The Spanish Dream That Took Too Long

Published on 13/11/2007 in Real Life Stories

Puerto MazarronI retired to Spain having sold my business and was looking forward to enjoying a stressless, carefree life.  The following tells you what happened!

Four years ago we put down a deposit on what looked to be our 'dream' home.  We had already bought a house in Puerto de Mazarron and had been living there for a few months.

The new development advertised at Mojon Hills, Isla Plana, only a couple of miles from where we had our house in El Alamillo, seemed ideal.  We were told building would commence at Easter 2004 and that our villa would be ready 14/18 months later.  So in October 2003 we put our first deposit down.  By Easter 2004 the developer had 50% of the selling price, 136,000 euros (which included IVA).  Many excuses later, building of the 28 villas commenced in March 2005 and only now, October 2007, is it ready to move into.  It is still our dream house, but, unfortunately, our circumstances have changed.

At the beginning of this year my 86 year old father was diagnosed with Alzheimers and my mother (84) finds it difficult to cope.  We felt we should give up our dream and move back to the UK to help out.  The developer told us that he would try to sell our contract on, but this never happened.

And then there was another blow.  While we were in the UK in June this year, (the villa was still not ready), I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and have been undergoing treatment, which will be ongoing.  Obviously it is now impossible to move back to Spain in the foreseeable future, so we asked the developer if, on a compassionate basis, it would be possible to have our deposit back.  Unfortunately, he refused. He has had our money, interest free, for four years.

So, now our only option is to complete the sale, pay all the taxes and put the house on the market in the hope that it will sell quickly.  We did hear that there was an EU law passed in the last couple of years to compensate purchasers when builders overrun their timescale, but this does not appear to apply to Spain.

Puerto de Mazarron is a lovely place to live.  It is still relatively unspoiled, although there are a few English bars and restaurants now, as well as Chinese and Indian restaurants.  The beaches are extremely good and this year the main beaches were awarded the 'Q' blue flag.  There is a new marina now as well.  The Spanish still come for their annual holidays in August, so it is very busy then.  But the rest of the year it is very pleasant to walk down the paseo and stop for a drink at one of the many cafes there.  The Port is only half-an-hour's drive from Cartegena and about an hour from the City of Murcia, the two capitals of the Region of Murcia.  With the new motorway, the airports of Murcia and Alicante are within easy access.  I wish we could have stayed!

I hope our experience will be of help to anyone buying off plan. They say that one day in politics is a long time, but 4 years in Spain is an eternity.

Written by: EOS Team

About the author:

We've got lots of stories to tell....and plenty of juicy stuff about Justin!  Would you like to know more?  We could write a whole book you know.  Leave us a comment below if you like this.  Gracias.

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lizh said:
09 January 2008 @ 12:15

Two things. Firstly I have seen on this site that people have managed to get their money back, with interest, under Spanish law. So might be worth reinvestigating.
Secondly I agree totally about needing time to buy in Spain. My husband and I have commented that buying a house in Spain is a young person's game especially when near neighbours have said "don't worry, our development is fine now–but it took about 10 years.."
When we bought at Galera Park (from another English person, at the first stage payment in November 2004) our son was 10. We finally got into the house on an incomplete development last April. It's been a lifetime to our son from the initial excitement. And, like you, my husband developed prostate cancer. Stress is the last thing you need.
We love it when we go but, unfinished, once back home it remains a burden that will probably require litigation and even that may not fix it if the developer goes bust. It's not saleable, not lettable and most importantly – not fun!
Only buy off plan if you are under 45!

bartone said:
19 December 2007 @ 20:20

Thanks for your comments. I, too, thought the builder was obliged to return our deposit if he broke the contract - but this is Spain! The developer said 'take us to court'. The solicitor said they had been in the same situation before and it would take a long time to get to court, cost money and I'd probably lose. EU laws are all very well, but try putting them into practise when you need them.

RangSG said:
22 November 2007 @ 23:28

I was under the impression if the builder broke the contract by not completing on the specified date they had to return your deposit by law. What does your solicitor say. I cannot believe what is happening in Spain and the people who are investing in the Spanish economy are being ripped off.

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