This was first posted by Devil's Advocate.
The rest of the thread, which contains more information can be found at viewtopic.php?f=28&t=39566
Sold the house in Andalucia. Here's how it went.
Postby Devils Advocate » Mon Aug 19, 2019 2:41 pm
So, aprox. 2.5 years ago the hard decision to part with our lovely place in Andalucia was taken.
It was not a lightly taken decision either and we spoke about it and discussed the merits and downsides at length before the agents were approached.
In a nutshell I think we were just not using it enough. It was our second place in the area, the first being a large 4 story town house which although lovely proved after 3 years to be just too awkward to cope with, especially as we had no way of getting a car within 1/4 mile of it. This made lugging shopping etc. home a task in itself considering the dramatic climb to get to it. Not to mention banging my head every time I went upstairs lol
So our current villa/country house was bought and it proved to be a good move.
The house has been great with no issues, its views were dynamic and apart from its 1/2 mile track which some love and some loathe it was all but perfect. As they say you need to climb to get the views.
We were doing 3 month split stays per year at first but as the mystique and novelty wore off we found ourselves going less and less and 15 years later we were visiting for just a 3 week stay to check on things, albeit still loving it whilst we were there.
The other reasons I think we decided on leaving were things that had changed over our 18 years of owning there. In 2001/2002 there was a certain unique atmosphere of people buying in the boom years and the excitement that went with it. We made lots of new friends in the same boat as us setting out on their new adventure, most of whom have now sold up and left. We were finding that most new comers now were of a different mindset and were mostly renting for 6 months before moving on......and some of them were simply not there to enjoy the community and contribute as we always did.
Also as other owners always told us, having your own place can stop you seeing other places. Since we started driving over a few years back we've found some tremendous places in France and Northern Spain, so much so it began feeling like an anti climax when we eventually got to Andalucia and the surroundings we know. That played on our minds too.
The upkeep costs don't vary much however much you use it so we felt we were now wasting money leaving it empty for 49 weeks per year.
So the estate agents took their pics and on the market she went. After reading about house sales on this forum and from first hand info. we knew this was not going to be an overnight sale......which we were content with as we did still enjoy holidaying there.
The first 2 months of being on the market saw a glut of viewers visit the house, quite normal I suppose when a new and fresh property hits the market but the viewings as expected produced not one offer.
And so it carried on for the next 18 months with fewer and fewer viewers wanting to see it.
We'd tried to price the house at a level just below any similar 3 bed/2bath/pool houses in the area so refused to lower price and stuck to our guns....and continued visiting for our hols and enjoying it.
I suppose the turning point came when the agents approached us in the new year gone and asked how can we make the house more attractive to buyers.
As I say it was/is a superb place but we'd noticed the overgrown gardens and the grubby cover on pool were doing it no favours and the agents cited this as a cause for concern.
We did actually have a bloke looking after it for a while but he let us down and abused the situation so we never bothered again with paying for this service.
However the agents told us about a chap they knew so we met up with him. We liked him straight away and gave him the go ahead to knock the grounds in to shape.........it was a different casa within a week with smart gardens and a glistening pool. all for less than we were paying the other rogue.
This was the turning point, new pictures were taken and from spring this year the viewers and offers started........culminating with an offer as near as damn it to our asking price by a lovely couple, we pinched ourselves and accepted their offer after one last final haggle.
So the fun began and hopefully what I relay may be of benefit to anyone who's selling theirs at this time.
We were totally green behind the ears with what to do now so I basically nailed myself in front of the Andalucia.Com forum and searched the archives for "selling houses" to prepare ourselves for the ride......or try to.
It was at this point I saw Miros recent thread on selling his house and contacted him. What a help he has been with his information, suggestions and tips. A huge help to us and I will say thank you publicly to him now.
He suggested the use of an exchange company which was music to my ears as I'd had my fill of Unicaja over the years and the way they do business, keeping any funds away from them suited us fine. Especially when I saw what both their exchange rates and "handling fees" were to be. We saved thousands by using Currencies direct as recommended by Beachcomber, thanks Beachy.
Not the very best rates but still very good with no added charges, however they were great to deal with, in constant touch with us and held our hands through it all. They also accompanied us to the Notary on day of completion to handle the paying in of the draft. Superb service and well worth considering if you go this route, I'd not go anywhere else. The money was in our UK bank before we got home!!
We set an account up with them straight away on the day we accepted the deal in order for the account to be up and running in time to accept the 5k reservation fee and also the 10% deposit. The former actually ended up being taken by the agents in lieu of the 10k agents fees (fixed rate).
