Some of you might remember my January post where I talked about secret projects in the offing. Well, yesterday we finally signed on the dotted line and bought our very first house – ever! I say house…. that may take a little imagination. We’ve actually bought an old cortijo (farmhouse), which hasn’t been lived in by man or (thankfully) animal for a VERY long time. It needs a bit (that may be optimistic) of work, but we are both sooo I excited about the project I can hardly explain myself.
After a few months of waiting and some very useful, “I think I might know who owns that,” conversations with some Spanish friends, we finally had our appointment at the Notary in Almeria, to sign the deal. It seemed fate that it should fall on St George’s day.
The trip to the notary was an experience. We had our trusty translator with us (Spanish Speaking Steve of Super-sonic Hearing) and our other Spanish friend, who is conveniently friends with the vendors with us to help. Well I say help, I think Steve may have only come because we promised to buy him a Burger King whilst we were up in the big smoke – we don’t get out much round here – does it show?
So we all (the seller, her brother, her solicitor, our Spanish friend Tere, Supersonic Steve, my husband and I) cram ourselves into a room filled with dusty law tomes and boxes of files and a notary who wobbles his head when he writes. (Steve and I notice this quite early on in the proceedings and have to spend the rest of the time looking at our feet in case we start laughing.) The notary reels of all the clauses and caveats, every nods sombrely even though he pronounces my middle name as Louse not Louise, we hand over a cheque and sign on the dotted line.
Next, we all filed out of that room into another room, on the recommendation of the Notary (who is a government official) to complete the rest of the transaction in CASH and away from official eyes. Completely bizarre, but apparently very common practice here. You agree a price, then you agree the price you’re going to officially declare, then you pay the rest in cash and no one is any the wiser. Now, we’re no strangers to bargains (read dodgy deals) but the fact that this happened in an official’s building, just not whilst he was watching is almost laughable. Still we did get an amazing deal on the house, so I guess it’s a good thing.
I’ve shown these pictures to friends and family who’s reactions have varied from “wow, how exciting being able to do it all from scratch,” and “blimey that’s gonna be a lot of work,” to “why the hell are you buying the Blair Witch house?” Ho hum. I hope the chap who came up with that comparison will eat his words when it’s all finished!
So here we go, presenting Casa San Jorge (could we really call it anything else?) in it’s current- slightly unloved – state.