Not Sure Where
Our clients had enjoyed many holidays on the Costa del Sol, usually renting a private villa. They had 3 children, two teenagers and one just starting university. They hoped to find a detached 3 villa, but preferably 4 or more bedrooms, with lots of privacy. They had no particular location in mind and were prepared to consider everywhere between Estepona and Marbella. They wanted to be walking distance to shops, bars and restaurants so as the younger children got older they would have more independence and our clients wouldn’t be running a taxi service to Puerto Banús in the early hours. If that wasn’t possible then a short, maximum 10 minute car drive would be considered. The biggest issue, and non-negotiable, was any house had to be 5* condition, they were not willing to do any work at all, it had to be ready-to-move into
- Detached house with a minimum 3 beds but preferably 4 or more
- Absolutely no updating necessary
- Lots of privacy, not overlooked, quiet
- Large pool
- Prefer open-plan living area
- Prefer walking distance to amenities or very short drive
- External style not important but contemporary interiors
- Happy to consider various locations, no fixed ideas
- Wanted to buy immediately
Our clients knew the general layout of the Costa del Sol but not the nuances. They did have experience of many happy family holidays in rented villas, spending their days round the pool and eating out in the evening. They wanted to replicate that environment. I was confident I would be able to locate a good shortlist within 4 to 6 weeks although it was a large search area. From my perspective, the biggest challenge would be finding a property that needed absolutely no work at all while matching all the other criteria at the same time so, probably either a new build or a recently finished renovation. Another issue at the back of my mind was what suits family holidays with small children may not be ideal once those children are older, wanting some independence, places where they can go on their own. Our clients hadn’t thought of this and agreed it was quite likely the 20 year old would want to go with friends from university without them so the closer to amenities the better.
The search took place in the first half of 2022. Following our Zoom discussions our clients decided that the initial search phase should focus only on the area to the west of Marbella. We would take a look at La Herradura if I couldn't locate what was wanted. In the event it wasn't necessary/ The market was in the post-pandemic surge and nowhere was busier than the prime areas of the Costa del Sol. During the first month of the search I identified and viewed eight properties and reported on five of them. These five matched all the criteria in every respect and the result was all were shortlisted for viewing. The locations varied from El Paraíso Alto, between Estepona and San Pedro de Alcántara, two were in Guadalmina Alta, just to the west of San Pedro and one was actually in San Pedro itself. Two were very contemporary, both internally and externally, with one a brand new build and the other four years old. The other three were renovations of older houses with what I call ‘modern’ Andaluz architecture externally but light and airy interiors. With the market so active I was keen to get viewing as soon as possible and so were our clients.
It’s always disappointing when shortlisted properties are snapped up before our clients even view them although it helps them understand just how fast things are moving, In the event, the brand new house on Guadalmina, which was on a plot front line to the golf course where a 1960s house had been demolished, went under offer just before our clients arrived. That left four to view over two days so I set up all four on the first day, leaving time for 2nd viewings on the following day. The ‘nearly new’ house on El Paraíso Alto immediately went on the 2nd viewing list as did a 20 year old renovated house on Guadalmina.
In the end, we didn’t revisit the El Paraíso house as when I called to set up the appointment it turned out to have gone under offer a few hours after we viewed it, so that left just one to revisit. Our clients later told me that it didn’t matter, they knew as soon as they walked into the Guadalmina house that it was ‘the one’.
So, what did they get? Everything they wanted, and more. A detached house on three floors with a glazed elevator to all floors, with five bedrooms and four bathrooms, an office, a cinema room and basement space to do lots of things to in the future. They didn’t get the open plan kitchen but once they viewed the kitchen it didn’t matter. Outside, in a completely private, south facing garden there was a 12m heated pool with an electric cover. And there were so many amenities within walking distance a car is almost not needed. The house is located a 10 minute walk to the commercial centre in Guadalmina and 1km from the church square in San Pedro.
The house was absolutely ready to move into but in the end they did choose to do a couple of things before furnishing the house. Internally, it was just a repaint throughout. Externally, they made the house look very contemporary by removing the window grilles and taking down wrought iron railings to the huge first floor terrace and replacing with glass panels. With that done they were ready to get going turning this lovely house into their special Spanish hideaway. I met them on their first visit after completion, the first opportunity for the children to see it. They were very pleased.
Luck and timing play a big part in most searches. Just after I viewed this house I got the news that it had gone under offer and the deposit was paid. I was so disappointed as, in my view, it was the best I’d seen but as I’ve seen so many deals fail to complete over the years I asked to be kept informed. Happily, by the time our clients came to view it was back on the market because the previous buyer had not been able to get finance. Why anyone would put down a deposit without knowing for sure that the finance was in place is beyond me, but lots do, particularly in this kind of market when demand is so much higher than supply. Our clients were the first viewers since it was remarketed and, as cash buyers, were able to move quickly following a survey.
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