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Episode 45: Jonathan who purchased in Oliva

Podcast host




Beth Davison

Podcast location

Relocated from




Podcast agent

Real estate company

In this episode, Jonathan joins the show to share how he found his dream apartment in Oliva. Working as a digital nomad, it’s important for him to be able to work from home and feel part of a community. After initially just daydreaming about having a holiday home in the Mediterranean, he’s bought the perfect place he can “really relax and unwind”.

Show Notes:

  • [2:39] Jonathan’s digital nomad checklist
  • [7:30] How he searched for properties in Oliva
  • [9:00] Why it’s important to keep the house hunting process fun
  • [12:30] What attracts Jonathan to the Spanish lifestyle compared to living in Germany and USA
  • [14:56] Providing holiday bookings with friends of friends
  • [18:51] The strong sense of community in Oliva


Oliva Casas

Read Full Transcript


Welcome to the Spanish property podcast where we interview people who recently purchased their dream home in Spain.

They tell us what worked, what didn’t and what they’d do differently next time.

I’m Beth Davison and today I’m speaking with Jonathan originally from the United States but now living in Germany.

He purchased his dream home in Oliva, Valencia.

His journey began by daydreaming on Google and with a job that means he can work anywhere as long as there’s a good internet connection daydreaming soon evolved into owning his dream property.

Jonathan worked with the estate agent Oliva Casas to find his dream home in Spain.  

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

Jonathan:  Hi, my name is Jonathan. I am a personal brand strategist, so I do a lot of social media and website strategy for my clients. So I can be a digital nomad. I can live anywhere that I want as long as the internet connection is strong. Yeah, I just recently bought in December of 2017, a... It used to be a townhouse but it got a horizontal division to two apartments. So I bought the top apartment of a property that used to be a Townhouse. It is officially an apartment but it actually feels more like a townhouse and I bought the property in Oliva.

Beth:  How beautiful, so has it got some height? Are we talking has it got a balcony? Is it a second story you said?

Jonathan:  There are three stories. The ground floor is one apartment and that's not the apartment that we got. The apartment that we got, we got the upper half, so the first and second floor. So, it's a two floor apartment. The bottom floor is two bedrooms, two bath and a huge kitchen with a Juliette balcony looking out onto a picturesque little square in Oliva. Then you go up the spiral staircase to the massive lounge with vaulted ceilings, just old brown, beautiful wood. Then there's a really big roof terrace off the side of the lounge.

Beth:  Incredible, I can hear how excited you are about it. It's the nicest thing.

So, were you thinking that you were going to work from there, the internet thing that you mentioned, being a kind of digital nomad, you can work wherever you want, did you have to check things like that when you bought?

Jonathan:  It's important for me that I can work anywhere. I'm forty-two at the moment. I'm not retired yet, but I know where I'm going to be retiring. It was important for me to know that I had internet and fast speed internet in order to continue working. Knowing that, I specifically looked for places that, they didn't have to have the internet already connected, but that it was just good to know that there was internet possibilities.

Beth:  How did you get help with that. That's quite a niche thing. No one else has said that to me that that was what they were looking for.

Jonathan:  Yeah, so the story goes, about (now) five or six years ago I would just hop onto the internet and allow myself to daydream on a Sunday afternoon. I would just do random Google searches looking for properties in the south. I live in Germany in southern Germany .

Just looking at property in the south I would love Spain, I would love travelling down to the Spanish coast, or going out to the islands, Ibiza, Majorca, Menorca, the Canary Islands. I always thought, what if we bought something in the south, whether it be Spain or it could be Greece, or Portugal, or Italy, or Croatia, or whatever.

I was casting a  very wide net and not being specific. I would just spend Sunday afternoons daydreaming on Google and just finding all these different places. I thought maybe Italy would be nice. Then it didn't do it for me, or Greece, no it didn't' do it for me. I kept coming back to Spain and funny enough I kept coming back to the Kyero website. So, I know the Kyero website very well indeed.  Especially for somebody that builds websites and for somebody that understands how to have a great user experience on the web, I found Kyero one of the better websites I picked for people like me looking for properties. So, with Kyero being focused mostly on Spanish property, I just kept looking in that general area.

