Hear how Peter found his new-build villa in Orihuela Costa. With completion happening 6 weeks before this interview, Peter shares a lot of his recent experience on the show. We uncover how he found the region, relocating from living in Dubai, and his process of elimination to finding the right property.
- [2:44] The initial research he did
- [3:23] On not being too overwhelmed from the research process
- [6:37] The support from an agent as opposed to doing it on your own
- [7:46] The power of elimination when property viewing
- [10:09] The description of the new build property
- [13:22] His continued support from the agent
- [16:20] Buying in Spain compared to England and Dubai
- Welcome to the Kyero.com 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 Peter, originally from Belfast.
- He purchased his new dream home in Orihuela Costa.
Previously, Peter and his wife had owned property in Dubai, but since both of his daughters are fluent in Spanish, buying in Orihuela just made sense, even if, as you'll hear, there was a difficult bit of compromise involved. Peter worked with estate agent Live Med Coast to find his dream home in Spain.
Check out the show notes at kyero.com/podcast to find links and resources mentioned in this episode
Body of Transcription
Peter: My name is Peter. I currently am a company director and I have purchased a new build villa in Spain.
Beth: At what point did you complete on that? When are we talking?
Peter: Oh, completed about six weeks ago.
Beth: Fantastic, so that's really new.
Peter: It is, it's really new. We've only been there once since we completed, for ten days. So, we're looking forward to going back to it.
Beth: Yeah, amazing, I bet, so, talk me through the process. How did it all start for you? Whose idea was this? What was the first step?
Peter: Yeah, OK, we had a property in Dubai, before. The children have grown up, so Dubai was too hot, too far away, flights took too long, they were too expensive. So, we thought we wanted to get something closer to home. The two of our girls speak Spanish. So, we decided we would have a look in Spain and see if we could find something there that would be more suitable. So, we didn't really look anywhere else. We just thought it was Spain because we liked the climate. I say the two girls can speak Spanish and, obviously, Spain as well, served in terms of flights.
Beth: Yeah, absolutely. It's going to be a little bit easier, and presumably how often were you going to Dubai, and will you be using the Spanish house in the same way?
Peter: Yeah, Dubai we went mostly for holidays. My wife is a school teacher. My holidays were fairly flexible, so we generally went during Summer time, Christmas time, and Easter time, so, just on holidays. But, we would hope to use the Spanish villa a lot more. You could never go to Dubai for a long weekend, for example. But the way the flights are, we recon we could go to Spain on a Friday morning and be back on a Sunday night or a Monday, or whatever. So, I think we will use it a lot more.
Beth: Fantastic, so, how did you decide on your region? Talk to me about the research that you did.
Peter: It was fairly basic, we started with a bit of research on the internet. A few other companies came up, and I emailed a couple of them and they got back to me. I picked one and that was basically it. It was fairly straight forward. I hadn't been referred by anyone, but it was just on the internet.
Beth: Amazing! I think that takes some confidence, you know, to just believe in your own capabilities and just go ahead and start the process by yourself. Did you find it intimidating at all, or did you feel well prepared because of your previous property?
Peter: No, I didn't find it intimidating. I had a rough idea of what we wanted. In terms of region, I had no idea about the region. Roughly, in this region, it showed the beaches, it showed the La Zeniua Boulevard, for example. So, it just looked as if it had most of what we were looking for. I liked the fact that it was a new build.
So, when I made contact with the company and explained all this and told them what we were looking for and they sent me some suggestions. Then we arranged to go on a trip, last August, my wife and I, for four days. Before they had questioned me about what it was we were looking for, what the budget was, what our preferences were: beach, no beach; pool, no pool; all that sort of stuff. So, by the time we had arrived they had a fair idea about what we were looking for. So, last August we had a stay for four days.
Beth: Did what you saw at that point fit with what you had envisioned that you wanted? Sometimes that's the point where things change for people and they see the real live thing, and they're like, "Oh no, maybe we want something a bit different."
