Monthly Archives: December 2015

Our Spanish Dream – Part 17: Not Today Thank You

Our Spanish Dream – Part 17: Not Today Thank You

The morning of Thursday 19th October 2006 dawned bright and early for us.  Together with our youngest son we headed south with smile on our faces and expectations in our hearts.  We arrived at the office and were greeted by our agent.  There was a complication!
The owner had inherited the property from her father, in his Will she was called by her married name and all paperwork had been prepared in that name.  There had been an authorised copy of a passport in her married name made and filed but the passport had since expired.  A copy of the new passport had been sent BUT the lady was divorced and had since reverted to her maiden name, so the name on the new passport didn’t match any other documents.  It was highly unlikely the Notary would agree for the sale to proceed without proof that the two names were for one person.
In Spain a woman does not change her name when she marries, the name you are born with is the one you keep all your life.  Everyone has two surnames, each child takes their first surname from the mother’s last surname and the second surname from the father’s last surname, (it’s simpler than it sounds!).  So the Spanish Notary was quite baffled as to why this woman changed her name on marriage and then changed her name back again with no need for any official deeds.  So instead of signing for our house we reluctantly agreed to give power of attorney to our solicitor to complete in about two weeks’ time after all the proof required had been sent to Spain for the woman’s identity.
Afterwards we went over to the house.  The lady owner had agreed that we could use the house as planned the next week anyway.  We deposited the bags we had taken with us and went for a swim in the pool before driving back to Mum and Dad’s.  It was disappointing but we weren’t worried.
Oh, how we had underestimated Spanish red tape!
Dave and Bev Spanish Dream Properties
Dave and Bev Townsend have two homes, their main one in Norwich and a second home in Playa Flamenca in south Costa Blanca, Spain which they also let as a holiday rental www.house-by-the-pool.com   They run a property finding business offering a free service for those seeking to buy a property in the Costa Blanca (Alicante) or the Mar Menor area of the Costa Calida (Murcia) www.SpanishDreamProperty.com Bev has family in Spain and they intend to move there full-time in a couple of years.

Our Spanish Dream – Part 16: Mum and Dad’s 50th

 Our Spanish Dream – Part 16: Mum and Dad’s 50th
20th October 2006 was my parents’ Golden Wedding Anniversary.  It was planned for ourselves, our youngest and my sister and brother-in-law to spend a week with them and share in the celebrations.  With not enough room for all five of us to stay comfortably at their villa we stayed in a friend’s three bedroom apartment up the road.  The main celebrations were on Friday evening with a diner and dance at a local restaurant for around 60 guests, preceded by a champagne lunch for family and a couple of close friends.
We arrived on Wednesday 18th with the plan to travel south and sign the final papers for buying the house on Thursday, then back to Mum and Dad’s that night for the celebrations on Friday and church blessing on Sunday, before heading south again Monday to start the big clean on our new house.

Lunch on Friday went well, with Dave assigned to the barbecue, and lots of laughter and presents. Mum made a Bucks Fizz for our 13 year old son, which he claimed it was very  nice and tasted of bananas.  Confused I looked on the juice cartoon to find Mum had accidently bought orange, grape and banana juice!  The evening meal went well with Mum and Dad being surprised by a Limo collecting them.  Dad gave a speech, their friend and Pastor gave a speech, the band played all night and everyone got very merry.
Sunday morning was a lovely service with a blessing.  My Dad had recently been given the all clear from his throat cancer and that added to the specialness of the occasion.  It’s a lovely memory to have of a time of such joy and laughter.  The coming years would make that time extra
Dave and Bev Spanish Dream Properties
Dave and Bev Townsend have two homes, their main one in Norwich and a second home in Playa Flamenca in south Costa Blanca, Spain which they also let as a holiday rental www.house-by-the-pool.com   They run a property finding business offering a free service for those seeking to buy a property in the Costa Blanca (Alicante) or the Mar Menor area of the Costa Calida (Murcia) www.SpanishDreamProperty.com Bev has family in Spain and they intend to move there full-time in a couple of years.

