Episode 17: George who purchased in Valencia

30th April 2018
Podcast host




Beth Davison

Podcast location

Relocated from




Podcast agent

Real estate company

properties for sale
Episode 17: George who purchased in Valencia

After years of researching and planning for his retirement, George bought a three bedroom bungalow near Valencia, overlooking the mountains. Now a retired music teacher, George enjoys life in the Spanish countryside where he can practise his music and mix with locals. Find out how George found his dream home and how he found the relocation process to Valencia.

Show Notes

  • [1:53] When he chose to retire and relocate to Spain
  • [5:14] The impact of Brexit
  • [6:28] Description of the property
  • [7:40] George’s strict budget
  • [10:07] George’s research process
  • [12:17] The impact on George’s creativity
  • [14:02] George’s experience of working with HomeEspaña
  • [14:27] The challenge George faced with the purchase




Read Full Transcript


Welcome to the Kyero.com Spanish Property podcast where we interview 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 George, a retired music teacher from Southampton.

After spending thousands of hours researching, George whittled his shortlist down from over two hundred properties, and just wait until you hear about how the one he settled on helps inspire his creativity.

He worked with estate agent HomeEspaña 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 Transcript

George:  My name is George. I come from Southampton, in England, where up until last year, I was a piano teacher. Then I retired, in the summer, and decided I wanted to live in Spain, and I’ve bought a house near Valencia, just inland of the city, on the edge of the mountains. I’m rather settled.

Beth:  Lovely, so was it a long term kind of dream?

George:  Yes. I have been planning this (if you like), thinking about it probably for the last seven or eight years. Most of which meant spending hours, and hours, and hours, on the internet looking at houses; looking at websites that tell you how to move to Spain and what to do and what not to do. It all boiled down to coming out about a year ago, actually, to look at a few properties, and picking one.

Beth:  Lovely.

George:  And that was that.

Beth:  I love that it was years and years in the making. So, what was it, other than retirement (obviously that made it the perfect time), but what was it that, you think, made you go, “Yeah, that’s the one.”

George:  Yeah, well, the climate, obviously, was the big thing. The way I look at it, I couldn’t so much retire as give up teaching. I came here to do other things, mainly compose and arrange music. I wanted somewhere nice to be able to that.

I like the idea of having somewhere that has winter sun, and winter sun shine, literally. Obviously, Spain does and Southampton doesn’t. In fact even at the moment, here we are in March, and my old house is under about two feet of snow, apparently.

Beth:  Yes, it’s not a great time.

George:  (Laughter) No, it’s not. So, I decided to come to this area. I actually like Valencia as a city. From a driving point of view, I’m only about four hours from France and therefore the rest of Europe I like driving quite a lot. I’ve got a small van.

I could have gone down to the deep south of Spain where it’s even sunnier. It just takes a whole day and more to get back out of the country again, whereas from here I can be back in France in half a day. So, here I am.

Beth:  Great. Was it always going to be a permanent thing for you? Were you thinking, at one point, that it was going to be a holiday home and then you decided to relocate permanently, or was it always going to be a relocation?

George:  It was always going to be a relocation. It doesn’t mean I won’t ever go back to the UK. I expect as old age beckons that’s something I will probably have to do.

No, this was a complete relocation, giving up living in England. Personally, I was extremely disappointed by the Brexit vote a couple of years ago, and that just helped cement things even more, I suppose. So now it’s a permanent thing.

Beth:  Just speaking of Brexit, it’s one thing that we haven’t touched on much actually in these podcasts. That obviously encouraged you to leave the UK but did it make things more difficult from a legal standpoint? How did that affect the buying process?

George:  No, it didn’t affect the buying process, because technically, legally, and in all sorts of ways we are still in Europe. So UK citizens in Europe still have exactly the same rights. What has always been an unknown factor is how those rights might change when Brexit takes place.

I took the view, I took a gamble, I suppose, that Spain wouldn’t want to suddenly chuck out all of its British citizens. They’ve made lots of announcements to the affect that they wouldn’t do that. I believe, as of yesterday, the UK and the EU came to some sort of agreement on rights anyway. So I think the gamble has more or less paid off.

Beth:  It’s interesting that we’re still sort of waiting to see. The chips aren’t down yet finally, but it’s interesting that it didn’t have any effect on your decision to leave.

George:  No, other than to make it stronger.

Beth:  Yeah, I completely understand that.

George:  I’m quite a European person by nature. My father was French. My grandparents are Ukrainian. I’ve still am European. I love living over here. I’ve worked in Europe. I’ve worked in Germany before.

I just love the idea of being on mainland of Europe. Relocating didn’t cause any kind of cultural problems for me at all. From a retired person’s point of view, on a reduced income, Spain and other countries, but for me, Spain is a much better financial prospect. I can afford to live much better here than I could have done in the UK.

Beth:  OK, great, so it’s about quality of life.

