Tune in to hear how Denise and her husband Eddie purchased a three bedroom quad in Entre Naranjos, Alicante. Just wait until you hear about how living in Spain has provided Denise relief for her asthma and allergies, and how, sometimes, lowering your budget is the right way to go.
- Why Denise and Eddie chose to buy in Spain [2:50]
- How they were able to find a property that ticked all the boxes [3:57]
- How Denise and Eddie use the property [7:42]
- What they were looking for in a holiday home [9:39]
- On the process of buying the home [11:01]
- How lowering their budget helped Denise and Eddie find the property of their dreams [12:38]
- On Denise and Eddie’s experience with their agent [15:23]
- What they would do differently if they were to buy another house in Spain [15:57]
- What Denise and Eddie love about owning a holiday home in Spain [18:42]
- Denise’s advice for people buying property in Spain [23:30]
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 Denise, originally from Tyne and Wear, who purchased a three bedroom quad with her husband, Eddie in Entre Naranjos.
Just wait until you hear about how living in Spain has improved Denise’s health, and how, sometimes, lowering your budget is the right way to go.
Denise worked with estate agent HomeEspaña to find her 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: So yeah, if you start by introducing both of you and just letting me know what you do.
Denise: OK, so I’m Denise and I’m married to Eddie, and we’re coming up to our thirty-five year anniversary.
Beth: Well done, that’s impressive.
Denise: Yeah, well, I love him to bits.
I took early retirement about four years ago now from a job that I did with a charity as a training manager. It was the right opportunity for me to go because I could take early retirement but I could also get redundancy, voluntary redundancy, so I went for that.
Denise: Then last Christmas my husband had the same opportunity – a voluntary redundancy and early retirement from Gen 2, which is a housing establishment. They build houses that they bought off the council. They rent them out and they build new properties and that kind of thing and they’re called Gen 2.
So he took his retirement last Christmas which put us in the ideal position to be able to buy somewhere abroad.
Beth: Yeah, great.
Denise: Now, we already had somewhere abroad last year. For fourteen years we’ve owned a property in Turkey.
Beth: OK, yeah.
Denise: In a little place Altinkum… I’m saying little but it’s not that little any more. It was an absolutely fabulous seafront duplex apartment the size of a house. But things were going wrong in Turkey and there was a lot of unrest.
Beth: Yeah, totally.
Denise: The president there is not very well liked. To actually take up residency there was becoming extremely difficult.
Beth: OK, interesting.
Denise: And it’s a long way from home.
Beth: Yeah, it’s that much further than Spain isn’t it I suppose. How long was the flight to Turkey?
Denise: About four and a half hours.
Beth: Yeah, OK, so it feels like a much longer journey.
Denise: Yeah, and then we had an hour and fifteen minutes, once we got there, to get to the resort.
Beth: Interesting, so whose idea was it first? How did the idea of Spain come about?
Denise: It’s very strange because when we were young married, we always talked about retirement in Spain, even though we’d never visited Spain. It just seemed to be the thing that everybody did, a retirement in Spain. But after Turkey, the choice of Spain – we both talked about it, and I think it was probably more my idea than Eddie’s because I wanted to be nearer to the family and Spain, to me, seemed the best choice where I thought we could get everything we wanted as a retirement plan.
Beth: Yeah, perfect.
Denise: I’ve got a brother who has been trying to persuade me to go to Brittany, in France, but I thought, “That’s too close.” It’s probably too much like being at home.
Beth: Yeah, fair enough.
Denise: I wanted the nice weather. I wanted everything that comes with being abroad.
Beth: Yeah, totally. So, which area of Spain did you end of settling on and why did you choose that area?
Denise: We ended up settling on Entre Naranjos, Orihuela Costa. The reason we decided there was pretty much that the house that we went to see and the location ticked just about all of the boxes.
Beth: Perfect, and what were those boxes?
Denise: Well, we had a list of things that we wanted. We wanted something… If we could pick up this home and take it out there, and have it in a similar location, but with the sunshine, that would be ideal. So what we’ve got is we have a four bedroom detached house. What we’ve got over there now is a three bedroom quad house, which actually wasn’t something that I was interested in. I didn’t even know it was a quad house when we went to see it. But it doesn’t look like a quad house. From the front I thought it was a semi-detached.
Beth: Oh, OK, interesting, so for you, the viewing was really important. So you made it out there actually. Did you go to view lots of different houses?
Denise: Oh yes, yeah. We started off in Alicante and we went out last November and we had three weeks at a friend’s holiday apartment and we toured all around. I think we probably viewed something like forty or more properties.