Peter: No, it was quite different from what we saw on the internet.
Beth: Yeah, interesting.
Peter: The properties themselves were fine. The properties were the properties but the location and the setting were very different.
Beth: So, what was it that kind of differed, and what was it that you eventually went for?
Peter: Well, it differed because you didn't really see the backgrounds in the photographs. You just saw the villas, the villas themselves were obviously very nice, they were great, they were new builds, they were well finished. But they were set amongst other properties that weren't the same. They were, maybe, up a steep hill. There was a whole mix of properties. There was only one that was new. So, it was more the setting and the location. The properties themselves were fine.
The first thing, as a guide, Anthony, he picked us up from the hotel and showed us around. He and I had an exchange of a few emails prior to traveling, so, he said, "Based on what you told me (we went through what we told him) I'm going to take you to three or four locations, today. If you like any of them we'll go back in the next couple days. If there isn't anything that you like or if you see something that you like or think of something else, then there are a few other developments that I would maybe be able to take you to. So, the first day was really getting to have a look around and look at some of the ones that we felt that we liked. We actually were able to eliminate a couple of the developments straight away. We just didn't like the location when we got there.
Beth: Great, I mean the more that you can eliminate the easier it sort of becomes after that initial trip, doesn't it?
Peter: Yeah, Anthony was excellent. He's lived there for fourteen years. He has a good relationship with a number of the developers and he was great. He was absolutely superb. I think it's fair to say that had we'd gone out by ourselves for those two or three days, it would have been much more difficult. In fact we probably wouldn't have decided on a property in one trip. Who knows, it may have taken us two, three, or four trips. It was much, much, much better use of our time. To have that local knowledge made all the difference.
Beth: So, talk to me about your decision. Did you know as soon as you saw the house? What was it that you went for? How many bedrooms?
Peter: Yeah, well we had said in advance that we wanted three bedrooms and we wanted a pool. You want to be close to the beach, close to amenities, you want a big site. It wasn't until you get there that you realize that you're going to have to compromise in some way.
We didn't see anything the first day that we really liked, but we saw a few things that we really didn't like. So, I think it's almost as important to see things that you don't like than properties that you like as well because you can eliminate those.
So, after the first day Anthony was able to say, "Well, look I was going to take you to this place tomorrow, but it's similar to the things that you didn't like. So, let me think and we'll think of somewhere else." We did that the second day and we started to really eliminate things that we didn't like, locations that were too much out in the country, or too far away from the beach. The ones that were very close to the beach were those that were too small.
So, by the third day we had a fair idea what we were looking for. More importantly I think Anthony had an idea of what we were looking for. The only thing was budget. We had an idea on budget, but when you see it on the internet and then they give you prices, it's really the basic price that they're giving you.
So, we were able to spend a bit more and navigate that a bit more. In fact, the way it happened was that we were due to fly back on, I think it was maybe a Wednesday, and our flight wasn't until eight o'clock in the evening. We had a look on what we thought was our last go on the listing we wanted and we still weren't sure. There was one we liked but it wasn't making us say, "We have to have that!" It was the best of what we had seen.
So, we were almost taking it because it was the best we had seen. So, we were having a cup of tea and Anthony just said, "Well look, there's a property not far away from here and it's slightly more than what you told me your budget was, but if you're prepared to go that bit more, I think you'd really like this. He'd really gotten to know what we were looking for during the two or three days that we spent there.
He said, “It's not for from here. The finishes are first class. The developer is reputable, it's a great development, and I used to work with Mr. Belabur before. So, we actually went to see it and straight away said, "Yeah! We really like this." That was about lunchtime on the Wednesday. So, we decided then that we were going to buy it. So, Anthony took us to the lawyers. We met the lawyers and introduced ourselves and said we'd be in touch. So, even that made the process much easier because he had used some lawyers that he had used before. We decided, that day, that we were going to buy the property. We got home on the Wednesday night and we sent off the deposit on a Friday.
