We had been thinking for many years about retiring to Spain and each year we spent some of our holidays visiting different areas. Les was born and grew up in the West Indies and wanted to get back to warmer weather than that of England. Auds is from the Emerald Isle and a sun lover. We have two children, both with commitments in England so wanted somewhere within easy reach and good options on flights - Spain fitted the bill.
We reached a point in our careers when we had had enough and wanted another way of life. Being too young to retire we decided to invest in a self-catering holiday destination. We set out our search criteria and used the major internet property portals to identify several properties. We rented a casita in Almería Province and spent several days viewing before settling on a property that provided a main house for us, three rental units and a swimming pool. We agreed the price, arranged a property survey and put our home on the market. Unfortunately we had to withdraw from the purchase due to legal issues with the property. We were now about to become homeless having sold our family home of 23 years!
So back to the drawing board. More extensive internet searching threw up potential properties and one in particular caught our eye on the borders of Málaga and Cordoba Provinces. The owner was selling directly so we called him to test the water on price flexibility and also on the legality of the property. Getting the green light on both counts we flew out for a few days. We loved the property, agreed a price and arranged a survey. Once again we had to withdraw from the purchase due to legal and also structural issues!
Returning once again to the internet we broadened our search criteria and identified properties across Andalucía. By now we had left England and were living with my sister in the French Pyrenees. At this point we were becoming somewhat sceptical about ever finding a rural place that was legal and structurally sound. We decided that we should base ourselves in Spain for seven weeks and blitz the market, found a casita to rent, contacted a number of estate agencies and drove from France to restart our search.
The seven weeks flew by and we viewed more than forty properties across Andalucía. It was towards the end of our stay that we met with Allan Hilder from Another Way of Life. We had identified several properties on their website that looked interesting. Allan, and his colleague Paul, arranged viewings on all but one. That one was in the midst of legal wrangling about ownership so they advised against it.