Beth: Wow, Ok.
Denise: The one area that we liked was, I forgot what it was called now, hang on a minute… it’s out in the country, it’s a village, and it’s gone out of my head.
Beth: No worries, it will come back to you, I’m sure, when you stop trying to think of it.
Denise: Yeah, I’m sure it will.
Beth: That always happens to me. You’re talking… How rural would you say it is?
Denise: I would say it’s semi-rural. You’re within about a twenty minute drive of everything.
Denise: Twenty minutes to thirty minutes and you can be anywhere. So, you’ve got about twenty or thirty minutes will bring you to a whole selection of different beaches. Again, about twenty minutes will take you to the big supermarkets to do your shopping. The resort… Well, it’s not a resort, it’s a residential area where people actually live full time. It’s very much European, which I didn’t think I wanted either.
Beth: What were you initially thinking?
Denise: Initially we thought it would be more Spanish. But what we found is that there are a lot of English, Scottish, Welsh and other European countries. People have retired out there.
Beth: Right, OK.
Denise: To Entre Naranjos and a lot of them live out there full time, which gives you that bit of security of knowing that there are people are around. So, we’re in a quad and we’ve got two houses together where it’s myself and Eddie and our next-door neighbour. We go out, at the moment, for long holidays. Behind us, the people that live behind us two houses are there permanently. They’ve retired out there.
Beth: Lovely, OK.
Denise: And we’ve met friends straight away.
Beth: Yeah, I was going to say that’s what it sounds like. It’s kind of a community vibe and you really get to know the people.
Denise: Yes, absolutely, everybody has been tremendous and helpful since we first moved in there. If there’s anything we need to know there’s always somebody who will offer help.
Beth: So, how long... When you tend to go, how long do you stay for? How long to you get with these people just kind of hanging out?
Denise: To tell you the truth, we’ve only been once since we bought because we’ve only just bought, and we were out for three weeks.
Beth: Lovely, so a nice long stint.
Denise: Yeah, but straight away we made a lot of friends. Friends to the extent where they go out for meals without us or take us to places that we’ve not been to make sure that we get the full feel of things.
Denise: We’re going out on the sixth of September and we’re going to go out for six weeks this time.
Beth: Oh so nice, because that’s just when the weather is turning here as well.
Denise: Yeah, yeah. Some of the friends that we have made have suggested that we nip down to Benidorm and spend one night in a hotel down there to celebrate my husband’s sixtieth.
Beth: Oh very nice.
Denise: That’s really nice, because that’s only like an hour down the road.
Beth: Yeah, but then you get to explore a little bit of the culture as well. You’ll see lots of different places.
Denise: Yeah, I’ve been to Benidorm before and we have been to Spain before. Until we started looking for houses, it wasn’t for any real length of time.
Beth: Yeah, absolutely. It just sounds like it’s a nice sort of escape for as long as you want it. You don’t have to go for weeks, but you can if you want to.
Denise: Yeah, well, I’ve got my friends I’ve asked and they’ll coming across in February. It’s one of my friend’s sixtieth birthdays. She doesn’t want to do anything special so, as a surprise, we’re going to take her to our place, in Spain.
Denise: And it’s just for a long weekend. So I said to the girls, “Well, book me a one-way ticket, and I’ll fly out with you,” and then when they fly back Eddie will fly out and I’ll just see how it goes and decide when we want to go home.
Beth: Wow, amazing. One-way tickets are so exciting I think.
Denise: Yeah, you’re not tied to anything. You can just go when you want to really.
Beth: Yeah, it sounds great. So, with the search for the house… Obviously you viewed a load of properties, how did you know you’d found your dream home? How did you know it was the one?
Denise: Like I say, it ticked most of the boxes for us. It was a nice big house. It had plenty of space. It had three bedrooms. It only has a small kitchen but that doesn’t matter because we do a lot of outdoor eating. We wanted a lot of outdoor space. While we don’t have grass, we’ve got a lot of outdoor space.
Beth: Yeah, lovely.
Denise: Massive, massive downstairs outdoor space. There are lots of different places where you can sit outside of the house.
Beth: Nice, do a bit of sunbathing.
Denise: Yeah, you’ve got one bedroom downstairs then you go upstairs and you’ve got another two bedrooms. So, the main bedroom leads out onto a lovely big balcony, so you can sit and have breakfast there. Then you go up to the rooftop and you have a massive balcony up there as well, which is our preferred place, now, to sit and have a barbeque.