Our Spanish Dream – Part 15: The Offer Is Accepted

Our Spanish Dream – Part 15: The Offer Is Accepted

It took three days but eventually the agent talked the vendor into accepting our offer. I’m not sure who was most excited, us or our exhausted estate agent!  He must have worked very hard to talk her round.  We headed back south for the day to sign papers.  It had been planned to take the family with us so they could ‘approve’ the house, but the youngest was recovering from mild food poisoning, (nothing to do with my cooking!), so the older ones looked after him and they stayed north for the day.  We agreed with the agent to take the family down two days later, complete with their swimming gear, to spend a couple of hours at the house.  A good job we didn’t have a mileage restriction on the cost of the hire car, two hours each way and three visits meant we had spent 12 hours of our holiday just driving backwards and forwards between Moraira and the Orihuela Costa.
While the children swam we chatted to neighbours and made very long lists for what jobs needed to be done and what items we would need to buy.  I’m glad to say that all three children were more than happy with the final choice, and it really did meet all the criteria on our wish-list.
With the holiday drawing to a close we drove back to Mum’s to spend our final day with them. Our suggested date for completion was in ten weeks, timed to coincide with an already planned visit in October to celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.  It would be tight but there was no reason why it couldn’t be done, our finances were arranged and the lady who had inherited the house just wanted to be rid of the responsibility. This time we were convinced it would happen, we couldn’t let this one go.
Dave and Bev Spanish Dream Properties
Dave and Bev Townsend have two homes, their main one in Norwich and a second home in Playa Flamenca in south Costa Blanca, Spain which they also let as a holiday rental www.house-by-the-pool.com   They run a property finding business offering a free service for those seeking to buy a property in the Costa Blanca (Alicante) or the Mar Menor area of the Costa Calida (Murcia) www.SpanishDreamProperty.com Bev has family in Spain and they intend to move there full-time in a couple of years.

Our Spanish Dream – Part 14: Aqua Natura – Swimming With Sharks

Our Spanish Dream – Part 14: Aqua Natura – Swimming With Sharks
After our high flying escapade at the Terra Natura we moved to the neighbouring aqua park.  We had booked a session entitled ‘swimming with sharks’.  As one of the least adventurous people in the world I was again wondering why I was there.  We were handed life jackets, googles and snorkels, that latter two being items had had never worn, or even wanted to wear, before.  Dave was somewhat put out when they handed him a buoyancy aid instead of a lifejacket, telling him there were not any jackets large enough for his ample girth!
As the youngest is severely visually impaired he held onto his Dad as we walked into the pool and laid down on the salty (and to me, quite dirty!) water.  There was a slight current which moved us slowly along, rather like a lazy river.  I felt instantly that I would rather be in a clean lazy river instead of ‘shark infected waters’.  I struggled with the snorkel but got there in the end, whereas the children all seemed to take it in their stride.  It was certainly a weird feeling having a shark twice my size brush up against me in the water.  We had been assured that they were all strict vegetarians!  I had no idea until then that there were vegetarian sharks.   The sharks and fish came in all shapes and sizes, all totally unfazed by these odd creatures floating above them.  It is an experience I would recommend if you get a chance.
From there we moved onto the water slides, shoots and rides to finish the day with shrieks and laughter.  For anyone considering a trip to a water park, and there are quite a few dotted around the Costa Blanca, I’d like to give you one very important piece of advice – make sure you continually recover yourself in waterproof sun screen and wear a hat in between rides.  Constantly dipping yourself in water fools you into thinking you are not burning, but you will.  If you are in Spain for two weeks leave this trip until your second week.  Tomato is not a good colour on anyone.
Dave and Bev Spanish Dream Properties
Dave and Bev Townsend have two homes, their main one in Norwich and a second home in Playa Flamenca in south Costa Blanca, Spain which they also let as a holiday rental www.house-by-the-pool.com   They run a property finding business offering a free service for those seeking to buy a property in the Costa Blanca (Alicante) or the Mar Menor area of the Costa Calida (Murcia) www.SpanishDreamProperty.com   Bev has family in Spain and they intend to move there full-time in a couple of years.
info@spanishdreamproperty.com

Our Spanish Dream – Part 13: Terra Natura Zip Wire

Spanish Dream Property

Our Spanish Dream – Part 13: Terra Natura Zip Wire

We had a family trip to Terra Natura in Benidorm.  We walked around the safari area, divided into the continents of Europe, Asia and America.
Then we headed for the zip wire.  We were taken by car up a windy road, it felt as if we were on the top of the mountain by the time it stopped.
 Why on earth had I agreed to this?
The zip wire is 180 meters high and 400 meters long, (that’s roughly a quarter of mile long so would take the average person 4-5 minutes to walk the distance on the flat), and at the time was the longest zip wire in Europe.  17 year old son went first, he was really keen, was strapped into the harness, pushed off and disappeared out of sight.  Daughter, next, seemed remarkably confident as she swung herself over the ‘abyss’ and got smaller and smaller before she too vanished from sight.  14 year old son, technically blind, was as confident as his brother.  He couldn’t understand my concern that I couldn’t see the far end of the wire, he had spent his life unable to see things beyond the end of his nose so what was my problem?  Off he went, with a massive smile on his face.
I was physically shaking as I got into the harness, was I totally out of my mind?  I don’t like heights, I don’t like speed and I don’t like not having my feet on terra-firma.  As I felt myself move forward I shut my eyes tight and started to scream!  I ran out of breath so stopped screaming, dared to open my eyes only to discover I was flying high over a herd of elephants, so shut my eyes and screamed again!  I was still shaking when Dave arrived down the wire.  Did I have a great sense of elation at having conquered my fear of height, speed and dangling in mid-air?  Not at all!  I just wanted to kiss the ground and have a calming cuppa.
Dave and Bev Spanish Dream Properties
Dave and Bev Townsend have two homes, their main one in Norwich and a second home in Playa Flamenca in south Costa Blanca, Spain which they also let as a holiday rental www.house-by-the-pool.com   They run a property finding business offering a free service for those seeking to buy a property in the Costa Blanca (Alicante) or the Mar Menor area of the Costa Calida (Murcia) www.SpanishDreamProperty.com   Bev has family in Spain and they intend to move there full-time in a couple of years.

