Martin from Dorset joins us this week as he shares how he, his wife and pets permanently relocated to Montroy, Valencia, after having lived in Turkey for seven years. He shares why he wanted a project house, not a new-build, and what the residency paperwork process is like. Find out what life is like when surrounded by 300-days-a-year sunshine.
- [3:05] Why they chose to move from Turkey to Spain
- [3:59] How their Spanish relocation was different to Turkey
- [7:36] Where Martin found all the information he needed to be a resident in Spain
- [8:30] Why they chose an authentic Spanish location
- [9:03] What they have done with the land already
- [10:27] Trials and tribulations of siestas
- [11:50] Advice on buying in Spain
- [13:56] What he loves about the Spanish culture the most
Welcome to the Kyero.com 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 Beth Davison and today I’m speaking with Martin, originally from Verwood in Dorset, who along with his wife Sharon purchased a villa in Montroy, Valencia.
This is their second property abroad but this time around Martin and Sharon were keen to have more land, due to both their love of gardening and to have space for their pets! Just wait until you hear the all the differences in planning when it comes to a permanent relocation.
Martin and Sharon worked with estate agent Azahar Properties to find their dream home in Spain.
Check out the show notes at kyero.com/podcast to find links and resources mentioned in this episode.
Body of Transcript
Martin: My name is Martin and myself and my partner, Sharon, we are retired, and originally from Dorset. We bought a property in Montroy, which is about twenty-five kilometres from Valencia City. It’s a three bedroom bungalow with a two thousand square metre plot.
Beth: Lovely, so how did the whole process start for you?
Martin: Well, we owned a property in Turkey for seven and a half years. At the beginning of last year we decided it was time to move out of Turkey.
We like sunshine and Montroy, this area, has three hundred days of sunshine, so that ticked a box. We wanted similar to what we had in Turkey – a bungalow type villa with a pool, etc. but we wanted a bit more land.
So, we just started to look on the Kyero website and we came across Azahar Properties who are based in Montroy. They had quite a few properties that needed some love and attention, which is what we were looking for, really - something that we could put our mark on. We contacted Azahar Properties, a guy called Simon Creed, and met up with him.
Beth: It’s great that that didn’t scare you then. The idea of a bigger project was kind of exactly what you wanted. You wanted to get more stuck in this time around.
Martin: Yeah, the problem was that the house in Turkey was a new build. It was brand new. And it was very lovely, but it was very clinical and after a fashion you haven’t really got much that you can do to it.
We’re after a bit more land as well, because we’ve got pets and we just wanted a bit more garden. So, it’s just something that we felt we’d like to do – modernise and put our own mark on it rather than having a very clinical finish like it was with a new build.
Beth: Absolutely, so, this for you was a permanent relocation if you were going to the pets over there, or was this a holiday?
Martin: No, this is a permanent relocation. We lived in Turkey for seven years.
Beth: Oh, fantastic, so that was permanent as well. Oh, exciting! So, why Spain then, was it always Spain from Turkey, or did you look around at other European countries?
Martin: Well, Spain originally was the country we wanted to go to before Turkey. But, at the time, the times were all regarding house prices, etc. and affordability for what we were looking at and in Turkey, the cost of property was very, very, cheap. So, we decided that we’d go there, and the standard of living is very good.
Then when we decided, seven and a half years later, that it was time to go, we went back to our original plan. As it happened, because of the Spanish property market slump we got into a position where we could afford to buy in Spain where we couldn’t before.
Beth: Fantastic, yeah, that makes perfect sense. So you had done the relocation seven and half years previously. So, all of that initial leaving Britain stuff wasn’t really relevant for you at this point. How was the second move different?
Martin: Ah, it was rushed, unfortunately. Well, unfortunately and fortunately because it forced us to get a move on, really. What happened is that we sold the property in Turkey. Although we were sort of ready for it, and we had all the pet passports and stuff set up, it was a bit of a shock when the second person to look at the house bought it. We negotiated, when he bought it, that we could stay there for two months. So, we basically had eight or nine weeks to find another property which is a bit scary.
