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Episode 32: Lindsay who purchased in Cabo de Palos, Murcia

Episode 32: Lindsay who purchased in Cabo de Palos, Murcia
Podcast host




Beth Davison

Podcast location

Relocated from



Cabo de Palos, Murcia

Podcast agent

Real estate company

Lindsay joins the show to share her experience of emigrating to Spain with her family in 2014. Following the initial suggestion from their 10 year old son at the time, they found their perfect 6 bedroom home in Cabo de Palos, Murcia. Listen to hear Lindsay’s advice on  doing a short trial of living in Spain before a big move, the importance of being adventurous, and having the right agent you can count on.

Show Notes

  • [1:41] Their test-drive of living in Spain
  • [3:51] Moving to Spain with a young family
  • [6:01] What makes a great agent
  • [7:28] Lindsay’s key piece of advice when buying in Spain
  • [9:25] Description of their house
  • [11:38] The myths vs. the truths behind buying in Spain
  • [13:34] Lindsay’s budget
  • [17:49] What the Cabo de Palos area is like




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 chatting to Lindsay from Bath, she purchased a 6 bedroom villa in Cabo de Palos, Murcia.

Just wait until you hear about how to purchase was originally her son’s idea. Who at the time was just 10 years old! And 4 years later, she couldn’t be more in love with the Spanish way of life.

Lindsay worked with estate agent Inmacabo to find their dream home in Spain.

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

Body of Transcript

Lindsay: My name is Lindsay, and I bought, with my husband, in 2014, following the two previous trips out to this part of Spain, in the Region of Mercia, because we had holidayed here before at the La Manga Club. But, we were looking for something more longer term. Our son was interested in playing tennis, and he had said, a couple of years back, "Can we go and live in Spain?" Our immediate answer was, "Don't be so silly, of course we can't."

Then we started to think about it and decided that actually, what a fun adventure that might be. He was ten at the time, so, we were at the right age for him. We knew a little academy - tennis academy here. We knew the area. We knew we didn't want to go to the La Manga Club. We wanted to experience Spain. So, we came out here in the summer of 2014 for five weeks. We rented our house out, in the UK, during the summer holidays for two to three weeks; I think three weeks it was. We live in Somerset, so, in quite a nice place for people who want to holiday in the UK. So, we rented our house out and used that to pay for an extended vacation here to test out the area and see whether we really liked it. We thought we could live out here for, say, a period of two years. So, that's how we started. That was our thinking behind it.

Beth: And the rest, they say, is history.

Lindsay: Exactly so.

Beth: Did two years turn out to be?

Lindsay: It turned out to be eighteen months. I actually have student lets, so I’m a landlord and a property owner which is why were able to come out here in the first place, because we just got an agent to manage the properties and the tenants. So, we just sort of handed it all over, which I wasn't one hundred percent happy with that, but you can't have everything. So, we did that and that enabled us to come out here. My husband was writing at the time and he can pretty much write anywhere. So that was our thinking and our daughter had already left home. She's already grown up and is living her own life. So, that's how we were enabled to do it.

We did think about renting, to start out with. We didn't think that we wanted to buy out here at all because we thought it was fraught with danger. But, when we were looking around for somewhere to rent for, say, eighteen months/two years, to live in (we had a dog as well), we just couldn't find anywhere that was going to be right for us to live in for a sustained period of time.

It's fine if you're coming for two weeks or three weeks or whatever, or a week, which is what most of us come for, But, when you're living in a foreign country, our son was going to go to a Spanish school because we thought we would really chuck him in it for the whole experience. So, the house needed to be nice. We needed to feel very comfortable in it. Renting just wasn't going to be an option in that case.

Beth: How did you find doing it with a child? It's rare, actually. I haven't spoken to many people who are bringing their kids with them, and were going to go for a lengthy period of time. It's a big life change.

Lindsay: It is a big life change. The thing is without him, without our son having mentioned it in the first place, we wouldn't have done it. So, he's the guy, he's the one who prompted us, in the first place, to think about it. We do like a bit of a challenge and a bit of an adventure. So for us it was, actually, why not? It would be good for all of us. In the worst case he doesn't like tennis anymore but he's learned Spanish and experienced a different culture. How can that be bad?

Beth: Yes, totally. Yeah, absolutely.

Lindsay: For us it was just all win/win all the way along, all the way along. We knew it was going to be challenging but, frankly, why live life if you're not going to touch the sides? So, that was very much our thinking.

It had to be near the academy, obviously. We had talked to the academy about schools in the area. There was an international school that he could have gone to, put him into, if we'd wanted to, but it was a forty-five minute drive and we didn't want him to have to do that every day. There and back would have been, well, what's two times forty-five, an hour and a half? That's a lot of traveling.