Beth: Nice, that will get the heat; you’ll get the sun at the latest point there.
Denise: You get the sun and it’s a lovely place to sit and watch the sun come down on the nighttime.
Beth: Ah, nice.
Denise: It’s absolutely beautiful.
Beth: Brilliant, with some nibbles and a drink. I can imagine it.
Denise: Yeah, it’s great.
Beth: So, once you found the property what were the first steps? Who were you dealing with? How did it all work?
Denise: We were dealing with the estate agents that put you in touch with us.
Denise: They took us to see quite a few properties. We gave them an idea of what we wanted. They took us to see a few properties. This was the one that we really liked – my husband immediately. He knew immediately when we walked in that was what he wanted.
I was a bit more cautious. I loved it, but because we had arrangements for other viewings I wanted to see what else, first, before making the decision. Having visited other properties that made up our minds that, yes, this was the one that we liked.
Beth: Brilliant, and how easy or difficult did you find the process?
Denise: Very easy. Very easy, because we were handheld all the way through the process. We were guided to the banks, to set up our bank accounts, to a solicitors to sign up for all the documentation. All the fees were discussed so that we weren’t going in blind. We were taken to the office where you sign for your deeds and everything. It was just one smooth motion, really. We paid a deposit and then it was just smooth all the way from there.
Denise: And we kept updated throughout so it was very easy to do.
Beth: When it comes to the fees and the budget, that was going to be my next question, how did the money side work for you? Did you have a budget in mind or were you flexible?
Denise: Originally we had a budget in mind of around about 160,000 English sterling pounds.
Beth: Right, OK.
Denise: Like I say, we started off at Gran Alicante and we visited so many properties and didn’t find anything at all that jumped out at us for our budget.
Denise: Then I started to think, “OK, we’re not going to find what we want in our price range, so let’s just slash the budget and we’ll go for something much smaller with a much smaller budget, and we’ll have a holiday home. If we had not slashed the budget we would never have found what we got.
Beth: What turned out to be perfect.
Denise: What turned out to be perfect, because we would not have viewed that, but we were viewing places that weren’t as big or as nice for a lot more money.
Beth: Yeah, so that flexibility, if you were giving advice to someone, do you think that flexibility of don’t’ necessarily set yourself specific limitations, would that be something that you would tell people to do?
Denise: I definitely would now, yeah, definitely. I would not have known that that could happen, but because we had the redundancies, we had so much cash, and I said alright, up to 100,000 to include the solicitors fees and everything for a holiday home.
Denise: Whereas the 160,000 depended on us selling our home here. Because we got it at the price that we did there’s no rush to sell our house.
Beth: Yeah, this is great, actually. That gives you a lot of freedom. Do you foresee it staying that way that you’re going to keep both?
Denise: We will sell this house because it’s a big four bedroom detached. It’s a family house and there’s just the two of us here. Yes, we have the grandchildren occasionally but a two bedroom house is just as good.
So we plan to downsize and keep a house over here so that we always have somewhere to come back to when we come on holiday, which will eventually will be that we’re living most of our lives in Spain and this England will be our holiday home.
Beth: Yeah, you’ll be doing it all in reverse. That will be so nice. That will be great.
Denise: We’ll be able to be here at Christmas time to see the children, on special occasions for birthdays and such like.
Beth: Yeah, no, it will be perfect.
Denise: Yeah, and that’s the plan, just put our house up for sale and wait and see what happens.
Beth: Excellent, so the agent that you dealt with in Spain? What were they like? Were there any limitations, because obviously you’ve got language barriers, you’ve got different legal ramifications, all that kind of stuff. Did you struggle with any of that?
Denise: No, not at all. They all spoke English. Quite a lot of the staff were English. They had a mix of English and Spanish, but even the Spanish ones that we were dealing with were absolutely lovely people and could speak really good English.
Beth: Great, that sounds like it was all really straight forward.
Denise: Yeah, no language barriers at all. I don’t think the process could have been made any more simple.
Beth: That’s perfect. That’s great. So, my next question, you may not have an answer for it, but would you do anything differently if you were going to do it all again?
Denise: No, not really. My advice, like you say, my advice for other people would be, as you said, don’t think your upper end of your budget is where you need to start.
Denise: Because there’s so much more to be seen at what could be a much lower budget.
Denise: And it wasn’t until we lowered our budget… And I actually saw two properties that we liked, but the one that we bought was the one that we really wanted.
Beth: Yeah, just because it felt right.
Denise: Yeah. There was another one we might have settled for if we missed the chance of this one, but we probably would have took longer to think about that.
