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If you have a tale or an opinion about buying or living abroad, tell us in an email ( or write to the address in the front of the magazine. You never know, you could win yourself a smart new suitcase...


With reference to the current property situation in Spain, and particularly here in the Costa del Sol, will someone please take a good hard look at what is really happening here. One of the biggest problems is caused

by huge, incomplete and sometimes illegal developments in coastal areas. They lie empty like ghost towns and, yes, the developers are trying to sell them off with discounts of 40-50 per cent. Too many people have overstretched

themselves with too many properties and mortgages they can’t pay for, as well as credit cards up to their credit limits. These people need to shift their properties quickly to either clear debts and/or return to the UK and, yes, they also offer hugely reduced prices. Then that leaves people like us. We have a

high quality villa/fi nca in an excellent location (pictured below). It is 100 per cent legal and has no mortgage or debts against it. We have no desire to return to the UK but we do want to sell and move to another part of Spain. But our plans are being hampered by agents who expect us to halve our price, and buyers who believe that everything in

Spain is a bargain! We refuse to drop our price because of problems created by others, the result being we don’t get viewings. In our experience so far, so-called sales agents have no idea how to sell – they just want their commission. There are thousands of properties for sale and many are poorly built, have no paperwork and are in grotty areas. A Russian agent we listed with recently took a look at some of the “bargain” properties available for under €500,000 and likened them to “carpenter sheds”. He could clearly see the gaping difference in build quality between different types of property. Spain is one of the best places in the world to live. It has great people and a great culture. Stop knocking it and give it some long overdue credit. There are plenty of fabulous properties available to buy, including ours, which you can see at (ref 0305). Anne and David Ogilvy, by email

Unfortunately, selling a quality home in a market fl ooded with discounted property of a poorer quality is never going to be easy. Like you suggest, the expectation is that everything on the market is available at a discount, despite there being obvious segments in the market. Vendors aren’t helped by the fact that property prices in Spain could fall further still, meaning many buyers might be holding off until they think the market has bottomed out. If selling up is holding up your plans to move, have you thought about renting out your property? If you need equity from the sale to fund your move, this might allow you to draw fi nance against the property – talk to your bank about what they might be able to offer you. Good luck with everything. Ed.


A BIT OF A STICKY SITUATION IN CYPRUS Can we ask your advice on an issue that is causing us concern. We signed for an apartment in Cyprus about two years ago, however our circumstances have changed and we now have trouble paying for it and wish to let it go. There appears no chance of selling it as the market is saturated with unoccupied properties. In a block of 18 fl ats there appears to be only three sold and as a result the developer appears to have given up responsibility for the upkeep of the surrounds. It is next to impossible to contact him although he is quick to contact us for monetary demands to keep the lifts and pool operational. The fl ats were sold as part of a

golfi ng complex, however there is no sign of any golf course taking shape. Can we hand this property back to the Cyprus bank and suffer the loss of deposits and money paid to date? Would the bank have any access to our assets in the UK? Would it affect our ability to get a loan or mortgage in the UK? I would much appreciate your comments as this problem is now playing on our minds a lot and needs to be resolved in some manner. James Towell, by email

James, sorry to hear about your dilemma – you are not the only person in such a predicament. A lot of what you ask needs answering by a lawyer and will depend to some extent on the small print in your purchase contract. Savvas Savvides ( is one lawyer based in Paphos who may be able to help. Marcus James Recovery (, a company with a scheme designed to help distressed vendors offl oad unwanted properties in Cyprus, also may be able to assist. Ed.


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