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Episode 30: Ryszard who purchased in Almuñecar, Granada

Episode 30: Ryszard who purchased in Almuñecar, Granada
Podcast host




Beth Davison

Podcast location

Relocated from



Almuñecar, Granada

Podcast agent

Real estate company

Ryszard joins the show to share his experience of buying in Almuñecar, Granada for the fourth time in the past ten years. This time he bought a property for rental as well as personal use. Listen for advice on how to best find property for rental, what makes a great house, and how he sees the future of the Spanish market. Ryszard enjoys the authentic Spanish way of life in Almuñecar, and come out with his family several times a year.

Show Notes

  • [3:03] How the buying process in Spain is more transparent nowadays
  • [4:29] Tips in finding rare gems
  • [7:27]  How to research for the best value-for-money property
  • [8:28] Making a strong bid
  • [9:21] Searching for a property for rental vs your dream holiday home
  • [10:46] What’s it like being a landlord
  • [13:38] Ryszard’s favourite part of Almuñecar
  • [14:47] Things that might change in the Spanish property market


Tropicana Estates

Read Full Transcript


Welcome to the 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 this week I’m talking to Ryszard, from Leicester. He first bought in Spain in 2009, and now owns three houses and a garage. Most recently he purchased his dream home in Almuñecar, Granada.

As a seasoned buyer, Ryszard has a wealth of tips if you’re thinking about making a purchase.

Ryszard worked with estate agent Tropicana Estates to find her dream home in Spain.  

Check out the show notes at to find links and resources mentioned in this episode

Body of Transcript

Ryszard:  My name is Ryszard and we've bought our first property in 2009. We subsequently purchased two other houses and a garage.

Beth:  How did one purchase become four purchases? Talk me through that.

Ryszard:  We purchased the first house, we'd been looking for property for awhile. We bought in 2009. We came to Almuñecar,  we fell in love with the town and before we left we basically purchased the property. We had that for a number of years and then we came across another property which was very special and we saw tremendous potential in it, primarily for a rental, but then for our own personal use as well.

Beth:  Were you already into property in the UK? Because this is a bold venture if you're not doing property development, or you're not renting things out in the UK already, to then dive into this and do this in Spain.

Ryszard:  Yeah, we owned a number of properties in the UK. To be honest with you, we were just getting a little bit fed up with the long term rental because the problem was, getting into a long term, sort of six month contract, [we'd have to] chase people up for rent constantly. It just becomes a bit of a bind, and we looked for something else. One of the intents was for us, eventually, to move to Spain anyway. So we thought, actually, let's move away from the UK. Then in fact, we sold one of our properties to purchase the one we did.

Beth:  Fantastic. Did you find the process more difficult or easier than, initially, when you'd been buying in the UK?

Ryszard:  In Spain we found it very straightforward simply because we had the best estate agent you could imagine.

Beth:  And which agent was that?

Ryszard:  that's Tropicana Estates in Almuñecar and it's Jose Carrera and he takes you from start to finish all in one process. He arranges your legal, all your payments, your taxes, he sets you all up.

Beth:  That sounds so much more straightforward than in the UK. Had you already done your research on a lot of the process?

Ryszard:  We'd obviously had the experience the first time around, way back in 2009. We found that was a very straight forward process then. but the process has changed significantly in the sense that it's a lot more transparent than it used to be.

Beth:  In which area do you mean when you say it's changed and is more transparent?

Ryszard:  It's a very simple legal process to have. Before there was a bit of cash handed over, there was a check handed over, and this was just an accepted part of the process in Spain. It's just now very straight forward. A simple transaction. You pay it in cash. You get the keys, but as soon as you sign the contract, you hand over the check, you collect your keys from the previous owner. So it happens instantly.

Beth:  Wow, fantastic. So, over the years, you bought your first one in 2009, when was it that you bought the forth?

Ryszard:  We are located in an old town so there’s not a lot of parking, so we bought a garage a couple of years later and then we bought our third property in 2016, I think it was?

Beth:  OK.

Ryszard:  Then we bought the next one last year.

Beth:  Wow, so you have nearly a decade's experience, then in seeing the property market change in Spain. what about value for money, have you seen that change as well?

Ryszard:  Properties are very scarce now. Good properties are very scarce.

Beth:  What would your tips be in finding these rare gems then, if you're not going to come across them as often as maybe you were?

