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Episode 33: Christmas Special

Episode 33: Christmas Special
Podcast host




Beth Davison

Podcast location


Highlights from previous episodes

Featured locations:

Barcelona, Alicante, Valencia & more

After an incredible first year of Kyero’s Spanish property podcast we’re bringing you the very best bits in a Christmas special.

We’ve consolidated the experiences and insights shared by over 30 podcast guests into one handy audio guide to help you to make your dream of owning a home in Spain a reality.

Show Notes

  • [1:23] The steps Catherine took to make her dream of living in Spain come true
  • [5:23] Why Barcelona is the perfect location for John
  • [7:42] Finding a home close to schools
  • [8:56] How Thomas’ criteria changed as he refined his search area using Kyero
  • [10:54] The importance of researching the costs of buying your new property
  • [13:06] Peter’s advice about budgeting
  • [15:40] The importance of understanding the finer legal details
  • [21:11] Law firm Judicare’s advice about how to find a lawyer you can trust
  • [22:51] The benefits of living in Spain


Read Full Transcript


Beth:  Welcome to the Spanish property podcast Christmas special.

It’s been almost a year since we launched our podcast. Since then we’ve learned from many buyers all of whom have found their dream home in the Spanish sunshine.

In this highlights episode, we’re looking back at all of the stories that we’ve heard over the last year from people who have already bought their dream home in Spain and we’ve consolidated their advice into one handy guide to help you to make your dream a reality.

Our podcast guests have shared insights that they have learned along the way - things that they wish they had known before they began their search.

From knowing where to begin to navigating the administrative, legal and financial hoops and all the challenges along the way - in this episode we’re taking you through the process from inspiration to signing on the dotted line.

Where to begin

Reason for the move / inspiration

Beth:  Over the last twelve months we’ve heard from over 30 buyers who have found their dream home in Spain.  From traditional Spanish fincas in the Andalusian countryside to city centre apartments in the cosmopolitan city of Barcelona.

The motivations behind their decisions to buy in Spain have been almost as diverse as the properties that they settled on.

So, let’s look back - In episode 18 we spoke with Catherine who had always dreamed of living in Spain. She shares what steps she took to make that dream come true.

Catherine:  It was just an easy process once I decided on what house I wanted.

Beth : Fantastic, so it sounded like a positive experiences. How did it all start for you? It sounded like you knew Spain quite well anyway did you?

Catherine: I knew Spain pretty well but my brother got married in Antequera and it was the first time that I had gone into the real Spain. I had always gone on holidays to Costa Del Sol but my brother and I, we stayed in Villanueva de Concepcion which is a very small village - 120 of us went out - and I just loved the real Spain, it was such an experience. So from that when I found that free magazine and saw Olvera and decided whilst I was there for the wedding to take a trip to Olvera. I absolutely fell in love with it - it was very pretty Pueblo Blanco - just couldn’t get it out of my head and decided to go back on a visit and look at houses.

Houses were at their boom then, unfortunately for me, but at the time I fell in love with it and in 2008 I bought it.

Beth: Were you nervous? Did this feel like a big venture for you?

Catherine: You know what I actually wasn’t nervous, but then again I was 8 years younger.

If I was doing it today I might be slightly nervous. I was eight years younger and I just wanted a place in Spain, but I did not want to be in a commercialised area. This town, it’s a town of eight and half thousand people, so I would consider it a town rather than a village.

Beth:  Yeah, absolutely. So it’s eight years later, and how often do you find yourself over there? What do your visits look like?

Katherine:  Actually, I’m just back from there now. I came back last week. I go about five times a year to visit and I stay, a minimum stay is seven days, but now that I’m retired I’m thinking that I’ll probably go for three months at a time. I’ll spend May, June, July, and August in Ireland and then I’ll head off the end of August, September, October, November, and then come back for Christmas and then go again. I will spend longer there now.

Beth:  Yeah, that sounds lovely. Is it that kind of simplistic life? I’m guessing it’s less stressful than Ireland?

Catherine:  If you want to de-stress that’s the place to be. They have the most wonderful vía verdes walking. There are lots of things going on. They have Spanish classes free for Expats.

They’re just wonderful people. You walk down the street and everybody says hello to you and you’re wondering why they’re saying hello to you because they don’t know you but they’re lovely.

Now that I’m living my dream was always to live on a Spanish street with Spanish neighbours. That was my dream.

Beth:  And now you have it.

Catherine:  Now I have it, and every single one of my neighbours know me. They see me every single day, when I’m out there, I spend evenings at dinner in their houses.

