September 12, 2005 at 11:39 pm #51242
Hi, this is my first post, it’s a long one for a first one (that’s what my wife said anyway).
I’ve got a lot to write about, and hopefully some of you will find it interesting.
I have been looking seriously in Spain for about 4 years, first of all I was looking to buy an old property with a small amount of renovation.
Of course I went about it all wrong and lost a little bit of money along the way, and I didn’t end up with an old property, but in the scheme of things, the good luck I’ve had far outwieghs the bad. I should say from the beginging that most of my problems have been with english people and not with the spanish.
I was first introduced to the Almeria area by a local estate agent in my home town in Kent, in September2002 they advertised a ”Spanish evening” and seeing as they were offering free wine my wife and I decided to take a look.
We turned up early hoping to have a quite word but it was mobbed, the interest in Spain was astounding.
Apart from the regular staff they had an english ”lawyer”, Sally, specialising in Spanish law, a promoter from a new build site near Albox and an english ”expert”, Bobby, that had lived in the area for years and knew every thing that there was to know. They had several books with over 100 resale properties in them. Everybody was very charming and had all the answers.
The english agent, Peter, has a good reputation in our area and acted honourably throughout, but this was his first foray into the Spanish market and he fell for some of the spiel.
They didn’t offer inspection trips as such but they would find us somewhere to stay,at my cost, if I flew out,at my cost, and take us around selection of properties in the afternoons leaving most of the day to ourselves. They did however pay for airport transfers. This seemed preferable to the normal tied in inspection trip.
My budget at the time was around 100,000euros
The spanish agent based in Huercal Overa and his staff certainly worked hard to show us every property that I wanted to see. On the second day Peter turned up to join us in our search as he wanted to see how it worked first hand. Bobby would turn up when we were in the agents but never came with us when we were viewing. When I enquired about some of the better properties that seemed the best value for money the girls always said ”we don’t know about that one, that’s one that Bobby bought in, You’ll have to ask him”. When I asked him the answer was always the same ”I sold that one yesterday, this morning or two days ago”.
I later found out that he was photographing houses that weren’t for sale to increase his portfolio to impress estate agents as a way in then charging the agent for introducing english buyers to them. Apparently He’s been doing it for years and moving to a different agent when he gets found out.
Over four day’s I saw 29 properties, for the first 3 days Lolly and Paco the driver showed us around, Lolly spoke perfect english, Paco spoke none. On the 4th day Lolly’s mum was taken ill but Paco still took us out.
As is generally the case the last property on the last day was the one.
It was an old farmhouse on a tarmac road with 10,000mtrs of land including a fenced citrus grove. The house itself was in good condition and really just needed a tidy up and new bathrooms and kitchen, but as is my want I planned to knock a few of the internal walls down to increase the size of the lounge, besides, who needs 7 bedrooms on the ground floor anyway.
I had one concern, at the bottom of the land the neighbor was constructing a building, I asked Paco, ”what’s the building over there?” He shrugged his shoulders and said ”no understand”. Peter said ”he obviuosly doesn’t know what your saying, let me ask him”. Cor. I thought, I didn’t know Peter could speak spanish. Peter lent towards Paco and said very loudly ”WHAT’S THE BUILDING OVER THERE”?.
When we got back to office Bobby was there, I told him I was interested in the property but had concerns over this building. He spoke to Paco and then informed us it was a cattle shed. Cows I thought, thats o.k. it’s in the country after all, and at least it’s not pigs.
Bobby tried very hard to get me to sign up and give him 3000euros.
I flatly refused to part with any money and told him that I would make my mind up when I got home.
My finger has gone blunt typing this, when it gets better I’ll type a bit more. I’ll tell you how I got a non refundable deposit back from an estate agent, how I met the local ”mafia” and got something for nothing (almost), and how 3 phone calls and transfering my money to the correct account saved me over 500 quid.
September 13, 2005 at 5:44 am #58827
Welcome to the forum Martin.
Your post is riddled with examples of the standard modus operandi I have seen here in West CDL.
I look forward to Part Two esp to hear how you got a non refundable deposit back without being illegal or using your Mafia contacts or indeed Max Clifford.
September 13, 2005 at 9:07 am #58828
Look forward to the next installment Martin.
September 13, 2005 at 10:22 am #58833
I certainly can’t wait to see how you got your money back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
September 13, 2005 at 1:51 pm #58834
For gods sake get typing , cant wait !
September 15, 2005 at 1:39 pm #58848
I think building up a massive portfolio of non-existent houses and houses already sold is standard practice. The house we purchased in Spain was on the internet with one Spanish agent for 12 months after we’d bought it. We rang them up and said that we were interested in viewing when we came to Spain and the reply was that the owner must be away because there was no answer from the telephone call. The vendor had died 2 weeks after we paid our deposit, so yes, she was a long way a way !!!
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