Swedes look forward to summer and many take the bulk of their holiday at that time of year – In fact, by law Swedes have the right to 4 weeks of consecutive holiday during the months of June, July and August! However, sometimes (or should we say more often than not?) summer does not materialise. When this happens, it is common for people to book last-minute trips to warmer climes. More recently, it has become increasingly popular for people to buy property in warmer countries. Due to its proximity and weather, Spain is a favourite. Last year, 4000 properties in Spain were bought by Swedes and sales in 2017 are expected to top even that!
A few years ago, my husband and I started looking into buying a small place for ourselves in the sun. My preference had always been France, or more specifically Provence. I speak the language and absolutely love the landscape and culture. My husband, on the other hand, has always been passionate about all things Italian, imagining himself eating peaches and soaking up the sun on his own little patch of Tuscany. Quite quickly we discovered that if we wanted year around sun in Europe, the place to be was the Costa del Sol in Spain. However, none of us spoke the language and none of us had ever spent any serious amount of time in Spain.
On my 40th birthday, my husband borrowed a friend’s flat in Marbella and we flew down for a couple of days. His idea was to spend time in the sun, relaxing on the beach, but it was my birthday, so we spend our days sightseeing! We went to Granada to visit the majestic Alhambra and also squeezed in time to see the extraordinary town of Ronda. Marbella was not for us, but we discovered that Andalucia has a lot to offer.
Back home, we started to look at websites and soon we found an interesting town house in the white washed village of Torrox Pueblo. Tickets were bought, kids were housed with friends and we flew off. The house was lovely, but we realised that it might not be ideal to spend long summer weeks with small children in a sleepy village with limited access to pool or beach. Whilst we were there, the estate agent took the opportunity to show us a few more properties. Most were not particularly exciting, but as soon as she showed us a little flat in the San Juan de Capistrano urbanisation in Nerja, we fell in love. The flat itself was too small, but the urbanisation, with its white washed houses, beautiful gardens, access to swimming pool and walking distance to the mediterranean won us over.
At home, we kept an eye on available properties in the area and one day, my husband said; “What do you think about this one?”. A semi-detached property with two bedrooms and bathrooms, balcony overlooking Nerja and the Mediterranean and a little garden. AND WE COULD AFFORD IT!!!! Once again, the kids were looked after my kind friends and we flew down to see it. How often does in rain in the Costa del Sol? Not very often. But when we arrived, it was pouring, it was freezing and the flat had not been cleaned (we had planned to stay the night there). It also smelled mouldy!! Our first thought was NO WAY!!! However, the estate agent met up with us and showed us a few more options. One was next to a round-about, one overlooked a carpark, one was very close to the noise of the communal pool….All very depressing. So we bought some wine and went back to “our” flat (which had now been cleaned). And then something happened. Sitting with our feet on the radiator drinking that glass of wine, out perception of the place changed. Would we ever again find a place with such a wonderful view? With a little garden with an orange tree? With the original features preserved? At that price? We didn’t think so. So suddenly we were discussing renovation, which had not been a consideration previously. All the way home on the plane we discussed the pros and cons. Then, on the drive back from the airport, we made an offer and it was accepted!
Now, two years later, the renovation has been completed and we have our little place in the sun. And we absolutely LOVE it!
P.S. I have just enrolled in a Spanish course, which gives me something to look forward to when winter sets in!
As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me on: firstname.lastname@example.org