They look after my house for me. They check my house. My next door neighbour checks my house every day. Nothing happens to my house without me knowing it.

We also spoke to John in episode 2, who was looking to escape the dull weather of London and hoping for a better quality of life by purchasing his apartment in Barcelona. Since making the move John has been loving the sunshine and his asthma has improved considerably. He tells us about what made Barcelona the perfect location for his dream home.

John:  I suppose the thing that comes immediately to mind is (this is going to sound like a musical) the street where we live. It's a very narrow street with trees growing along the side, and it sort of reminds you of what Paris was like fifty years ago, and it's got a lot of very small shops.

So where we are, there are no chains of retailers. There are small local shops. There are local bakeries. There are local cheese shops. There are local shoe shops. There’s a Chinese hardware shop.

So, there’s the street, itself, which is small and slightly romantic. There are the shops which are delightful and it's like going back thirty, forty years. I hope that's survives the gentrification that, to a certain extent, is going on.

There’s the food, which is very different, and absolutely wonderful, because they experiment. There's a lot of fusion cooking going on with some influences from the Islamic culture, and some small influence from France, but it's mainly Spanish derivative, and Mediterranean derivative.

Incidentally, one of the reasons we left France is we got “pig sick” of French cooking. It may be true that if you go to a Michelin star restaurant, in Paris, you get very good food, but in the smaller towns in France, you get dreadful food.

Beth:  Right, OK.

John:  The markets in France can be wonderful but they're even better in Spain where the climate is even warmer. Cooking in France is appalling. It's stuck in a “fifty years ago” tradition. You can't get a decent salad, and you can't get decent vegetables.

The cooking in Barcelona is wonderful. The produce in the markets is wonderful. There's great fish. There are great fruits and vegetables. There is great cheese. There is fantastic wine and fantastic bread. I Mean, what more do you want?

Knowing what you want

“Knowing what you want and indeed what you don’t want is a common theme among all of the buyers that we spoke with.

In episode 12 we heard from Henry who’s priorities changed when they took on the care of his granddaughter so finding a home close to schools became an important factor in their property search.  Personalised recommendations for the school from people who had sent their own children to the school proved invaluable and played a major role in the decision on location.

Henry:  The advice that we were getting wasn’t something that was coming from tourist data, it was actually practical, on the ground experience of people who had trusted a specific school to give their children the sort of education that they wanted given that their children’s original language wasn’t Spanish. With one it was German and with the other it was English.

So, it gave us the idea to look at that school. We, in turn, went to see the school and we were actually thrilled by it. Our granddaughter has been going there and she absolutely loves it.

She settled in fantastically well. Her friends are all Spanish and she’s speaking a little bit of Spanish now. It’s just beyond our wildest dreams. At the same time we have settled into the house so, so well. My wife has done a great job in terms of putting her own personal touches to it.

When we spoke to Thomas in episode 19, he told us how his criteria changed as he refined his search area using Kyero. Learning more about the areas, he found himself wanting to be in the Costa Tropical area because it had more rain, different types of vegetation, and fewer tourists. So the search led Thomas and his wife to the Almunecar and Salobrena area.

Tom:  When we came here we visited almost every part of Spain except the Basque area. So, we got a really good feel for the various locations and when we came to Malaga we just fell in love with that area.

My wife’s from Puerto Rico and I used to live there, so it was very much like Puerto Rico. It just felt like home. We tended to want to live in the southern part of Spain, as opposed to Madrid or up in the northern part.

So, we just started investigating and, I have to be honest, Kyero was a big influence in understanding this area. We first started looking in the Costa del Sol area, honestly, online. But in reading more about it we found ourselves wanting to be more in the Costa Tropical area because it had more rain, different types of vegetation, and fewer tourists. So, the search led us to the Almunecar and Salobrena area.

Doing your research

When we asked our guests what was the most important part of their buying process, doing your homework and being informed are always high up on that list.

We spoke with George in episode 17, who couldn’t stress enough how important researching the costs of buying your new property; things such as renovation costs and taxes. His advice is to make a shortlist of properties that suit your budget and location requirements and make this criteria clear when communicating with your agents, they might be able to find properties on their books that you couldn't find online.

George:  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.

I've been looking 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 shortlist 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 price 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.

When our guest Peter found that property prices increased in Jan 2017, he adjusted his budget accordingly. In episode 13 Peter shared with us some great advice about budgeting and being prepared to adapt to the market as things could change throughout your search.

Peter:  Be prepared to change what your initial views are. So be open to adapt, because when you are out there, and you’re starting to look at properties, probably, no matter what you price range is, you’re going to find some areas that you like and some that you don’t. Therefore it does help to narrow down the search - narrowing down the search is positive in my view. Otherwise, if you get too many options sometimes you leave confused and [end up] not doing anything.

