Lottie’s Project – House Hunting In Andalucia


Two weeks ago, I was flying off on a mission. Armed with a motley assortment of Irishman’s maxed out credit cards, airplane tickets, vouchers for hotel and car hire in Malaga and whatever clothes I could stuff into a cabin bag not much larger than a pencil case, my brief was to find and buy a house in Andalucía, Southern Spain. My budget was €40,000. I had four and a half days to complete my task before returning to Jakarta.

house-keys-spain

Prior to the Andalucía house-shopping spree, the only time that I’ve recently spent in Spain was a day trip to Seville from the Algarve 2 months ago. You may remember that Irishman and I had a fancy for living in the Eastern Algarve, somewhere close to Tavira. However, on our return to Indonesia, the more I trawled the Internet for properties, the more disheartened I became. With the best will in the world, the sort of house that we were looking for simply could not be found with the money that we have. Determined not to give up, I decided to cast my net further and jump ship to rural Spain. Away from the coast and up into the hills I reckoned we had a better chance of success.

door-handle-malaga-spain

In an ideal world it’s probably best to have a little longer than four and a half days to find a new home. As we are currently living 7,600 miles away, spontaneous reconnaissance’s to the Iberian peninsula are out of the question and very expensive. Not least the fact that over the past six weeks it’s become increasingly apparent that any prospect of extending our contract with Irishman’s employment in Jakarta would ultimately be paid for in blood. With the sobering realization that in less than 3 months we shall have no monthly salary, it was time to get the show on the road and start focusing on pastures new.

lemons-andalucia

Andalucia

Although I had less than 5 days to achieve my goal of finding and buying a house in Spain, in the week previous to my trip, I had done much of the spadework from my desk in Jakarta. Once Irishman and I had both agreed on an area, it was simply a matter of finding an estate agent who specialized in the sort of properties that we were looking for and a good knowledge of the region. Through the help of a good friend I contacted an agency based in Alcala La Real, 45 minutes drive north west of Granada. After a skype call to introduce myself, and several emails to describe what it was that we were looking for, by the time I left Jakarta for Spain, I had appointments made for 10 properties to view over 2 days.

finca-andalucia
Lord only knows what I did to deserve it, but by sheer good fortune, Emirates out did themselves and gave me a free upgrade to Business class for the entire trip back to London. I shall be waxing lyrical about this in a future post but for now it’s suffice to say that I was spoilt rotten for the entire16 hour flight back to Blighty.

Las-Pilas-de-Fuente-Soto-andalucia

No need to bore you with the details of a night spent at Gatwick airport, nor the joys of flying with Easyjet, the antithesis of Emirates Business class, but on arrival at Malaga at 9am the following morning I did have a small wobbly. As I wrenched the gears of the hire car, and wondered why on earth I couldn’t get the damn thing to move, it occurred to me that my driving skills are a little out of practice. 2 years of not being in the driving seat and a manual car to boot left my nerves feeling decidedly frayed as I left the airport car park, stalling more than once and incompetently jerking the tiny Fiat Panda straight onto the rush hour traffic of Malaga’s ring road.

olive-groves-pilas-de-fuente-soto-andalucia

Restabal-Spain

That said, I did have two splendid traveling companions. My calm, sweet-natured daughter Annie who had joined me at Gatwick for the Spanish leg of the trip, and an infuriating Tom Tom Sat Nav, who between them managed to safely steer us out of the mad Malaga traffic and northwards towards Granada. As the gear crunching lessened, my thoughts started to turn to the reality of my mission. Was I being naive, stupid even, thinking that it might be possible to find a new home, within our budget, and negotiate a purchase in such a short space of time? Only the next few days would tell.

To be continued…

35 thoughts on “Lottie’s Project – House Hunting In Andalucia

  1. Lottie this is such an interesting read. Really, really. The photos and your words are marvelous. I read this as though I were reading a suspense novel. The photos are supberb and I can not wait to read the next installment. I think your ideas of what you have in mind will go over very well. Loved seeing the beautiful lemon tree and the close up of the green olives on the tree. The countryside is so lovely and quite scenic.

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    1. You are so kind Yvonne, thank you 🙂 It is a very beautiful area, very peaceful, maybe too peaceful for some. Having spent 2 years living in one of the most mad cities in the world, we both crave calm, fresh air and open spaces. Andalucia has so many great places to visit, stunning architecture and diverse culture, we thought it might be a perfect place for us. I’ll be continuing part 2 tomorrow

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  2. You are obviously meant to be a travel writer. I do hope you found your lovely house. I did look at properties in Spain as well but for the main, they were mostly horrible apartments/ flats on the coastal fringes, Costa Brava et all.
    Your photos are lovely and I can well imagine the car stalling with gears all over the place. Did you try and take off in fourth gear? (Be honest now) 😉
    It is so nerve wrecking arriving in a foreign country and then taking off in a car.
    Look forward very much to the next installment.

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    1. How did you guess Gerard? yes, I did try to start it in fourth gear! I made such a horlicks of it, to be honest there was a point when I thought I might have forgotten how to drive! It’s been so long since I’ve driven a manual car, I’d forgotten they have a clutch….doh!

      I kept right away from the Costas and coastal fringes. I knew that houses there would be way too expensive and also not really what we are looking for. Rural idyll was what I had my focus on! next installment soon 🙂

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  3. Yes yes yes but what are the insects and birds like, Lottie? I presume you did some sort of ecological survey whilst you were on site? I need a proper list to assess the desirability of the area. I do not however need a survey to see the different merits of Emirates Business Class and Queasy Jet. I have never flown QJ and the only airline I can think of that would repulse me more would be that dreadful irish outfit, the name of which escapes me. Next episode ASAP please. Did you check whether you can get the interweb thingy in Granada?