Ryszard:  That would be giving my secrets away, that would be. I'm not stopping on four. You really need to be realistic. For some reason we, in the UK, will pay more and more for a property. We'll bid people up on a property. Whereas, for some reason, we think, as Brits, that we should be getting some kind of cheap bargain in Spain. You've got to find the property, believe in the property, and go for it. It's really, it's that.

You've got to... simply got to understand what you're doing. I think that's probably why, maybe I'm talking a bit more confident now because we have gotten to know the process. Even things like the planning laws, and if you want to do any changes, we understand all that now. We know the risk that we're taking. It is important that you do your homework, but you shouldn't be taking the approach that just because it's in Spain, and Spain has been through a bad process, that now you should be buying two properties. That's not the way it works. Spain's economy is now growing. It's the biggest tourist destination in Europe. There's a lot of people, particularly from the north of Europe, Scandinavia, and the low countries that are really investing heavily in Spain.

Beth:  Do you think because of that you're unlikely to lose any money on a property that you buy? Is the return quite good?

Ryszard:  I think that would be... you could never be that arrogant about it, to say that you would never lose. I think that it's a steadier market. There's a lot of bad properties out there. There's a lot of bad properties left over from the building times, the boom and bust times. There's a lot of pointless flats. There's a lot of cheap flats. But they're not even cheap and off the mark. There's cheap apartments that you might have in a complex with a swimming pool but you’re miles from the sea, or stuck on the third floor with no views. You've got to buy a property that actually there was a get out of jail clause. You've got to understand what would you do if you need to sell it? If you buy a property that nobody wants to buy now, why is somebody going to buy that off you in ten years time?

Beth:  Yeah, totally. I suppose it's like in the UK. If someone were to say not as confident as you, this is their first purchase, I suppose asking advice is key and doing your research and really trusting other people.

Ryszard:  Yes. In the UK there's a program location, location, location. Those are important things. Important and just look at it. If it's cheap why is it cheap? It may be because it is a bargain. There are bargains to be had, but you've got to understand those bargains. On the other hand, as I said there's sometimes they're cheap for a reason, and that's because there's a lot of surplus properties left over from the boom times which have been repossessed, or people have huge mortgages- mortgages much higher than the value of the property. There are issues like that that still are out there because there are people who purchased at ridiculously high prices before the bust. So, it is making sure that you source the right property.

Beth:  And in the UK it's fairly common to go under offer, for example. Is that something that happens in Spain? I know people aren't expecting a bargain, necessarily, but people love a bargain, if you under offer is that still acceptable to do?

Ryszard:  Absolutely. Offer realistically. You mustn't be arrogant, you mustn't treat the sellers with contempt. You can't have a property for two hundred thousand and ask for a hundred thousand. It's just not going to happen. You wouldn't do that in the UK. You might knock ten percent off of the price. These are the sort of things where you can realistically... It's like with any process. You can only go up. If you bid low, then you can only go up, but if you bid too high then going backwards is more difficult.

So, it's being realistic. That adds to the price. That's the bargain of the property.

Beth:  yeah, totally. what about the differences when you were searching for your own dream home, in 2009, to when you were looking for property you were probably going to rent. How did your search differ in those instances?

Ryszard:  When we bought in 2009 we just came across, we looked for a property for a week and the last property that we looked at was exactly the property that we were looking for. It was virtually perfect. Subsequently, anything we bought, subsequently, there has been no pressure.  There's no pressure now, so we hang on and find properties that we like, or there's a particular feeling about them.

Beth:  Did you always have who you were renting to in mind? Was it going to be a family or holiday makers? How did that work?

Ryszard:  The way we looked at a property's strength is to put yourself into the renter's position. Would you want to be there? Would you want to have the facilities that you have? That's the key thing, when you find property it's that, would I want to live in that, spend two weeks of my holiday? Because that's what people do. They save up all year to spend two weeks and it's got to be perfect for them. That's the important thing that actually somebody will stay there and be happy. That's the key to finding a good property for rental.

Beth:  Did you have any of the similar problems that you mentioned having with tenants in the UK not paying you on time, or whatever it was, the issues of being a landlord, any more of that in Spain?

Ryszard:  When you set yourselves up with some of the big sites, they handle the financial transactions for you. So, therefore, they will take the money, that money is paid via the company and, as soon as the tenants arrive, they pay that into your bank account. So, it's all paid in advance as opposed to before when it's always you're waiting for payment the following month from the tenants. You're always having to wait for them to make the next payment.