So, narrowing down your search and being prepared to adapt to the changes whilst you’re going around and looking [is important]. Make sure you’re inquisitive. We asked lots of questions. So, just making sure that you keep that going, keep the questions going because that’s how you learn and are able to then formulate your ideas.

I think the other thing is to really, really know what your budget is. When we started the process we were quite clear and we got pressured, in one viewing, to consider something that was about another sixteen plus thousand on top of the top end of our budget. When we looked at our finances that tight (and it was a lovely property), but when we looked at our finances we knew that it was going to be a challenge, a significant challenge.

So, try to not be pushed into something that you feel is inappropriate and be confident enough. We were able to go back to the guy the next day and say, “You ended up focusing just on the one property because you knew we liked it, but when you told us at the end of the viewing that it was way outside of our range…”

Beth:  So it was the end of the viewing that you found that out?

Peter:  We felt quite disappointed then because we’d just seen something that was lovely. It’s one of those things. Be prepared for maybe the odd disappointment because things like that will happen, but also be prepared to stay strong to what you set out at the outset for.

Navigating the legal process

The legalities of buying property are always difficult to approach, not to mention buying property in a different country. In our special episode we sat down with Peter Esders from Judicare, who is an International Property Lawyer providing specialist global legal advice related to investments in property and land overseas. He told us of some horror stories when international buyers underestimated the importance of the fine legal details.

Beth:  And there are individual case studies, which we’ve discussed, that really jumped out at me. I’ve got the man who paid a ten percent deposit in cash, but didn’t know what country he was buying in. Tell me about this, because this seems impossible to me.

Peter:  This was actually an ex partner of mine who dealt with that particular one. He had a client who came to him and said, “You know, I’m buying a property in Portugal. Could you have a look at the contract? I’ve already signed, it, I’ve already paid the deposit. I paid the deposit in cash as a ten percent deposit. Can you have a look at the contract because I’m signing the title deed tomorrow?”

He had a look at it and said, “Well actually the property you’re buying isn’t in Portugal it’s actually in Spain.” This guy was rich enough to take money out of the bank to pay a ten percent deposit in cash, but didn’t actually know what country he was buying in. Admittedly it was relatively on the border. But, it does show how people can get themselves into all sorts of trouble simple because they assume certain things.

Beth:  Is right of access, across land, is one thing that you’ve mentioned that I’d not thought about in the UK, certainly. Is this something that crops up a lot when buying abroad? I know there was a specific case involving a celebrity. Love a celebrity story.

Peter:  Yeah, yes absolutely. At the basic level what you’re doing, when you’re buying property abroad, is exactly the same as when you’re buying property over here. You need searches on the property. You need to make sure the seller actually owns it. You need contracts. You need to make sure that the property is all OK. You need to go through to registering the property and signing the title deed and all the rest of it.

So, those basic steps, it’s exactly the same as buying a property over here. Part of that includes things like surveys and valuations and all these sort of ancillary things. As part of searches on the property we do occasionally find rights of way over land, just like you do in the UK. For example, my mother has a right of way through her garden. There’s a pathway right of way that the public can actually walk through her garden and she knew that when she bought it.

You can get the same thing when you buy property abroad. So, one I did recently where we actually identified that there was a right of way over the plot of land that the property stood on. The seller didn’t even know it existed, but it was actually registered, and unfortunately, because of the way it was registered, it wasn’t actually clear on where this right of way actually went, though we think it went through the garden and effectively through a wall in the garden, which meant it was a fairly old right of way and that it was unlikely to be used. But, in theory, because it was a public right of way, in theory people could come along and say, “Actually, we’ve got a right to walk on here, so take that wall down and I’m going to walk through your garden.”

So these things do crop up every so often. As you mentioned, I had another case where we were acting for a drummer in a fairly famous band. We identified that there was a right of way through his garden. This was a purchase is Spain.

For somebody like that it’s even more important because the chap that I was telling you about before, they put an insurance policy in place so that if the right of way starts getting used it gets him some sort of compensation for it. But, someone famous buying a property, with a right of way, the last thing that they want is suddenly the paparazzi doing a search on it and finding that they can actually walk within a couple of meters of his back window.

Beth:  Totally, that would be slightly disastrous. It’s never something that you think of unless you’re a famous drummer.

Peter:  It’s something you need to think about anyway. It’s all privacy and you think you’re buying a private plot of land with your own garden and things and then you might find that someone has a right to walk through it. So, all these sorts of things need to be researched when you’re buying.