Beth: That's a lot.

Lindsay: So, we went to Cartagena, which is a local city, and we went to a state school there, and put him in there. So, that is what we were looking at. There was the school. There was the academy. We needed to live in circumference around those two positionals.

We saw, actually a couple of properties, looked at the agencies that were involved and there was one particular house, which the photos weren’t one hundred percent clear of what the property would look like. There were plants, there were trees. In this part of Spain it's very barren, it's very hot. I immediately was drawn to it, “Look! Plants! I’m really interested!” And it looked quirky. So that was very interesting. And it happened to be that the agent was Gloria who without whom, I have to say, we probably never would have bought here. She was immense in every respect in terms of the service and all of the help that she gave us: confident, knowing what we wanted, showing us different things, giving us solutions, helping us by outlining the process of what we needed to do for the different taxes and how things would proceed. What her role was, which was very different to estate agents in the UK.

She does far more here. In terms of estate agents in Spain, my experience with Gloria, from Inmocabo, is that they do a little bit more of the solicitor work than in the UK. Solicitors do most of that sort thing, but here, the estate agents do quite a large amount of it, and they go and see the Notary. She took a lot of the stress out of the process for us.

Beth: In the UK that personal touch is from your solicitor. That’s who you’re building that trust with. But, in Spain, all of the trust and that personality and that real relationship that you build does seem to be with your agent.

Lindsay: Completely, absolutely completely. So, if I was giving advice, one thing that you must do is you must absolutely trust in your estate agent. It was interesting for us because we had identified another estate agency that was run by an English gentleman, but they had no properties that we were particularly interested in, as it turned out, or they were in a different area than we wanted to be. He was also very supportive in terms of saying, “Well, if you’re looking there, this is the person you might want to talk to. She is a good agent.” I don’t know that you would get that in the UK, either.

Beth: No, fair enough.

Lindsay: We stumbled across all of this to start off with. As we proceeded our confidence grew and grew, and meeting Gloria was easily the best thing that ever happened to us. We saw, probably five or six properties that she had on her books. It was very clear, to me, which one was going to be the right one for us.

Beth: Was it the one with the plants?

Lindsay: It was!

Beth: I thought it might have been.

Lindsay: There are other things about it, I’ll have to say, that were in its favour. For us, we’d just done a big project in the UK and we didn’t want to do any structural knocking around. This particular house, once it was clean, we knew we needed to put some paint, and do a bit of masonry repair, but there was no knocking down walls and building new. The layout of this particular house was, for us, absolutely perfect. The size of the pool is great. While we’re not a big family, I come from a big family and I always wanted to make sure that we can have family out here to stay and also friends as well.

Beth: So, give me a little bit of a description of what it was that you went for in the end. What’s the house like?

Lindsay: OK, so it’s a six bedroom villa with four bathrooms. It’s over three floors. The ground floor, or what you might call the lower ground, it’s a self contained apartment. It’s perfect, absolutely perfect for people staying.

You can actually have three generations staying and nobody gets in each other’s way. It’s a brilliant house in terms of accommodating a lot of people, but you never feel on top of one another. It’s got a really large living space, a nice country kitchen, a fantastic pool area out back, and it’s walking distance to the supermarket and into Cabo de Palos which is a lovely fishing village which a lot of Spanish come to in the summer holidays from Madrid and Barcelona. There aren’t that many people from overseas. You wouldn’t say that it’s a British enclave. It’s very international but also very Spanish, which is what we really like.

Beth: Was that important to you?

Lindsay: Yeah, it was. It really was because we wanted to come to a place where we could really see a different culture and integrate into that culture, and experience it rather than going somewhere and being… If you want that, there’s La Manga Club down the road, which is expat heaven, if you like. We’ve holidayed there and the people are amazing and it’s fantastic. Holidays there are fantastic, but if you are looking to buy, surely you’re looking for something a bit more, otherwise you just buy in the UK. Yes, the sun here is fantastic, but we were looking for something a bit more and I feel we really found it where we are.

Beth: So, when you were saying initially, when your son first asked and you said no because of all of those horror stories, which are the horror stories that hit the press. Did you come across any of them and manage to avoid them? Where there any close misses? Did you find that all of that was kind of blown out of proportion?

Lindsay: Ah yes, blown out of proportion. The one thing I would say is, probably, don’t be tempted by buying what they call here, first-line beach. You want to be more than thirty metres away from the coast.

Beth: Okey dokey, is that advice that you got from your agent or is that something that you looked up yourself.

Lindsay: I looked it up myself, but was also told by the agent as well.