The awkward bits of the sale then reared their heads as Miro said they might.
First off we got a call from our legal rep. who said our house/land plans were vague and did not match the catastro......here we go we thought.
I asked what we needed to do and was told we'd need new drawings to the tune of 2.5k e drawing up.......super!!!
Funny really as this firm had done the conveyance on this very house for us and had had the drawings done for us, as we had the delight in telling them.
An hour later we got an email saying our drawings were indeed all fine So, 2.5k saved straight away hmmmm.
Next stop was the dreaded DAFO, we thought we were in the clear on this but no.
Story we got was buyers solicitor found an added roof extension on part of our terrace that we'd swapped from bamboo to a proper tiled pro. job but never got planning permission for..........fair cop I suppose.
8K was the first quote for this DAFO but we found a local gestor who is doing it now at just sub 4k, so again worth shopping around.
On delving deeper into this DAFO issue it appears to me that very few properties escape its clutches......I honestly think as has already been said by many it's a huge con.
Another annoying thing was there seems to be no trust between the legal professions here or undertakings as is the case in the UK as buyers solicitor is holding a 5k retention in order to ensure our chap gets the DAFO, a bit peeved with that but we will get it back.
We had 6k retention too for CG at 3% which is annoying but unavoidable as the house is truly being sold at a small loss on the paperwork, which is all true and none bodged figures, so again we have instructed a legal rep. to get this back for us at a cost of just 350e for their work which we think is fine and easier than doing ourselves..........so 11k in all retentions plus maybe another 1000 for water, electric and other sundries.
We dodged a bullet with the plus valia hit too, reading on here and speaking to others we'd budgeted on 2-2.5k but were pleasantly surprised to find our area is unique and very cheap in this department....I think bill was 140e so a great result there.
Lawyers fees for the conveyance came in at 1500e which for Spain I thought it to be good value.....especially as they completed the job with no issues.
Energy certificate cost 150e
The other nightmare we faced but not of the legal nature was our buyers did not want any of the contents of the house as they were going to live there full time and would be bringing their own stuff, you never know how full your home is until you come to empty it. What an enormous task we had. We'd not expected this as we sold the house as furnished.
We had made plans before we went for selling a lot off etc. in our final week of stay, we obviously needed the stuff until we left.
Those plans went in to chaos when I caught a Spanish virus and was in bed for 10 days with a high temperature and rambling and having nightmares. It went on to my chest and I needed hospital treatment which I got and which was superb. Strong antibiotics and other pills got me as right as rain a week later.....but the house was still full of our stuff and 3 days to completion in scorching temperatures, poor Mrs. was frantic with worry.
We made the decision not to start selling stuff and haggle, with the exception one new couple who'd just bought a house who we sold a fair few items to at mates rates.
We basically gave away a few things local friends fancied free of charge and gave the rest to the local cats and dogs charity....which was a great solution for us. We also gave our car to a lady who'd helped us out in the past and felt comfortable with her having it as a gift.
So after a sweating and hard working few days house was empty and what a sad moment it was. It was then off to the hotel and up early for notary the next day.
Closing the doors for the last time and locking the gates did give us a lump in our throats but upwards and onwards.
As you've guessed all at the Notary went well, new owners have a lovely house which I know they'll love and do things to it we as part timers could never do. We shook hands with everyone, went for an ice cream then set off for Northern Spain having a few nights in La Rioja and Bilbao before sailing home with the knowledge we are no longer house owners in Spain.
Sad in a way but a huge and massive relief and weight off our mind.
No regrets whatsoever with the 18 years of ownership we've had there and I'd still tell people to do it if they fancied it, it has been a rich experience that's taught us a hell of a lot, and we can always say "we did it".
Beauty of the deal at this time is we have not lost a penny in the bricks and mortar buys over the 18 years, in fact turning in a small profit due to the completely opposite scale of the exchange rates we bought at and now sold at.
Andalucia is a fabulous and unique area and we will visit again, there is no question of that.
It will be lovely to get there though without worrying if all is ok with the house, if the water will be on, if the pool is ok, if the winds haven't taken any tiles off roof etc. I look forward to a return visit as a true holidaymaker
Also I should say I realise now fully what a rich vein of information the Andalucia.com archives are. Good info. from people who've had hands on experience, invaluable.
I've missed out loads more info. probably here guys but if there's anything in particular you'd like me to answer or try to relay I'll be more than happy to.
All the best and thanks.
Property owner in Andalucia since 2002. How time flies.
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