Beth:  Absolutely, and something else that cropped up on a survey was something that you wouldn’t have realized was the house that you had mentioned, with a beautiful view across a valley, unhindered, but perhaps not for a great reason.

Peter:  Well, absolutely, so we had a client who was buying a property in Italy, many years ago, and they were waxing lyrical over their property and it had beautiful views over the valley, uninterrupted, no one could build in front of them because of the way the valley was and so forth. We recommended that they take out a survey.

They were a bit doubtful whether they should take out a survey because most people don’t take out surveys when buying a property abroad. But, we said it was recommended you get the survey, so they listened to us and went and took out the survey.

The survey effectively came back and said, yes, the reason why you’ve got uninterrupted views over the valley is because the house that used to be in front of you is now at the bottom of the valley and you’re house is next. So, understandably, he didn’t buy that one. It does show that a very quick survey may cost you a bit of money to do that but actually saved him an absolute fortune in buying something that could have been disastrous.

He goes on to share some great advice about what you need to know when buying property abroad and how to find a lawyer you can trust.

Peter:  I think there are several things. First of all you obviously need someone who understands what they’re doing. You can’t, generally speaking, just go down to your local High Street lawyer, in the UK, and ask them to help you buy property in Spain, or Italy, or wherever it is because they won’t have the first idea as to what they’re doing, generally speaking. If they try and do it they will probably get themselves into all sorts of trouble because the systems are very different. So, you definitely need someone who actually understands what they’re doing, whether that’s a specialist, like ourselves, or somebody local, on the ground.

The next thing, which is probably just as important, is that that lawyer is independent i.e. they’re acting for you and not for the seller, the developer, the agents, or whoever it is, just like you would do in the UK. So, when you’re buying a property in the UK you would always get your own independent lawyer to advise you on it. It’s exactly the same abroad.

Again, we see this time and time again, where people have used a lawyer. They think that they’re using someone independent, but they’re actually recommended by the agents or the developer, or whatever it is, and they’re acting, really, for them. I know one particular lawyer where all of his work comes from one particular developer. So, of course, he’s not going to annoy that developer because, certainly, he’ll get all his work cut off.

Life in Spain

Now that our guests have bought their dream home in Spain their life has changed significantly - some even permanently relocating there. Whether it’s adapting to the Spanish lifestyle, being a part of a new community or just taking advantage of the new opportunities living in Spain can offer you. Here is what our guests have to say about life in Spain.

Ray:   We know at least a hundred people over here and we see them and they’re having a great lifestyle.

Jill:  It’s an outdoor life as well, whereas, at home… Even in the winter it’s quite pleasant here. So, you come here in the winter and people are out socialising. Older people are out going for coffee and it still has got that outdoor life that you could never, ever have at home.

Beth:  But what is your favourite part of the Spanish culture and the Spanish lifestyle?

Duncan:  Basically, it would be the weather. In fact, obviously now, we had a lot of rain over the last couple of days, but it's still around fifteen to eighteen degrees at the moment.

Beth:  Lovely.

Duncan: You know, the sun is shining today.

Beth:  It's snowing here, which should make you feel a bit better.

Duncan:  Looking out there now, we’ve got mountains in front of me, and so forth, and whatever. Yeah, the outdoor lifestyle is lovely. The weather is lovely.

Wrap up

Beth:  Well, it has been an amazing year. I think the main words of wisdom that we've heard is that even if it feels like a huge challenge you can take this journey one step at a time. There are options for a whole range of budgets, whether buying on your own or as part of a couple and there are so many people out there who want to help you. Kyero is there to make those contacts happen.

Remember to research, get a lawyer that you trust, and ask for help if you need it. Even after completion you won't be left without help. The advice of professionals can be there throughout the whole process.

Finally, if you're teetering on the edge of a decision, it might be time to just do it, but don't take my word for it.


Thank you to all of my participants this series and thanks for listening to this Christmas special!

As always, send any questions you have about buying in Spain to [email protected] and if you have an interesting story that you would like to share about your experience of buying in Spain email me at [email protected].

We recently launched a free guide to buying Spain. You can download this guide at

And remember, you can listen to all of the previous podcast episodes at any time by visiting

Inspired by the success stories of buyers I’ve heard on this property podcast this year, I’m taking a break to do a bit of travelling next year so Vicky will be the new podcast interviewer for 2019.

Thank you for listening - you’ve been a great audience. Good luck with your search, have a fantastic Christmas and New Year and join us again in 2019 when more buyers share their experiences of finding their dream property in Spain!

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