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relocations covid advise experience thoughts

Relocations post covid your experience, thoughts and advise
Hi Guys,

I hope this post finds you safe in these hard times. I realise this isn't a great time to discuss relocation, but the dream of starting a new life in the sun is getting me through COVID times. I also know we don't know how this will effect the future. I would just like to have your opinions and experiences of your time in Fuerteventura and any advise you feel may be helpful. 

I am looking to buy a property I can rent out as well as use. I am hoping to either buy a new build or a villa which needs some work. I have a small house in Spain near Alicante, I still enjoy the  house in Spain,  but feel for the future year round sunnier climate is a better option .I find the house in Spain quite hard to rent out, outside summer hols. 

I have lots of questions and worries but would love to hear your experiences or advise. I am pretty active 50 odd yr old ever the optimist (annoying when things go wrong ) . I am generally happy go lucky. The dream is to enjoy life to the full, cycling , learning to sail, surf/Kitesurf (maybe ) and try learning spanish, enjoying sunsets eating el fresco all year round and meet like minded people. 

I am semi retired paramedic and also do the odd property up to flip. I have also been lucky enough to work in the Caribbean and UAE. I loved the different cultures and considered those locations to relocate too. But having visited Fuerteventura quite a bit in the last two years.  I feel it ticks a lot of boxes for what I am hoping to do. and is also close enough and cheap enough to have as a base or visit uk to see friends and family . 

So my concerns : will It loose it sparkle after a year or two ? , will it be easy enough to rent out (corralejo) at the moment is the thought ? . Is it safe investment ? , enough to spend my life saving on ? in another 5/10 years all these activities I do and would like to do may have faded with my age increasing. would I be able to sell up and move on if I changed my mind and returned to uk or wanted to move on elsewhere ? . I am hoping this will be a good investment and give a good return. (Researching 3 bed villas, seem to rent out well in the area) . 

I have to many questions and concerns to post . But I cant be the first person to have such dreams and hopes. I would love to hear how other people got on. good or bad. your favourite enjoyments .What makes it special for you. some success stories would be nice . Is anyone actually renting more than 20 weeks a year.Or could if you so wish . (sorry I know COVID has ruined this but pre COVID I mean ) 

Please don't think I don't empathise how bad times are and have been. I have always classed myself as being very lucky in life having seen and experienced tragic times. I hope this post may take some of you back to when you had the dream of life in the sun . Hopefully you will get through this safely and back to better times .Thanks in advance .stay safe 
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Unfortunately, some of the questions you are asking are difficult to answer at the best of times, and this is certainly not those! Breaking it down:

Will It loose it sparkle after a year or two?
How much time have you spent on the island? This is going to be pretty individual, and depend heavily on whether or not the slow pace of life here suits you and if you know what you're really getting into. We've been here 5-6mo of the year for two years now, and we absolutely love it. We feel so fortunate to have been able to be here during the lockdown period! However, we are quiet people who like a quiet life. If you are a party animal, need a lot of excitement and new things, you might find yourself feeling stifled after a while. The thing that really gets to me about the island is how long it takes to acquire things when you need them. You can't just roll onto Amazon and get that tool or replacement item delivered the day after tomorrow. You have to either wait a long time for delivery (assuming it's even possible) or go to a bricks and mortar shop if you can find one that stocks what you need, and then you have to make do with the incredibly limited and potentially poorly-priced selection available. Once you're here a month or two, you'll either learn to grudgingly accept this trade-off, or it will make you want to book a one-way flight home!

Will it be easy enough to rent out (corralejo) at the moment is the thought?
Pre-COVID, probably. Going forward into the future? Very difficult to say. This island is massively at the mercy of flights from the EU, and heavily affected by the prices of those flights. When they become too expensive, or get pulled entirely, the island suffers heavily. It might also make visiting yourself less affordable, convenient, and attractive. This is something I worry about a lot in the age of Coronavirus

Is it safe investment?
Again, difficult to say. The island was absolutely hammered by the financial downturn in the 00s, and was only really hitting comfortable recovery in the last two or three years. Property p[rices still hadn't reached early-00s heights. A lot of people lost a lot of Money. Some people lost whole properties. Long term (10-15 years), it's probably not a bad investment, but if you wanted to get out within 5 years, it could be difficult. Again, it's so, so hard to make predictions right now and hope to have any degree of accuracy. We simply have no idea what the travel will look like in a post-COVID world, and it could affect this island a lot. 