I thought for years that I was going to be on an island. I have to be on the island because that where we would always go. But then I really thought about it. I said, "What if something were to happen. God forbid if the house were to burn down or there was a flood?" The quickest and easiest way to get there would be to drive. I could hop in the car in Germany and be, by the next morning, on the mainland. But if I bought property on an island then I would have to hop in the car, but then I would have to get to the coast but then take a ferry over, or fly over. There were some things where I just went, ugh, OK, maybe it's not the best idea to look for things on an island rather, maybe it's better to look for things on the mainland. Of course the prices were cheaper, and I just said, "OK, great, so let's look."

So Kyero kept sending me over to Oliva and I didn't decide, but I kept landing in Oliva, Gandia, Denia. So, I just said, OK, I usually vacation in Ibiza or Majorca but the properties were too expensive and it was just too small. I wanted something, we wanted something that was a little bit more space and a bit more community instead of the summer holiday months, they're packed and then there's nothing happening on Ibiza in January. So, I said, why don't we look at something on the mainland.

Oliva kept coming up in my searches on Kyero. So, I said, you know, it's on the same latitude or longitude, the same... it's like a direct line over from Gandia or Denia to Majorca or Menorca, Ibiza. So, we knew the weather was there. We loved the weather. It's not too hot, it's not too cold, it's just right, so why don't I look in that general area.

So, that's when I got hyper specific and really focused in and got laser sharp focus on properties in that area. Like I said before, as somebody that works in the internet business and is able to research a lot, I felt like I had a really good handle on the market in Oliva. I knew exactly what I was looking at, and I could really gauge, from the perspective of just being an online observer as to what was on offer. Also, a case in point, I used to be a real estate agent in New York City so I understand both sides of the spectrum.

Beth:  Dream, that's so much experience across kind of area. That's excellent.

Jonathan:  So, I just said, I think I need to fly over just for five days, to Oliva, and just look at stuff.  That's what I did. So I flew over and I looked at everything under the sun and I thought that I was going to get a townhouse in the hills with a pool, or a beach house, and I would never want an apartment, and I would never want something in the old town.

But after the first couple of days I realized that this would be ridiculous. If I got something up in the hills I wouldn't have the community I'm looking for and I would feel very alone. Also, if I got a beach house it would be packed during the summer months, but nearly empty during the winter months. I kept coming back to the old town, kept coming back to the old town. By the last day, I remember it clear as day, the last day I had an appointment with Tracy, from Oliva Casas and she picked me up at Sandrock Square. I got into her car and we drove around and looked at some properties. I just remember that we had the best time. We had a laugh, and that's the type of person that I am.

Of course, you know, we're buying property, and that's serious, but also the process should be fun and that's when I was like, Whoa. I really liked this woman Tracy. She's super cool, she's got her heart in the right place, she's showing me these properties. I strolled into her, into the agency without an appointment and now she gathered all these properties together. She took it like a champ and she made the best of the situation of me struggling into the office and it was my last day. So I said, "Tracy, I'll be back."

This then, I was going to the Kyero website and also to the Oliva Casas website at and I just memorised everything that was being updated onto the website. Then a year later I flew back over and I said, "Tracy, I'm ready." She said, "You know what, why don't you chat with Jane who also works at Oliva Casa, and Jane is going to show you around." We went to town.

We looked at everything under the sun and my criteria got really super focused. Instead of wanting a beach house with a pool, or something in the hills. I said, It has to be a townhouse. I want to have that community vibe, feel in Oliva. We went to all these different things and it was great. "It's great but there's something missing." Then the last property that she showed me she said, "Well this is an apartment, but it doesn't feel like an apartment, it feels like a townhouse because it actually is a townhouse that has been cut in two, horizontally. There's the upstairs apartment with two floors and there's the downstairs apartment with one floor. Why don't you take a look at it?" I went in and I just said, Yup, this is it.

Beth:  I love those moments when you walk in and you know it's the one and however many viewings you've been on. So many people have talked about that moment of just trusting your gut and knowing that when you walk into a place and it feels like home it's just the right one.

Jonathan:  Totally, totally. There was something really special about the space and, as you know, the Spanish property, when they built these houses, a hundred years ago, or two hundred years ago, the requirements that we have now are so much different than the requirements that they had back then. So, of course the way that the walls are covered, the ways that the rooms are sectioned out and they're proportioned out to, you have to be pretty creative in figuring out where you're going to put the couch, where you're going to put the dining table. But the way that this townhouse, that this apartment was laid out it was awesome. I don't need to tear down a wall. All I have to do is do a deep clean, buy the furniture and we're good. So it just felt like home already.