Beth: Is that because to structural reasons?

Lindsay: No, it’s to do with Spanish land regulation issues which are not completely clear. But, you could, in a very worst case scenario, become vulnerable, if a local regional council wanted to reclaim some of the beach area, they have access to the first thirty metres.

Beth: Right, OK, interesting.

Lindsay: That’s the one thing I hung onto. Of course, this isn’t a new development. If you’re looking at new developments then it’s different. I think there are other things that you have to be slightly more vigilant about: who the developer was, what access, what permissions did they have, is it a British developer, is it a Spanish developer, were there any cack-handers?

We’ve moved into an old property that was built by a Spanish family in the 1970s. So, it’s not part of a new development. I think the rules are slightly different there. This is a much more secure purchase as far as we understood it to be, and as far as we still understand it to be. New developments are slightly different.

Beth: Yeah, fantastic. Do you mind if we discuss budget a little bit? Did you have a number in mind? Did you manage to stick to it, that kind of thing?

Lindsay: Well, interestingly, because we weren’t thinking about buying in the first place, we really just thought, well, let’s have a look and see what prices are. To be honest, we were so surprised at how cost effective buying was that it seemed crazy to do anything else.

Because we’re in the property business anyway, we probably felt more secure anyway. We probably had a better understanding. I didn’t think this was overpriced at all. We did benefit from the fact that the exchange rate, at the time, was very good. But the good thing is that the property was not… some people would have looked at this and gone, “What’s the attraction?” It did need redecoration, but actually all that it really needed was a little bit of paint. The structure and the layout were perfect.

So, if you could look beyond the furniture that was in there, which was out of date. It was an old couple. Their family had left and were gone living their own lives and they had grandchildren, and the grandchildren were all grown up so the house was too big for them. The house felt like it had experienced an awful lot of love. It was a very, very lovely house. So, if you could look beyond the furniture and the paint that was up, you had a phenomenal purchase on your hands.

So, that’s, again, something I would say to people is to see beyond the paint. The floor, which some people would say, “Oh, it’s a brown floor.” But the tiles are genuine clay Spanish terracotta tiles and they are stunning and they run throughout the house. It wasn’t necessary that they worked with the paint, (you know what it’s like) but if you can see certain things. If you’ve got a little bit of vision, then I would say that this part of the world has phenomenal opportunity.

With the area around here you’ve got the Mar Menor which is perfect for young children. It’s a natural if you’ve got little children who want to play in the sea, but you’re slightly nervous. The slope down into the sea, into the lagoon (it’s called Mar Menor which is Little Sea) It’s very gradual, so it’s incredibly good for little ones.

On the other side of the spit of land, which is the La Manga Strip, you’ve got the Mediterranean. So you have the joy of both. You’ve got the more exciting Mediterranean and you’ve got the very calm, gentle Mar Menor as well. The Mediterranean is huge, but the Mar Menor is also natural.

Beth: Yeah, it sounds amazing and it actually sounds like you had a very positive experience. Was there anything that, if you were going to do it again, you’d do differently or was it all really plain sailing?

Lindsay: Do you know what? No, no, we’ve been incredibly lucky, perhaps, but also, I think the thing that we did really good was coming for the five weeks, in the summer, as a tester, where we could look around, look at the different areas and look at some of the properties that were available both in the rental and in the sales market, and find what was really going to work for us. We did fall upon this. The rental was the way we wanted to go, but I have no doubt at all that this was the absolutely right route to go. I wouldn’t undo it. It’s just perfect for us. It’s just worked perfectly well.

If you have a good agent, who you trust, it’s phenomenal. The benefits here are fantastic, absolutely fantastic. The weather is great. There’s everything here. Cabo de Palos is attracting more and more up-and-coming restaurants. It’s always been sort of a best kept secret, and I see that the secret is getting out.

Beth: Well it is if you talk about it like that! That’s absolutely perfect. Thank you so much for taking the timeout to chat to me today.

Lindsay: Absolutely no problem at all.

Beth: And good luck…

Lindsay: I’d recommend it to people who want to have an adventure, go for it, it’s terrific. The Spanish people have been phenomenal to us. We have great friends here and yeah, we couldn’t be happier.

Beth: Incredible, well thank you so much, Lindsay, have a great rest of your evening.

Lindsay: Pleasure.

Beth: Cheers, Bye.

Lindsay: Bye.


Thank you for listening and thanks to Lindsay for sharing her advice, and to estate agent Inmacabo for their help to make this episode possible.

I particularly liked the mantra of “why live life if you're not going to touch the sides?” and as you heard from Lindsay’s enthusiasm, her family has had the best adventure.

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