Latest from Jan
After receiving an invitation in the post, we decided to pay a visit incognito to a well known English based overseas property selling agency to see exactly what they had to offer and advise this time. We had already allowed ourselves to be coerced into an all expenses paid visit to Spain earlier this year to ascertain exactly how they operate.
Their rep. stated once again that they were the largest property sales company in Europe who had won several awards of late. He advised us that he had over thirty years knowledge of Spain, having secured numerous investment properties himself on the costas during that time. (We had previously heard all this before earlier this year when on another visit to one of their exhibitions. Do they all have the same script we ask)?!
He indicated that his company had sent over 17,000 Brits to Spain last year and of those, 40% had purchased on their first visit and 80% on their second. He assured us that, as the leading property sales company in Europe, their representatives in the various locations never pressurized their customers in any way, but were accompanied on a one to one basis to find their dream
property. (From experience we can vouch that they do pressurise each client as they never leave you, from breakfast to the time you can excuse yourself to retire to bed). They also don’t allow you to obtain local newspapers in case you read anything that would adversely influence you.
We have actually visited Almeria several times this year and so it came as somewhat of a shock to us to discover the following information provided by him:-
We told him that friends of ours had recently visited and recommended a place called Albox which was approx. 30mins from the eastern coast of Almeria (or Almera as he pronounced it. Believe he was thinking of the car known by that name in the uk). I advised that we had heard of new developments in that area and had also seen details on the Internet. He looked totally bemused with this information and chose to ignore all my references to Albox and acted as though he had never heard of the place! (Remember this is a man that knows Almeria province intimately)!
He then went on to inform us that the roads inland in this area were so
poor that you would need a four wheel drive vehicle (which he insisted all estate agents inland would have to possess), in order to view properties which may be
several kilometers down dirt tracks. He also advised that some of these properties were so remote that you would need to be a recluse to even consider living there. I asked him whether there were any resale fincas or cortijos on their books as I and noticed that they were advertising resale properties in Costa Calida and Costa Blanca in their literature. He informed us that the properties he had to offer were rather expensive and we agreed as unbeknown to him we had viewed similar properties at first hand and they had been nowhere near the prices he was quoting.
On further questioning, he insisted there were no new builds further up the Almanzora Valley other than properties situated around the Almanzora Country Club, which he could vouch for, but had never seen. Unfortunately again for him, we have seen them and if you wish to live on a very small plot in an equally small chalet or apartment, in a holiday camp environment resembling something that perhaps might have been inhabited by the fictional “Noddy and Bigears characters” – this is the Ideal place for you! At the beginning of the year we were escorted to this site and shown two properties. There was not enough room to swing a mouse, much more a cat in either property and certainly no room in the back garden to construct other than a splash pool. Be assured you will be reliably informed that you are within 10 mins walking distance to Almanzora town and a few minutes more will take you to the coast. Believe me, on a very hot day you would do well to walk to the end of the dirt track road, much more the town or coast.
On first appearance properties that you would consider to be detached due to their size are actually semi-detached and within feet of the road. You are only allowed to view a plan of potential new builds and a few show houses but are expected to sign a contract there and then to purchase before leaving the site. You are also asked for a non returnable deposit of 3,000 Euros followed by 60% of the total build cost in approx two and a half months. You are asked to make another staged payment during the term of the build. Bye the way, the build time is usually eighteen months, so you are obviously paying a large amount of interest during that time before you can actually live in, or simply enjoy the benefits of your property for vacation purposes.
When the whole site is completed is obviously going to be an extremely large development, with community swimming pools, restaurants and shops, probably better suited to the older resident. Their brochure states that there are stunning views, but we believe that after the bulldozers are laid to rest, there will be so many properties on this site, that they will block each others views unless you have a penthouse apartment. This is only our assessment however and those
interested in such a development should visit the site to make their own judgment!
To make matters worse, we have heard rumours that this development is illegal and this obviously need further investigation Mark.
He suggested that if we insisted in living inland, we should consider Cordobra as there was nothing to offer other than Granada, which we would dislike as it was a commercial city with no suitable properties to purchase there. (He omitted to inform us however, that properties in this area were more affordable and suggested an apartment in Vera on the coast, where he assured us it was more civilized)!
The representative also advised that there were a total lack of amenities inland which us Brits would obviously not appreciate and suggested that the only place to live was within 10 mins of the coast. We implied that we did not want to live in a place such as Torrevieja to which he agreed and suggested that we consider the Orange Blossom coast Valencia, or Los Gallardas which is situated just off the coast near Vera but quite close to the proposed new motorway.
When questioned about the proposed new motorway which we know is planned to run in a southerly direction passed Vera from Cartagena, he said that of course he knew of it but spoke of it in the present tense as if it already
existed and inferred that we were idiots!
He emphasized that the authorities in the Almeria area have strict controls over the building infrastructure, to which we commented that we were aware of a proposed single development of 5,000 apartments in the area of Vera. As he was obviously unaware that we knew this area, he stated that we would not be able to visualize the total size of the land involved and therefore the size of the development should not alarm us as this was just a “drop in the ocean” compared with the total magnitude of the area involved. He suggested that if we insisted in living inland, we should consider Cordobra as there was nothing to offer other than Granada, which we would dislike as it was a commercial city with no suitable properties to purchase there. (He omitted to inform us however, that properties in this area were more affordable and suggested an apartment in Vera on the coast, where he assured us it was more civilized)!
I would like to add that we spent at least fifty minutes with this rep. who did not at any time ask us whether we had actually visited the area, much more what our knowledge of Spain was. We have bumped into these reps before who seem to try to control the interview from the start by making the client feel subservient to them, due to what they hope is the clients lack of knowledge of the country.
We feel that as a representative of a large organization their approach should be less pompous towards a prospective client who is really made to feel rather inadequate. You are asked to give your full details in order that a follow up from the rep is made. Once again, we have experienced this technic which obviously must place some people, (specially those more elderly who are contemplating
retiring abroad) in a rather vulnerable position.
We hope this information will assist those considering taking the easy option of viewing properties abroad with a high profile company, especially in Spain. If you are confident enough to drive abroad (and it is really not that difficult to adjust) why not arrange your own itinerary? Flights nowadays are very inexpensive and may include travel insurance at little extra cost, especially when arranged via the Internet and Spanish car hire companies are also very reasonable.
Kind Regards Mark, we both help this informatiion will be of assistance to those who may be contemplating moving to Spain especially for those contemplating their retiremnent and perhaps never having visited the country before may be relying on a professional concern to guide them.
(sent in by email)