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Shall I stay or shall I go?

Here we are in soggy Tunbridge Wells, in a house we hate, but still we can't quite make the decision to leave. This is the story of why we are in this position, and hopefully how eventually we'll change life for the better. Maybe it will ring a few bells with some of you!

I used to be indecisive, but now I'm not so sure.
Saturday, February 25, 2017 @ 3:39 PM

When I left you last week we were still at the grindstone here in the UK and in the happy position of owning a spacious one bed flat on the seafront in Estepona. The flat had a parking space and storeroom and it was perfect for a quick break, or to let for holiday makers but it wasn't suitable for longer periods of residence, especially for both my Husband and myself as one of us would probably end up being thrown over the balcony!

 We were finding it increasingly frustrating only being able to go when there were no tenants, and with the new letting rules last June, we decided to put it on the market. We assumed that it would take about a year to sell and that we would have plenty more holidays there, but it sold within a week!


The buyers were extremely reasonable about our already booked flights in August, and agreed that we could put our personal stuff in the storeroom until we found our 'Forever home'.

We flew to Gibraltar at the end of August feeling very unsettled, and set about viewing properties with a vengance. We met some very good estate agents and some that frankly were useless. None of them however really listened to what we were looking for, and we spent a lot of time being dragged to places we weren't interested in buying.

We wanted a small detached place in Estepona with a pool and a garden and we really only had about 180,000 Euros. A tall order, but that was what we wanted!

We saw lovely off grid places up in the mountains, but too far from civilisation for me, we saw tiny little modern boxes on ghastly urbanisations which had no soul, we saw houses that we loved but which needed far more work than we could afford to do, and then our agent, Victoria from Future Homes in Estepona took us to Valle Romano.

We had been warned about Valle Romano, it has the nickname 'slippy valley' apparently, because there is so much subsidence there and this rather put us off the place, but it wasn't far to go, so we agreed to have a look.

It was pretty well perfect, 2 beds, detached, swimming pool, garden, and a bit rough and ready around the edges, but habitable. We fell in love, BUT it was 205,000 Euros. Now,I have never taken money seriously, whilst my Husband frets and worries about it,- but in the end we both knew that we would buy it. So we borrowed some more and it's been ours now since last October, and so far apart from one or two incidents, like having two floods, the constant dogs barking, and noise and dust and inconvenience of the roadworks it's been great. We love it.

Now we have to decide whether or not to move there permanently.

If we do decide to do that then when, now or in 5 years time?

Do we sell up completely here and close our businesses or do we try to run two lives?

Do we keep this house and let it for income, or do we sell up completely? 

What about No. 2 Son, where will he live?

Will I miss my life here too much? 

Will I miss my Grandchildren too much? 

Will we have enough to live on, with no income and no pensions?

Will I be able to make new friends in Spain?

Will I be able to learn to speak Spanish properly instead of the pidgin Spanish I currently speak?

Will we get bored with no work or structure to our lives?

Sooner or later we have to make a decision, we have a real Spanish home now, no excuses, and I ask again shall I stay or shall I go?





Like 3


camposolian said:
Saturday, February 25, 2017 @ 5:29 PM

we have been fortunate enough to have a home on an Urbanization together with our House here in the uk ,and keep both going .now we are retired we plan to Share our time between two places for the time being .The main thing is taking care of your health care .Its either a insurance or becoming resident so many people think the Ehic covers everything ,it doesn't ,only emergency situations.Land up with a heart condition ,could cost you upwards of e12000 for follow on treatment .So first thing check out your health care in Spain.There no such thing as a Nhs in Spain if you become a resident which by staying the for six months becomes de facto .I believe the uk pay the Spanish health care system for any treatment .(there health system is very good and again I believe you only pay 10% of any prescription medicine you need )However once you are a resident you come under the Spanish tax system, ie you have to declare all world wide assets both in Spain and anywhere else .There aretax allowances but not everyone wants to do this ,and if caught not doing it ,the fines can be draconian.
I've seen a lot of people go back to the uk ,beautiful homes here just because they need to be near there daughters and help with the grandchildren.Also not having enough money to live in Spain ,it's cheaper than the U.K. But not what it used to be,Electricity is very expensive And no way around paying it.Banking isn't free like the uk and can get problematic getting things paid in time ,before you get cut off .I might add its anindustry cutting people in Spain off and charging money to get reconnected."this is Spain"with a shrug is the fallback position of a lot of people including Brits I've found .One tip don't pay anyone be it Brits or Spanish up front, and only when you are completely satisfied that it is it's up to standard .My suggestion to living in Spain is simple try renting for 6months and get a recommended tax expert together with a Lawer if you buy to explain all the pitfalls .That way you will see if you like it and iron out the bugs that occur from time to time.None one who lives there are going to admit they made a mistake and may well only tell you the good points.So try it out first make new friends and don't be put off by an Urbanization we are lucky nice neighbours good community spirit and sometimes it's good to be close to other expats to help out .Sorry I forgot the robberies (watch your security ,put bars on your doors and windows )specify good quality steel for the bars my advice .We found out the hard way.
It's sounds a bit gloomy but once you have settled in its a great place to be just don't get blinded by the scenery,Sales chat if using a sales rep,use your common sense and never, I mean never, make a serious decision when you are in a good mood .However good it looks.Hope thi helps