George:  Very much so, quality of life, I eat better food. I have a bigger house than I could have afforded in England. There are very few downsides to it, to be quite honest, apart from being away from family and friends. To be honest they come over every eight weeks or so. There’s always somebody here. I’ve got two daughters with families and there’s always somebody around the house.

Beth:  Nice, so let’s talk about the property. Obviously, it’s big enough, then, to have visitors. What was it that you went for specifically?

George:  I wanted a property that had space all around it. I wanted at least three or four bedrooms to accommodate people. The house I ended up with, I suppose technically it’s a bungalow, has three bedrooms. It’s got further rooms, if you like, outside of the main building. It can accommodate quite a few people, actually. There’s parking for about six or seven cars off the road, and I’m in a cul-de-sac anyway. It’s a quiet area and there’s absolutely no trouble even if eight or ten people want to come down.

Beth:  Great.

George:  Here there’s a pool, so that’s quite a draw for the family.

Beth:  Yeah, absolutely.

George:  I’ve got an orchard and I’ve got a garden that wraps itself all the way around the house. It keeps me busy, but it’s spacious. With a house this size would have been four or five times the cost anywhere in England.

Beth:  Yeah, absolutely. So when it comes to budget did you know how much you wanted to spend?  Did you go over that, did you manage to go under it? How did it all work for you?

George:  Yeah, I worked out very, very clearly what I would spend on a house and what I would spend if I needed to do it afterward. So I had a very strict budget for that. That had to take into account all of the fees that you pay when you buy a property here. You pay taxes, you pay quite a lot actually, to estate agents, compared to England.

You have to take all these things into account. So I had a budget and I ended up with a house that actually worked out quite a lot under my budget, which means that I have been able to spend quite a bit of money doing it up here and there, and have plenty left over. I thought it was really important to work to a strict budget. I knew what I could afford and I stuck to it.

Beth:  Do you mind me asking how much you spent?

George:  Yes, the house itself cost one hundred and ten thousand Euros. By the time you added in all the other fees that go with purchasing a house – the legal fees and things like that, and then the local taxes, that brought it up to one hundred and thirty thousand Euros. So, at the exchange rate that I got that worked out to roughly about one hundred and ten thousand pounds.

Beth:  Right, which seems like such a good value for the size that you got.

George:  Oh, it’s fantastic. This house is at least twice as big as my old house. I’ve got a huge garden. I’ve got the orchard and a pool. I’ve got outhouses. I’ve got a building that could convert to a bungalow in the garden. It has already got one room and a built-in shower room next to it.

You couldn’t get anything like that, really, in the south of England, where I come from. I used to work in the New Forest and it’s a very, very expensive area. So, in a way (I hate to use the phrase) but it’s almost a “no brainer”. The cost of living here is much, much cheaper. Council taxes are cheaper, road taxes are cheaper, food is cheaper. So, in terms of money, the budget is important and it’s worked out, so far, pretty well.

Beth:  Yeah, it sounds it. Was this the only place you viewed?  Did you go on lots of viewings after you’d done all your online research when you first headed to Spain, what kind of process did you go through?

George:  Well now, for the last two or three years, really, I was looking at scores and scores and scores of houses. I would do searches on your website, putting in the amount I was prepared to pay and the kind of property that I wanted. At one stage I must have had a short list of probably two hundred houses, from all of the thousands that I have looked at.

Then I whittled that down, and down, and down and down. Then a year ago I put together a list of about a dozen and they happened to be (it was just one of those things) near Valencia. So, I came over here with the view to seeing them all, which I did.

While I was here I was introduced to this house, which actually wasn’t on my list, partly because it had been way above the budget. While I was staying in my hotel here, the owner reduced the priced because he hadn’t been able to sell it which brought it into my budget and my estate agent brought it to my attention and he drove me out here.

It was love at first sight, really. So, it wasn’t even a house I had in my sights.

Beth:  No, but it’s lovely if the price gets lowered. That’s perfect.

George:  Yes, I was very lucky in that respect. Some of the other houses I saw that were within my budget were all perfectly acceptable. I ended up having quite a nice choice, but this one happens to overlook some mountains. The ones I’m looking at now.

There are three big picture windows that look over a range of mountains. There is nothing between me and those mountains and nothing can be built because it’s protected land. So, it had a view and I always had in mind that there’s nothing as precious as a good view in a house. That was quite a big part of my thinking. Whenever I saw houses I looked to see what was around them. The ones that had the views moved up my list, as it were.

Beth:  Yeah, fantastic. Have you felt that it does help with your creativity, with your composing and stuff? Does the view make all the difference?

George:  Well, something makes a difference. It might be weather as well. Since I came here last year I have… It might be because when I was working I was very busy. I was working seven days a week in fact. But I have felt a lot more creative.

I’ve been writing and arranging a lot better and a lot more quickly than I used to and helping some of my old pupils with compositions of theirs as well. They still keep in touch. So, I think that’s just general contentment. But, of course the view, the weather, the fact that I’ve got fruit trees all over the place - things that I couldn’t have in England. I’m sure that’s all part and parcel of it.

