This case study highlights a big differences between what estate agents and buying agents like The Property Finders do. Our clients knew the Marbella area reasonably well but nothing about the rest of Andalucía. Without our input they would, no doubt, have taken the estate agent route, been shown what was available in budget in the Marbella area and probably bought an apartment. Estate agents don’t discuss alternative locations outside their ‘patch’ although those locations may be exactly what the client is looking for. However, after contacting us it turned out they were very happy to consider other locations and were open to suggestions. They hadn't heard of any of them. The key issue was the view. They showed me the view from a villa they had rented in Mallorca for ten straight summers. They wanted the same view but with a better winter climate than Mallorca would give them. I knew exactly where I would find that view and it wasn’t Marbella.
- Minimum 3 beds & 2 baths
- House or apartment
- A panoramic view of water, lake or sea
- Large terraces
- On or close to a golf course
- Tennis court in easy walking distance
- Maximum 1hr to airport
The view of water. Our clients wanted a property with a panoramic view of either a lake or the sea. This requirement was non-negotiable; no view of water, no purchase. However, if an apartment isn’t frontline any view of the sea is likely to be partial or overlooks a lot of buildings before you get to the water. In the Marbella area their budget didn’t stretch to a detached villa so in all probability it would have to be an apartment. Knowing the plan to spend winters in Spain once they retired meant I had to focus on the warmest areas. Outside the two micro-climate areas winter temperatures can be as much as 10ºC lower on the same day.
When I saw the image of the view our clients so loved in Mallorca I knew I would find it in La Herradura and Salobreña, east of Málaga city on the Costa Tropical. One of the micro-climate coastal zones is Marbella, the other is between La Herradura and Salobreña, an area our clients didn’t know at all. However, for comparison we agreed that I would include apartments in the Marbella area in the initial stage of the search.
I quickly located four apartments in Marbella area, two of which were frontline beach while the others had 180º sea views but further back and seven villas between La Herradura and Salobreña. The views of the Mediterranean along this stretch of coast are as good as you can get anywhere and not just because they 180º and panoramic you are also very close to the water. You are looking down from hills and cliffs that come right down to the sea. As well as these eleven properties that were shortlisted I also inspected eight more that didn’t make the cut for various reasons. It was time to go viewing.
As soon as they made the comparison between what they could buy close to Marbella and the Costa Tropical I knew we could forget Marbella. The area between La Herradura and Salobreña just suited them so much better. As a family of good Spanish speakers they liked what remains a very authentic Spanish atmosphere. They all skied so loved the idea of being just 1hr from the ski resort south of Granada. Two were registered scuba divers so to discover there is year-round diving from Marina del Este was a bonus. Suddenly, Marbella seemed quite boring in comparison.
We viewed all the shortlisted properties. However, we could have stopped after the first one, it was ‘the one’. Just a couple of minutes by car from the village of Salobreña, there were spectacular views over the sea and also to Salobreña itself, on its rocky outcrop topped by the 10th century castle. Built 20 years previously by a German architect for himself it had only been used as a holiday home, never rented out. Therefore, it was in very good condition but had lots of potential to be updated into something really special. We opened negotiations but hit a snag. Although the market was several years into recovery from the big meltdown prices were only just starting to move up. Our clients made their final offer but the seller dug his heels in and held out for his final price. There was a gap.
For the next couple of months I reviewed everything I had already seen and viewed anything new that came on the market. Nothing came close and so our client took the pragmatic view that, as the house was to be their main home after retirement and was a purchase for the long term, the gap wasn’t unsurmountable. Fortunately the house was still available. We went back and paid the seller’s price.
After completion, our clients undertook a complete renovation and extension, adding a first floor with two bedrooms suites, making five in total, from which the sea views are unbeatable. And they’re just as good from the ground floor level. Every room has an amazing view and at the very front edge of the 2,000m2 plot, the new, heated, 12m infinity swimming pool is the icing on the cake. There's a tennis court within walking distance just for the residents of the urbanisation. Not much golf to speak of but with that view it wasn't an issue.
Our input was crucial. Our knowledge of the whole of Andalucía, not just one area, enabled our clients to compare and contrast different locations and buy with confidence in a location they had never heard of and had no plans to visit.
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