My Journey To A New Life

Right, I have decided to move abroad!!

Something which I have always wanted to do. But where to go?

I would love to go to the States as I love the Americans, but I hate the flight journey, so that one will go out of the window. As you can tell I have a fear of flying, so somewhere the flight time is short would be good.  Don’t want to go to a typical Spanish resort like Benidorm or Marbella, just doesn’t appeal to me. So maybe the Canary Islands? All year round weather, so good for my asthma. I also have Bi-polar and Borderline Personality Disorder, so I have to take everything into consideration like medical access, prescription medication etc etc. So the sun will give me plenty of Vitamin D to perk my moods up.

So, Flight booked, and Tenerife here we come.

We were shown around the Island by 2 estate agents, and liked 2 properties. One in Golf Del Sur, and one in Chayofa.  We put an offer in for the Chayofa property and it was accepted.  We put a 120% deposit down, and hoped that when we returned to the UK, we would be able to get a mortgage. My heart was really set on this place, so I was praying for a miracle mortgage.  We had a Spanish financial advisor who would go through my husbands business accounts to see if we were eligible. Being so excited, I was desperate for an answer. I wanted to celebrate my dream of living abroad.

We had to wait approximately 2 weeks, and in anticipation the phone rang. “I’m sorry, but we cannot offer you a mortgage at this time”.  I felt destroyed 😦 Maybe I’m not meant to move abroad!!

We were placed on the estate agent emails, and if something would come up, they would surely let us know.  We had some cash available, so a mortgage might not have to be an option if the right property came up.

Approximately 6 months later, we had an email showing us a part build house.  It was a mess, but if you looked beyond that, it would of been fabulous.  We took another flight out, met the estate agent, who took us to the house.  We were a little taken aback by the derelict property, as when you see it in real life in looks slightly different.  We spent about 45 minutes looking around, and my mind started buzzing. We put in another offer and again it was accepted.  We had the cash for this property, so go, go, go.  We put the 10% deposit down, and it was ours.

There was lots of paperwork to fill out, but things were moving along. This was a bank repossession, so things would take a little longer to sort out, which let my mind start designing the house.

I was on the internet day in and day out, looking for ideas, furniture, windows, swimming pool etc etc. Everything was planned out, drawings of where things were going to go. I dreamt this house. It made me forget the Chayofa property.

Things were starting to drag a bit, and we were trying to speed things up, but we were getting concerned as we should of completed months ago. But because we didn’t know how the Spanish repossession system worked, we believed what the estate agent was telling us.

Finally, we get the phonecall to say that the bank had lost the paperwork, so the purchase could not go ahead. OMG!! After all this time, living and breathing this property, the dream yet again had been destroyed.

I hit an all time depression, and my mental state became something to worry about.  I went to the GP, who gave me some more anti depressants, and I became a bit of a recluse.  I’d given up on the property search,as I couldn’t stand the agro that comes with it, so resided in the thought of never moving from the UK. That depressed me even more, being stuck here in the grey, miserable, cold weather. How do I snap myself out of this depression?  I felt suicidal, and contacted Crisis Line on numerous times just for reassurance that I won’t jump out of a window.  They helped slightly, but the doctor gave me Diazepam to calm myself down.  I had to stop one of my medications, and soon after that, I finally started to feel better.

I needed something to focus on as I was bored, but couldn’t work due to my mental state. I mean, how could I concentrate on work with a scalpel in my hand?

Back to house hunting…

I went on Rightmove International and spent hours looking. I came across a part build property again which looked absolutely stunning. While hubby was looking at a few properties in Fuerteventura, I called him and told him about this particular property.  I asked him to fly out and have a look. I trusted his opinion on it.  He flew back, told me how wonderful it looked, and spoke to the estate agent.

The property was on sale for 300,000 euro’s,  but we only had 240,000.  We put in the offer, but it was declined. I was so upset yet again, and the estate agent knew it!

About a week later, we had a call from the estate agent, telling us that the offer had finally been accepted if we still wanted it. Yes, yes, yes!!  Let’s go for it!!