Beth: Fantastic, so, that all came together in the last couple of days. So, you mentioned that it was a new build. Tell me more, what else does it look like? Paint me a picture.
Peter: It's detached. It's in a gated community. It's three bedrooms, three bathrooms with a reasonable sized pool, I think it's eight metres by four, so it was bigger than some of the other pools. When you look at a photograph on the internet the pool looks fantastic and then when you go to see it it's like a big bath in your garden, but this was great. The finish was first class, the show house was really nice, the tiles, the furniture, everything was included - all the white goods. We could pick the tiles for the bathrooms. But, we honestly… probably seventy-five percent of the finish we took from the show house.
Peter: Yeah right away through. We just want the same tiles as the show house. So, for a lot of that we didn't have to go back out again. I think we only went back once because, I have to say, Anthony was supurb. He emailed us, in fact, probably too many choices of tiles, choices of furniture, and he was in regular contact with us. The lawyers were great as well, they were really first class.
Beth: In the end, then, how much over budget was it, do you mind me asking, if you kind of changed your parameters?
Peter: Probably about thirteen percent, maybe more than we had expected.
Peter: But, having said that, we had a budget but we had no idea. As I said what we had seen on the internet was a basic price. What we absolutely didn't realize was that there was a one off tax that you paid as well, ten percent, whatever that figure was.
Beth: Yeah, some people mentioned that that can be a bit of a nasty surprise.
Peter: We had no idea, no idea. So, what we had budgeted for that that was on top of that as well. So, we just decided that this is for the long-term. I was actually surprised. I thought the properties were much more expensive than I had imagined. When I was watching A Place in the Sun, properties seemed to be a good value, but supposedly, though, the way we reconciled that was that this is going to be a family holiday home for another ten, twenty years. That's a long term investment for us, and we'll use it. So, we're happy.
Beth: Well yeah, and you're going to save money elsewhere.
Peter: I would rather have paid ten, twenty thousand Euros more for a property that we really like than saying, "We'll take that because it's a better price." So, Anthony was really good, he was really good. He was fair; he didn't push us at all. He didn't try and sell us a more expensive property. He was actually quite clever in the way he eliminated areas.
In fact, there was one area that we said, "Look, no, no, we want to see this, we really want to see this, we really like this." He said, "I don't think you're going to like it." We said, "No, no." So, we insisted. He drove us to the area and we said, "No, you were right, we really don't like it. It really looked great on the internet, but no."
Beth: Yeah, I mean it's brilliant how well you got to know him. It's really nice that you built a rapore. That's a real theme that's coming through these podcasts.
Peter: Even now, even now that we've completed, Anthony is still doing follow-up for us. There's a few teething problems around. The air conditioner didn't work the first night. He got that sorted straightaway. Even now, if I send him a text message about what's up, he'll check on it for you. He’s been excellent. We definitely couldn't have done it without him.
Beth: You mentioned the air conditioning, that's one thing that can go wrong. Also, having a pool of that size, did you have to factor in maintenance to that when you weren't going to be there?
Peter: Yeah, again, Anthony said that there are a couple of pool guys that do all the properties here in the development. “There’s their card, give them a call.” So, the week we arrived, the guy came around and told us what he did and how much it costs. In the warm season he'll come twice a week, or once a week, whatever you want, and he'll give you a price. So, that has all worked out well. I didn't have to go to look for anything.
Even in terms of furniture, for example, he said that there are three shops. He said, "I have bought furniture from these three shops. There's another one I've bought furniture from. The prices are good but the service is really poor. This one the price is good and the service is good." So, we didn't have to go around looking. He gave us two or three options. Again, he didn't say, "Look, I think you should really buy from this one." He said, "There are a couple of options, go and choose yourself," and we did.
