House Hunter: Spain

'I want a house with gadgets and gizmos'
Click to follow
The Independent Online

JAMES LEWIS OF CAMBRIDGE WRITES: I have worked as a software developer for the past 11 years and now own my own company. During this time I have saved a substantial amount of money which I would like to use as a deposit for a holiday/weekend home in Spain.

The problem

JAMES LEWIS OF CAMBRIDGE WRITES: I have worked as a software developer for the past 11 years and now own my own company. During this time I have saved a substantial amount of money which I would like to use as a deposit for a holiday/weekend home in Spain.

In terms of location, I'm not too fussy. I would like all the usual amenities one expects in coastal Spain; easy access, plenty of bars, restaurants and nightlife, golf courses, beaches, sunshine and sea. As I am not proficient in Spanish, somewhere with a big tourist population would be ideal. When it comes to the actual property itself, I have more complicated requirements - I don't want just an ordinary home. Being a lover of all things technological I am really interested in buying a "smart home" property, filled with all kinds of gadgets and gizmos that I can play with!

I have no idea what kind of innovations are currently available so could you give me an idea of what I can expect? Obviously, really crucial aspects are hi-tech security (as I won't be around for large parts of the year) and a high-speed internet connection so I can work from Spain. I would also like to be able to control aspects of the property (such hot water) remotely so it will be ready as soon as I arrive.

The advice

KATY POWNALL REPLIES: There is a surprisingly big market for the kind of property you desire - a market very well catered for in coastal Spain. Of course, in the UK we are used to buying older property which we "modernise". In Spain however, where lots of new build and off-plan properties are sold, "modern interior" has taken on a more technological meaning.

Whereas perhaps five or ten years ago, "smart" home technology would have been associated with large, luxury villas, much of it is now available in small one- and two-bedroom apartments, even studios. Developers claim to be able to install sophisticated security and entertainment systems at little or no extra cost, so many gadgets are entering the mainstream.

What you can expect depends on your budget: the three properties I have selected show a cross-section. It is worth remembering that if you buy an off-plan property, by the time it is delivered 18 months later you may not get the current cutting edge. However, with infinite amounts of wiring in your walls, fitting new gizmos later on shouldn't be a problem.

Property one comes with hot and cold air conditioning, video entry phone and intelligent home automation systems. Amongst other things, these allow owners to activate air-conditioning or heating via SMS. The system can even detect intruders and relay a message to the owner.

Property two has a similar system that can be controlled through the internet or with a mobile phone. When the property is unoccupied, the system will raise and lower window blinds and turn lights on and off. If a leak occurs in the gas or plumbing, the supply will turn off and, in the event of a fire, a sprinkler system will turn on.

Property three is in a league of its own with regard to specification and price tag! Much of the home technologies are bespoke, and the choice is staggering. The house is also "future proof" due to wiring in the walls, allowing for future innovations to be incorporated.

The solution

Property one: Two bedroom apartment on the Costa del Sol.

Price: €300,000 (approximately £205,000)

Agent's details: The Lar Sol Estepona development sits just west of the resort of Estepona next to an 18 hole golf course. Each property is fitted out to a high specification and includes a large private terrace. Communal facilities include swimming pools, a gym, saunas and a Jacuzzi. The "electa" system allows purchasers to personalise their home online.

Agent: Lar Sol, 0800 001 5833; www.larsol.com

Property two: Three bedroom, two bathroom villa on the Costa Blanca.

Price: €724,630 (approximately £496,000)

Agent's details: The El Magraner development is a small-scale collection of detached villas in Benissa close to all facilities including local restaurants, a number of golf courses and the beach. Each has a high specification interior and a private pool.

Agent: Ultra Villas, 0800 180 4890, www.ultravillas.com

Property three: A five-bedroom, seven-bathroom villa on the Costa del Sol.

Price: €6.25 million (approximately £4.2 million)

Agent's details: El Pedro Grande 18 is a unique luxury villa located in upmarket Sotogrande. Complete with a wine cellar and a 14x6m swimming pool within the 292 square metres of private terraces, the property is built to the most exacting standards in Europe. Amiri release a limited supply of properties each year and they sell fast, so keep your eye on the website.

Agent: Amiri Developments, (+34) 956 795674, www.amirisotogrande.com.

Comments