Part 36 Our Spanish Dream The Launch
Despite the set-back, with almost everything in place, we still launched in April 2010, although time restraints meant we didn’t really get going until late May. We planned a slow steady start, feeling our way around how best to develop the service. We were struck straight away buy the need for what we were doing, and the gratitude by many for actually having someone to talk to about the whole process.
When an enquiry came in we would call (or if no telephone number, we would email) and ask about the property they were seeking. The request for details about their longed-for new home was often met with surprise, and still is today. Comments like “well aren’t you just going to send me a load of properties from your books?” and “Just send what you have and we’ll let you know if there is anything we like” were normal. We had by now around 2000 properties on our site, (we usually run at around 2500 now) so just sending what we had wouldn’t really help anyone – the email would take forever! Once we were able to explain our service, people opened up about what they wanted and the searches began.
We decided right from the start that our service needed to be FREE to our clients. Our fees would be paid by the estate agents whose property our client purchased. So we search for properties from various sources and ensure only those matching requirement are shown to the client. Once the client has bought their new home the estate agent with whom the property was listed pays us a fee for finding the buyer. That way we are not asking for any up-front fees or asking our client’s to pay any additional costs for their purchase – buying a Spanish property is expensive enough!
Bev & Dave
Our Spanish Dream Part 35 Spanish Dream Property
Dave & Bev Townsend
Our Spanish Dream Part 35 Spanish Dream Property
With all future projects with the development company on indefinite hold and the loss of Dave’s Dad Bev actually had some time available to dedicate to a new project. We began seriously looking into the setting up of a property finding business. But time became a precious commodity again as Dave’s Mum’s Alzheimer’s led to daily care being required by us even with all the paid help she was having three times a day. At the end of 2009 Mum was admitted to a nursing home so she could have the 24 hour care she needed.
With time to develop the project again we moved forward with a view to starting in March 2010. We flew to Spain to sign contracts with various reputable agents to be able to show their properties, making sure none were exclusive so we were not tied to any one agent. To do our work properly we needed to be able to select properties from various sources. We decided that we would cover only the areas we knew well, starting with the south Costa Blanca, going about 20 minutes inland plus areas around Moraira, Javea and into the Jalon and Orba valleys in the northern Costa Blanca. We also wanted to add towns and villages close to the Mar Menor so would spend time in those areas during our next few visits.
Yet again our plans had to be postponed as just after our return from Spain in mid-February our daughter was in an accident and suffered a very serious injury to her right leg. Three operations in the first 24 hours, plus a fourth three days later, saved her leg but recovery was going to be very slow and never complete. Our grandchildren were 1 and 2 years old so it was all hands on deck to help out during her weeks in hospital and the five months it took for her to take her first steps again. Life on crutches for the next year (plus) was not easy with two lively toddlers and support from family was essential.
Our Spanish Dream Part 34 Can we do this
Can we do this?
It’s fine to have an idea to help people find their dream home in Spain and another to actually do something about it. Our lives were incredibly busy with work, family and caring for Dave’s elderly parents, both with serious health issues. I ran a part-time business around family and in-laws’ needs. I also worked free-lance finding projects for a property development company that worked with the current owners, architects and planners to see how the property/land could be developed in the future, getting plans passed, buying the owner out at a premium and selling the project onto developers. Property had always been a huge interest of mine and I had project managed two major renovations of our own. It was far more interesting to me than accountancy, the field in which I had qualified years ago but family had cut short any career.
By now we had talked to so many people about what they needed to know, what to avoid and where to find accurate information. We were even being asked to speak to friends of friends! We heard a few stories of people having been ripped off or sold properties from the big ‘viewing trip’ companies only to discover they felt they hadn’t really been given fair information.
The more we thought about it, the more it made sense. Use our experiences, my property finding training, and our knowledge to help people avoid the pitfalls and find the right property for them. As we have said before, buying in Spain is an expensive business, you have to get it right first time. People need to be able to step back from the hype of the brochures and sales talk to see the reality of what is right for them. More and more we could see a need for someone to work on behalf of the buyer rather than the seller. There was just this major obstacle called time.
PART 33 First thoughts of property finding
Over the years that we had considered buying in Spain, seen various family members and friends make the move and watched the market change, we had learned a lot. It became obvious to us that we seemed to know more about how things work and more about thinking through and considering options than many of the self-appointed ‘professionals’. It also became glaringly apparent over time spent with agents and at shows that agents were only interested in selling you property on their books, not helping you in finding the right place for you; after all their client is the vendor, (not you, the buyer), and the only way they make money is by selling you one of their client’s properties.
There were some large company’s around before the 2008 happened, that are unfortunately now re-emerging, offering cheap four day viewing trips. They would fly you out, put you up in a hotel, assign a person to you as your ‘guide’ who basically met you for breakfast and never left you alone until late evening. You would be driven round new developments and shown show houses, sold the dream and on the final day asked which property you would like to buy. They were very successful. The fact that you could have bought the same property cheaper from another source or that there were hundreds of re-sales that would offer you a better match to your requirements for less was irrelevant to these companies. Once you moved into your new home you were often offered a job as one of their ‘guides’. It was a lucrative business and resulted in some bad press for the Spanish property market.
So we saw a need for property finding rather than property selling. A service that works for the buyer, not the seller. The idea of Spanish Dream Property was beginning to form.
Find us at
Bev & Dave Townsend Info@spanishdreamproperty.com