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Property Management and Rentals La Marina

The property rental market in the Costa Blanca region of Spain. Moving and living to the Alicante region without having to buy.

Time for a breather
07 November 2008

Now that the temperature is cooling and the summer season is over I have a chance to add a new post. 

The Costa Blanca is a lovely place t o holiday and the season has seen hundreds of holidaymakers come and go which is obviously great for us as a company and for our owners, however its a twelve hour day and seven day a week job so we dont actually see any sun, sand or sangria.  We had been hoping to take our little Ellie on her first holiday this summer, only a drive down to the Costa Del Sol for a change of scenary as we didint want to fly with her until she is a year old.  We was hoping June but it was late September before we got a chance and even then it was only for 3 days so we decided on Costa Almeria as it is closer.  What a lovely place Roquetas del Mar is, a lot quieter then we are used to but lovely clean beaches and some arid landscape on the drive down, bit scarry when our sat nav sent us up a mountain but great views from the top.  When you work in Spain, especially office based you can forget where you are when most of the people you talk to are Brits, it was nice t o see more of the country which is something we havnt done yet but we are making a concious decision to explore more during the colder months while we have the chance.


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Its a Costa Blanca Knockout
09 July 2008

I had a week of working part time whilst I had some friends come over to stay.  Due to me spending so much time working and with the baby, I dont get many opportunites to go out.  This was my chance and I grabbed it with both hands.  I am not a drinker but I do like the sangria and a couple of litres was consumed over the space of the week.  I helped the locals celebrate their countries success in the European championships whilst in Benidorm this was an amazing night with the beaches of Benidorm a sea of red shirts.  I also partied hard in clubs such as Pacha in Torrevieja which plays a Spanish blend of high tempo music until the early morning.  
On saturday we entered a team for the 'Its a Costa Blanca Kncok out 'competition and we lived up to the title as we were knocked out in the first round.  It was hot work as we fought on giant inflatables 'Gladiator style' but it was a fun day.  This competion is held every saturday evening for the next five weeks in the market place at La Marina and is worth a visit if you are local and there is still time to enter a team of eight people, if you are interested contact me and I will send you the relevant information.
It was the first time I have spent any time actually enjoying the area as a holiday maker rather then just working and I must say I did enjoy it.

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Why buy in the Costa Blanca?
19 June 2008

The way of life and the relaxed lifestyle is in contrast to the busy London life that we have been brought up in.  No traffic jams, a fraction of the cars on the road and less traffic pollution plus the slower pace of life of the locals makes for a healthier lifestyle.  The area due to the local salt plains has been classified by the World Health Organisation as one of the healthiest places in the world to live.  
In our spare time we can go for a dip in the pool, relax in the garden on a hamock, go to the beach, a local bar, restaurant by the sea, local golf course, a visit to a number of local castles, water sports, balloon ride, scuba diving, hire a jet ski or boat out, walk along the promenade in Santa Pola or La Mata, a walk round the ports of Alicante or Torrevieja, local museums, Iberian, Moorish or Roman places of interest, water parks, theme parks, safari parks and the towns of Benidorm or Cartagena is only an hours drive away.  There is so much to do compared to the UK, and due to the weather more time to do it in.  
There are plenty of reasons to move to the Costa Blanca and leave the UK behind, but due to the local property market being stagnant, in my opinion it is not a good time to buy.   I meet so many people who have purchased property and didnt like the neighbours/area/finish of the house, the property didnt live up to expectations, had to many problems etc so what an increased percentage of people are doing is moving over here to rent for six months or so until they find the right house and area that suits them without losing money buying and then having to sell (sometimes at a loss) plus the cost of solicitors, taxes, agent fees etc.  There is little committment in renting and very little financial committment.
How about the best of both worlds living in the uk during the summer and Spain in the winter?  The cost of living is cheaper here, you could rent a nice 3 bedroom 2 bathroom Quad house for example for about 700 euros per month, this includes your community fees, electric, water and Sky subscription.

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Why move to the Costa Blanca?
14 June 2008

 Now that we have lived in the Costa Blanca for nearly two years now and after getting to know a lot of other local business owners and residents I think we are in a position to compare life between the UK and here.  However my views may differ from someone who has retired here or only lives here for periods at a time. 

Firstly we have to compare the weather, before moving I read reports that the Costa Blanca has 320 sunny days a year on average, maybe true but the other 35 days it pours down.  Between May and October the weather is generally blue skies, sunshine and t-shirt weather (except July and August when even that feels too much).  November – April is normally about 18 degrees during the day but you can get a week here and there especially December and January where the wind is cold and it drops down to about 13 degrees.  However at night you will need some form of heating and a lot of Spanish homes do not provide this.  During the summer its lovely spending time after work relaxing by the pool and even 2 out of 3 weekends during the winter it’s still warm enough to walk on the beach in a t-shirt. 

