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Episode 38: Phil who purchased in Algodonales

Episode 38: Phil who purchased in Algodonales
Podcast host




Vicky Carter

Podcast location

Relocated from




Podcast agent

Real estate company

Join us this week as Phil shares his experience of buying a second family home in Algodonales, with his wife and two sons. Being retired, Phil enjoys the rural location and rustic towns. After discovering the area by chance at a local festival, Phil shares what it’s like learning Spanish, adapting to the lifestyle and how to find your dream home.

Show Notes

  • [3:27] The research they did, including building a wishlist
  • [4:36] Why Phil believes there’s property for everybody in Spain
  • [5:33] The Algodonales area
  • [7:46] How the buying process was straightforward
  • [9:34] Working with Al Inmo
  • [11:32] His tip on obtaining the NI number
  • [16:03] How Phil is adapting to the Spanish way of life


Al Inmo

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 Vicky Carter and today I’m speaking with Phil, originally from Newcastle, who lives in Selby now. He purchased his new home with his wife, Leslie, in Algodonales, in Cadiz.

Both of them are retired and they were inspired to find their dream home after watching “A Place in the Sun.” They said to each other, “Why don’t we give it a go?” And that’s what they did. They worked with the estate agent Al Inmo 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:

Phil:  Well, I am retired. I’ve been retired eight years. My wife has probably been retired coming up to two years. We’ve always dreamt of this idea and the time was right. We have two nearly mature sons. One is at university and the other is going to start university. So, we thought the time was right. So, I am retired, yes.

Vicky:  The sons, they flew the nest. So, it’s time to focus on yourself, really. You’re originally from Selby near North Yorkshire?

Phil:  Well, we live there now. We’re both really from the northeast of the country, near Newcastle.

Vicky:  Oh, OK, cool. So, what made you think, “Oh, I want to buy a property in Spain?”

Phil:  Well, we loved the program, “A Place in the Sun.” Because we were shift workers, we were quite fortunate to be able to catch that most times it was on. We would sit down and we would watch it, and we watched Jasmine and all those other presenters and we’d say, “You know, we could do this.” Because some of the places they showed were really nice. Some not so nice, I have to say.

We talked about it, and we ummed and we ahhed. We said, “When we retired,” and all this sort of business. We are young retirees. I’m only fifty nine, and my wife just turned fifty one. So, we thought we needed something else to focus on.

So, it’s that idea sort of snowballed, really. We decided one day when we saw in the “A Place in The Sun” magazine, that there was an expo in Manchester. So we hopped on the train. We’re in Yorkshire, so we hopped on the train and it all gathered speed from there.

Vicky:  Oh, that’s fantastic. You were inspired by the TV and you thought, “You know what, we can it ourselves.” That’s so great.

So what was the experience like going to the Expo? Did that really push you into the direction of looking and buying a property?

Phil:  Well, it did. We’d spent an awful lot of time researching, on the internet, as to how to and what to do and how to buy, where to buy, etc. So, we set about and we did a ten point wish list. Where my wife wrote down ten points and I wrote down ten points. We compared them and strange enough they were very compatible with each other.

We set off to the Expo. We knew that there was going to be various real estate agents and estate agents in general, and money marketing and all the rest like that. So, we thought, well, we’re going to get as much out of this as we can because, in the end, it was a free expo. If you bought the magazine entrance was free.

When we arrived there we were nearly the first ones there because of the train timings. We were overwhelmed by the amount of representation there was there from Spanish lawyers and all sorts of weird and wonderful people. They were very, very helpful, I have to say. The bottom line was that we met a lovely couple of ladies who run Olvera Properties and they were in our price range and in our ten point plan.

So, we spoke to them and they said to us, “Why don’t you come out and try a sample visit?” We thought about it for about an hour and we went back and we said, “We’re going to come and see you,” and we duly did, and that’s how it all started.

Vicky:  Oh, wonderful. It must have been so nice, as well, for it to be near an Expo that was right at your doorstep and to meet the people, in person, before you started your search. How easy or difficult was it to find your property?