Beth: Yeah, totally. So what were you looking at? How many viewings did you go on? How speedy was this process?
Martin: It was very speedy. We originally contacted I think it was three different agents and it was in the region of between nine and ten properties that we had earmarked to see. We came over and we saw the first people. It was what we were looking for, but just not quite right. Then the second person that we met was Simon Creed of Azahar Properties.
He showed us four or five properties that we had earmarked, and yeah, he was very good. He told us about the good and the bad side of the properties - what would need to be done to them, etc. So, he didn’t keep us in the dark. He said that this would need doing and that would need doing, and it was very good.
Beth: I presume that that amount of transparency was really important for you.
Martin: Yes, and since I’ve gotten to know him, he’s a very trustworthy person. As I’m sure you’re aware, when you go into any house purchase, especially in a foreign country, you have to be very careful or try to be. He made us feel very relaxed and is a very nice guy. He answered all of our questions.
Then what happened is that we shortlisted, after the first two days of looking, we shortlisted. We went back for a second viewing that Simon had on his website. Yeah, we decided it was the right one.
It’s a bungalow. It’s got two thousand square metres of land. It’s all fenced in so our cats are happy and, yes, we’ve been here since November the ninth we moved in.
Beth: Fantastic. I mean it’s still really new then, you’re still settling in.
Martin: It’s amazing what we’ve got through, as well, in that short space of time. We’ve now got our residency – our residence here. Simon helped us with getting our padron. He took us to the council to get our padrons so we’re now on the council register.
He introduced us to local tradesman. So, we’ve had our electricity upgraded. We’ve had double glazing put in. He’s helped us all the way along. At the end of the day, in this area of Spain, the local people don’t really speak a lot of English, so he’s been very, very helpful. I’ve got very pigeon Spanish, so Simon has been helping me out, no end, with that as well.
Beth: I’m sure that will improve over time, as well, if you’re in an area where you’re being forced to use it a lot.
Martin: Yeah, yeah, my intention is to learn to speak Spanish. The year we decided, the beginning of last year I decided we were coming I started to learn the basics so at least I can say hello and goodbye.
Beth: With those things like the residency, and all of that, those are things that I just don’t think about, but actually there must be a long list, if you want to be a permanent residence in Spain, of things that you have to go through. Where did you find the initial information for that? Was it all Simon?
Martin: Some of it was Simon. A lot of it we got from Citizens Advice Bureau Spain, and off the internet as well. There’s an awful lot of information available on the internet. It’s just about finding the correct information. So, CAB in Spain are very good.
Beth: I just wanted to ask a little bit about the area. You said that it’s very Spanish, no tourists or minimal tourism, was that the aim for you, originally?
Martin: Yeah, so twenty-five K from the seaside, so it’s not a holiday place. There’s quite a few Expats here. We haven’t gotten involved with any of them yet. It’s probably too soon. We’ve been too busy.
We wanted the Spanish feel. Like you said earlier, it will force us to try and integrate and speak the language, so that’s something that we wanted. We love the countryside and we love the sunshine.
The place is spot on. The area is in Montroy and it’s got three villages: Real, Montroy, and Montserrat. So there’s quite a nice spread and we’re about three kilometres away from the nearest town.
Beth: Lovely, and with that additional land what kind of stuff have you done with it at the moment?
Martin: Well, we’ve cut the trees down because they were very tall. So they’ve come down to a decent height. We just seeded some grass which is now starting to come up and is quite satisfying. There’s quite a lot of the front garden that is going to be grass and we’re going to grow our own veg, hopefully, next year once we’ve renovated the house a little bit.
Beth: Yeah, perfect. I was going to say that you’re a keen gardener. You sound green fingered.
Martin: Well, yes and no; I am. It’s on the list of things that need to be prioritised. We just thought we’d get the main garden grassed, at the front, and the driveway done. Then, I can proceed with painting the house and stuff like this.
