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Advice about living in the countryside

Posted: Wed Aug 11, 2021 2:57pm
11 replies230 views5 members subscribed
Alexnova

Posts: 4

Joined: 11 Aug 2021

Hi, we are an American gay couple (one fluent in Spanish and the other conversant) and will be retiring to the area in 2022 and are looking to buy a property. We like the area but know it as tourist and would like advice about buying in the countryside outside of Vejar de la Frontera. I have seen a number of country houses between Vejar and Medina Sidonia, that look very interesting. We have two large dogs, like growing and canning vegetables and generally like peace and quite, but want to be close enough to get into town for restaurants, social gatherings etc.  Also I am a university professor in the US and will continue working online for several years and will thus need good internet.

Any advice on what life is like rural areas? Advice? Words of caution? Encouragement? 

Thanks

loscanos

Posted: Mon Aug 16, 2021 8:49am

Posts: 26

13 helpful points

Joined: 20 May 2018

Posted: Mon Aug 16, 2021 8:49am

Hi, 

You wrote to the right place. As a retired couple I would definitely suggest Vejer or very close by. Dogs are flavor of the month as thousands of Spaniards have bought dogs during Covid lockdown as it was the only way they could leave their homes, to walk their dogs.

Vejer is quite international with tons of good restaurants, theatre, tho no movies. Make sure that where you land up you there is good internet connection and water. Water is precious apart from Vejer there is no mains connection so all water has to be bought in to drink. Usually, there is a well on the land for other uses.

If you come in the winter you can easily rent a place and look around. You need good lawyers to check the escritura and make sure the land and property is free to officially sell. My suggestion is go to Temple Cambria in Conil. They speak English and definitely know the pitfalls. Many houses are built on agricultural land and do not have title deeds to build.

All along the Costa de la Luz is interesting as it is close to the sea and there are no high rises. 

Having been here off and on for years I have come to appreciate life here. Oh yes, Spaniards here are very welcoming and friendly. So prepare to slow slow down, life here is not hectic like in the States.

Alexnova

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2021 12:36am

Alexnova

Original Poster

Posts: 4

Joined: 11 Aug 2021

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2021 12:36am

Thanks so much for the great advice. I will definitely focus on getting a good attorney. As to water, I was operating on an assumption (probably based on my US mindset) that when a listing that says “well water” it means potable well water. Maybe that is not the case. I will definitely make sure to question if water is potable.  On that same train of thought, when purchasing a home, can the buyer request and get home inspection with a professional inspector who checks out the structure, the mechanical issues and water and septic issues. That is normal in the US, but is it done in Spain?


thanks again.

Roger66

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2021 10:17am

Posts: 4

2 helpful points

Joined: 11 Aug 2020

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2021 10:17am

Hi,

We decided the Vejer area was right for us about 3 years ago. On looking seriously for a country house we realized we had to go inland a bit for what we wanted. Ended up just outside Benalup 2 years ago, very happy here.

The well water here is excellent, but we have mains water too. Good growing land around here, not so good, and well water not good as you get towards Conil and the coast.

There are many country properties available between Vejer, Medina and Benalup, but often only accessible down long, very bumpy tracks.

I would love to go into more details about anything to do with the area, maybe pm?

Good luck,

Roger

Richardhlovell

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2021 2:02pm

Posts: 19

7 helpful points

Joined: 13 Sep 2019

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2021 2:02pm

We moved to Roche Viejo 2 years ago from Boston, MA and love it.  It's rural but just 15 mins from Conil and 20 mins from Puerto De La Cruz.  We're both in our mid 60s and healthy but being close to medical care is important for the future.  We looked around Vejer and the proximity to good medical care was limited.

Internet is a challenge in the 'campo'.  I use Yoigo's unlimited data plan with a 4G router that gives me about 60 mbs.  Enough for video conferencing.  5G is coming in the next couple of months and promises much greater speeds.