When we were down at Easter, we got in and even though the villa wasn't completed or ready for completion. We were able to get in, and measure up, and go and order some furniture for the bedrooms and more. We ordered that and that was delivered. That was completed in our absence and then Anthony was able to have the furniture delivered. He was there when they delivered the furniture. So, when we arrived for the first time, a few weeks ago, the furniture was in and we were able to stay there from the first night that we arrived.
Beth: Amazing, it all sounds like it has been very straightforward. There's a lot of logistics to organize but just by having a trusted source that made all the difference to you.
Peter: It made all the difference. Even when we were there, we were having problems with the pool, there were issues with the pool, there was trouble with the electrics and I just picked up the phone and Anthony spoke to the developer and he always responded within a day. There's always someone there that day. I was disappointed that they had to come through a few times, but we didn't have to wait for days for someone to come.
Beth: I suppose, with new builds you do expect teething trouble because you're the first person who has been in there. This is all brand new just for you. So, you have to kind of factor that in.
Beth: Did you find it more stressful, less stressful than either buying in the UK or also buying in Dubai (because you have lots of experience)? How did it compare?
Peter: I actually didn't think it was stressful at all. I do know that I'm old enough and wise enough to know that without Anthony it would have been more difficult, a lot more difficult. Retrospectively, it was great. He took a lot of the burden and, even now, I’d consider him as a friend. He did a lot for us.
Beth: If you were going to give advice, then. You've given loads of advice already, but if you were going to do anything differently or anything that you would say, "Definitely don't skip this part of the process," what would you say to someone thinking about doing what you've done?
Peter: OK, yeah, I would probably do a bit more research on the finance and legal side. I would have found out, with my background (I’m an accountant), that was actually something that I should have been aware of, that there was a tax on new properties and I didn't realize that. So, just be a bit more aware that if you are looking at something on the internet, it's going to cost more than that. That's the basic cost.
But you absolutely have to work with someone who is based there, and he or she knows Spain, the lawyers, and knows how the whole thing works. If the person that you do know from Spain knows a developer and has a good relationship with a developer, I think that helps as well.
I think I'm keen to sorting out the teething issues, and, even before hand, we wanted to make a couple of changes and Anthony's relationship with the developer was excellent because I met them both several times while we were there recently and you could see that they had a good relationship. I think that's important. In fact, our neighbor from Norway (we met our neighbor and they are from Norway and they used a Norwegian agent) seemed to have a lot more problems than we had in terms of getting things done with the developer. So, I think that relationship is very important.
Beth: I can imagine.
Peter: Maybe question whoever you’re dealing with, how well they know the developer and their relationship with them because, at the end of the day, people do business with people.
Beth: Very true, very good advice. When are you next heading out?
Peter: I'm hoping in a couple of weeks time, just back again for a week. That’s the latest plan.
Beth: Brilliant, well I'm glad it has all gone so smoothly and that you're done now. You can just enjoy it. Everything seems to have kind of fallen into place.
Peter: Yes, that’s definitely the plan. It's a two hour and fifteen minute flight and then it's a forty minute drive from the airport, so it's great.
Beth: Absolute dream. Thank you so much for chatting to us. It sounds like it's gone really smoothly for you and I hope it continues to go smoothly.
Peter: Alright, take care, bye.
- Thank you for listening and thanks to Peter for sharing his experiences and to Live Med Coast for making this episode possible.
- Valuable information, there, on how important it is to get to know and trust your agent and that it's even better if they know the developer. Also, nice to hear about a few perks when buying a new build.
- If you like what you’ve heard, you can search this agent’s properties and more on Kyero.com
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- Tune in next time when I speak with Mark from San Jose, California, who worked with estate agent Synergy Homes to find his dream home in Spain.
- Having spent four years travelling Europe, Mark did a lot of homework before deciding on this purchase, and affectionately refers to it as, "an encore" from his career. It sounds like it's been quite the adventure, as well. Find out all about that next time.
- I’m Beth Davison and you’ve been listening to the Kyero.com Spanish property podcast.