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Buying a Piece of Paradise

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July 13, 2007

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What do you do when it’s clear your kids are not going to leave home for many years to come – well you leave home yourself! And, if you have had a love affair with Mallorca for as long as I have, then this is where you have to be. Before you shout “what a terrible mother” I should add that I’m not leaving my kids entirely. This is a second home but its one I am unwilling to wait till I’m 60 to enjoy. And I am not the only one. Many pre-retirees who are able to work from anywhere in the world are choosing to leave their urban rat races for a different pace of life in the sunshine. My work as a Relationship and Divorce Coach, author and magazine writer is global. I have clients in Abu Dhabi, Australia, London, Bosnia and Mallorca. How fabulous to be able to work each morning and lay in the sun in the afternoon.

Having searched the Internet for estate agents in Mallorca for a while, I was delighted when www.abc-property.com (now www.mallorcaproperty.net) launched its fabulous site because it gave me direct access to thousands of properties from many agents. I saved unwanted time by ticking my exact requirements and by March of this year had arranged one week to view over 20 properties with various abc registered Agents. My partner Gary and I were ready to look in earnest.

Once I decide to do something it gets done and as we stepped off the plane we were off to meet our first agent. Both of us were disappointed, but lesson number one is don’t panic. The island is full of wonderful properties, you just need time and patience – there truly is something for everyone.

Day two began in Port de Andratx. We viewed various apartments all around the bay. Things were looking up a little. We went up and down hundreds of steps; saw interiors that were fabulous with no sea views and sea views that were fabulous with less than great interiors. By the evening we could not even remember which apartment was which. Luckily we had taken our digital camera and I had made notes about each apartment, which really helped.

Day three took us to the offices of Jacques Stern at DSI Mallorca another abc-Property agent. Jacques had a packed schedule of viewing. He forged ahead, details in hand at a brisk pace. We went to Santa Ponsa, to Port de Andratx, to Cala Llamp, La Mola and the tireless Jacques just kept going. We were flagging but Jacques had one last apartment up his sleeve. Jacques brought us to Monte de Oro in Costa de La Calma and I fell in love. As we walked up the mosaic steps and walkways past the four swimming pools and the restaurant I had the ‘right’ feeling. The apartment was huge with a beautiful terrace that had a picture post card view of the sea. Then steps leading down from the apartment to the natural beach were the icing on the cake and the March weather offered a spectacular vista of sea crashing against the rocks. I knew all my values would be honoured here.

However, and isn’t there always a however? The apartment would have to be stripped completely. No fittings or fixtures could remain. This would definitely add to our costs but we did not consider it at that moment because: As they say love is blind and of course it is.

The route we took next is at the very least interesting to anyone considering buying property here. Firstly there is the option contract . This contract is not valid until the money is in the bank. This in fact gives you a cooling off period of 7-10 days. I would strongly suggest you use this time to consider your purchase very carefully and from every angle. Next we needed to consider legal support. After speaking with the agent we realised that a solicitor is in fact optional. Because Monte de Oro is a front line established community, there was clearly no problem with building on land nearby. The community is incredibly well maintained, aesthetically and structurally which is reflected in the high community charges (another aspect to be very aware of). We needed to know if there were any outstanding mortgages or charges on the property but the notary is obliged to check this before signature of the title deeds. Jacques told us that it was entirely up to us, but that it wasn’t a necessity. In our case he was right and within four weeks the apartment was signed sealed and delivered. The quickest sale Jaques had ever made. I would suggest that we were lucky however and I’m not sure if I would purchase without legal advice in the future.

Next came moving in. The community has a fabulous administrator and we were lucky enough to meet a wonderful neighbour who became our friend and our ‘project manager’. Everything from furniture, fabrics, kitchens and a number of fittings were delivered under the watchful eye of the wonderful Selinde. As weary delivery men lugged furniture up steps under the boiling June sun, Selinde, who speaks fluent Spanish was up and down opening doors, making drinks and controlling operations. If you don’t have someone to support you on the Island, you will need to be here yourself which is excessively time consuming. Not speaking Spanish makes life even harder. I have been very lucky, except for a rogue dishwasher, everything and everyone has been reliable and on time. I would recommend the wonderful Salvador at Intermobel in Port de Andratx for furniture and Barry and Dawn at Ready House for excellent cleaning and general maintenance, but I’m keeping Selinde to myself!

So here we are and as the last dimmer switch is fitted, we are now ready to begin our dual life. I have a perfect place to write and to coach my clients, to relax and share my life with Gary and the friends we are making on the island. I have my piece of paradise and all before I get too old to enjoy it. I’ve created a balance in my life between my children, my work and my own retreat and I love it.

If you are thinking about it, my advice? Just do it!


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