I had to fly out and have a look at the property as I wanted to make sure I was happy with it too before we finalised details. Andrew is a builder, so he has an eye for seeing beyond the build, whereas I have the eye for the interior design.  Andrew had to convince me where things would go, i.e the kitchen, lounge, tv area etc etc. I was happy with his eye.  We saw the estate agent, who recommended a Spanish solicitor, so off we went.

The solicitor spoke very good English as my Spanish is non existent, and assured us that things will be completed within 6 weeks.  So off we went for a glass of bubbly before the flight home.

As we arrived home, there was an email waiting for us from both the estate agent and the solicitor congratulating us on the purchase. So things started to feel real again for me, although I had a little bit of a reservation as we haven’t signed the final document.

The property has 4 bedrooms all with en-suites, with 2,000 square ft of rustic land and a swimming pool area. The build size is 350 square foot to give you a rough idea.

Now, according to the solicitors, we had an issue with access to the property, as next doors piece of land had a set boundary.  We had to negotiate the size plot for access, but they wanted more of our land to be able to build a new property. I don’t know why we agreed as they have been a pain in the arse since ever since.  We would of loved to have bought their piece of land as we could of made a large garage with a workshop, but they wanted an astronomical price for it.  I thought we had become friends as they would come round and look at the property as we were building, and they were very pleasant and complimentary about what we were doing.

Things were progressing with the lawyer and we had to fly out again to sign the paperwork.  Everything signed, sealed and delivered, and now the house is ours.  Hooray!!  Finally!! Now let’s get started on our dream.

Now it was my time to work the designs of the house out. My favourite part of the job.

We hired a technical architect to see the project through with local builders.  The builders gave us an estimate to finish the building works which was over 150,000 euro’s.  We could pay for this as and when they completed a particular stage, so we had time to save.

I was on the internet day in and day out, getting ideas for the design.  The first thing we had to do, was make the house watertight by ordering windows and French doors.  We wanted to go with a dark grey look, but in Lanzarote, you can only have certain colours, like blue, green or black, so we went for the black look. Rafael our technical architect had to get onto it, found a company, and bam windows and doors were in.  We took another flight over to have a look, and we were wowed. So far so good.  The next thing to do was look at floor tiles, make wardrobes and make the landing window smaller, as it was massive.  The floor tiles were difficult to source as what Rafael was suggesting was very typical Spanish.  We want to go for the modern look, so had to source from elsewhere, and email the design, so he could order from mainland Spain.  We went for a gloss white for the whole house, and black gloss tiles for the staircase to make a feature.  Next was the making of the wardrobes in 3 of the bedrooms. All handmade with mirror frontage to give more light and to give the vain people to something to look at!  We were having photographs being sent to us every week of the progress, so we had something to look forward to.  The next items to purchase was the wall tiles.  Rafael came up trumps with his selection of tiles, so we went for black matt on the floors and white matt on the walls.  So the house was starting to look like a house now.  Spotlights were now being put up in the kitchen and bathrooms and the kitchen we purchased from Ikea, but we tell people it’s an Italian design. (Not that we are snobby or anything, lol).  White kitchen units with a black marble worktop.  I think you can see a theme going on here.

With the en-suite shower rooms, we did in black matt tiles only. We made them all into wet rooms with a hanging glass shower screen and white toilet and white sink with white units.

The builders then started to tile the outside balconies, but had to stop as we had run out of money, so the project went on hold for about a month.  I was extremely disappointed as we wouldn’t get any updated pictures for a while, but Andrew was working his nuts off to try and get the money, bless him, he’s knackered.

There are 2 large balconies which travel around to the back of the property, which leads into a courtyard. I wish I could post pictures!  The courtyard area is a major sun trap, so in the evening if you still want to catch the rays, that is the place to be.

The works have now started again, so back to the balconies we go.  We had a helping hand financially from Andrew’s step dad which helped us on our way. The photo’s started rolling in again.  We chose a light coloured tile, so it wasn’t hot on our feet, but now wish we hadn’t as they get something called a Calima, which is where the sand from the desert decides to pay the island a visit and leaves red sand everywhere, so you are forever cleaning them.  We learnt from our mistake and chose dark grey tiles for the front of the house and for the swimming pool area. A little tad hot on the feet, but less visibly messy.