House Hunter: 'I want to go and live in Mallorca'

Ex-engineer Robert Day lives in Bristol but wants to buy a villa in Spain. His budget is around €290,000 euros
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The Independent Online

"We've always liked Spain and have been thinking about buying somewhere there for years, in the last three years seriously. I was made redundant nine years ago, having worked on Concorde for over 30 years, and I got a financial package, so we have decided to sell up and move abroad permanently.

"We've always liked Spain and have been thinking about buying somewhere there for years, in the last three years seriously. I was made redundant nine years ago, having worked on Concorde for over 30 years, and I got a financial package, so we have decided to sell up and move abroad permanently.

"We've spent more than a dozen holidays in Spain, both on the mainland and on the islands, and we really like Mallorca and Palma, the capital, in particular. The islands seem much more peaceful. In cities like Barcelona they seem to have no time for us; it's just like London really. Ideally, we would like to buy near Palma which is very come as you please. You can just wander around there watching boats in the harbour and the hours seem to melt away.

"I've watched programmes like A Place in the Sun, but feel that they glamorise the prices too much. The reality when you get out there and start to look around for yourself is very different. On the islands for instance, I think that prices are around 30 per cent higher than they are on the mainland and so we are going to have to make some compromises.

"I've done a lot of research and have read a good book on moving abroad so that I know what I'm talking about. I even take my compass with me to make sure that the property is facing the right direction."

THREE PROPERTIES FOR ROBERT TO VIEW

Property one: Las Olas, Cala Fornells, Mallorca.

Price: Two-bedroomed apartments start from €290,000

Agent: Taylor Woodrow de Espana, 0121-600 8961

Agent's details: Cala Fornells is 20 minutes from Palma and has a small beach surrounded by pinewoods. Facing south/south-east, this development features 36 apartments spread over four blocks. The two- and three-bedroom apartments all have large terrace and porch areas. The ground-floor apartments have private gardens and the penthouses have rooftop terraces.

Property two: Cala Magrana, Mallorca.

Price: Two-bedroomed apartments start from €184,000

Agent: Taylor Woodrow de Espana, 0121-600 8961

Agent's details: Situated 3km from Porto Cristo in the Manacor region, on the unspoilt south-eastern coast near the Caves of Drac. A small development of 62 two-bedroomed apartments spread over 12 two-storey blocks. All the apartments have ceiling-height tiled kitchens and bathrooms, oven, hob and extractor hood, and they also have pre-installation for air conditioning.

Property three: Jardin de Alenda, Alicante.

Price: Three-bedroomed, two-bathroom town houses start from €171,500

Agent: Taylor Woodrow de Espana, 0121-600 8961

Agent's details: Set within the Alenda Golf Resort, less than 15 minutes from Alicante, this development has 44 town houses and semi-detached villas in landscaped gardens.

BARBARA'S ADVICE

"So many people watch programmes like A Place in the Sun and think about moving abroad, it gives them the dream, but when it comes to reality that's where we come in. It's not that easy trying to buy in a foreign country where everyone speaks a different language and the horror stories tend to stick in your mind.

"We have an office in the UK so that people don't have to phone abroad. When I started working here seven years ago, I thought about my own concerns and what would stop me from buying. We now base our service on our own experiences, so that we can bring comfort and confidence to people. As part of our service, we also help with all aspects of the buying process and have lists of services that buyers will find useful. These lists contain Spanish lawyers, all checked out personally by me, independent financial advisers, money-changing companies, and even removals firms. We are a large company and businesses want our recommendation, so they know that we expect good deals for our customers.

"People do sometimes have a misguided idea of prices, but it's not as bad as it was seven years ago, as people now tend to do far more research. Robert is not a typical customer in that he plans to live there permanently. Most of our buyers are looking for second homes but are planning ahead with a view to retirement. Many people are now investing in the Spanish rather than the UK market and they often buy an apartment first, but then, after a few years, trade up to a larger place.

"Robert is right that Mallorca tends to be more expensive than the mainland. Many people want to be on an island, so it's a bit more select and land is more expensive, but it's a fantastic place and I think it will suit him well. Cala Fornells would make a good permanent home, whereas some are really only suitable for holidays and this development is near to Palma which is a wonderful city.

"Buying an apartment also has huge advantages. Maintenance is low, you pay a yearly charge which covers everything, and you don't have to worry about security when you're not there. This area also has the best climate on the island, as it's sheltered from the wind. This one is definitely a good choice."

Barbara Hibbert works for Taylor Woodrow de Espana: 0121-600 8961; www.taylorwoodrow.com Brochure hotline: 0845-450 1555

ROBERT'S VERDICT

"We went over and saw around 14 properties in one week and have now bought a two-bedroomed apartment in Cala Fornells. It was the area which really persuaded us, as it has everything, including a supermarket 500 yards away, and a garden centre, doctors, dentist and car hire all very close by. The apartment is lovely and has massive balconies and a sun terrace on the top, and so we won't have to bother about the upkeep of a garden. As soon as I walked in the door I felt right at home and could imagine myself sitting there watching TV. I know of some people who move abroad and regret it, but I'm sure that I won't have any regrets and will never move back to the UK, not even in a box!"

Interviews by Ginetta Vedrickas

If you would like House Hunter's help, write to House Hunter, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, or e-mail househunter@independent.co.uk

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