It was a dark and stormy day well it was always like that in the UK and in 2015, the blanket grey, wet and cold was with us until the end of May. It was this factor as well as my poor health (asthma with hospital admissions) and for my husband the overwhelming depression of SAD and joint pain with arthritis, which led us to the conclusion that our 5 year plan of moving to Spain should be bought forward – the date we pinpointed was by 30 June 2016.
Firstly, by 15 March 2015 (The Ides of March – the prophetic day in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar!) we informed our families of our plans and received overwhelming support with trepidation of course. As my parents had had the villa on the Costa Blanca they were a good source of information albeit they had sold their place in March 2004 so we knew that some of the details needed updating. In the meantime, there had been the financial crisis of 2008 and we needed to understand how this had impacted not only the prices of property in Spain but what new safeguards and legislation had come into force since then and which would possibly impact us.
We had been watching the super TV programme ‘A Place in the Sun’ since the beginning of January and we saw how property prices had been significantly reduced by the financial crisis but also how instability had affected the Spanish economy. This led to Spain being included in the ‘PIGS’ acronym of those countries whose financial condition was considered poor – the other countries being Portugal, Italy and Greece….and we all know what happened in Greece!
However, this didn’t deter us as – all the financial pundits seemed to be assured that Spain’s ‘problems’ were beginning to be resolved and the country’s stability was improving.
We had already decided that we wanted to live on the Costa del Sol and as we holidayed around Mijas Costa this was were we started looking for properties, including ones that were near our holiday accommodation. Prices on the coast had not fallen as much as elsewhere and the properties that were within our budget (circa. €250,000 (including the cost of the property, solicitors charges and local tax on the property purchase (similar to VAT) IVA at 8%) all required a significant amount of work doing to them, not just painting and decorating. That’s when in ‘A Place in the Sun’ pointed us to look at properties a little bit inland.
And that’s when we found Alhaurin el Grande (now you know why its ‘Grande’ as opposed to ‘Grand’ in the title of my blog) approximately, 30 minutes from Malaga Airport and the coast. Our search for a property continued in earnest; we’d already booked a holiday in Spain for the beginning of June 2015 and decided we’d do a ‘reconnaissance’ of properties just to see what was available, both on the coast and near the Alhaurins, el Grande and de la Torre.
In addition, we also booked tickets for ‘A Place in the Sun’ Olympia exhibition in May 2015.