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    1. An excellent point about the intraweb thingy…. I’ve been told that it shouldn’t be a problem but we shall have to wait to find out.

      Regarding the birds and the bees, we did see a snake 🙂 I shall have to get an ecological study underway for when I return. I’ve heard off the grapevine lol, that the area is popular with twitchers (not the curtain variety) so I’m guessing that there is plenty to see and photograph. Maybe we can tempt Mr Gingold and Mr Rod over too?

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      1. My pal Alister Benn was told he could get broadband on Skye. After a month he and BT gave up. He is now in Cornwall and connected. But only after a fight. You might need a mobile wifi thingy. Some of the folks around here use them because our signal is crapissimo.

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      2. Being so reliant on the internet, it was one of the first things I enquired about. I do hope that we don’t have the same problemos as your pal. For the moment I’m trying to remain positive. Irishman will be none to chuffed if we can’t get it. I could be in some serious trouble!

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  4. What fantastic pictures ( I love the doorknocker) and what a saga this could turn out to be.I have high hopes that you achieved your aim but will hold my curiosity back until your next post. However, wishes of Good Luck go with you everywhere.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

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    1. Thank you David 🙂 all shall be revealed in the next post! The door handle is a winner isn’t it? I found this one on a door in Malaga but they are common in both Spain and Portugal in areas rich in moorish influence. Hugs back to you too XXXX

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  5. I was pretty stunned to read your title. What’s happened to Portugal I wondered? I thought prices had shot down to rock bottom in Portugal.

    A guy next to us has got little more than a stone shell on the market for €120,000 and no ground so I am pleased you had something to view. Although in my experience viewing properties in Spain is an adventure in itself.

    If you achieved your mission well done. It took us months, if not years from when we originally started.

    Suerte!

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    1. All shall be revealed shortly. Part 2 will explain the sudden change of country and also what type of property I was hoping to find amongst other things. I did have to be extremely focused with so little time. I weeded out a lot of no no’s over the internet and in talks with the agent, which saved a lot of time. Having said that, there was one house that I wanted and had earmarked right from the start as a distinct possibility and had stupidly set my heart on only to be told that the papers where not in order and the vendor had put the price up. Fate played it’s hand though…..

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  6. Good luck on that budget. A few years back a lot of North Europeans went over and brought up all the cheap property to ‘develop’ and make a profit, leaving very few genuine bargains in the area.
    It’s a truly beautiful area and I really regretted having to move on. Stay away from the coastal ex-pats though would be my only advice.
    Oh and I’m flying Easyjet to Malaga next week too. My mission for today is to go purchase a tape measure so that I can find out which of my bags fits their stringent regulations.

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    1. I would have been in a lot of trouble if Annie hadn’t been such a frugal packer. I’d forgotten that you have to put your handbag into your hand luggage also. A nightmare. Fortunately there was just enough room in her bag to squeeze mine in along with hers. You are right to take your tape measure as they really do make sure that it fits in that metal sizing box thingy. Have a great time in Malaga 🙂

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  7. A great adventure, can’t wait for the next episode You have made me a little concerned though, next month we will be in England. We have never seen Scotland. We were advised to fly up to Edinburgh with Easy Jet and rent a car from there. I/m now wondering if this was such a good idea – certainly the most expedient. Hope the next post is soon, lovely photographs.

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    1. Rod you will be fine on EasyJet. Just make sure that any hand luggage you take on board fits their extraordinarily mean sizing system. Scotland, how wonderful! You are going to have such a great time. Bet you are all very excited. I look forward to reading all about 🙂

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  8. Sweet suspense, Lottie. You are our heroine in this tale so I am convinced that all turns out well….but there is always a bit of trepidation in assumptions, so I will eagerly await the next episode in my interweb message container.
    I admire the idea that you and Irishman are going to pick up and start anew in an unfamiliar burg. But the timing seems right and you have a plan….you do, don’t you? 🙂
    At any rate, you tell a good story and this has been most entertaining. Hurry back. 🙂

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    1. I’m loving being called a heroine! Thanks Steve, you’ve made me smile 😀

      I do have a sort of a plan and all shall be revealed very soon. We really won’t have a salary after the end of October, that’s the scary part but I’m sure that Mr Irish and I will work something out.

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  9. I’m so curious about it… Lotties Adventures in Andalucia.. Are the keys in the first picture the new front door keys of the fatma hand doorknocker??? what a suspense 😉 I stay tuned..

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  10. I was so excited when this post popped up in my Email inbox… I love your photos and adventures so much. I cannot wait to hear the rest of the adventure… xx

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    1. Lovely April, this is just the beginning! I’m thrilled to bits that you are as excited as I am 😀 I promise not to keep you in suspense much longer. It’s Izzy’s birthday today so we are going out. I shall try to write something either later or tomorrow xxxx

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  11. Lottie! Pins and needles here — I’m hoping to find out the results very soon. The photos look lovely, by the way. I’ve spent time in Andalusia and it’s fantastic. I hope it all works out!!! Suspense is killing…..xxxxxx

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  12. Oh how I have missed your posts, dear Lottie. Laughter and gorgeous photos (as always) in this one. I’m happy that you had your daughter and the Terrible Tom Tom with you on your Amazing Andalusian Adventure. Your bravery knows no bounds! And I can perfectly picture you grinding the gears of your little Fiat. I can’t drive a manual at all, so my hat is off to you!

    Beautiful countryside. Beautiful. Lemons and olives!! And that door knocker is too cool. Can’t wait for part 2!! xoxo

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