I 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.