Buying a property here is full of pit falls.  A lot of 'rustica' land can't be built on so it's important to do your research as you look at properties.  We looked at one near Vejer up near La Muela.  Looked great until we found out the the legal part of the property was tiny and the rest was illegal construction.  There are over 7,000 illegal building in the area and tourists are a prime target for the unscrupulous sellers and agents.

Water and power can be interesting surprises.  We have a well and I installed a big filtration system, water softener and reverse osmosis.  Not difficult if you're the handy type.  We also installed solar panels.  What a nightmare.  The panels work great and power everything during the day and more.  Getting the electric utility to buy the surplus has been a journey through the arcane bureaucracy of 17th century Spain.  

This happens with everything here in Spain from residency to the simplest of things that they love to make complicated.  "Oh sorry your document needs a blue stamp and it has a red one".  I just hire a Gestoria to do all that stuff now as I would have strangled some otherwise.  A good Notario is important too.  The one in Vejer is excellent.

Location is important from a weather standpoint.  The further you get from the coast the hotter it gets.  Where we are in summer, if it's 35 here it'll be 40+ near Medina.  A/C will be important if you decide to live further from the coast.  The winds here can also be an interesting factor.  The levante (east off the Mediterranean) can be brutal.  Something to consider.

Run out of ideas for know.  Good luck.  The Costa Del Luz is a wonderful area to relax and take it easy in retirement.

loscanos

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2021 5:29pm

Posts: 26

13 helpful points

Joined: 20 May 2018

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2021 5:29pm

Alexnova wrote on Wed Aug 18, 2021 12:36am:

Thanks so much for the great advice. I will definitely focus on getting a good attorney. As to water, I was operating on an assumption (probably based on my US mindset) that when a listing that says “well water” it means potable well water. Maybe that is not the case. I will definitely make s...

...ure to question if water is potable.  On that same train of thought, when purchasing a home, can the buyer request and get home inspection with a professional inspector who checks out the structure, the mechanical issues and water and septic issues. That is normal in the US, but is it done in Spain?


thanks again.

Dear Alexnova,

Roger 66 gave you some really good advice, well water unless treated is never potable. Land usually comes with title deeds, not agricultural deeds if there is an old house/finca on it.

Yes, get a good attorney who can recommend a gestor/bookeeper.

Buying something in Spain is fraught with challenges, better rent for a year and check out the areas. He is right when he says Benalup is a good place. It does have plenty of water. My daughter in Los Canos de Meca is buying in water for her well which has been more or less dry this summer, but she is very close to the sea!

As for fast WiFi in the countryside, promises promises!!!!  For some strange reason I have now got fibre optic in Los Canos!! plus mains water in my block of apts. but no one else in Canos has but pipes are installed but that doesn't mean mains water any time soon.

Depending on you budget you have a large range of places to choose from and how close you want to be to 

activities, ie: Vejer though Benalup does have a theatre and an excellent restaurant not to mention the amazing 

Fair Play if you play golf.

Any more specific questions am sure there are a lot of us out there ready to offer you help. I do know a really good dentist which I am sure most Anglos already know in El Colorado.

Roger66

Posted: Thu Aug 19, 2021 5:06pm

Posts: 4

2 helpful points

Joined: 11 Aug 2020

Posted: Thu Aug 19, 2021 5:06pm

loscanos wrote on Wed Aug 18, 2021 5:29pm:

Dear Alexnova,

Roger 66 gave you some really good advice, well water unless treated is never potable. Land usually comes with title deeds, not agricultural deeds if there is an old house/finca on it.

Yes, get a good attorney who can recommend a gestor/bookeeper.

Buying something in Spain is fraught with challenges, better rent for a year and check out the areas. He is right when he says Benalup is a good place. It does have plenty of water. My daughter in Los Canos de Meca is buying in water for her well which has been more or less dry this summer, but she is very close to the sea!

As for fast WiFi in the countryside, promises promises!!!!  For some strange reason I have now got fibre optic in Los Canos!! plus mains water in my block of apts. but no one else in Canos has but pipes are installed but that doesn't mean mains water any time soon.

