth it. It’s very much a community feel.
Beth: Amazing. So, how did it all start? What resources were you using to do your research?
Steve: I guess we did the resource that everyone does now-a-days, it’s via the internet. We selected properties that we wanted to see, as we did with many of the other agents. We had an appointment and we probably spent twenty to twenty-five minutes / half an hour in the office just talking about what we wanted and what we didn’t want. We selected some properties for us to see on top of those that we’d highlighted.
The ones that we highlighted didn’t meet our criteria. The ones she took us to, that she thought would be ideal, was ideal.
Beth: Great, so it sounds like she was really, really helpful. What’s the property like itself?
Steve: OK, so the property is about twelve years old. It’s got the most gorgeous infinity pool that when we’re swimming you can actually see the sea - albeit you probably need binoculars for, but it’s a gorgeous infinity pool.
It has three bedrooms. It’s got lovely terracing, beautiful, beautiful sit out areas with palm trees around and it’s right on top of the ridge, on top of the hilly, hilly area. So, we’ve got gorgeous views and we’ve got gorgeous views of both sunset and sunrise.
Beth: Wow, you’re making me jealous. It sounds amazing.
Steve: Having spent twenty years in Portugal, and we thought that was lovely. This has exceeded our expectations to the point that we’re actually going to go out for a nine month stint just to experience it all. It’s absolutely gorgeous.
Beth: I was going to ask, how do you use it? Do you got out for a couple of weeks at a time or do you go for month long stints? But it sounds like you do longer trips.
Steve: So, typically we spend six weeks at a time and we always get the ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao and drive down because we have a dog. So, we’re used to driving through Spain to get to Portugal. We just fancied a change and I’m glad we did.
Spain has surprised us, especially rural Spain: very, very friendly; very, very welcoming. I think the costs in Spain are lower than Portugal and very, very friendly. There’s a mix of local as well as expat. The facilities, everything has exceeded our expectation.
The walks are just marvelous. So, off we trot with our young puppy. We’ve got a young puppy now, a lovely Weimaraner. So, off we trot onto the lovely walks, and we meet people, and chat with them, and then we stop off in the village and have a coffee or have some breakfast at the bar. It’s just a nice experience.
Beth: Yeah, it sounds amazing. So, did you go in with a budget in mind?
Steve: Yeah, we set the budget. I think our budget was, from memory about 350,000.
Beth: And that’s Euros or Pounds?
Steve: Probably Euros. Yes, yes it was, we spent €350,000. Obviously you’ve got about ten per cent on top of that for the fees and the like. So once we set that as a criteria, our main objective was privacy and seclusion whilst being in a village environment. So, it’s a fairly tall ask, but I’ve got to say that Olive Properties matched that very well for us.
We were looking for something that was (if you like) better than Portugal, but I don’t think we were too prescriptive. We didn’t quite know what we were after.
Beth: Right. Did you visit the specific area before the agent took you there, or were you on a real kind of treasure hunt, I suppose, where you didn’t really know?
Steve: That’s a good description. Yeah, you’re right – treasure hunt. We didn’t know. We visited and we had narrowed the area down, somewhat, because of climate and because of rural location, but we wanted reasonable access to motorway network.
So, I guess we were trying to look for the best of both worlds, that’s easy to get to but, when we’re there, fairly quiet and tranquil. We were guided by the agent more than we expected to be.
I want to say guided because she really spent time listening to what we were really looking for and not what we were asking for.
Beth: Interesting. OK, great. This seems to be a real theme with everyone that I’ve spoken to that they’re getting really good service from the agents over there and just really helpful. I’m glad that you guys had the same experience. How many places did you view in total?
Steve: So, we viewed about thirty places in total. Our first tranche was in May, where we saw this property, and this was three or four days before we were to go home. We came out six weeks later and put the offer in.
So, we came out again to travel down to our place in Portugal, saw this property, put the offer in. Then it was quite a lengthy process of offers being made and being accepted. The one thing that did happen is that Olive Properties and Joe communicated so very well to the process as to what we could expect. It was a nice experience.
Beth: Did you have any difficulties with language barriers or the different legalities, tax – all things that are different from buying in the UK, did you have any issues?
Steve: I suppose, because we had a place for twenty years in Portugal, we’re sort of used to living in a foreign country and knowing that there are different tax laws. We identified a couple of solicitors, but in the end we went with a solicitor that Joe recommended, which I wouldn’t normally do. Sometimes there are warnings about doing things like that, but I have to say that solicitor, that Joe recommended, was fabulous: good communication in English, and made it possible, made it happen. So the process took four or five months from start to finish with a good conclusion.
