Tune in to hear about retiree Duncan’s decision to relocate permanently, along with his wife, to a rural home in San Isidro, Alicante. You’ll find out about how Duncan loves the outdoor lifestyle and amazing weather as well as the authentic cultural experience of living in a smaller town. You’ll also hear about the home purchasing process in Spain.
- Why Duncan and his wife chose to buy property in San Isidro [1:11]
- On Duncan’s research process [2:26]
- On Duncan’s budget [4:40]
- About Duncan’s real-estate agent [6:34]
- What Duncan would do if he were to repeat the process [7:00]
- What a typical day looks like for Duncan [10:43]
- Duncan’s favorite part of the Spanish culture and lifestyle [11:42]
Welcome to the Kyero.com Spanish Property podcast where we interview real 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 Beth Davison and today I’m speaking with Duncan, originally from Exeter, who purchased a four bedroom townhouse in San Isidro, Alicante.
Just wait until you hear about Duncan’s decision to relocate permanently, along with his wife, to rural Spain, and how for them, it’s all about enjoying an outdoor lifestyle with much better weather
Duncan worked with InterProperty Sales & Lettings 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
Beth: Okey Dokey, well, if you start by letting me know what type of property you have and where, and maybe also what you do for a job?
Duncan: Alright, okay. I've got a four bedroom terraced townhouse in San Isidro. I'm actually retired - full time retirement.
Beth: Fantastic, so it's all quite new, if it was the last month. Why did you choose that area of Spain to buy in?
Duncan: Well, basically I've been out in Spain, in a holiday capacity, and then semi-permanent for the last eighteen years. We had an apartment over in Villamartin for around about fifteen years, which was used for a holiday apartment.
And then, when I retired, I decided to come over here and live over here permanently. We sold the apartment in Villamartin, and bought a house over there, in the same area, because we like the area. We’re used to the area. It was familiar and we have friends over there.
We’ve lived here, now, in Spain, for two years, permanently. We found, basically, that we wanted just a little bit more authentic Spanish. So, we decided to move away from the urbanisation areas and go into a Spanish village.
We found San Isidro because we liked the area because it's so very convenient to everything, within twenty minutes you have Alicante Airport, you’re on a mainline train station here, so you’re half an hour into Alicante, itself. Other way you've got Murcia, and Elche. You are also, in between two motorways, the AP-7 and the A-7. On the other side you’ve got motorways. You can go anywhere in Spain basically. It’s a really good hub, as well, for travelling around Spain.
Beth: Fantastic, but without feeling too built-up, it sounds like it's perfect.
So when you were doing your first bit of research into this new property, how did it all start for you?
What did you do?
Duncan: Well, basically what happened was we had a few false starts. At first my wife wanted to go into the country area, into El Campo, and we looked at a house in place called Rafael, which is in the same sort of area, but a bit further towards the coast.
It was like an old Spanish town house, which needed a lot of money spent on it. So, we actually were very close to completing on that, and paying the deposit, but then we had a builder in to look at it and found out it had lot of asbestos in roofing and so forth. So, he advised us to look back and walk away from it because it was going to cost so much money to get all the asbestos removed. So, that fell through.
Then we ended up at El Campo in the Hondón Valley, which is a really nice mountainous area in the valley called Hondón Valley. There are two really nice villages there called Hóndon de los Frailes and Hóndon de las Nieves. We looked at country houses in that area, and again, we found one, we liked it, and we actually put a deposit down on the actual house.
Then we discovered they couldn’t produce all the paperwork on it and so forth, so we had to pull out of that one. We got our deposit back, actually, because, obviously, they couldn’t produce the paperwork. Then, we were stuck, really, because we had sold our house Villamartin to some family that needed a holiday home, and we had to be out by a certain date, so we were stuck.
So, we were thinking, then, really, what were we going to do. Well, we’d actually passed this town, San Isidro, on the way to where the country house was. We passed it all the time on the way there when we were looking at viewings and so forth, and getting things organised over there. So that's a really nice town, isn’t it? It's really quite nice.
So when we looked through your website, Kyero.com, Right Move, A Place in the Sun, whatever. Then we found this house in San Isidro which was on the market for €99,000, and then it was reduced to €85,000. We had a look at it, and yeah, we liked it, and we put a deposit down on it and that was it.
So did you go in with a budget in mind? You mentioned money there. Did you know what you wanted to spend exactly or were you quite flexible?
Duncan: Our budget was around €90,000.
Beth: Okay great, so when that price dropped, it was perfect for you?
Duncan: It was, and yeah basically, the problem as well, over here, is if you want a mortgage, it’s more difficult to borrow, now, from the banks, and they’re very, very particular. That’s another reason why we couldn't go with the house in the country was because, basically, when it comes to a country house, or rustic property, banks will only lend seventy per cent, mortgage to value of the house.
The problem there again is, basically, that we knew that even though the house was on the market for quite a good price – I think about €75,000. The house wasn’t valued at €75,000. We knew that, basically, because they had all these problems with the paperwork and whatever and the legality of it. It had a casita at the back, which we knew wasn’t a legal build. Even though it was advertised as a three bedroom house, really, because the casita was actually illegal, it was only a two bedroom house.
So, we knew it wouldn't value up. So, it would be very difficult to mortgage that property. So, that's the reason why we pulled out of that one. So yeah, a mortgage is very hard to get. So, we thought, well, where we are now it’s classed as urban – into the village. With urban properties you can get… If you’re a resident, which we are, you can get up to 80 % mortgages.
Beth: How much did you know already, because you seem very knowledgeable about the property buying process in Spain?
Obviously you'd already done it, because of your first place, but how much of this did you get help with, and how much of it was you already knowing things?