Phil:  Well, there is a property for everybody out there, in Spain. All budgets, all different locations (as you can imagine) and, as I say, I go back to our ten point plan. We didn’t want to be on the seaside, on the shore. We didn’t want to be at a golf complex. We didn’t want to be in a communal area. We wanted to live a Spanish lifestyle.

So, we became convinced that our place was inland, where the properties are less expensive. You get a taste of rural Spain. And that’s what steered us, really. That area of Spain that we had located, we had thought that this is going to be for us.

Vicky:  That’s so good, yes, it fits all of your points. You’ve even got the beautiful reservoir nearby and a natural park, but then it’s also one of the most beautiful white towns of Cadiz, as well, so the best of both worlds really. So, that was why you wanted that specific area? So it did coincide with both of your points?

Phil:  Yes it did. We’re still fairly active, can I say. We do like walking. We like cycling. We love to go out and investigate new places.

Those blanco pueblos looked fantastic. But I have to say, some of them are better to look at than they are to be living inside. Some of them are extremely steep. Every way is up, which we found. We thought, well we need to consider this. Thankfully, Algodonales is on a level playing field, but it’s got a lovely backdrop where we can have thirty plus buzzards hovering overhead all day long and, like you said, the reservoir nearby, the Rio Grande nearby, Ronda is near to hand, Seville, Jerez. We’re absolutely bang in the centre of the action, as it were.

Vicky:  So, how long have you had the property? As you said, the building is coming into place. You’re painting and decorating. What’s the process like?

Phil:  Well, our internet searching revealed that there was a process involved and as long as you’re mindful with that. We saw the property in, perhaps, April or May of this year. We made our offer. We paid a reservation fee. We then came back to the UK and organized our NIE number, a foreign bank account to transfer money.

Then we went back in the June, July where we actually signed for the property and we received the keys. So, really from July onwards it has been our property. Indeed, I’m told that two or three days, in the right hands, with the right notary, will see you owning a Spanish property.

Vicky:  That’s incredible. What was the journey like, would you say, personally, to find your dream property from starting your wish list to actually signing for it?

Phil:  Very interesting and very informative. Like I say, there was a myriad of information on the internet. In fact, there is a government website which explains how to buy property in Spain. So, the government realised that perhaps retirees do like to go and live in the sun.

It was straightforward, you know. We sat down at the computer. We knew what our ten point wish plan was. We looked at all of the estate agents. In the end we booked, would you believe, nineteen viewings with seven different estate agents in ten days.

Vicky:  Wow!

Phil:  We based ourselves in Olvera, and, believe it or not, the property that we bought wasn’t even on that list.

We happened to be in Algodonales. They have a festival every year where they have a re-enactment of the Waterloo years, where they dress up in costume and the whole town is converted back several hundred years and we said, “This is absolutely fantastic!” And we bumped into Al Inmo, the estate agent there, with Rica, and we just walked in and she said, “Lovely to see you. Let me show you around.” She showed us about three properties and I think the last one, it absolutely ticked every box that we had. We said, “You know Rica, you’ve done us proud here.” And within a day we put an offer in.

Vicky:   Wow, so really it was only by chance that you stumbled on one of their traditional festivals and fell in love with the place. That’s incredible because you were searching around, nearby, in other locations. So, what was the agent like? How were they with the process?

Phil:  I can’t sing their praises enough, really. We’re not Spanish speakers thought we do intend to resolve that. But, Rica is a Belgian lady who obviously speaks fluent English and Spanish and is very welcoming and very honest and open about the situations.

Not every property is to everybody’s liking and she understood what our wish list was and what our feelings about the places were and what we thought about the renovation that might be required. She guided us through all of that.

She explained the costs involved because it’s not all plain sailing. Your purchase price is one thing. The actual final amount that you’d be expected to pay is another matter.

You can add fifteen to eighteen percent on top of that purchase price. But, she was very good and explained everything along the way.

She prepared papers for us. She translated for us. She got in touch with the local architect who came along and she clearly acted as translator so that we were able to ask the architect questions about the renewal of the kitchen and ceilings and everything else like that.

Ultimately, when we went to sign for the property and pay for it in full, again, she came along and acted as an interpreter with the notary and played the role of the interpreter, if you like. She took no active part other than that. So, it was absolutely splendid. To this day we’re friends, and we chat, and we go and visit her. It’s very good.