Beth: Yeah, What I was also going to say is that you really did your homework. You put a lot of energy into going to all the viewings and you really thought about what you wanted, so maybe preparation is key, would you, say, is key in this kind of move?
Denise: Preparation is absolutely key. And to tell you the truth, this is why Kyero came into it a lot. We spent a lot of time in England on the website, searching for property having to look to see what can you get for this kind of money, wherever in Southern Spain.
So it was not just one destination. We just wanted to be in Southern Spain, where you get some sunshine, and we wanted something not right by the seaside, not too cluttered with people, but somewhere accessible where you could get to other places and I found that the Kyero website became our favourite for searching for property. What we would do is we would both look, separately, and have a favourites box that we would drop them in.
Beth: Oh, great.
Denise: We ended up with that many favourites, it was crazy. And then you would find and, OK, you’d go back to them and one of them is gone and no longer available. Quite often it was your favourite of the favourites that was gone straight away.
Beth: Yeah, always the way with property, isn’t it.
Denise: Always the way, but we had loads and loads and then what we liked was you could find out how much population lived there, what the weather was like, all of those kinds of things were important to us when we were looking for the property. So, we went out with an idea of a broad area that we wanted to be in.
Beth: Yeah, perfect.
Denise: And we looked all around the area. Eventually this ticked the box.
Beth: Yeah, perfect. So my last questions are just about what you love about the Spanish culture. So, what do you love most about owning your own property in Spain? Let’s start there.
Denise: Well, it’s obviously the sunshine that you get. You get the sunshine all of the time. You can do a lot more outdoor living. I found that I do suffer with asthma.
Beth: Me too, actually, that’s good to know. Is it better in Spain?
Denise: Much better. I suffer with allergies, so it’s allergy triggered asthma, so I’m allergic to pollens and dust and all of that kind of thing that you can’t really avoid.
Beth: Oh no, and it can be a nightmare in the UK.
Denise: Yeah, and in Spain (my husband commented) I just don’t get any asthma attacks.
Beth: Wow! That’s so interesting.
Denise: Yeah, I am absolutely fine. The other thing that we like is that we can walk out in the nighttime and we’ve got a choice of bars and restaurants, we’ve got nine in all to choose from, which are within, literally, a five, ten minutes walk.
Beth: Brilliant. So nice.
Denise: But you don’t hear any noise from them in the nighttime.
Beth: So, you’re just far enough away.
Denise: Yeah, we’ve got a golf course that you can walk up to in about ten minutes.
Beth: Lovely, I bet… Is Eddie there all the time?
Denise: Oh, he likes that, yes. He does like that. But there’s also… they play boules and they have tennis courts there as well and they have entertainment on usually twice a week.
Denise: You can sit outside, and there’s free entertainment. If you just want to buy drinks you can just have drinks but they do nice meals and you can be entertained and watch the sun come down.
Beth: Yeah, great.
Denise: You can just walk home. You don’t have to worry about having to drink and driving.
Beth: It must be lovely… I know you’re new to it all, but are you envisaging family holidays and friends and people coming to visit you to enjoy all of this when you’re out there more regularly.
Denise: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. Like I say, I’ve already got friends that want to come out in February to celebrate a friends sixtieth birthday. My sister just, within the last few days, dropped me a line saying can’t she be our first visitor; she wants to come out in September for a week.
Beth: Oh good, she’s getting in there early. That’s good preparation.
Denise: Yeah, she did come to Turkey with us a few times, and she wants to come to Spain. My Mom and Dad would like to come. At the moment we’re waiting to see how their health is because my Dad is eighty-seven and my Mum is eighty-one, and they’re desperate to come out.
Beth: Cool, well that will be great. If you can get all the generations out there it would be amazing. Do you think there’s enough to do for older generation and younger generation?
Denise: Oh absolutely, yeah, I mean the little ones… The fact that we’ve got a communal pool that is literally just a walk around the corner and you’re at the communal pool. They would be in there most of the time, yeah. You go down to the bars and there’s a little play park across in front of the supermarket. It’s not a big play park, but it’s certainly enough to keep the children entertained.
Beth: Yeah, totally.
Denise: And there are places you can take them. A free bus service runs on a Thursday and it will take you to La Zenia Boulevard.
Beth: Right, great, yeah.
Denise: Then they’ve got the water features for the children to run in and out of in their costumes. You’ve got a fun fair on the upper floors where you go to eat. So I reckon there’s enough there for all ages. My Mom and Dad would love the golf club. I know that. They would enjoy that kind of live entertainment. We went to see a Beatles Tribute night.
