Marnix & HanneloreWe had enough of the drizzly winters and especially the drizzly springs (and often summers, etc.). For some time the plan had matured to have a warm place where we could recharge our batteries and perhaps remain permanent later in life.The Spanish real estate market started to pick up again and if we still wanted to enjoy interesting real estate prices, we shouldn’t keep dreaming about it. All winter of 2013 and spring of 2014, we closed every evening with an episode of ‘A place in the sun – Home or away’ in which cheerful Jonnie Irwin took a couple to visit 3 houses in some area of England. (that part went straight into fast forward) and the radiant and busty Yasmine Harmann did the same in a warm southern country. We recorded all the broadcasts about Spain and watched them all … That way we traveled a bit through Spain night after night and certain regions were preferred. After a visit to the ‘Second Home’ fair at the Flanders Expo in Ghent in March, this narrowed to the region around Moraira (Costa Blanca) and Andalusia (Costa del Sol). It was funny how often we heard the term “micro-climate” from all those different exhibitors. Every Costa apparently has its own micro-climate in Spain!
We then extended an already planned summer holiday in the Barcelona region with a week of searching houses. 3 days in Moraira and 3 days in Andalusia. Moraira quickly dropped out because it was too densely built up for our taste, so we looked for real estate agents in the south and so we happened to stumble upon the website of Andalusia Vastgoed / Hogar Creativo. They mainly work east of Malaga, in the Axarquia. We received an extensive informative conversation about their working method in their office, where nothing had to be signed at all.
I found their approach very original and, above all, reassuring: they also have their own real estate offers, but in addition they are mainly intermediaries between the (German / English / Spanish) real estate agents who we would not have easily contacted ourselves, but which they have already years of trouble-free work with, and that they can trust. Since Patricia is an architect and her husband is a project manager, it is very valuable to have someone like them on your search.
They are no longer blown away by the sometimes-fabulous locations on top of a mountain, but on the contrary they look closely at possible problems, construction faults, swimming pool, insulation, etc. All that extra advice, warnings and tips do not cost you as a buyer. After all, Andalusia Vastgoed gets their compensation because the local broker shares his commission with them because they have brought in clients. A win-win situation that has made us feel safe all the time. Because real estate agents who mainly want to sell and speak for the benefit of the sellers and of course Andalusia Vastgoed also has an interest in selling, but only if everything is in order, because they really have an excellent reputation to defend.
Moreover, it was a real pleasure to cruise through beautiful Andalusia next to Patricia (despite the sometimes spine-chilling dirt tracks!). We learned a lot and she quickly had an idea of what we were looking for. We had invested some time in this beforehand. You can check the websites they recommend from home and try to make choices: what budget, with or without sea view, in the mountains or on the coast, etc. Then they make the agreements with the broker and the owners and then you will drive around for a day (or 2).
In our case, we saw 15 houses in July, 2 of which were the best. One fell off because it was in the mountains with lakeview and we preferred sea views, but because the other house actually exceeded our budget (you still have to add about 10% costs) we let it rest for a while . In the meantime we had fallen in love with the Axarquia region because it is still so rough and untouched. Yet there is plenty of bustle in the seaside resorts. But once you drive into the mountains with all those beautiful white villages in Moorish style, it is all peace and quiet.
We returned in October. We had a trip planned to celebrate our 20th anniversary and stayed with Hans and Anneloes from B&B Casa Agradable. Two wonderful people who can also be found in these “Testimonials from expats” because they too found their place via Andalusia Vastgoed.
I can be quite emotional and often tense, but I never forget how relaxed Hans walked around there and with a pat on the back and a broad grin constantly repeated “it will be okay, Hannelore, it will be okay”. That actually became our motto here with everything that threatens to go wrong in our busy family 🙂
On day 1 we visited our “top house” in Sayalonga again. It was still there, still beautifully situated, but still as expensive. On day 2 we visited some houses that we had previously pointed out on the websites, but also a few that Patricia had found in Arenas and suddenly our dream house was among them!
Perfect location on the tip of a hairpin bend, with a very spacious terrace around the pool and very sober and Spanish in construction (we have seen sooo much kitch!), With its own well, well-constructed mountain road and only 4 à 5 neighbours (really by chance all Belgians!) a short distance away so that we do not feel too isolated. In addition, Velez-Malaga with its huge shopping center and everything you need is a 10-minute drive away and the nice coastal town of Torre Del Mar fifteen minutes.
Just what we were looking for and the sale was concluded that day. Thanks to Patricia, quite a bit of the price has gone down, but the most important thing was that we were referred by them to a law firm with which they have been working with to their full satisfaction for years and in our case that was a blessing. The house was completely in order, but apparently it also included 4400 square meters of mountain land that were not indicated in the land register. We would never have discovered such a thing ourselves, now there is a solution in the making. These were nerve-racking days and at some point the sale also threatened to jump off, but in those days we kept in mind another statement that we found in this section (see Luc’s report): “aqui no hay estrés, no hay problemas, solo soluciones y por fin todo se resuelve… ”That’s right. The contract was signed last week and we will receive the house keys at the end of January!
Thank you Patricia and Geert and Charlotte. You are worth gold! I wrote this testimony with pleasure because, when things went hard, I always kept to that one thought: someday we will also stand there among all those testimonies 🙂
Marnix & Hannelore
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