Beth:  Right, is that the same with the upkeep of the property? Do they deal with the cleaning,  and all of the upkeep of the grounds?

Ryszard:  No, this is the biggest problem when people buy properties for rent, is having the right property managers to look after your property. They've got to be, the regulations, particularly in Andalucía, require somebody be available 24/7. As well, they need to look after the property for you. They've got to meet guests and see them off at the end of their time. You've got to handle any deposits that have been paid. So, there's a lot more to then just renting a property. You have to have the backup afterwards, and that's the tricky business finding the right people to do that.

Beth:  Again, research, I'm presuming is the way to avoid any pitfalls there?

Ryszard:  Yes, yes, make sure you've got your property managers before you buy a property. Don't buy the property first.

Beth:  Ah, good advice. Now what about life in Spain. Presumably you spend a lot of time over there, what's your ratio split between the UK and Spain or elsewhere?

Ryszard:  It's enough from Spain, at the moment, but it's probably about six or seven weeks of the year.

Beth:  Lovely, and holidays, do you bring family with you? How does it work?

Ryszard:  Yes, absolutely. we have family come out and they use our property. We regularly fly out there, so it's perfect.

Beth:  Did you think about proximity to an airport for that reason when you were buying? How did that work?

Ryszard:  The important thing is to select an airport to which there's plenty of flights from the UK and from lots of airports in the UK, because you must remember, once we get towards winter season, they don't fly every day to a place like Spain, or you think they would do that. Maybe actually from the southern airports - from Gatwick and Stansted, you can get flights. But, when you get to the midland airports - East Midlands, Birmingham, they don't fly so regularly. You want an airport that's a big destination where you get most of the flights because you can get flights to places like Almeria.  Where, in the summer some of the flights are only twice a week. And in the winter there aren't any flights at all. So, think of these things before you purchase. Hence, that's why Almeria property is cheaper.

Beth:  Interesting, That makes sense. What's your favorite part of the area you bought in?

Ryszard:  it's just that it's real Spain. That's the reason why I like it. Andalucia is an amazing part of the world. You go from Malaga and across that way to heading towards the other way which is Almuñécar, Motril, all that is beautiful, and of course, in Granada.

Beth:  When you say real Spain is that because you mean non-touristy, or rural?

Ryszard:  It's both. It's rural, it is touristy, but you tend to get Spanish tourists there as opposed to, say for example, British tourists. So, it's a slightly different approach. A different market, a different lifestyle.

Beth:  Yeah, very relaxed, a very relaxed lifestyle.

Ryszard:  Absolutely.

Beth:  Now, you've got four properties under your belt, as you mentioned. Are there any plans for any more? What does the future look like?

Ryszard:  If the right property comes up.

Beth:  OK, I like it. Are there any things that you've got in mind as things that might change in the Spanish property market?

Ryszard:  I think prices are going up. You can see that now compared to where we were, say, ten years ago. Prices are going up quite significantly. As I said, the better properties are the ones that are fetching the better prices.

Beth:  Does that make you want to sit tight and wait for the market to level out, or does that make you want to buy now and go sooner than later?

Ryszard:  Whenever you buy a property, whether you're buying the top of the market, or the bottom of the market, it needs to be the right property because that's the one that's most likely to survive through the process going forward.

Beth:  Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for chatting to me. Are you going out any time soon to Spain?

Ryszard:  About three weeks.

Beth:  Oh, that sounds lovely. Enjoy it, won't you. I hope it's great and I hope the weather is great when you get there.

Ryszard:  Thank you very much.

Beth:  Cheers, Ryszard, bye.

Ryszard:  Bye.


Thank you for listening and thanks to Ryszard for sharing a few of his secrets and to Tropicana Estates for their help to make this episode possible

I particularly liked that Ryszard had experience of both buying his dream home to live in, and in buying to rent. Whilst his priorities changed in both circumstances what seemed key for him was loving the location, and Almuñecar really ticked those boxes.

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Tune in next time, when I speak with Mike. Along with his wife Louise, he purchased a 4 bedroom detached villa in Godelleta, Valencia

For them, it was all about finding somewhere in the countryside for their grandchildren and labradors to visit. Find out if they succeeded on the next episode.

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

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