Beth:  Yeah lovely. So am I right in thinking that you're originally from America...

Jonathan:  Yes.

Beth: Now living in Germany...

Jonathan:  For twenty years, yes.

Beth:  Right, OK, but not lost your accent at all, that's very interesting. You straddle a whole bunch of different camps when it comes to finding a place that feels like home. For you, the Spanish... Is it the Spanish history? Is it the culture, or is it just the way of life? What is it that appeals that is so different from life in Germany and America?

Jonathan:  It's just the way of life. It's the lifestyle. I am constantly on the go. Constantly running from appointment to appointment, connected to the internet all the time. You know, the Spanish lifestyle is that perfect balance of 'laid backness' but still gets the job done, enjoy the sun, the beach is there and that's what was missing in my life. That's what was missing in Germany, that's what was missing when I was in the States.

In the States there's so much work and go, go, go, go. I was either living in Boston, or New York and those are great cities, but you don't have that Mediterranean Spanish, beach culture feel. So you go to Germany where there's a lot more European flair. But, German efficiency, there's a lot of work that is being done here and nobody really goes on holiday to Germany for the sun, now do they.

Beth:  Very true.

Jonathan:  So, we would always fly down to Spain to get our shot of vitamin D, to get that sun, to get that laid back easy going lifestyle. Each time that we would vacation in Spain we would always say, "Oh , wouldn't it be great to have a place in Spain that we could just fly down to and call it home and rent out when we're not there and retire there when we're old enough."

So, it started out as a joke, the past ten years, you know. But not until the past five years was it more of me getting a bit more hyper specific and the past couple of years saying, "Oh, we're doing this." I just love the community in Oliva. I love the friends that I've made there already. It feels like home. There's just a wonderful vibe down there and I just love how it's the only place in the world where I really can just kick back, relax and really let go. I don't know why. Maybe it's the mix of the food and the drink and the beach and the friends that there's something about that space. There's something about Oliva and that area on the coast that I just absolutely love.

Beth:  Fantastic, you mentioned that you rent it out when you're not there. So, obviously wanting to share this idea of paradise with other people. I checked your website out. It makes sense that you work in web now because it's a very good website. So how do you manage that? How easy is that?

You're obviously in Germany. You're not super far away, but you're not just down the road. So how do you monitor bookings and how do you communicate with people?

Jonathan:  It's actually easier than I thought at first. Tracy and Jane are awesome, down in Oliva Casas. Malcolm, who is the handy man, is the partner of Tracy. So, he did all of the renovations in the apartment.

What I mean by renovations like, there were no walls that needed to be torn down or broken up. But the vaulting, the woodwork in the ceiling in the lounge, we just wanted to give it a good spray over and make sure that there would be no wood worm, or install the kitchen. He did the bathrooms fittings, he installed the sink and all those things. It was more cosmetic than actual hard work. He also does that as well. He's awesome. I got to know Malcolm through Jane and Tracy and then Jane and Tracy also offered housekeeping. There's also people in Oliva that have their own housekeeping companies and just the community down there is fantastic.

So, just getting everything up and running and knowing that I could be down there and work on the house. But also be away, give Malcolm the keys and say, "Go to town, install the kitchen, this is what it should look like. Send me pictures on WhatsApp. It was actually really easy.

So, that explains when we're not down here we could maybe rent it out. Now, I'm a big AirBnB person. Whenever I travel I only stay in AirBnBs and I love it. However, with this being my pride and joy and my place where I like the relax I didn't want to AirBnB the place out to random strangers.

Beth:  I completely understand that.

Jonathan:  So, what we've done is we've created the website for friends and friends of friends to go on, check it out, and if they want to reserve a space, or reserve a week or two they can. They book directly through me. It's really easy. If somebody books the first week in July, OK, great, then I'll call Malcolm and I'll say, "Malcolm, there's going to be people coming over. If you're installing a new shower head make sure that you do it before the end of June because friends are coming in the first of July."

I'll have the cleaning lady come in before and change the sheets and do a deep clean and put new towels on the bed. Then when the guests leave, I'll have the cleaning lady go in again and do a deep clean and change out the sheets and towels and we're good to go.

