It feels like a million years ago already. And yet it’s actually only 3 months… and bizarrely only 5 weeks since we moved in. I wish I could say that I clearly remember that day 3 months ago, but to be honest, it’s foggy for a reason… mainly due to the intense stress and freak out moments of “Is it actually going to go through??” Because yes… it did get that nail bitingly close.
In my ‘wuwu’ world… everything flows and eventually works out. But wuwu wasn’t going to cut it when practically every penny we had was going to be transferred out of our account… the 2 English owners/sellers were only in Spain for a few days to complete on the sale… and one was ill, having only just made it onto the flight… and add in the many miscommunications about account numbers, names, amounts, and definitive finalities… it was no wonder we were awake most of the night before.
Bleary eyed and with rather tight, high pitched voices, off we went to meet the agent at Marios in the Órgiva plaza, right in front of the Notario’s office… for a very strong coffee at 10am… with reassurances of everything being quiet at the Notario for the final point of signatures and completion and that… ‘things’ would only take a couple of hours max.
Well, we waited half an hour… and obviously started to get the jitters. And then the agent’s work partner turned up in the plaza… didn’t recognise us and sat down at another table. My Gorgeous Man and I just looked at each other… not sure what we should do. Eventually we called him over and the blank look was followed by him looking for my ‘identifying’ purple hair, which is getting less and less purple with every day that passes living up in the Spanish mountains.
Steve our agent (of A Place in the Sun fame) turned up all smiles and tensely relaxed. He did a good job of trying to reassure us, saying how many times he’s been through this and that there’s nothing to worry about. He actually does a great job and goes way beyond his remit as an estate agent. We were immediately dispatched off to the bank to draw the two cheques needed to pay for our wee hoose. We had thought the lawyer was coming with us, but apparently not. So armed with Google translate and everything written in very clear writing, and a stomach churning the strong Spanish coffee… we walked all of one minute to the bank just down the main street.
Cue huge sigh of relief. Our friendly teller who’s fluent in English was on. Thank God. I pulled out the paper and asked for the bankers drafts to be drawn up and he just looked at our terrified faces and the sums of money (which to us were humungous but weren’t even considered a lottery win) and said “OK… no problem” and got tapping away on this keyboard. Authorisation was needed from the bank manager, double and triple checked and all the while our stomachs continued to churn in case we didn’t have something else that was needed… or God forbid there was a spelling mistake. But, it was all so easy! As he handed everything over, he wished us well and gave us a great big grin and shook our hands.
I must remember that going to the bank in Órgiva is a pleasurable experience and not like in the UK where you almost feel like a criminal for wanting take money out of your own account in the first place!
We walked out of the bank tightly holding onto the cheques and took deep gulps of huge relief that the first step was successfully over with.
Back in the plaza Steve had been joined by the 2 joint sellers of the property. Two women from the UK who had lived the dream but as age had moved on, they had decided that being back in the UK was their preferable choice.
They were actually great. Non conformist and just as nervous as we were. We weren’t sure if we were supposed to be friendly, formal, distant or share our inner most secrets… but there was an easiness within the shared tension at the table. We had been told that we’d get in to see the Notario at about 11.30 and that our lawyer was going through all the documents with the Notary’s lawyer, double checking, ticking boxes and doing God Knows What. But time passed… and time passed… and time passed. And nothing happened.
And it was approaching lunchtime and the longer we waited, the closer we got to the Notary signing off at 2pm for siesta. And it’s tough luck if you’re still in the queue because it’s tools down at 2pm! So everything went from being casually ok… to “Why isn’t anything happening?” Steve said that the office was very quiet so not to worry… and we had no choice but to believe him.
The conversation around the table was affable enough… although somehow Steve’s partner had weirdly drunk my drink (and I’d been too embarrassed to say anything) and we had learnt where Paddy the dog had been buried… and that we had rights to a room in the neighbour’s ruin… and shared rights to the natural water deposit beyond the wall… and…
“Oh by the way… can we stay in the house till Thursday?… You’re not moving in straight away anyway are you?” Thursday being two nights away.
Cue a silent… “What?”
“Of course you can!”
Then there was a very slow sinking realisation that they might have been serious… and… that we had said… Yes.
MGM and I looked at each other silently but couldn’t say a word while we were all still at the table waiting to be called in to the Notary. I felt my stomach churn.
Then at about 1pm we got the phone call from the lawyer to leg it up to the Notary’s office! All our stomach’s churned even more.
What we saw when we went in was a crowd of people milling around.. .and apparently it was a queue… all waiting for their turn. It was a like generations of family reunions… and our hearts sank.
Luiz, our lawyer stayed with us for a bit… we stood at the back of the room… he said just wait for your name to be called out.. and disappeared off for phone calls and other stuff in his office downstairs. Our hackles rose and we went into high alert mode to listen for anything recognisable as my name or the lawyers name.
And basically we stood there for over an hour. Blood pressure rising. Dread increasing. Ignorance and helplessness becoming ever more magnified.
Then all of a sudden Luiz appears and asks for paper proof of the deposit being paid.
This wasn’t on our list of ‘must haves’.
In fact, when I had asked, my bank had said they don’t send out proof of payments but I could go in to a branch to get one. Well that wasn’t going to happen seeing as I was in Spain and my bank is in Scotland… so we had taken screen shots of my online statement and they had been sent to Steve. The fact that the transactions didn’t have a recipient’s name didn’t really help.
So there was a flurry of intense panic and dawning realisation that this was a complete F*ck Up. Between shaky hands trying to send the email attachments of screenshots to Luiz’s office email downstairs so he could print them off as the requested proof… and a few beads of sweat began to show. And on the other end… the ladies hadn’t brought any proof of having received their deposit funds either.
