JOHN IRVING FINDS THE RIGHT PROPERTY FOR YOU
"We've been searching for a property to buy abroad but initially we were not sure where to look. We considered the Algarve but found it too windy and have had a couple of holidays on the Costa Blanca but, late in the season, the weather gets quite cool there so we've now narrowed our area down to the Costa del Sol.
"There are all sorts of things about this area that appeal, but my wife and I have different reasons for liking it. She enjoys the beach and lying around in the sun and I'm interested in the history of the villages lying behind the coastline, so there is something for everyone to enjoy. But we both want to buy in a location that isn't submerged under concrete. Neither of us wants to be near a golf course, although at some point we may be persuaded into it, but at the moment neither of us plays.
"We want a property that we and our families can use throughout the year but we hope to rent it out during the peak season, either through an agent or the internet. We found one three-bedroomed property that we liked and put a deposit on it, but the owner then decided to take it off the market. Six weeks later we found that for our budget, which was initially £100,000, we could only get two bedrooms and at that point I almost decided not to bother.
"I then realised that I'd only be spiting myself so we've decided to buy with some close friends who are very open-minded about what we buy. The two ladies are clear that it should be very close to the beach – this is our main priority – and we should buy in a development where some thought has gone into it rather than in an older development."
"Ray's search was a really tough one, as they wanted something very specific. On the Costa del Sol there are only about 30 miles of coastline where you can actually find a beachfront location and, if you are definite about what you want, it is that much harder to find. There are many places with restricted views of the sea, but Ray didn't want that.
"Ray had bad luck losing out on the initial property that he wanted and, of course, when he started searching again the market had moved on. My view is there is still an awful lot left in this market, otherwise I wouldn't be working here, and you are still getting a lot for your money compared with many other parts of the world. It used to be just millionaires who owned second homes, but nowadays everyone is doing it and everybody wants their own place in the sun.
"The property that Ray has now decided to buy is a real little gem with fantastic views of a Moorish watchtower. To get his beachfront location he's had to compromise over bedrooms, but the room sizes are large.
"It will be an absolutely perfect property to rent out because in that area there are only five-star hotels costing £300 per night and Ray will be able to rent out his apartment for around £1,000 a week."
Ocean Estates International, Costa del Sol: 00 34 952 811 750. UK freephone: 0800 3280444; www.oceanestates.com
THREE PROPERTIES FOR RAY TO VIEW
Property one: La Perla de la Bahia, Casares
Agent: Ocean Estates
Price: €463,888 (£306,600)
Agent's details: This is an extremely spacious, two-bedroom, two-bathroom, south-facing, ground-floor apartment situated on the beachfront with direct views to the gardens and sea beyond. The complex consists of small buildings designed to the highest standards and it has striking architecture. The property is ideal for golfers and families who appreciate luxury in a peaceful setting.
Property two: Park Beach, Estepona
Agent: Ocean Estates
Agent's details: This is a two-bedroom apartment situated on the beach in a beautiful urbanisation only 10 minutes from the centre of Marbella and Puerto Banús. The development benefits from many sporting facilities nearby, such as riding, golf, tennis and sailing, which make this an idyllic area for relaxing and leisure. The communal gardens and pool are immaculate and complement the design and layout of the urbanisation. The property has air conditioning, an open fireplace, fitted kitchen, roof solarium, BBQ, 24-hour security and an alarm.
Property three: Sunny Beach, Marbella
Agent: Ocean Estates
Agent's details: Situated in a newly constructed beachfront urbanisation boasting beautiful sub-tropical gardens with two inviting swimming pools, this complex is only 10 minutes from the centre of Marbella. The apartment has been constructed to a high standard and offers comfortable accommodation consisting of two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fitted kitchen, combined lounge and dining room, private terrace and a small private garden. A quality apartment in a desirable location.
"We have now been out to Spain on a visit and have bought property number one! The ones we turned down either overlooked golf courses or were too near to major roads but this apartment is very attractive and exactly what we wanted. Initially, it was out of our budget but it is ideal as it has a shady balcony, with delightful views of a Moorish watchtower to one side and the rock of Gibraltar on the other. As soon as my wife saw it had a three-minute walk to the beach, that was it! We're going back next week to look at furniture and are hoping to spend our first holiday there this Easter."
Interviews by Ginetta Vedrickas
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