Vicky:  Oh, lovely. She sounds really patient and wonderful to be there every step of the way. The process of buying in a foreign country can be quite daunting with the different legal, and the tax, and the finance systems. Is there an area that you found most challenging?

Phil:  To be fair no, because Rica did a fantastic job for us. The one problem that we did have, which wasn’t a problem I would have to say, was the NIE number where you have to obtain this number from the Spanish government so that you can pay tax in their country.

We’d read some horror stories about this and how other people had waited weeks and weeks and weeks. You can actually pay a solicitor to have power of attorney and they will do it all for you, but you’re talking two hundred to two hundred and fifty Euros each for that to take place.

However, if you go on the Spanish Consulate website there is actually the principle forms, which we duly filled in. There’s also a booking system where you can book a fifteen minute slot each, at the consulate. You present yourself there and eight pounds fifty, and twenty minutes later you’re in possession of an NIE number and you can enjoy a day trip into London at the same time.

Vicky:  Wow! Now, that is a proper insider tip and also useful for anyone else buying in Spain. So, really, thank you so much, Phil, for that.

Is there anything that you would do differently next time? Obviously that would be something that you’d also take in as a factor, but you did stumble across Algodonales. Would you branch out your search a bit further next time? Or would you take into account local festivals in the area and check out the place because of them?

Phil:  Yes, I think our starting point was the budget, which is obviously very important to most people. You’ve got to decide how much money you are prepared to spend on a property in a different country. Of course, as I’ve said previously, that’s not necessarily the end of the matter because there are local taxes and things.

So, if you decide on a purchase prices, say, of 50,000 pounds and there are many, many properties for that, or less available in Spain. Then you add about fifteen to eighteen percent on top of that, that is the sort of price you will be paying. You’ve got to be mindful that you’ve got to go to and from the property if you’re not going to live in Spain. I would then decide on the ten point plan. How big do you want it? How many bedrooms do you want it? What are you expecting from this property?

Then I would decide on the region. When I say region, if you decide that you want to go to Marbella, and a lot of people obviously do, why not look thirty minutes outside of that particular area. Because you will find that the properties are remarkably less expensive, but you’re still within easy reach of Marbella.

So, that is why we’ve gone to Algodonales. It’s in the Cadiz region. It’s not on everybody’s radar unless you’re a paraglider. But, as you’ve identified, Ronda is 30 minutes away. Jarez is an hour away where there’s an IKEA, believe it or not. Seville is an hour away. We are literally on the doorstep of Zahara, the most picturesque village in the whole of the region, and we have paid a premium price. We dropped on very lucky.

The only thing I would stipulate and we’ve fallen a little bit foul of it, when you have the builder who comes around, we all know that in this country, in the UK, we like to have timeframes. We like to be saying, “Yes, in three weeks time my extension is going to be built.”

Well, I’m afraid in Spain that three weeks could end up being three months. So you need to be mindful that that is the Spanish way. If you challenge them to say, “I thought you said I was going to be given a new bathroom in a week.” They will shrug their shoulders and go, “Well, it will come next week.” And that’s the way.

So, you’ve got to revert or go to their sort of lifestyle.

Vicky:  Yes, adapting to their style of culture. They have a very mañana, mañana philosophy. Yeah, especially in summer when it gets so hot to work. Everyone has a little siesta, to be honest. Yeah, that’s adapting to their new lifestyle. How have you found that adapting to not only the builders, but their way of life?

Phil:  We’re coming around to that way of life. I have to admit. I was very ordered, in my working environment. To think, I can tell you that in the five weeks that we’ve just come back from we had delivery of a washing machine attempted on two occasions. To be fair, we are still waiting for that washing machine. But, it’s not a problem. It will be delivered. So, we’re confident that at some point, in the near future, we’ll get a washing machine.

Vicky:  (laughter) That’s a good way to look at it.

What do you love most about owning a property, and the Spanish culture?

Phil:  Well, obviously the climate is one thing. It can rain in Spain. I have to be honest. But the climate, the village, or the town that we have chosen is so vibrant, and that’s across the spectrum.

