In September 2019 we received an email from a Scottish couple who were in a hurry to look at properties before the end of their holiday on the Costa del Sol. Their requirements sounded pretty straightforward: not too old or needing too much work; garden for their Labrador; easy to rent out if required; close to golf and in a residential area. Budget was workable and they were realistic about what they were looking for and what they could afford.
However, after our initial meeting it became clear that perhaps this wasn’t going to be that straightforward after all.
To our advantage, they were able to shortlist almost immediately the one complex that was right for them – it was in the location they preferred (close to golf and amenities but residential rather than touristic), offered them all that they needed in terms of lock up and leave security, and was the optimum size of property to suit them. They had the choice of a townhouses for sale with extended kitchen and skylight creating a really bright space, or a ground floor apartment which had a fantastic garden but perhaps not enough natural light in the kitchen.
Enough natural light in the kitchen? Unusual concern for Scottish families used to more a more inclement climate. And therein lay the “disadvantage” – this lovely Glaswegian Hibernian FC loving couple lived in NEW ZEALAND!
So, no popping over for subsequent visits when more properties became available for sale!
There were other bureaucratic hoops to jump through preventing them from buying straightaway, but they decided the townhouse was the perfect property for them and agreed to get in touch when they got back to New Zealand. To be honest, I wasn’t holding my breath.
Then the townhouse with the sundrenched kitchen sold and I had to let them know, as promised. They were disappointed but not cripplingly so – “find us another” I think they said! We kept communicating and got on well – they regaled me with Hibernian FC’s triumphs, and I retorted with Swindon FC’s disasters. WhatsApp was our tool of choice – with the time difference it meant I could tap away while putting the children to bed and they replied over coffee and breakfast!
Then COVID hit. Not only did this mean we were stuck in our homes wondering what was next for the Spanish property market, it also meant that our lovely Glaswegians were facing serious delays to the New Zealand and Scottish bureaucracy they needed to complete before a return to Europe and with Brexit looming that was less than ideal.
Fast forward to summer and a second charming Scottish couple contacted us – Aberdeen supporters this time – looking to sell their townhouse in El Paraiso. It was in the right complex, great position and in superb condition. If only the clients weren’t stuck in New Zealand! Well, on the off chance I decided to shoot a video, ably assisted by my 6-year-old daughter who happily described the swimming pool, tennis courts and other facilities on site while I trailed behind her recording. As mentioned before, I’d got on well with these clients and I knew they’d get a kick out of seeing Grace helping out, after all COVID changed everything in terms of getting the family involved in business when school closures meant there was no choice in the matter!
I hid my surprise (and excitement) when in reply to the video they said “okay, we’ll take it, as long as the owners support the Dons!” (I think they were joking… )
By this time the vendors were in the Caribbean, so negotiations were fairly protracted simply because of the extreme time differences but there wasn’t much back and forth once football allegiances were confirmed and we had a deal. There was still a bit of international red tape to overcome, oh and COVID travel restrictions, but finally with the vendors stuck in the US and the buyers freezing in a luxury caravan park in the Scottish highlands, their lawyers signed the new deeds in the notary on 23rd December, just in time to beat the Brexit deadline. Phew.
At time of writing, COVID travel restrictions are still in place and our lovely purchasers are yet to visit their new house in El Paraiso for the first time. I hope they like it!