Beth: Oh, fun, OK.
Denise: It was great. They were the oldest Beatles in town but they were really good and you could get up and dance and have a laugh.
Beth: Really nice. So there is a kind of British feel, and there is a European feel, do you feel like there’s a Spanish culture as well do get to experience Spanish culture?
Denise: Not very much, to tell you the truth. Not where we currently are, but certainly when we go out to the markets, the Sunday markets you get to feel more of the Spanish culture. They are really great fun.
Beth: Do you like that hybrid of both? Do you like getting the home vibe, Europe vibe, and the Spanish vibe?
Denise: Yeah, absolutely. We love going to the Spanish restaurants for a nice Spanish paella.
Beth: Very good.
Denise: Which is always very popular… The markets are great to go to and talk to the Spanish to buy your fruit and your veg, and bedding and such like and have a little bit of banter and barter with them and come home with the goods that you want. Everybody has been so friendly.
Beth: Brilliant, well, my last question is, if there was one piece of advice (you’ve already touched on loads) for someone doing what you’ve done, what would your advice be?
Denise: To do the research first. Be sure that this is what you want to do because it is your money that’s being invested. Make sure that you understand the laws and the requirements. Don’t go in thinking that you’re going to put in an offer for a house and that’s the price you’re going to pay. That is what you pay for the house, but you have to plan ahead for the taxes on top of that, for your solicitor’s fees, search fees, whatever else you need, you need to have those all up front and know exactly what you can afford.
Beth: Brilliant, and there’s help out there for when you need it if you go to the right places.
Denise: Absolutely, there is help out there if you go to the right places. The agents that we were dealing with were very upfront about Hondon Valley, that was where we saw a property that we liked. They did say, they weren’t trying to put us off that area, but there had been some hiccups along the way where property or land didn’t belong to the people who were trying to sell it. There was just some legal issues.
Beth: Right, OK, but they were upfront about that, which is great. They were honest.
Denise: They were upfront about that, they said, “We will take you there but, be warned that we are concern and we don’t normally take people there because there have been issues.” We said, “No, no, that’s fine then; just take us to the places that tick our boxes.”
Beth: Yeah, it’s just finding the right people to trust, isn’t it, and then letting them lead you along the journey?
Denise: Yeah, absolutely.
Denise: Well, I found them absolutely great.
Beth: Fantastic, I’m really glad it’s been a positive experience.
Denise: Some of the agents that we’ve gone out with as well, it’s not like buying in England or selling in England. You sell in England and the agents do practically nothing for the money. You sell in Spain and they will do searches for you. They will look for houses that match your criteria. Then they will come and pick you up and they will take you out on a tour. They’ll take you, not only to visit the houses, but they’ll tour you around the area.
Beth: Yeah, great. It sounds more personal and like they care a little bit more.
Denise: A lot more. I knew I wanted to be, at least, near some shops where I could get the essentials in. We would like to be in walking distance within a couple of bars where we could have a night out and not worry about driving, and we wanted other things to be accessible. We got everything that we wanted except for a private pool, but then that didn’t matter because the pool that we have it’s so quiet, when we were there, it felt private. Often, I was the only person in.
Beth: And it’s often the way that people holiday at different times. No, that makes sense.
Denise: Yeah, I’ve seen holiday time when all the children are off school, people have all their families there, it’s different, it’s lively.
Beth: Yeah, it’s also social though.
Denise: Exactly, your grandchildren have others to play with. It’s a nice way to get to know people.
Beth: Yeah, it sounds perfect. It sounds like it ticks all the boxes. Listen, I’m going to let you go because we’ve been chatting for ages, but thank you so much for chatting.
Denise: Oh, it’s been absolutely wonderful. We can’t wait to get back out there.
Beth: I know, I bet, have a great time in September. It will be perfect.
Denise: Thank you so much.
Beth: Thanks, Denise, bye.
Thank you for listening and thanks to Denise for sharing her experiences and HomeEspaña for their help to make this episode possible.
I particularly liked the mention of her improved health as this isn’t something that you necessarily think about when you think of moving to a warmer climate.
You can search this agent’s properties and more on Kyero.com.
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Tune in next week when I speak with Ivan, originally from Newcastle.
He purchased a two bedroom apartment in Formentera del Segura, Alicante, and I can’t wait to tell you all about how a change in budget affected the options available to him.
I’m Beth Davison and you’ve been listening to the Kyero.com Spanish property podcast. I’ll see you next week!