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Episode 34: Erik who purchased in Villamartin, Alicante

Podcast host




Vicky Carter

Podcast location

Relocated from

Oslo, Norway



Podcast agent

Real estate company


Welcome back to season four of the show! This week, Erik joins us to share his experience of buying a house in Villamartin in the run up to his retirement. Currently working as a Headhunter in Norway, Erik enjoys escaping to the sun with his family and soaking up the local culture.  Tune in to hear his advice for first-time buyers, how they found their dream home in one day, and his plans to become fluent in Spanish.

Show Notes

  • [1:02] Why Erik seeks the winter sun
  • [3:40] What attracted Erik to the area
  • [4:34] Description of the Villamartin area
  • [6:05] Erik’s experience of the buying process
  • [8:37] The continued support they get after the purchasing process
  • [13:19] How they found their property on the first day
  • [14:00] What their budget was
  • [14:40] Erik’s advice to buying for the first time
  • [16:11] What Erik loves most about owning a home abroad


InSun Properties

Read Full Transcript


Welcome to season four of 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 Vicky Carter and today I’m speaking with Eric originally from Oslo, in Norway.  He purchased his new home in Villamartin in La Zenia area.

Working in pharmaceuticals, Eric loves a place to call home to escape the winter months and enjoy a warmer climate all year round.

Eric worked with estate agent In Sun Properties 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

Vicky:  So thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. I really appreciate it.

Firstly, so you're from Oslo. Wow, what a beautiful city.

I'm jealous of you already. You've got everything that you want. You've got the city, you've got the port, you've got the beaches and the fantastic woods. What made you choose elsewhere, really? That's my main question.

Eric:  I had the same question myself, this summer, because we have such a heat spell, from May to August. But, anyway, it's nice to go down south, especially when you're heading towards winter. October and November it's quite nasty here. It's getting colder and rainy. So, I thought maybe the sun coast of Spain would be a nice place to spend some time at that time of the year, and of course, in the spring time as well. But, in the mid summer it's not that interesting for us to be there. It's more for escaping somewhere from winter, that was the main reason.

Vicky:  Oh, that's fantastic. Yeah, escape the winter blues and just go somewhere a little bit nice and warmer. So, have you bought or rented a property? Do you use it as a holiday home then (I'm guessing)?

Eric:  Yeah, we have bought a house in the Villamartin area.

Vicky:  What's that area of Spain like? I've heard it's beautiful.  Torrevieja, which is well known for its fantastic beaches and golf places as well, do you partake in golf yourself on the golf courses?

Eric:  I'm surrounded by golf grounds, but I'm not into that sport.

Vicky:  OK. It's still beautiful to look at though, the greens are really stunning and their well kept, as well, in Spain. So, if you don't mind me asking, what do you do yourself?

Eric:  Yes, I work as a head hunter for the pharmaceutical industry in Norway.

Vicky:  Oh wow, that's incredible. So, it's really quite a stressful situation and complex as well, so it must be really wonderful to be able to step away from that area of work and the country as well and just get a real form of escape when you go to Spain.

Eric:  Yeah, of course, but on the other hand I'm in the process of retiring right now. So, I reduced the time I'm spending on work, so I have more leisure time. So, that's also partly why we chose to buy this house at this moment, actually it was two years ago, but it was quite a long perspective where we wanted to have something in place to go to when we reduced our time at work.

Vicky:  Well, first of all can I say congratulations, that's wonderful, that's exciting, those steps towards retirement. It must be really rewarding. So, what's the process been like, searching for the property? What attracted you to buy in that area?

Eric:  Well, to be honest with you it was my daughter who was interested in that area because she had been there before, and she had her former boyfriend. They had a house down there not so far away from where we, in fact, bought our house. So, she talked me into it.

So, we went down there, and we had a look. Then we met a real estate broker and then the snowball started to...

Vicky:  Yeah, so you arrived and you immediately thought, "Oh, I could live here. This is beautiful."

What were your initial thoughts when you first saw the place? Obviously, people have preconceptions of somewhere, but I'd like to know what came into your mind when you first saw it? Some of our listeners might not have ever been there before and can't visualize it themselves, so I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Eric:  It is a pretty nice area. The area has nice beaches. We do not have many hotels. so you don't feel this tourist industry. It doesn't get that kind of feeling there. There are smaller houses spread around, lots of nice restaurants and you also have this big shopping center there so you can get whatever you...

Vicky:  You need, yeah.

Eric:  ...You desire to get. The infrastructure is OK and it is not too far to the beach, where our house is located. It looks like a quiet, nice area, not too touristy so to speak.