Beth: Yeah, brilliant, and what did you find the most challenging? Possibly nothing, it sounds like you have had a great experience, but is there anything that stands out as being the most difficult?
Steve: I have to say not. It was a fairly smooth process. I would probably say the length of time. We would have liked for it to have happened quicker. The people that were selling had got a rental in the property and wanted to keep that going for a couple of months, and we agreed to that. So, the frustration was that we wanted to get out there quickly and make it happen.
You know, I think it’s about trying to negotiate, to agree, to get everyone on board. The time went fairly quick… no it didn’t go very quickly. It absolutely dragged until the moment we got in there.
Beth: Yeah, I bet.
Steve: But having got in there, we then spent six weeks of just enjoying the area and exploring. We’re going back out in January for another six week stint and we’ve already booked to go back out in May for six weeks. As I say, in September we’re staying for eight or nine months just to really experience Spain and explore the local areas.
Beth: Amazing, and do you get visitors? Have you brought family and friends over yet?
Steve: We have a list of people that want to come out. So, we’ve had two bookings, by friends. We won’t be renting it out. That’s for sure. It’s our little special place. But yeah, we’ll enjoy sharing it with friends. That’s for sure.
Beth: Really nice. So would you do anything differently if you were embarking on the process again?
Steve: You know, probably not. I think having fixed ideas is probably a disadvantage. It’s nice to be open-minded and learn from people that know the area well - be prepared to listen to other people’s ideas, whilst knowing what you’re looking for.
So, I think the process was as smooth as it could be. I think the people that we encountered, in terms of the solicitor and the team at Olive Properties, were absolutely fabulous with us. So no, I’ve got nothing but good feelings for the whole process.
Beth: Great, and if you were giving advice to someone about to embark on this, just like you were doing a year or so ago, what advice would you give?
Steve: Just do it.
Beth: Just dive in.
Steve: Honestly, sometimes you’ve got to make that step and make it happen. I would say go with your instincts. So if it feels good, just do it.
Beth: Great, I think that’s good advice in life generally, I love that.
Steve: As an aside, there is a film out there called Yes Man. I don’t know if you’ve seen it.
Beth: Yes, Jim Carrey.
Steve: Jim Carrey, exactly that, and it’s the principle of saying “yes” in life, and I think that is our philosophy. If you can say “yes” to something then it’s normally a good thing.
Beth: Lovely, and lastly, just to talk a little bit about the lifestyle in Spain. What do you love most about being involved in the Spanish culture and owning a property in Spain?
Steve: Obviously, the weather is significant. Having a dog is fabulous because you meet lots more people when you’ve got a dog. I think the Spanish culture, certainly rurally; it’s almost like going back twenty or thirty years in the UK. There’s just a niceness a time and a space with people that are prepared to sit and chat.
We’re trying to learn Spanish. The Spanish try to speak English and I just think it’s a nice friendly culture with the sun and fairly cheap booze really cap it all off.
Beth: Lovely, and lastly, just so that you can make everyone jealous, what is a typical day like for you once you’re over there and you’re settled in your place, what’s your typical day?
Steve: Well, a typical day is… Well, my wife gets up pretty early and then comes and wakes me up to tell me what a fabulous sunrise it is, and then we have breakfast on the terrace, we then wander off with the dog, walk down into the village, we’ll have a coffee and maybe we’ll have an extra breakfast (which we shouldn’t do). Lunch is often just by the pool and then we’ll wander down to the village in the evening, or meet up with friends for a drink.
It’s very, very relaxed, and I have to say, one day just rolls into the next.
Beth: Yeah, I’m sure. Well, it sounds amazing. Thank you so much for chatting to me today.
Steve: It’s an absolute pleasure.
Beth: Brilliant, cheers Steve.
Steve: Bye bye.
Thank you for listening and thanks to John for sharing his experiences and to Urbane Barcelona for their help to make this episode possible
I particularly liked how much John benefited from the viewings as he completely changed his mind about the top floor apartment, and, of course, the good news that some sunshine has really helped his asthma.
You can search this agent’s properties and more on Kyero.com
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Tune in next week when I speak with Erik from the Netherlands
He purchased a Chalet in Javea Alicante, and I can’t wait to tell you all about how he opted for 3,000 square metres of land along with his property and what he learned when it came to household refurbishment.
I’m Beth Davison and you’ve been listening to the Kyero.com Spanish property podcast. See you next time!