When the Armitts, from Stoke-on-Trent, started looking for their Spanish retirement home, Kevin, a retired firefighter, had his heart set on something rural, like a finca. However, a friend persuaded him that resort living was much more enjoyable, and he went with wife Shirley to view a selection of villas on the Camposol golf resort in Mazarrón.
Shirley picks up the story: “We had a budget of about €120,000 (£101K), which our initial estate agent said would buy us a modest two-bedroom 'Rosa' style property. “He gave us a shortlist of four and to be honest we'd have gone for any of them but one in particular stood out at €118,000 (£99K). We decided to go for it.” However, before the couple were able to return to Spain to secure the deal, they were grounded by the Icelandic ash cloud and in the meantime another buyer had an offer of €105,000 (£88K) accepted.
Disappointed but not beaten, three weeks later Kevin and Shirley returned to Camposol where they spotted a two-bedroom, two bathroom 'Carmen' villa, which while larger than the Rosa villa was for sale for €120,000. Shirley continues: “The agent Mercers told us that the owner was highly motivated to sell for personal reasons and, having seen a sale fall through in February for €192,000 (£161K), slashed the price to encourage interest. “The new price of €120,000 had only been agreed the day before and it was doing the trick – in the 15 minutes we sat in the Mercers office, three other people enquired about the property. We tried to convince the agent that we were serious and to put a 'sold' notice across the window card – but of course it wasn't ours – yet!”
Kevin and Shirley secured a viewing and although the home clearly hadn't been 'staged' for them, they fell for it instantly. They especially liked the large pool and spacious living area and had an offer accepted at just below asking price. “Considering the fact that Carmen villas sold for more than that ten years ago and there was a comparable Carmen up the road on for €170,000 (£143K), that volcano really did us a favour in guiding us to the best home at the best price,” says Shirley.
The Armitts signed on the dotted line and moved in on June 10, 2010. Both have settled in quickly and are having regular Spanish lessons. Kevin is a regular at British-owned Friends in Nautical Sports (FINS), a diving centre in Mazarrón, whilst Shirley is mainly acting as hostess for the constant stream of visitors, including their two sons, Kris, 25, and Kevin, 27, one of whom dropped a bombshell just a week after the Armitts moved.
Shirley finishes: “Our youngest found out on June 9 that his wife Kara was expecting but didn't want to tell us until after we'd completed so as not to influence the signing. A week later he confessed so we're now in Spain mindful of the fact that we're leaving behind in the UK the imminent arrival of our first grandchild. “This has thrown me somewhat but Kevin's adamant he won't be moving back to UK any time in the next ten years so I guess we'll have to get used to home and away fixtures with the new family. They've already spent a fortnight with us and loved it – hopefully the new addition will too.”