Vicky:  Yeah, lovely, it seems more like independent restaurants and smaller housing estates. So, is that what you were initially looking for when you had that in your mind? Was that part of your criteria that you wanted: somewhere a little quiet but easy access to the beach, and nice restaurants and a good shopping area as well?

Eric:  I think that sums it up pretty well. I think we found it there.

Vicky:  Yeah, definitely. Did you find the process quite challenging or difficult? Obviously you're going into an area and you're having a select criteria. Was it really useful having your daughter's connections there and she suggested the place for you?

Eric:  We didn't have any connections down there originally. We went, more or less, by accident and got connected to an agent broker, but he didn't have so much time for us. He had a partnership with a different agency. We got in contact with them and she took us around to properties in that area that were under development or already finished. So, she showed us around in the area. So that was, in fact, the first time that I looked around there. So, it was a nice tour.

Vicky:  Oh, that's good. So, you found the staff on the ground there really easy to talk to and so it was the process of buying a property, it was easy did it seem?

Eric:  Yeah, I had contacted brokers before and regarding my experience with In Sun Properties, I would maybe say the word "fantastic." It was all around good service, professional and they knew what they were talking about and they were trustworthy. It is a lot of money to pay, so you have to put some trust into the person who's going to help you find a nice house.

After the process finished we are very happy. We have adopted the right property for us. That was, of course, much because of In Sun Properties. In a way they learned to know us as a client and I think they got the feeling of what we were looking for. In that way, yes,  the property that we picked was quite perfect for us. So, we just had to choose the very right one.

Vicky:  That's wonderful. It sounds like they were really attentive to your needs and exactly what you were looking for in your aims. I think that's really important for our clients because it's that uncertainty of the barriers that you might face. There's the legal, the tax, the finance, and the language barriers.

But if you've got someone, an agent, who can point you in the right direction and be supportive, and understanding of what you're going through, especially since you've saved all your life. This is your retirement home and you want to settle down and relax and enjoy the finer years of your life. Yeah, it's a real big step to take, and if you're taking that step with someone you trust personally then I think it's a wonderful one.

Eric:  Especially, I think after we had bought the property, there's always things that pop up that have to be checked up on; or maybe the builder has been doing something that was not one hundred percent. There were not many issues about it. I think it was all quite a pain free process.

What was very positive for us is that with In Sun Properties, after they have done business with us, they were still there for us. So, in a way we were taken care of after the buying process. That is quite special. I think many of the brokers just say, "OK, thank you for the deal."

So, they didn't send us away on our own, but In Sun Properties was helping us and assisting us with a lot of different things that we had: just buying furniture, recommending shops, supplies for instance if we want to have some special extras on the building, things like that. It was really helpful and that was, maybe, a surprise, a very positive surprise that we had this assistance from them after we had finished the building process.

We still have some contact with them now and then. It has been a pleasure.

Vicky:  Yeah, so even now they're still checking up on you. I think that's wonderful because they can point you in the right directions. They know the area, they know the best retail places, as you were saying, the builders that they can recommend for you and the steps that you want to take, especially that they know what you're looking for as well.

Eric:  They also helped with communication with the builder, because my Spanish is quite lousy, and they are not always fluent in English, either. So, it was very helpful to ease the communication and to avoid misunderstandings and stuff like that.

Vicky:  Yeah, they were able to bridge the gap between two. Oh, that's wonderful! What areas did you find most challenging, if you did?

Eric:  I think it went quite smooth. I can't pinpoint any issues. If we got into something, I just picked up the phone and I called Gabby, and we got instant help. She always replied very fast and very professional and she always fixed our problems. I can't say that we had any big issues in any way. It was very pain free.

Vicky:  Good, yeah, oh wow, that's very lovely to hear.

Eric:  Maybe we were lucky. I don't know, but for us it was very, very easy.

Vicky:  A smooth process. That's wonderful. That's what everyone wants it to be, to be honest, they want it to be a smooth process.

With regards to your research, so, what kinds of channels did you use? Obviously your daughter said that she knew the area. Did she recommend the agents to you or did you do some of your own research?

Eric:  No, as I said before, it was more or less by accident that we found this Norwegian real estate broker, and she didn't have time for us and she sent us to Gabby. She took care of us from there. So, everything was quite coincidental.

Vicky:  Oh, wonderful, so, there is a sense of community on the ground there, with the agents. Would you also say on a wider circle?  What's your friends network there, what's it like?

Eric:  We had contact with two agencies when we were here in Norway. One of them gave us some wrong information, and was also speaking badly about its competitors, and I thought, "This is not a company for us." The other one, who we selected, was very nice, very professional, and they also took us around a bit before we made this appointment with Gabby. So, it was not a big selection process.

