Ever since we moved out to Lanzarote back in 2006 we’ve rented property rather than buy. Two places in Lanzarote, and one here on the mainland. At the moment we still can’t find any good reason to buy.
We nearly bought twice on the island, but for different reasons in both instances we decided not to complete. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and unusually, it has worked in our favour this time. It wouldn’t have been the best thing for us. The very fact that we are now here in Almeria being all the evidence needed. Buying would have tied us to Lanzarote. Of course, at the time we considered it, this wouldn’t have been a problem. We love the island and still do, but there came a point – mostly down to me rather than Elle – where we needed to consider a bigger pond. I’d been working in the Middle East and had also had my little adventure walking all of the Canary Islands. The island became very, very small to me. I wanted to travel more. So much easier to do being on mainland Europe. Travel off the island is especially difficult (and expensive) with our extensive collection of hounds.
Had we bought a property we’d have been far more tied than we were, possibly even stuck. On top of that, had we bought at the time we were considering it in Lanzarote we would have definitely lost money as the market has turned out.
We will buy somewhere – eventually. But as yet it just hasn’t felt right for us.
Here are just a few reasons renting works for us;
- Flexibility: We can easily get to try different areas in Spain (our business is not tied geographically to any specific city or region). Whilst we’re happy in Almeria right now, there are other areas that appeal and we may try before buying.
- Flexibility: Whilst we can not imagine ever moving back to the UK, who knows what might happen should some family crisis arise? Actually they have a couple of times, but – thankfully – they weren’t enough to force our hand.
- Flexibility: We’ve been able to try different lifestyles having moved from a tourist resort to our current place out in the countryside. Each has their merits. Each has positives and negatives you can only be sure of having lived there. It doesn’t matter how well you know an area from visits or holidays. You might think you know it all – you really don’t
- Cost: We’re very fortunate that our rental costs are very reasonable. So much so, that when we decided to move we actually signed a six month rental contract only having seen the place on the Internet. It could have been a disaster, but the worst that could happen is we’d have had to find somewhere else and pay two rents, or put up with six months in somewhere we weren’t keen on. In reality, we absolutely love the place; it’s perfect for us right now.
- Buying: Personally we don’t subscribe to the ‘market has bottomed out, best buy now’ rumours. In our view it’s going to be many years before the property market here recovers. Plenty of time to make sure we find what’s right for us before we commit.
This all works for us. Though, to be fair and balanced, we have heard a few horror stories of bad landlords and agents from fellow ‘renters’. I guess we’ve just been lucky.
In all honesty I can’t think of a good reason to buy right now. Unless you’re the ‘Englishman’s home is his castle type’, I’d suggest you give long-term rentals some consideration.
If you are someone who feels the need to buy right of the bat, do remember that you never really know a place until you’ve lived there – think seriously about renting for six or twelve months before you commit to a lifetime.
Our other piece of advice for buyers which, however obvious, often gets overlooked, get yourself a good lawyer! In a country where planning approvals are regularly given and rescinded depending on which political party is running the town hall, and where agents feel the need to include the phrase ‘fully legal’ on property descriptions it is foolish not to engage proper legal advice.