It wasn’t in disrepair, the house. The guy who owned it had looked after it. It’s just that it needs to be brought into the twenty-first century. That’s basically it.
Beth: Right, fantastic. Do you get lots of people visiting? Have you got friends and family who come over?
Martin: Not, yet, not yet, we will once it gets into May time. My parents and my children will come over. So yeah, people will come and visit us, yeah.
Beth: For the sunshine.
Martin: Yeah, we’re just trying to make sure that it’s OK for them when they come over.
Beth: So, of the whole process, which parts did you find the most challenging?
Martin: I don’t want to be disrespectful to the Spanish, but they love the siesta here and that’s quite frustrating when you want to make appointments, you’ve got a limited amount of time to do things, and then they say, “Well, come back at five o’clock.”
Beth: That’s long isn’t it, their break in the middle of the day?
Martin: Yeah, two to five, and that’s very frustrating. This is a different thing dealing with Azahar because Simon is British. He doesn’t do siestas, so I said to him, “Would you be OK with seeing me at two o’clock?” He said, “Yeah, no problem.” I sort of explained to him and he said, “No, we don’t do siestas. We’ll get on and show you what you want to see.”
That’s another side to it, another bonus to it. We were, we had eight weeks, nine weeks, to get this sorted out.
Beth: Yeah, so if you take out a chunk in the middle of every day I’m sure that can be really stressful.
Martin: Yeah, but then it’s their way of life, and you have to accept that. Now that we’re here we do accept it. If you want to buy something, if you go to a shop, you’ve got to make sure that you’re out in the morning to get what you need, or come back later. It’s a very relaxed way of life. I like that. It’s nice.
Beth: Totally, and what advice would you give to friends or family who, if they were saying, “Yeah, we’re thinking about buying in Spain,” what would be your advice to them?
Martin: Try and make sure that you pick the right area. This area is not everybody’s cup of tea, so you need to make sure that you’ve got the right area. If you’re not prepared to integrate, if you’re looking for more like a holiday home, then you need to find exactly the right area. Don’t just jump into it.
We had an idea of where we wanted to be because it took us about eight or nine months of looking on the internet; just many of hundreds and probably thousands of properties. So yeah, investigation is the key and to make sure it’s the right area.
Beth: And for you the agent sounds really important.
Martin: Yes, the agent was. Although each Spanish agent that we used, they spoke English and they helped us, but he just came across as exactly what we wanted. The other bonuses were that, Azahar Properties, as a purchaser, doesn’t pay commission, so we saved some money there as well, which was, at the time, very helpful.
Beth: Yeah, fantastic. Lastly, then, what is your favourite bit about Spanish culture? We’ve talked about siestas, what else do you like the best?
Martin: Well, we love the food: Paella, and all the Spanish food. We love seafood, so prawns and muscles. We love the sunshine and we love the relaxed way of life here. As we say, because of the siesta you have a relaxed way of life. As long as you accept that and don’t want to be rushing around expecting the Spanish to do the same, it’s fine, it’s fine.
Beth: Sounds lovely to me. It’s been snowing here this week so I’m very jealous.
Martin: My children, they live in England and it’s full of snow. I don’t miss the weather at all.
Beth: Yeah, fantastic. You know, that’s all of my questions. Thank you so much for chatting to me today, that’s perfect.
Martin: OK, that’s great. It was nice to speak to you.
Thank you for listening and thanks to Martin for sharing his experiences along with Azahar Properties for their help to make this episode possible.
I particularly like the sound of all that land, and how sweet it was that they prioritised their pet’s needs during the property hunt!
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Tune in next week when I speak with Kal originally from Temperley.
He purchased an apartment in Fuengirola, Malaga and, having bought off plan, is slap bang in the middle of the building process as we speak!
I’m Beth Davison and you’ve been listening to the Kyero.com Spanish property podcast. I’ll see you next week!