If there is an overlap between guests coming in and coming out, they're my friends. So I can say, "Hey listen we have people that are going to be in the place on that Saturday, would you mind, maybe, flying into Valencia on Saturday, you're flying into Valencia anyway on Saturday. So why don't you get a hotel, or get an AirBnB on Saturday, and then drive down to Oliva on Sunday morning. By then the place will be cleaned up and this will be ready."

So it's not that you have these random strangers staying at your place and you want to make a good first impression and you scramble and do all these things. I'd rather have it be as friendly as possible and be able say, "Hey, can you be a little bit flexible with each other and make it work and make it go from there." Since then I haven't had any problems.

To top it all off this all sounds very nice having our friends come down and stay in the apartment and enjoy our friends and friends But really, just between you me and this podcast, there's an ulterior motive to it and I'll tell you what it is. The community down in Oliva is fantastic and I felt so welcomed down there when I first was down there a couple of years ago. Every time I go into Bar Amigos in Sunrock, or go down to Paseo, and you see friends and you wave and you give them a hug and you have a quick chat, I absolutely love that.

I want to continue the amazing community that's been offered to me, I want to pass that on to the new people coming down there. So, the ulterior motive is that I want my friends to come down to Oliva. I want my friends to stay in our place. I want my friends to feel the community vibe that we have down there, and I want my friends to hang out with Jane and Tracy, from Oliva Casas, and I want my friends to buy properties down there as well so that at the end of our creative careers we will all have retirement homes down there, in Oliva. So, it's an ulterior motive of trying to get all my friends to retire down in Spain as well.

Beth:  Amazing, well I hope it works.

Jonathan:  Thanks.

Beth:  So, you've talked about all of the things that went really well and how good the process is. Was there anything that you found really difficult or that you would do differently if you were to do it all again?

Jonathan:  You know, I can't really think of anything. The process of buying the actual place was so ridiculously easy. I know it can be an absolute nightmare. I know that when I bought a place here in Germany, it was six months of just going back and forth and the notary. But in Spain it was super easy.

It was taken care of professionally. It was, I felt completely respected, I felt like I was being treated wonderfully by Jane and Tracy. My lawyer ... the whole process was fantastic and it went very quickly and effortlessly. All the friends that I have down there that have also bought in the past couple of years, from the UK, from Sweden, another couple from Germany, they were amazed at how effortless the purchasing process was.

So that was the first, "Oh ok, this is really great." Then the next thing we think is, "Oh, ok, there's going to be horrible things happening when you get renovations done, and you have things delivered." In Germany, when you order something from IKEA or from somewhere, you need two to three weeks to wait for them to deliver. In Spain it was there the next day, if not, then two days later. I was, "WOW, that's super quick." Or Malcolm building the kitchen or doing renovation. It went super smoothly.

He's not only an amazing handyman that does everything to the house, he's become a friend. When he comes over it's like, "Come on, let's sit on the roof terrace and drink a coffee and catch up," and hours go by. He's become part of my friends down there in Oliva. So, that whole process was so easy.

Beth:  That's incredible. I think that's really, really, good and it doesn't always go that way, but actually generally the consensus has been that the Spanish property buying purchase is not like other property buying purchases, not like other places, not like other industries. I'm so glad that it went really well for you and that, slowly, you're getting all your friends there. I love that idea.

Thank you so much for talking to me.

Jonathan:  Your very, very welcome. Thank you so much for having me. I'm a huge advocate for paying it forward and giving back where things have been given to me. I'm so grateful for the Kyero website and the apartment that we bought was on the Kyero website as it was on I'm so grateful that I found Kyero because that's what brought me to Oliva, so thank you so much.

Beth:  Amazing, well I hoe it keeps going really, really well. thank you Jonathan. Have a great day.

Jonathan:  Thanks, you too.

Beth:  Bye.

Jonathan:  Bye.


Thank you for listening and thanks to Jonathan for sharing her experiences.

And to Oliva Casas for making this episode possible. I love his secret mission to try and get all of his friends to move to Oliva as well. I’m sure that if they love it as much as he does then it won’t be long until they’re there.

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Tune in next time when I speak with Ray from Lowestoft.

He worked with estate agent Spanish Property Expert to find his dream home in Spain. And is proof that sometimes you begin the process thinking you know exactly what you want and end up buying something quite different.

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


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