A Place in Spain: A New Chapter Begins

IMG_9169On the final day of our property search in Oliva, Spain we were back looking at properties with OlivaCasas’ intrepid Jane.  This was a nod to my expressed preference for apartments.  The apartments we saw were grand dowagers.  They were only in need of a little lipstick to bring them back to a sort of well-worn elegance.

One of my favorite books, Algonquin, is the sad telling of the end of a distinct Southern era.  It contains this gem of wisdom, “The young belles were always intimidated by my Grandmother.  She was truly beautiful, and they were merely young.”  This gem applies to real estate as well.  Walking up four flights of stairs to the best of these apartments reminded me I am no longer merely young.  The apartments were intriguing impossibilities.

We then visited a spacious townhouse at the bottom of the hill close to our VRBO.  I didn’t notice the sump pump in the living room until we were leaving.  It would have been a shorter visit if I had.

We called this property “The Blank Slate”.  It needed liberal doses of elbow grease, a couple hundred gallons of paint, a new kitchen, a gut job in the bathroom, and a ceiling repair in one of the bedrooms.  All of this could only occur after the source of the BIG leak was found.  There is a difference between putting lipstick on a grand dame, and putting lipstick on a pig. The pump was primed and ready to go!

Our Top Three List was down to the Top Two.  We returned for a second look at what we were calling “Almost Arabian”.  I was taking a casual approach.  Donna was documenting every defect.  Cracked tiles, patches of crumbling plaster, broken window latches, and delaminated wooden doors were all photographed.  I was off taking pictures of zebra print linoleum floors, and the view from the terrace.  If this place was a contender, visualizing the finished project was critical.  Then there was the five thousand dollar rewire that had to be factored in.  There was a lot of going backward to be done before you could start going forward.  I hate spending money on things that don’t show!

This brought us back to the “Stable House”.  It was always quietly on the top of Donna’s list.  It was also at the very upper end of our budget.  Every bit of our looking had been to find a suitable substitute for this house.  Donna hit the place with a vengeance.  Rugs were peeled back, damaged tiles were photographed.  Every question that kept her tossing and turning the night before was asked and answered.  Outside water spigots were located.  An outdoor kitchen was envisioned.  Donna’s wheels were spinning.

I was off taking photos of views, and trying to capture the color of the walls and tiles.  The “Stable House” needed tweaks. The Under the Sea bathroom could still be considered sumptuously gaudy.  I saw candles on black pillars in its future.  I saw scraping candle wax off the floor in mine.

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Like all old couples, Donna and I have worked out our own real estate buying process.  We go off in our own directions.  We set narrower and narrower parameters for the search.  Most of our communication is in practiced shorthand.  This time I kept repeating the bit about not wanting to travel half-way around the world to engage in endless projects.  Donna kept reminding me that she knows what she is looking for.  Neither repetition was necessary.  Eventually Donna firmly stated she was ready to make an offer.  I firmly replied, “We need to talk!”  The casual thumbs up I flashed was not a starting pistol.  Then we went off to formalize what we had been communicating through shorthand.

Our process is probably crap, and fraught with all sorts of relationship damaging pitfalls.  It’s always a matter of her speeding me up, and me slowing her down until we are in sync.  In this case the end result was an offer on the “Stable House”.  We waited for acceptance.  Made a counter offer, and finally agreed to a price with the furniture thrown in.  A chilled bottle of Cava was uncorked and we toasted the beginning of a new adventure!  It may not matter what our process is.  The shared goal is always another  adventure!!!


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