Our Spanish Dream – Part 12: Found at Last

Spanish Dream Property
With the house near former work colleagues still in our mind we started the final day of this search.  We had come over to Spain for a two week holiday, planning to spend it in the house we had lost, so instead had stayed near Mum and Dad in Moraira.  We had left our teenagers in their care while we went house hunting so did need to go back to rescue my parents soon.
Our poor estate agent had not had an easy ride with us.  He said there was a property that had literally just become available, it was 9 years old, had been bought off-plan by a gentleman who had intended to retire there after working for years in the far east and only visited briefly twice a year, until three years ago when he’d become ill and had died the previous year.  His daughter had no interest in the property and was selling it ‘as seen’ – she had visited once to take personal effects and that was all.
We parked on the road and walked to the end of the private driveway. The gated pool garden was at the end and the house right next to it, slightly raised up.  It was the best view we had ever seen of a communal pool from the terrace.  It was the largest house we had viewed.  Three large double bedrooms, two bathrooms, large lounge, solarium with sea views, under a mile from the beach and less than 10 minutes walk to the shops.
Inside it was dusty, unloved and neglected.  We barely spoke to each other as we walked around.  Usually I made notes about the properties and then we made our final score out of ten based on those notes.  My piece of paper said just three words – ‘needs a clean’!  Our hearts had been stolen.
As always there was a catch, it was way over budget!  We already had our finances arranged so we made the maximum offer we could, a price the agent didn’t think would be accepted.  So we left it with him and headed back to Moraira for the second week of our holiday, determined to enjoy it whatever happened.
Dave and Bev Spanish Dream Properties
Dave and Bev Townsend have two homes, their main one in Norwich and a second home in Playa Flamenca in south Costa Blanca, Spain which they also let as a holiday rental www.house-by-the-pool.com   They run a property finding business offering a free service for those seeking to buy a property in the Costa Blanca (Alicante) or the Mar Menor area of the Costa Calida (Murcia) www.SpanishDreamProperty.com   Bev has family in Spain and they intend to move there full-time in a couple of years.
 

Our Spanish Dream – Part 11: Chance Encounters

Spanish Dream Property

Setting up Spanish Dream Property was a natural progression in our lives. We already owned our own Spanish property, had many contacts in different trades in Spain, Bev had experience in property finding in the UK, already ran a successful business and has written for a UK based Spanish magazine.

 Our Spanish Dream – Part 11: Chance Encounters
The decision to buy a house when we did was actually our 25th wedding anniversary present to each other, so losing our first choice of present was obviously disappointing.  But I’m a great believer in things happening for a reason and if we had lost that house there must be a better option waiting for us somewhere.
In the sweltering August sun we recommenced the impossible search.  The first two days produced nothing of interest.  By now we had viewed over 40 properties – an estate agent’s worst nightmare!  However had they have paid more attention to our requirements that list would have been halved.  The third day we returned to an area where we had previously seen a three bedroom house.  We had liked the house but not the location.  This house was identical but in a slightly different location.
“I just need to collect the key from the neighbour” our agent said.  The neighbour turned out to be a couple who were former colleagues of Dave and people I knew slightly as we lived near each other until they had moved.  It’s a small world!  We knew they had moved to Spain after retiring a couple of years previously but didn’t know exactly where.
The house was great, the location pretty good but there was still something holding us back.  That evening we returned to the street and had a walk around, then headed for a local bar/restaurant where to our surprise Dave’s former colleagues were having a drink.  Just to make things more interesting another retired former colleague was joining them for the evening!  The bar was holding a quiz night so we formed a team and called ourselves ‘Chance Encounters’.  We didn’t win but we did have a lovely time.
Dave and Bev Spanish Dream Properties
Dave and Bev Townsend have two homes, their main one in Norwich and a second home in Playa Flamenca in south Costa Blanca, Spain which they also let as a holiday rental www.house-by-the-pool.com   They run a property finding business offering a free service for those seeking to buy a property in the Costa Blanca (Alicante) or the Mar Menor area of the Costa Calida (Murcia) www.SpanishDreamProperty.com   Bev has family in Spain and they intend to move there full-time in a couple of years.
 https://www.facebook.com/spanishdreamproperty