Claire and Mike Plummer bought a home in the Costa del Sol as somewhere to relax and enjoy the sunshine, and that's precisely what they're doing. Claire talks to us about the buying their Spanish home and their future plans.
Why did you pick the Costa del Sol?
We had been on holiday there a number of times in the past which meant we were familiar with the area. While looking for properties we stumbled across the small town of Cerros del Aguila just outside of Fuengirola. We liked its proximity to good local amenities and of course the beach but it had managed to avoid becoming a hotspot for tourists.
Buying in Spain was something that Claire had always wanted to do but had never thought she would be able to actually do it.
What did you buy?
When we first started searching we weren't really sure what we wanted, mainly because we didn't know how far our budget would stretch. Once we had done some research on the A Place in the Sun website and visited a couple of your exhibitions we had a much better idea of what we could and couldn't get. One thing we were sure of from quite early on was to not buy in a holiday complex.
We finally bought a two bedroom town house in Cerros del Aguila for €145,000. It's a residential urbanisation with a community pool, tennis courts, supermarket, a children's play area and even a few bars.
It's also only a few kilometres from the beach in Feungirola which has some nice restaurants and shops - definitely a marketable factor if we do decide to let the property.
Originally our budget had been €120,000 but after seeing the area we knew that it was perfect for us so we decided that to increase our budget. It was a very fortunate position to be in but we're so glad we took the plunge.
The buying process can be daunting abroad, how did you find it?
The process was very different as all paperwork needs to be authorised by a Notary which requires visits to the offices to complete. We used an English speaking solicitor who had been recommended to us which helped enormously with relieving the stress. She went above and beyond what we had expected.
That said, it did seem like a very quick process, we paid our deposit in July 2015 and completed on the last day of August the same year.
Is there anything you think other buyers should know?
The best advice we can probably offer other people thinking of buying in Spain is don't be afraid to be confident about what you want. We were originally going to buy through a large estate agency in Spain but found they had ignored most of our requirements and only showed us properties that they wanted to sell, not the ones we wanted to buy.
In the end we just switched to a small local agency who was happy to show us properties that were in line with our requirements.
You should also do your homework about the year round climate in your area of interest - though bear in mind that there can be a big difference in heat and humidity depending on your distance to the coast. On the coast it was a comfortable 30 degrees with a breeze however inland it was 40+ with high humidity & no breeze. We were told in the winter it would remain around 10 degrees at the coast but the temperature could be minus inland.
What are you plans for the property?
To start with it will just be a holiday home for ourselves and our families but we plan to spend more time there once we have retired.
We have also considered renting the property out but that's probably only something we will do in the future to cover costs. Even then it will only be for a few weeks in peak season as we want to get the most out the property ourselves!