Depending on you budget you have a large range of places to choose from and how close you want to be to 

activities, ie: Vejer though Benalup does have a theatre and an excellent restaurant not to mention the amazing 

Fair Play if you play golf.

Any more specific questions am sure there are a lot of us out there ready to offer you help. I do know a really good dentist which I am sure most Anglos already know in El Colorado.

The Mesa Baja aquifer, which runs from Benalup and Canterranas towards Medina is potable, we and our neighbors all drink it. We use a jug filter for tea and coffee, all other water is used straight from the ground. I admit this is an exception to the rest of the area.

There are many good rural restaurants in the small villages as well as the town's, if you are happy to drive. Roads are normally quiet except in holiday season.

Building inspection? I don't know about the States, but in the UK they will only look, not prod, poke, climb or dig, so fairly useless. Here you are most likely to get a report telling you it's a typical example of local building. We had two reports on separate properties which told us nothing we couldn't see for ourselves.

As someone else has said, you really need to spend some time living in the area, looking at all kinds of property and talking to the locals. Especially for larger country properties, which may not appear on the estate agents lists.

Alexnova

Posted: Thu Aug 19, 2021 6:47pm

Alexnova

Original Poster

Posts: 4

Joined: 11 Aug 2021

Posted: Thu Aug 19, 2021 6:47pm

I want to thank everyone who replied with such great and detailed advice. Each comment has given me much to think about and I really appreciate it. Also the number of people who responded with so much thought also demonstrates what a good group of people we have on this site. That further convinces me that the Costa de la Luz is the right choice for us.

Thanks again, I’ll keep you posted as we take the next steps and hope that one day, we will be able to meet in person.

Until then, thanks and if others have insights to share, keep them coming.

Caroline34

Posted: Wed Sep 15, 2021 11:08am

Posts: 3

Joined: 10 Aug 2021

Posted: Wed Sep 15, 2021 11:08am

Roger66 wrote on Wed Aug 18, 2021 10:17am:

Hi,

We decided the Vejer area was right for us about 3 years ago. On looking seriously for a country house we realized we had to go inland a bit for what we wanted. Ended up just outside Benalup 2 years ago, very happy here.

The well water here is excellent, but we have mains water too. Good growing land around here, not so good, and well water not good as you get towards Conil and the coast.

There are many country properties available between Vejer, Medina and Benalup, but often only accessible down long, very bumpy tracks.

I would love to go into more details about anything to do with the area, maybe pm?

Good luck,

Roger

Hello Roger,

I saw you post to the couple from USA.

In October 2021, my partner and I am hoping to complete on a house in Benalup.

Any advice regarding local services medical and or social would be much appreciated.

Also, I am struggling to find Spanish classes/tutor locally...would you happen to know of anyone that you could recommend?...Duolingo app only takes you so far(!!)

Best regards

Caroline 

Roger66

Posted: Wed Sep 15, 2021 12:20pm

Posts: 4

2 helpful points

Joined: 11 Aug 2020

Posted: Wed Sep 15, 2021 12:20pm

Caroline34 wrote on Wed Sep 15, 2021 11:08am:

Hello Roger,

I saw you post to the couple from USA.

In October 2021, my partner and I am hoping to complete on a house in Benalup.

Any advice regarding local services medical and or social would be much appreciated.

Also, I am struggling to find Spanish classes/tutor locally...would you happen to know of anyone that you could recommend?...Duolingo app only takes you so far(!!)

Best regards

Caroline 

Hello Caroline 

Look forward to meeting you when you move in.

The medical centre and town hall are very close together,  only a pharmacy in between.  When we had a slight medical problem and asked for advice in the  pharmacy one of the assistants  took us into the health centre and got us in to see a doctor!

Not much  English  spoken here, but generally very  friendly and helpful.  We need  Spanish lessons too, but not looked too hard  yet due to covid. 

Are you  buying in the town or countryside? Post deliveries don't  go off the main roads out of town, so we have to use a PO box and collect post.

The town has really started to come back to life the last few months. Please ask about anything we may be able to help with,  or pm if you like.

Roger and Sarah 

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