But the bottom line was that we needed printed proof from the bank… and we didn’t have it. And if the Notary said that wasn’t acceptable, then the sale would be off.
It was up to Luiz to fight our corner and the case of electronic proof being enough.
Our heads ran through the scenario of the sale being refused and the owners going back to the UK and all of us being back at square one again.
Luiz was away for quite a while and we had to remind ourselves to breathe. Even Steve’s casually confident demeanour took a hit.
In the meantime, MGM and I managed to whisper about the fact that we had 2 ladies thinking that they were going to be staying in our new house for the next 2 nights.
What the F were we going to do about that?
How excruciatingly embarrassing… and actually WTF were they thinking? Holyfrikkingdoodaas!
You wouldn’t dream of doing that back in the UK… so why did they think they could sell the house and just stay in it for another couple of nights? We called in ‘The Steve’ and he was as baffled and shocked as we were… and I’m not proud to say that we passed the buck and asked him to tell them The No.
By now, there were two camps anyway. Me, MGM and Steve were propping up the back wall and the two ladies had grabbed a couple of seats on the other wall as the milling crowds had begun to dissipate. There was a most definite divide. And the tension was building with every minute that excrutiatingly ticked by.
Luiz finally reappeared saying that the Notary had accepted the screenshots as proof!
Thank F*ck for That!
Everyone suddenly became friends again.
But there was still no end in sight for the sale. And by this point our giant furry, pony-sized greyhound was probably beginning to cross his legs… almost 4 hours had passed since we had left the house. MGM was all for going back to check on him but I suggested that if he wanted to keep his balls, he would stay right there with me. Funnily enough, he didn’t leave.
Two o’clock came and went and we thought we were done for. People appeared from back offices that we hadn’t seen go in and it was all a bit like a Dr Who time-tardis… and then nearer 2.30pm… my name was called! We were in so much shock that we weren’t even sure that we’d heard it …and then our body leapt to attention and our hearts leapt into our mouths.
Holy shit… this is it!
We had been instructed to say nothing unless we were spoken to. And Scott was adamant that I had to control my wild rebellious side and I was not to innately do what I wasn’t supposed to! As if…
So, we were all shown through to the corridor and told to wait. Luiz was in with the Notary lawyer and we were all to then be escorted and shuffled into the Notary’s office for THE SIGNING OF THE SALE.
Dear God… I was petrified. And our two ladies also looked petrified. Steve was almost breathing and MGM was swallowing hard trying to look nonchalant.
And then it happened. The door opened and we were ushered in. I have to admit that I was expecting to see an old wizened man with white hair sitting behind a desk. I wasn’t expecting the dishy hunk sat behind his large desk playing a game on his smartphone.
Focus Sally, focus.
Steve had said he would start reading out the ‘escritura’ (deeds) to us and that we basically had to say yes to identifying ourselves and confirm the other prompts. He checked passports against the document… read it through… asked if we understood. Luiz was our lawyer so he was our official translator… the ladies didn’t have an official translator for their side of the sale so we held our breath to see if we could all get away with that… and their appropriate yes did the trick. Phew.
And before we knew it… I was asked for my signature.
It’s really weird how when under pressure you forget how to write your own name. My hand kind of froze… but the squiggle was apparently legal enough. Both ladies signed their stressed squiggles and then the Hunk just looked at us, smiled the smile to melt a thousand hearts and put his hand out in congratulations. We all shook hands, nervously laughed… Steve leaned over and gave me and MGM the keys… and then the Notario Hunk said something in English … and I can’t even remember what it was.
IT WAS DONE!
WE’D BOUGHT OUR DREAM HOME!!
It seemed inappropriate to do a jig or scream or do something wild… so I railed it in and just hugged MGM and the ladies.
OMG… that dream wee house was now OURS!
Luiz said he’d be in touch with final bills and figures and God knows what… honestly… it’s a permanently changing feast… but at that moment we just didn’t care as he slipped quietly out of the room.
The awkward task that we’d delegated to Steve of telling the ladies that they couldn’t stay on in the house, then had to be broached. He took it all in his stride and as we all walked down the stairs we could hear him talking of “insurance and legal issues” that would prevent them from being able to stay in a property that was no longer theirs. We also overheard a snarky response about being “thrown out on their ears”… Mmmmmm. I kept my mouth shut. As did MGM.
As My Gorgeous Man and I desperately needed to now get back to the house and let out our 4 legged baby for his comfort breaks… it was agreed that we would drive up to our new home for 5pm to meet the ladies there and take the keys and share goodbyes. I can’t say we were looking forward to it, in that context… but that’s the way it unfolded.
But after almost 5 hours of intense stress and begging the angels to help us complete the sale… we now had our dream home… and that seemed but a little hoop to jump through in the bigger scheme of things. We came up with a charm offensive and went armed with drinks and snacks to share.
The short story is, that when we arrived at our new home at 5pm, the ladies had already left. They’d left a kind note on the door… and that was it. We wish them well. It was a stressful day for all of us and as much as we were over the moon to buy the hoose… it was probably difficult for them to leave behind a house that they had loved.
And so a whole new chapter began for all of us.
In my next instalment, I’ll be sharing the “WTF have we done” reality of having bought a property with no water, no electricity… and up a 2.5 km track, with a death drop off to the left… or right… depending on whether you are coming or going. But a death drop none the less.
But on that day almost 3 months ago, as we shared a couple of beers on the roof and watched the sun go down… we honestly couldn’t have been happier. Never, ever… say never.
Dreams really do come true.