We have always had a thing with Spain. We love the nature, the people, the food, the wine... When we go on holiday to Spain, we rent a car and drive from place to place. Discover new places, find new places to hike (we love to hike, especially in a mountainous area). We're not the kind of people that go to one place one the beach and do nothing. We just can't do nothing. It's not in our nature.
One of our dreams is to have our own house in Spain. We want it to go to for ourselves, but if possible rent it out when we are not using it. So the last years when we went on holiday to Spain, we also looked at locations where it was nice to have a house. In 2010, we decided to really go for it and look for a house in Spain. The offer is seriously overwhelming! So after some thoughts we came up wit some conditions. The house should be not too far from the beach, there should be plenty of nature (to hike!) in the neighborhood, there should be plenty of culture (picturesque villages and old cities) in the neighborhood. Not to far from an international airport. Affordable would help too!
We ended up with an area including Costa Blanca and Costa Cálida, so basically from Denia to Cartagena. Then we looked at brokers and split the area in three: Costa Blanca North, Costa Blanca South and Costa Cálida. We contacted three brokers and looked at the houses they offered. We then made arrangements with them so they could show us the properties. We picked a week in the beginning of December and visited almost 25 houses in three days. There were beautiful houses, less beautiful houses, cheap houses, expensive houses, houses with a magnificent view, houses with no view at all, houses in a suburb area, houses next to restaurants, houses with fixed prices, houses where there was room to bargain.
But one of the last houses was looked at, hit us... In a suburb area of a small town. Close to an inner sea called Mar Menor, so not far from beaches. Lovely nature in the south. Close to old Cartagena, not far from Murcia. Within an hour from an international airport. And, also important, affordable. The name of the place? San Cayetano!
We had to go back home and the broker would keep the house off the market for us for a few days. But we did not need that much time, we already knew we wanted that house. And so a large chain of actions started.
Lots and lots of paperwork going back and forth between us and the broker. Since we could not go to Spain every time a document had to be signed, we gave a Power Of Attorney to a solicitor in Spain. To do so, we back to Spain in January of 2011. They say that things in Spain need their time and things don't go that fast. Well, the broker took us to a bank to open a bank account, we went to the foreign police in Cartagena to apply for a NIE number (a kind of social number, without which you can't do much), visited a notary public to activate the Power Of Attorney and went back to the bank to get electronic access for our bank account. All of that was arranged before lunch! So things can go fast in Spain.
But we had more to do in the few days we were in Spain. We went to a home planner to pick furniture, outside furniture, linen ware, lights and accessories. We went to a local electric shop to pick kitchen equipment, air conditioning and a nice TV. Those were a busy (and expensive) few days in Spain. Oh, and on our way back home we enjoyed a day extra at the airport because of a strike of the air controllers. Shit happens...
Then a lot more paperwork going back and forth between us, the broker, the solicitor and the bank that would provide the mortgage. Finally, on April 1st (no joke!) we got 'completion', meaning we now own the house. That was a bit later than planned. We need to own the house, before we can apply for water and electricity. That usually takes about two weeks and we already planned our next trip to Spain. It would be a close call whether or not we would have water and/or electricity when we arrived.
Talking about that next trip... we planned to go by plane and just pay extra for the extra stuff we wanted to bring. But then the air company decided to act a bit strange and decided to change one of our flights in an odd way. So we decided not to go by plane, but to drive. It would take longer, but we could bring more stuff and do things at our own pace and time. Being just over 2000km, with some 800km per day it should be doable in two-and-a-half day