Beth:  Yeah, absolutely. What about the Spanish music scene, is there musical stuff going on where you live? Do you get involved at all in the Spanish side of that?

George:  Well, I haven’t yet, but there certainly is. The two nearest towns to me (and I’m not really half the distance between them) both have music festivals every year and they last a week. One of them, in fact, is quite a big attraction where it attracts people from all over Europe.

Then there is Valencia, itself, which is a very cultural city, with lots of theatres. In fact you only have to step onto the Metro, in Valencia, and there’s piped music when I was here last year looking around. You couldn’t go anywhere without listening the Marriage of Figaro or Don Giovanni on the Metro loudspeakers. Yeah, driving into the city with Mozart was rather nice.

Beth:  Well it does sound like you’re in the prefect place and that it’s all matched up really well. You mentioned your agent, briefly. So, who was it that you went through and what was that process like?

George:  The agent that had this house was HomeEspaña, who have an office in Valencia and I think down in Alicante as well - they’ve got a local one. I was shown around, and the moment, really that I said, “Yes, I’ll have it,” and things swung into action, they were not only professional but really quick as well. They lead me through the situation.

They moved very quickly, politely, professionally, I couldn’t really say anything bad about them. I’d looked on the internet to see about getting a lawyer in Valencia and I chose a chap, an Irish lawyer, who is the honorary consul to the British Embassy here. When HomeEspaña said we’ll take you around to see a lawyer, I’d been warned off by all sorts of websites that said, “Don’t let your estate agent take you to a lawyer.” The one they took me to was the chap that I’d sorted out, funny enough, and I’ve been perfectly happy with him. He’s done a very, very good job here.

So they were absolutely superb and they have been all along.

Beth:  I’m glad it’s been such a positive experience. It sounds like it’s all worked really well. Have there been any parts that you have found challenging?

George:  Yes, one thing that I wasn’t quite prepared for, I have to say, is that I bought the house fully furnished, and, here’s a warning to English people. In Spain, it seems that fully furnished means that when they leave they just walk out.

Well, I came here with all of my belongings and the house was full of their belongings. It actually took me quite a few weeks to get rid of every pot, pan, all their children’s exercise books from twenty years ago - everything that you could possibly leave in a house, apart from your clothes. And, in fact, there were some clothes as well. Everything else was just left. There was quite a lot of cleaning up to do if you can imagine.

Beth:  Yeah, totally.

George:  I’ve heard other people say exactly the same. So, it seems to be the thing in Spain, that when you leave your house, if you’re selling it fully furnished.

Beth:  Interesting. OK, that’s a great tip.

George:  Compared to living in England, one thing that living in England doesn’t prepare you for here is just how bureaucratic Spain is. There is a lot of paperwork and there are lots of different taxes to pay. That usually involves going to an office somewhere – going to the town hall. You can’t do as many things online as we can in the UK. So, you just have to get used to getting embroiled in all of this officialdom, which is fine. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s a bit of a shock to the system, I suppose, when you get here.

Beth:  Yeah, different to the UK, but completely worth it, in your case. It sounds like it’s been a great experience.

George:  Oh gosh, yeah. Well, it’s still part of the experience. The people that you meet are friendly. Around here they don’t speak any English. This is not a resort area. This is inland. I have to use sign language half the time whilst I’m learning Spanish. They all try to be as helpful as possible. It’s all a part of the lovely experience and it’s a very civilized country. It’s a lovely place to live.

Beth:  Fantastic. Well, that is the end of my questions. Thank you so much for chatting with me today. I’m glad that it’s been such a great experience for you and that it’s going to continue to be for the years to come, by the sounds of it.

George:  Well, I certainly hope so. I feel very settled here and I’m in no hurry to get back, I can tell you.

Beth:  Yeah, especially not when it’s snowing. Stay over there. Cheers George, that’s perfect. Thanks a lot.

George: (Laughter) That’s right, bye bye.


Thank you for listening and thanks to George for sharing their experiences along with  HomeEspaña for their help to make this episode possible.

I particularly liked the sound of how much further George’s money can go now that he’s relocated to Spain, and how much the surrounding countryside can inspire his music

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast so you never miss an episode.

This podcast is produced by Kyero.com and our mission is to connect you with estate agents and properties throughout Spain.

Whether your dream home is a rustic farm house surrounded by olive groves or a lock-up-and-leave apartment on the seafront, you’ll find everything you need at Kyero.com.

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And, whenever you’re ready, here are four ways we can help you:

  • Ask a question by emailing [email protected].  We’ll try and answer them all in an upcoming Q&A episode
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Tune in next week when I speak with Catherine, from Cork.

She purchased a house in Olvera, after experiencing what she describes as “real Spain” for her brother’s wedding. Just one picture in a property magazine inspired a big change.

I’m Beth Davison and you’ve been listening to the Kyero.com Spanish property podcast. I’ll see you next week!

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