Lanzarote House Hunters - Four Years On

Lanzarote House Hunters - Four Years On

‘Four years from filming A Place in the Sun we’ve now got our dream home in Spain’

It’s exactly four years since property hunters Rob and Lisa Sargent flew out to the Spanish island of Lanzarote with Jonnie Irwin and the A Place in the Sun TV crew, but they’re just putting the finishing touches to their own Shangri-la.

At times their search did feel like finding their imaginary paradise was very far off indeed, but a few twists and turns can often be for the best. “We changed our mind halfway through about the need to find somewhere ideal for renting out,” says Rob, 53, from Sheffield. “We decided to re-evaluate our retirement goal and find somewhere just for us.”

So, to recap, the couple with two grown-up children, were looking for a two/three-bedroom property around Playa Blanca for £280,000 back in January 2019. When their TV episode aired you may have seen them put in an offer on property five.

Yet Covid derailed their plans and in March 2020 they pulled out of the property sale due to uncertainty about the next few months: as it turned out, a holiday rental property during the travel restrictions of the pandemic would have sat empty for many weeks.

But the couple love the island and kept on looking – but changed their goal. Says Rob, who works for FirstGroup: “Rather than spend £280k on a property that was ready to go, we decided to get somewhere that needed work and spend the difference on getting it how we wanted it.”

He now feels very glad they finally ignored the advice of an estate agent not to look at ‘properties with Moroccan style chimneys’.  The community of these style properties that Rob and Lisa fell in love with was Shangrila Park near Playa Blanca in the south of the island. It’s got around 140 detached properties, with mountain and sea views from the roof terraces – you can see as far as Fuerteventura.

It features the traditional, white-washed houses with green shutters (the paint fishermen had left over from their boats) found elsewhere on the island too. It’s a very Andalusian influenced style encouraged by Cesar Manrique, the local architect behind the island’s preservation from concrete high-rises when package tourism exploded in the 1970s.

Thick windowless walls of such houses protect them from the wind, the lime whitewash would bounce off the sun, sloped roof terraces would collect rainwater; onion-dome or Moorish style chimneys often feature.

The Sargents’ home was built in 1999 and the couple have been renovating it since they found it in June 2022. It was a stop/start building process with the demand for builders high on the island but as you can see, the result is impressive, with a re-done and a new extension, giving the property three bedrooms. The white house stands out against the black-lava garden and tropical green planting.  It cost around their original budget.

It's retirement-ready (although the couple aren’t quite there yet) and PSS International Removals are shipping out some furniture right now. Lisa has worked remotely out there, and the couple will continue to enjoy stays out there until they make the move permanently.

Says Rob: “It is a different story [than we planned], that is for sure, but hopefully even better.”

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Liz Rowlinson