The next comparison is the lifestyle.  We come from Essex where the evenings are normally spent in-doors and the weekends shopping at Lakeside and maybe a visit to the cinema and a restaurant.  The plus side is we spend more time outside; however shopping is something that we do miss as the fashions here are different.  It’s not so bad for Sam as she will quite often find a top that she likes in Sara or Hennes for example but not for me.  There are some good shopping complexes about such as Habaneras in Torrevieja and one of the largest shopping centres in Europe which is next to the Murcia football stadium about a 40 minute drive from here.  Food shopping except for June to September can only be done Mon - Saturday as nothing opens on a sunday so if you work those days you dont get a chance untill saturday afternoon.  There are plenty of smaller supermarkets about stocking English foods, but you cant get everything and you normally pay a premium for those items.
As for restaurants we are fussy eaters as I don’t eat meat and Sam is particular.  There is every type of restaurant in the area such as Argentinean, Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Spanish tapas, Italian and English and even through there are some good places to eat we do miss restaurants such as Harvester, TGI Fridays and Pizza Hut. 

I will continue this discussion during the week and if anyone has a particular aspect of Spanish life they would like me to compare feel free to contact me. 

Un saludo

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How business has changed
10 June 2008

Following on from my last post regarding the local health care.  The specialist advised me that at my relatively young age the risks involved in this operation out weigh the benefits and that it would be better to give the eye a couple of months to see if it stabilises.  On the one hand I am pleased that they have considered this option and that I don’t have to cancel all my plans for the next three months while I would have been recovering, however I still cant see much out of it and I am half expecting to go back in at anytime as an emergency, plus I cant play any sports or go on any rides at the Terra Mitica theme park just in case it falls out while I am doing loop the loop.
I have a bit more time then normal today to write this post as our server has gone down in California. We have had no web page or emails for the last two days which got me thinking about how business has changed over the last decade and how did we ever manage without the World Wide Web?  
Ten years ago companies would advertise their properties or a generic property in travel magazines, they would take a phone enquiry and either describe the property or send out photos in the post, then if the customers wanted to go ahead they would be sent the booking forms to fill in and send back.  This was very time consuming, one booking I took last week was booked and paid for within 40 minutes this was from the time I received the email enquiry to responding and the customer phoning back to confirm and pay by credit card.  
Also the options we all have when choosing our holiday accommodation, a good website will have at least six photos of the property and the information on the house, its contents and the area.  So we know what we are getting before we arrive which is in contrast to a few holidays I had when I was younger and would be allocated accommodation on arrival.
I have been in undated with phone calls from customers who have not been able to get hold of us via email and the amount of business we must have lost by not being able to read or reply to enquires is worrying and when we finally get the server back I will be working all night to reply to everyone. Fingers crossed it wont be too long as I am lost with out email.

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Local health care
04 June 2008

One very important factor to consider when choosing a country or area to live is health care.  I know everyone knocks the NHS back home but how many countries actually offer a better service?  Well I found out as soon as I arrived in Spain what its like in the Costa Blanca south.  I am not the healthiest of people as I have been diabetic and insulin dependant since I was 5 years old which is 35 years now.  This has led to offer problems one of which was a problem in my shoulder which was operated on a week before coming to Spain to live.  We drove over with all our possessions and the following day I felt terrible and was sent to hospital and diagnosed with a kidney infection.  It was an old hospital and there was a language barrier as I didn’t know a word when I first got here but they dealt with me with kindness and care and had me out within 1 day and back to normal within 3 days.

Since then a new hospital has been built in Torrevieja where our daughter was born last October, the hospital was excellent it was new, modern and clean, we had a private room with TV, pull out bed for the father to sleep in, three meals a day and lovely views of the local salt lakes, it was like a Holiday Inn.

Last week I suddenly went blind in my right eye and was sent up to the emergency department, we had to wait about 3 hours and the consultant told me that because it was a Saturday I would need to see the specialist and to go home stay in bed and come back on Monday which I did.  I have been told they will have to cut into my eye to insert a bubble to prevent my retina detaching, this will be done tomorrow Thursday 05/06/08 and I am confident that I am in good hands.

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How it all started
31 May 2008

As so many Brits do, we (Sam and I plus her parants) wanted to move from the cold and wet, the traffic congestion and long hours at work to start a new life in Spain.  We started looking at different business ideas and came across a franchise opportunity at OPI Rentals who are the largest property management and rental company in Spain.  After coming over to the Costa Blanca and after a few meetings with the directors, we decided to open up an office in La Marina in August 2006.  We chose this area as soon as we saw the beaches (they stretch for miles with pine forrests, sand dunes and are blue flag award winners).  Our thoughts were if we loved the beaches then it must be popular for tourists and it would be a lovely palce to live.  Of course there were other reasons, there are other popular resorts close by such as Guardamar, Torrevieja, Alicante and Benidorm, numerous golf courses, one of the largest shopping complexes in Europe at Murcia (40 minute drive) and Alicante airport is only a 20 minute drive.  La Marina itself is a large urbanizacion with plenty of supermarkets, shops, bars and restaurants and even a couple of nightclubs.  With so much work opportunities in the area there had to be a  demand for rental properties for long term lets as well as holidays.
Well looking back we were a little nieve as we had no experience in this field and couldnt imagine how much time it would take up.  However in less then 2 years w have established ourselfs and are building a good reputation plus the OPI group are growing with more and more offices opening throughout Spain.  As any property manager will tell you it is not easy work, with so many things that can go wrong in a property from no electric at 06.00, losing satellite reception before the big game is just about to start or damp problems in the winter.  But as soon as the weekend arrives and you go down to them lovely beaches, you realise it is all worth it.

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