jsevanbergen said:
Saturday, February 25, 2017 @ 5:54 PM

Thanks for your comment. I know about robberies. I parked my hire car in the port last time I was out, and when I approached it a wiry Moroccan man popped up from the back wheel.
I didn't like the look of him so I drove away quickly, but soon found out he had let my back tyre down.
I presume he was hoping to mug me when he pointed it out. Unfortunately for him, I didn't hang around.
I think we will try and keep both properties going, at least for a
while, but being self-employed we have no money if we don't work, which is a big problem.

Margaret123 said:
Monday, February 27, 2017 @ 11:40 PM

We are in a similar position. I retire in August so we will both have basic state pension - and some savings.
We are thinking of using some of it to buy 50K flat or even a caravan , o use half of the year. We just aren't sure where ! I like the look of Torreviecha, Olivia and Denia. We would like walking distance to Marinas, ports etc.
So yes, I scour the sites and blogs trying to get as much info as possible. Will we have enough money ? Will we like it ?
Our daughter lives in Madrid and has a Spanish partner so we are aware of some of the pitfalls.
But I must admit the crime is a concern for us.

jsevanbergen said:
Monday, February 27, 2017 @ 11:46 PM

I have never felt threatened by the Spanish, but some of the Moroccans and Romanians think that Northern Europeans are cash cows. having said that it was the first time I have personally been affected. As usual, the fear of crime is often worse than the reality.
If you want to be somewhere more typically Spanish, but still very good value what about Almeria province?

Just a thought.


Margaret123 said:
Tuesday, February 28, 2017 @ 7:30 PM

Thank you Joanna. We live in the north of Scotland in a semi rural area so are probably just scaring ourselves about the crime. !
I will check out Almeria. Are there any towns/ areas in particular that I should look at ? Thank you.

Margaret123 said:
Tuesday, February 28, 2017 @ 7:38 PM

And PS. Thank you for your blog, I'll follow with great interest.

jelene said:
Saturday, March 4, 2017 @ 9:15 AM

Hi, I was unhappy with your comment 5 years time! Who knows what can happen in 5 years, you will be losing 5 wonderful years here in Spain and anything can happen including illness or worse and it may never happen, If its possible to come now do it. Estepona is a great place to live, I took the jump 30 years ago and to all those people who lamely ask "what do you do all day in Spain" you answer I live. Life gets very full very quickly and lots of friends to be made.

anthomo16 said:
Saturday, March 4, 2017 @ 11:38 AM

I think that you have already made up your mind haven't you? You are ready to move better now than later cos who knows what tomorrow brings? There are jobs out there especially if you are a little handy or love craft making. There are plenty of markets and everyone loves to get a bargain so buy and sell? Your kids can come with you and your grandkids will love your pool and will always look forward to school hols with you.

jsevanbergen said:
Saturday, March 4, 2017 @ 12:42 PM

Yes, we will almost certainly end up in Estepona. We have to spend a bit on maintenance first, money we can only earn here, and we have no savings and no income at all until June 2012 when we get a state pension.

sue62rsh said:
Saturday, March 4, 2017 @ 1:27 PM

we moved over 2 years ago and have not regretted it once, my husband has a pension and i work to earn our drinking and shopping money, the lifestyle is great always outdoors, we are not tied to the tv like in the UK. we have never been a victim of crime but have heard of places being robbed whilst people are away and the property is obviously vacant. we have a grandchild and children in the uk and they either come and visit a lot or we go back there as flights are so cheap it is easy enough to keep in touch. My advice JUST DO IT

sue62rsh said:
Saturday, March 4, 2017 @ 1:28 PM

we moved over 2 years ago and have not regretted it once, my husband has a pension and i work to earn our drinking and shopping money, the lifestyle is great always outdoors, we are not tied to the tv like in the UK. we have never been a victim of crime but have heard of places being robbed whilst people are away and the property is obviously vacant. we have a grandchild and children in the uk and they either come and visit a lot or we go back there as flights are so cheap it is easy enough to keep in touch. My advice JUST DO IT

jsevanbergen said:
Saturday, March 4, 2017 @ 1:56 PM

Okay, but we have to get number two Son settled first.
If we can get the work on the Spanish house done and paid for, and Hugo past this next operation and on his way to his chosen career, then we'll feel a bit better about it.
To be honest one of my main worries is getting stock to sell in Spain. Here, after 30 years I have contacts and suppliers and I make a good living. I trawl all the secondhand shops and booties in Spain, but they are nothing like those in the South East of England, where money is no object and everyone wants to 'keep up with the Joneses'!

Margaret123 said:
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 @ 12:37 AM

@sue62rsh. Can I ask where you have have settled ?
We are thinking of Alicante area as the flights are easier for us as we live in the North of Scotland.
Thank you.

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