Vicky:  That's good, so, it didn't take you that long to find the agent, the property itself?

Eric:  You know, we found the property on our first day.

Vicky:  Wow, love at first sight.

Eric:  Yeah, you can say that. It was very fast. After we had been talking to Gabby, she took us to different places and then she found the house very fast because I think she knew what we were looking for and it was the right size, the right type of house, and also you always want to pay less, but I think the price was OK as well.

Vicky:  What kind of budget was it?

Eric:  Well, our budget was quite flexible, but I think with everything it's close to three hundred thousand Euros, two hundred and ninety, around there.

Vicky:  And you found what you were looking for, really, quite quickly with supportive agents.

Eric:  Yeah, the same day.

Vicky:  Wow, that's incredible.

Eric:  We had one night's sleep and then we made our decision.

Vicky:  What advice would you give to anyone similar who is looking to retire and looking for their dream property, but they're just uncertain if they should look, or if they should look in Spain even.

Eric:  Yeah, first of all they have to find the location. They need to know what kind and they have to set up a demand analysis to find out what they are exactly looking for. For us, this area, the Los Anya area, was perfect for us. But other people have other needs and other interests, but for us it was quite perfect.

Vicky:  How often do you go and visit your property? I know that you did say that you were going to retire there in the future, but how often do you visit now, mainly in the winter months? How long do you stay for?

Eric:  This year we have been there, all together, about four weeks, I guess. We're going down next week for several days.

Vicky:  Lovely, yeah. To sunbathe - I could do with some of that. I could do with some sunshine, indeed. So you're planning to spend Christmas there, then?

Eric:  No, Christmas has to be in Norway.

Vicky:  OK, tradition.

Eric:  In our family it is tradition.

Vicky:  Yeah, lovely.

Eric:  I have asked my children if they were interested in looking into that possibility, but they were not, so we are going to celebrate Christmas in Norway.

Vicky:  Fingers crossed, one day in the future, they'll enjoy Christmas at the beach.

Eric:  Yeah, maybe.

Vicky:  A lot less warmer.

Finally, what do you love most about owning a property in Spain and having a place in Spain and integrating with Spanish people and the culture there?

Eric:  The main concept of owning a home in a different country is that everything is easier because you will always be a light traveler. In a way you are getting more and more accommodated to a certain place. It could be boring, but you don't have to go there every time you go on vacation.

You learn the place and everything is more efficient. So, it's easier to just go down for a long weekend, for instance, and be more impulsive. You don't have to make all these big plans, so everything is much easier to just get away for awhile. It's like going to your cabin. That is the best part of it.

How will we get in contact with the locals? I'm not sure, but probably through some of the people who are living in the same community as we do. I have some contacts already with some of them.

Vicky:  Oh, fantastic.

Eric:  But if I want to get in touch with the Spanish people, I have to sit down and learn the language, I guess.

Vicky:  How do you feel about learning the language?

Eric:  Well, I'm old.

Vicky:  Don't say that. Age is just a number.

Eric:  I'm going to give it a try. That's the answer, I'm going to give it a try.

Vicky:  That's fantastic, lovely, yeah.

Eric:  I also say that my daughter is quite good in speaking Spanish. When she has been communicating with the Spanish people they lighten up, in a way, because someone else tried to learn their language. It's very positive. I actually will try.

Vicky:  Yeah, that's the right attitude to have. It's a step by step process. You've got your dream house and you're setting yourself up. At the end of the day your house provides more opportunities to travel in its ease and comfort. So, I'm sure everything will fall into place afterwards.

Eric:  Yeah, it was a fine thing to do, for us.

Vicky:  Well, I'm glad to hear it. It sounds like you've chosen and made the right decision.

Thank you so much for talking to us. It was lovely to hear your story and your experiences of buying a property in Spain. I wish you all the best for your future there and your wonderful, relaxing retirement, as well. Maybe one day I'll see you on the golf course.

Thank you have a lovely day.

Eric:  Thank you.

Vicky:  Cheers, bye.

Eric:  Bye, bye.


Thank you for listening and thanks to Eric for sharing his experiences and In Sun Properties for their help to make this episode possible

I really liked hearing the perspective of someone buying their own property and exploring the area and really getting to know it. If you like what you have heard:

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Tune in next time when I speak with Dean from San Francisco

He purchased his apartment in Alvera and I can’t wait to tell you all about his wonderful way of life with his various properties in locations all over the world.

I’m Vicky Carter and you’ve been listening to the Spanish property podcast. I’ll see you next week!


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