You have the old people who promenade in the morning and the evening. You have the young people who gather in groups in the evening around the bars and the tapas bars. Then the very, very young who are revered by everybody and everybody looks after everybody else. It’s a fantastic lifestyle.

You can go along the street and I don’t Speak Spanish. They all know who I am. I’m the new English man. And I say, “Ola,” and they all reply back to me and start conversations even though I’m afraid I don’t understand at the moment, but they’re more than happy to welcome me into that town and I think it’s great.

Vicky:  Do you think you’re going to learn Spanish? Is that on the “to do” list for you?

Phil:  Yes, definitely, definitely. My wife, Leslie, has spent many hours on an internet app of some sort. Many hours I have to say. She knows an awful lot of words and a lot of phrases and grammar. The problem is that when you learning that way, you can’t interact.

So, when it becomes the spoken word, she freezes up. Now, I’m a French speaker and I love to speak French because it’s being understood in a different language. I think once we get Leslie up and running, and I can get some vocabulary myself, I think we’ll be more than capable.

Vicky:  Yes, of course. I know what you mean. It’s learning those words and then actually putting them together. I’m sure with some more conversations with the local people and practice everything will flow. What about your sons, are they looking forward to visiting?

Phil:  They’ve both been out. Our eldest son, who is at university, came out and he was with us, I think when we purchased. We unfortunately had to stay under a tent for a month and he managed three weeks and then he said, towards the end of the third week, he said, “I’m sorry, you’re going to have to take me home.” So we put him on a flight. But he set about scraping off the paint and moving stuff, and ripping up all sorts of stuff from it. And he’s very keen to see it develop.

Our youngest son was there from the start and he took great delight in hammering off the ceramic tiles. I’ve got some great photographs of him. It was in August. We were sweating our shirts off. He, again, is very intrigued to see the progress that we’ve done in these last four weeks.

Of course the property is for them and their families as well when it comes to it. We’re not going to go down the commercial route, at the moment, of renting out. It is purely a family second home.

Vicky:  That’s wonderful. It’s nice for everyone to be involved, all members of the family, and to see the process and to see their hard work and get stuck in. Because years later they can remember a certain tile that they put up and say, “yes, I remember putting that together.” When you’re creating memories as a family, it’s wonderful to look back at that.

Phil:  Oh yes, definitely. They are keen, as keen as young adults can be, of course. Then we show the photographs and we say, “Do you remember what that used to look like?” And they say, “Oh yeah, yeah, that’s really cool now. That’s great.” So, ultimately, I’m sure that they will come to love it like we do.

Vicky:  So you’re looking at more like a second family home. Are you planning to visit during summer? Or will you be hiding away from the harsh depths of winter there? What’s your plan?

Phil:  We just came back now, and it was twenty-three degrees in December. So, it’s going to be a year round second home. When Mathew, the eldest boy, is at university, it doesn’t really matter where we live. My youngest son, when he goes to university in Newcastle, next year, again, it doesn’t matter where we live as long as we’re on the end of a telephone.

So, that was part of the reason. We felt, “Why stay in the UK? The boys don’t need us, really.” Of course there are family members, so we’re going to make the most of what we can of two homes. Six months here, six months there would be ideal.

Vicky:  Sounds wonderful. Thank you so much for talking to us today, Phil.

Phil:  You’re more than welcome. I love to encourage people. My ex work colleagues, who are coming up to retirement, I keep feeding them your website. I think it’s one of the best ones, and saying, “Look, it is achievable. It really is. I never thought I’d own a second home in Spain. Not in a million years, but the process is simple and the ownership is heart-warming, to say the least.”


Thank you for listening and thanks to Phil for sharing his experiences, and Al Inmo, for their help to make this episode possible.

I really liked hearing about the traditional festival Phil and Leslie just stumbled upon, which made them really fall in love with Algodonales. It’s a fantastic way to experience Spanish culture and immerse themselves, even further, in the lifestyle. What a great insider tip, too

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That’s the last episode in this series. I’ve absolutely loved my time as the guest host and hearing all of the wonderful experiences of people who’ve found their dream home in Spain.

Thank you for listening and tune in again next time when Beth (fresh from her own travels) from will be returning as the podcast presenter for the next series.

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


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