May 14, 2008 at 4:09 pm #53945
My first post. Hello everyone.
I’m 62 heading for 63. I’m thinking very strongly of packing it all in here, selling up and coming to Asturias to find ANY sort of property – fit to live in or needing renovation.
Does anyone have local knowledge of the area? I spent time as a tourist, but that’s a different thing altogether. Any pitfalls? Any advice? I really would appreciate it since it’s a major step I’m hoping to take…
I would especially welcome views on builders, electricians, plumbers etc. How reliable in general are they? Are plumbers as rare as in England? Are they more or less expensive than over here? Can a lawyer arrange a survey? Is the whole house buying process as fraught as my imagination says it is?
All views welcome. I’m shaking inside but wanting to take the plunge…!!!
May 14, 2008 at 7:21 pm #82491
Before you up it. Please note that the weather in Asturias & Galicia is similar to UK. The Asturians are close people unlike the Andalucians, but very sincere people.
Properties are cheaper however Oviedo & Gijon are relatively expensive. Old properties will bound to have problems of ownership etc. A lot of people from Asturias left Spain much before the civil war. A famous export is Fidel Castro. A lot of right wing thinking people who still think very highly of Pelayo & Torrequebada.
Plumbers, a breed of their own and are no different in Asturias. Spanish language essential. Life is laid back however most tradesman are more professional than down south.
May 14, 2008 at 8:34 pm #82493
Thanks for the reply, Shakeel. I know about the weather, it’s the cheaper properties and the scenery and walking that Asturias offers. I taught Spanish for 30 years, though I shall be lost in many of the “technical” terms!
Thanks too for the assurance about the plumbers.
From the time when I “choose” a place to buy how long does it take roughly to get the final contracts signed so I can move in? I’m still learning and very green…
May 14, 2008 at 11:03 pm #82494
Don’t buy anything until you’ve rented in the locality for several months. Plenty of time to suss out the market, find good legal advice, get some idea of building costs and discover any pitfalls.
May 15, 2008 at 10:24 am #82523
I have a place in Oriente Asturias and there’s another on the forum, Heather, who lives there full time, over towards Oviedo.
Firstly, I’d follow the advice of renting first to find out what you want, where you want and is it sustainable for you. I realise that everyone can’t do this, and if this is the case with yourself, I’d urge you to spend as many weeks as possible out there, working hard at looking around and doing research. Make sure you know what you’re getting into before you burn your bridges in the UK.
In terms of builders etc., it’s important to use local labour if you can and you will find them of a good standard. In general, good builders in Asturias have way longer waiting lists than over in the UK – in our valley 1 year. You ought to figure on build costs being the same as the UK, to be safe. If you do use imported labour, (mainly Portuguese around here) your labour costs should clock in around 20% less than local labour.
In terms of a survey, look for a local ‘Arquitecto Tecnico’ – here’s an example Asturian one -> http://www.aatecnica.com . These sort of offices will not only be able to do the survey, but will know who the local artisans are. In addition, they can get all the necessary documents together to form a ‘projecto’ for presentation to the town hall as part of your license application. Also your Estate Agent should be able to give you leads on the local artisans – here’s an example REA that has good coverage in Asturias – > http://www.reinas.es .
I found the buying process straightforward, despite the property being owned by 4 Mexicans (one of them being dead) and 2 Spanish. I found both the Notario and the REA to be thoroughly professional and made sure every ‘i’ was dotted and ‘t’ was crossed. Just bear in mind that everything takes a lot longer to happen but as long as you accept this, then your blood pressure will be fine.
Asturias doesn’t suffer from the same level of illegal builds that the South and Costas suffer from but you do need a good lawyer to check out the details – this is something you can do yourself but unless you are totally familiar with the bureaucratic arrangements in the area you’re in …….. don’t.
I notice that you like walking and the scenery ……. If you find yourself looking at properties in a mountainous valley e.g. Picos de Europa NP, then a) try and stay out of the valley floor, as in the winter it’ll never get the sun and will have a permanent frost coating b) look for a hillside village that is south facing so you get as much of the sun as possible.
With regards to technical terms, there are a couple of Construction English-Spanish dictionaries (I’ll post details later) but a good site for technical words e.g. flashing (architectural) is -> http://www.wordreference.com . If it isn’t in their ‘dictionary’ you’ll very often find it in their Forums. In the example of ‘flashing’, it’s not in the dictionary but the search page refers you to the forum entries.
Well there’s probably a lot more but I’ve rambled enough.
May 19, 2008 at 6:17 pm #82748
I bought a house in Asturias coming up for 2 years ago, it is in Bimenes.
Since I bought it I have been modernising it (new bathroom, kitchen, tiles etc), using a local builder who has been fine.
I found a local plumber and electrician in the village, again both have been very reliable and reasonable. Note however that I have not done any major renovation or building work, if so maybe my experience would have been different.
The initial purchase went through very easily, I almost thought I must have made a mistake somewhere because it seemed so easy and uncomplicated compared to horror stories I have heard from people buying in the UK (this was the first time I had bought a property). But so far so good. I used a surveyor based in Asturias called Clive Robbins, and he helped guide me through the purchase process which was really useful.
Overall my experience so far has been very positive. I have fantastic neighbours who look after my house when I am not there, and have been really supportive and become good friends.
The house has been finished about 6 months, I am moving to Asturias full time from next month with my partner, and am really looking forward to settling in full time.
If you need any contacts or more info, please feel free to send me a PM.
All the best,
May 19, 2008 at 8:27 pm #82765
Lots of good advice here, I would just like to add that I too feel the renting is essential. I feel that buying without local knowledge is a very risky move, if you are lucky you will be OK, but really I feel the odds will be stacked against you.
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