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Lifelong friends buy a house for sale in Maspalomas

This issue makes for an interesting case study as we interview Jean Pierre and Jean Michel, two lifelong friends form France that decided to buy a house for sale in Maspalomas, Gran Canaria. Jean Pierre Vanhoof aged 51 a businessman whose interests are playing the piano. Jean Michel Balcerek is also 51 a Physicist and a Cello Player. Both met 38 years ago at music school in France when they were just 13 and have been like brothers ever since. Both being single and the best of friends, decided to take early retirement together and buy a joint property and move to Gran Canaria with the help of estate agent Alex Williams owner of Dream Homes in Playa del Ingles.
Jean Pierre & Jean Michel kindly take over and share their experience with us

How long have you been visiting the Canary Islands, which island in particular? Which area is your favorite and why?

We have been coming to Gran Canaria for 10 years now. Although we like the South of the Island because of the weather and the lifestyle, we also like the centre and the North of the Island because of the warmth and the kindness of the people there so it seemed our obvious choice when deciding to retire abroad

How long have you been thinking about buying?

We first started to plan it in February 2010 and began the process of buying in August 2010.

What finally made you buy?

Jean Pierre was ready to sell his company, which meant that we were no longer bound to any country or area. At the time we were living and both working in London

How did you afford the purchase, did you need a mortgage? If so how did all of this work and come about?

Fortunately, we did not need a mortgage but Alex from Dream Homes introduced us to several banks and made sure we could had one on hand in case anything went wrong and there were delays with the sale of the business

Why did you choose Dream Homes as your preferred agent & how did they assist you through the procedure

We would need more than a page to describe how kind, helpful and professional the team at Dream Homes was. They want you to be fully satisfied with your purchase and assist you all the way through the negotiations with the seller, all the administration to get your residency, lawyers, notary …… everything you can imagine! They took it all on, from drawing up contracts, to checking legal documentation as well as correctly advising us about tax issues at completion.  In their hands we felt safe.

How long were you looking for the right property?

We were looking for the property a very short time. We arrived mid August for two weeks and found the property while we were there. It was a lifestyle move so in the grand scheme of things, we found exactly what we wanted very quickly within two weeks.

How did you know the one you chose was the one for you?

We visited a couple of houses with Dream Homes according to the requirements we had stated. However, Alex showed us a property, which she thought would suit us even though it didn't meet what we thought we wanted – she was right, and we were wrong, as we bought it and are absolutely delighted! We were lucky we listened and did not dismiss her recommendation

Were you worried about buying overseas and how did you overcome the hurdles of buying within a different system?We had made up our minds to buy abroad; if we were a little nervous at the beginning, it all disappeared very quickly as everything was made very easy and simple for us.

How did you cope with the different language?

Dream Homes has a multilingual staff so they were the perfect intermediary between us and the other parties involved. On the other hand, when the Canarians see you are trying to learn a bit of Spanish, they immediately respond with kindness and patience.

How did you manage to get all the paper work and finances in order?

We were confident as we could see that Dream Homes knew what they were doing! Thanks to them the whole process of buying has been made totally legally and with no horrible surprises!

How long did it take from first seeing the property you wanted to complete the purchase?

The whole process took about a year: but let me explain: it could have been done in much less of course, but Jean Pierre had to sell his company and this took some time. Once again, it probably wouldn't have been possible without the professionalism of Dream Homes 

How much did the extra costs like taxes, notary and solicitors fees come to?

The taxes and costs came in and just under 10% of the purchase price, and we were lucky to get a good deal with a local solicitor too. He acted for both parties the seller & us. In Spain it's legal and not considered a conflict of interest. Some people prefer not to use the same lawyer to represent both parties. However in our case we were happy to do so and it saved us on legal fees

How do you plan to use the property, as holiday home, residence, investment etc?

The property is for our permanent residence. Although we have made moderate changes to the property, we bought the house fully furnished and equipped. The couple we bought from was British & had used the villa as a holiday rental property. It came with absolutely everything & of good quality, including, domestic appliances, home cinema, and cutlery even a fondue kit!

How did you manage to get amenities connected, was it difficult?

No, it was very easy. In the Canary Islands when you come with a smile people are always eager to help you and make things as easy as possible.

Have you spent much time in the property yet? 

We have been in the property now for 7 months and we are over the moon and have already made some very good friends. It feels wonderful! Although we have only been a short time, it feels as if this has been our home forever. Feeling this way makes us sure we made the right decision.

Was the experience of buying a property more difficult than what you thought beforehand?

No! Don't be put off buying a property abroad; it is not so difficult, but choose your estate agent wisely you know who we recommend!

Now you have a property what are you plans for the future?

Enjoy it!!!   On a more serious note, we have been very busy refurbishing and renovating the house, planting a new garden etc. although it is much easier to work in this climate then what we have been used to!

What advice would you give to anyone else thinking about buying a property overseas?

Its simple, if you are interested in buying in Gran Canaria call 928 141202 we did and if we hadn't we may not be where we are now

Ask the experts at freedom4sale. Get some Independent advice on any aspect of buying or selling property.

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