Duncan: We researched online and we knew about it, obviously, from previous experiences. We researched about it online. We, obviously, met a solicitor, we had a solicitor from our previous encounters and we actually asked her for what our costs would be, and so forth. So we had a good idea, actually, how much this was all going to cost us.
Beth: So, for the house you eventually went for, the other two agents you didn't find through Kyero? Am I right in saying that?
Duncan: Yes, the third one, the one we bought the house from was from Kyero and has been more than helpful and helped us through the process. Then again, there's a problem with this house. We actually came to check the deeds on this house. I mean, it's quite a modern house; it's only fifteen years old.
Beth: So, if you were going to do it all again, what would you do differently?
Duncan: If you're a cash buyer and if you had the cash and you come and pay cash, it’s obviously a little easier. If you're getting a mortgage and so forth, it's a lot more difficult over here than it used to be. So, the mortgage process tends to slow things down and, obviously, increases your costs.
You have to pay taxes and commissions on your mortgage and so forth, so that slows things down. Me, I wouldn't pay any deposits at all until you have the deeds in front of you and they have been checked by your own solicitor.
So you can put a survey on for an older property. Certainly use, you an independent solicitor and don't pay any money out at all until that’s been done.
Research your areas, obviously, make sure you’re where you want to be. Actually write down what your needs are: short term, medium term, and long term. I mean, we’re retired and we feel we’re going to live in Spain, probably, hopefully, for the rest of our lives.
So we needed somewhere, as well, obviously, in the village where you can walk to the shops, walk to local bars and so forth, and whatever, without getting the car out. Which is a big consideration for us as well, and obviously handy for the airport and whatever: hospitals, chemists, doctors and so forth. So, that’s a few things there.
Obviously, make sure the house is suitable for you. Obviously, you again, watch where you need to be, who's going to be staying with you, how big a house do you want? Obviously, looking at the sun aspect, again, the house we bought over in Villamartin, we didn’t realise, obviously, a bit naively, it was north facing, so really you’re not getting any sun in the winter, at all, in the house. So, it's very cold and very dark.
You need to make sure that, when you buy your house, that it’s actually South facing or West facing so you get sun all year round.
Beth: There's so much to think about that I wouldn't have thought about.
Duncan: Yeah, and because obviously when we sold the house, we realised when we sold the house in Villamartin, we were dealing with various agents, English estate agents, Scandinavian estate agents. So, we had lots of people viewing the house, and you think, well, okay so a lot of Scandinavians were viewing it and Northern Europeans were viewing the house, and you think, “Well, why aren’t they going for it?”
Obviously, what you realise is that what they came over here for was the winter sun. They want sun in the winter, and the house didn't have winter sun. So, again, you've got to think about if you're going to sell it, if you're buying a house, if you will, if you’re do sell it , is it sellable prospect as well? I mean, why should we buy it if you’re not going to be able to sell it? So you know, you've got to think of the long term as well.
Beth: And you mentioned having people to stay, is that something that happens a lot for you? Have you had people over to visit?
Duncan: Well yes. We have people. I've got the family. My wife's got family, and so forth, so, yes. We’ve got friends who we want to stay, and whatever. Obviously, we’re very near the airport now. We're twenty minutes from Alicante airport. That’s great.
Beth: Great stuff! How many beds was the place you’ve got now?
Duncan: Four, four bedrooms.
Beth: Lovely, yeah, so, lots of space to kind of share it with other people.
So, you've had some difficulties, but would you still recommend it?
Duncan: Oh yes, absolutely! It happens, all these things, for a reason. Nothing now, once you’ve found a house that really suits you and, so far, we're very happy with it. So, don't rush into anything. Really, really research properly, and really find a property that really suits you and meets your needs.
Beth: Yeah, absolutely. So what does a typical day look like for you in Spain?
Duncan: Well we've been sorting out at the moment.
Beth: Yes, of course, you've been snowed under. What will it, hopefully, look like for you?
Duncan: Well, the routine that we had, in the old house, we used to exercise in the morning. I used to go cycling and my wife used to go jogging, and we'd probably go down to the beach, or whatever, and have a coffee, or whatever, go shopping. We'd come back and do a bit of walking the dog and so forth, whatever. Basically, very similar to the life we had in the UK, but, obviously, you've got the sun, I mean, the option there.
You do your exercise. You go out for a stroll, have a coffee or whatever. You cook, you cook indoors, so you cook in the house, you cook meals and things. So you have barbeques or whatever, obviously you have barbeques or whatever. Yes, you’re outside enjoying the sun and whatever. At the end of the day, the lifestyle, really, is very similar to the UK.
Beth: But what is your favourite part of the Spanish culture and the Spanish lifestyle?
Duncan: Oh right okay! 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.
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.
Beth: Perfect! I think that's basically all of my questions, but thank you!
You've given us loads of information and advice which is perfect. Thank you so much for chatting to me and yeah, I hope it keeps going well now that you've gotten over all your hurdles. I hope it's going to be great!
Duncan: Hopefully, now, it should be fine.
Beth: Great! Cheers Duncan!
Have a lovely day!
Thank you for listening and thanks to John for sharing his experiences and to Urbane Barcelona for their help to make this episode possible
I particularly liked how much John benefited from the viewings as he completely changed his mind about the top floor apartment, and, of course, the good news that some sunshine has really helped his asthma.
You can search this agent’s properties and more on Kyero.com
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Tune in next week when I speak with Steve
He purchased a villa, complete with pool and sea view in Bedar, Almeria, and I can’t wait to tell you all about how his enthusiasm and bravery in just saying, “Yes!” Led to the home of his dreams.
I’m Beth Davison and you’ve been listening to the Kyero.com Spanish property podcast. I’ll see you next week!