Enough to spend my life saving on?
There is no way I would sink all my savings into a property here right now. A property anywhere, actually. I just wouldn't do it. I expect to see a global downturn soon, and I would guess it will last between two and five years. Between that and Brexit and general post-COVID fear, I can see travel becoming less affordable/desirable, and property prices here dropping as a result. I would hold off for at least six months to a year to observe how things shake out after all this bother. If possible, coming out here and renting would be my plan. However, I am a conservative and risk-averse person. Other people will probably feel differently. 

In another 5/10 years all these activities I do and would like to do may have faded with my age increasing.
Activities might be less appealing to you, but do you really fancy going back to miserable British winters and the frantic pace of life there? If you've made friends here and integrated into the community, will you want to leave it? We did absolutely nothing in the way of activities here for the last two months (not even a coffee or a walk by the sea) and we still felt fortunate to be here instead of at home with miserable grey skies and cold and rain! Something to consider.

Would I be able to sell up and move on if I changed my mind and returned to uk or wanted to move on elsewhere?
Again, it's hard to say. Coronavirus has made predicting anything of this nature almost impossible. Generally, if you buy a "standard" property in a town, you have a decent chance of moving it on, but you might be looking at losing a lot of Money. Property on the island moves much, much slower than in the UK even at the best of times, but a good property, a good agent, and an acceptance of the current market value will always allow you to move it. You just might have to accept that you'll be losing Money on it.

I am hoping this will be a good investment and give a good return. (Researching 3 bed villas, seem to rent out well in the area) 
I am only now realising how many of the properties in my complex are holiday homes. We have probably 25-30% occupancy right now. If travel demand doesn't pick back up, or people are priced out of it, finding renters is going to prove difficult. There is a massive amount of competition out there. If demand reduces, do you want to be part of the oversupply?

I'm sorry that so much of what I have to say here has been negative. Again, to reiterate: I love the island, I love being here, I am glad we bought property here, and I have no intention of leaving any time soon. However, I have fears for the future of travel because of this poxy virus, and I would be hesitant to sink Money into something and six months later find it's worth half what I paid for it and I can't get it rented out because there are far fewer tourists, and it will cost three times what I'd expected to visit myself. Those of us who have been here for a couple of years have at least had the benefit of that time to enjoy. I do believe things will pick up again, but it might take a while. 

To balance this out, let me mention some positives about the island. Firstly, the Weather: I cannot over-state how wonderful it is to wake up without being cold, to not have to pay huge heating bills, to not need a thick jumper to sit indoors. Secondly, the atmosphere: people are generally friendly and pleasant, and there are lots of restaurants and cafes to enjoy. Thirdly, the price of necessities: water, electric, and groceries are generally cheaper than at home. Fourthly, convenience: it's a small island, and nothing is really that far away, so if you need to go to the city or want to visit a specific beach or shop, it's not too far and there's no insane traffic like back home. There's a wonderful feeling on this island, and I smile every time our plane touches down. I am always pleased to arrive, and sad to leave. It's just the general global uncertainty makes me hesitant to recommend anyone buy a house right now unless they absolutely need to. 

If I were you, I would keep an eye on the market and look at renting next winter. That would give you more experience of the island on which to base a decision, and also buy some time for the market to adjust, then hopefully then you'll be in a better position to decide whether it's right for you in more confidence. Sorry about the length of this post; I hope it's of some use to you!
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Hi Ducks,
Thank you for your reply, its very informative and I agree its hard to know because of covids effect. I have visited maybe 8 times venturing mostly in the north although stayed in Las Playitas too. But a quick week or two is nothing like staying long term. 
I also think its not a time to rush in but I can plan to spend a decent time there maybe rent for a 3 month trial in winter as you said. only time will tell for for some of the answers. 
I am improving at siestas for sure ,so although I like a bit of fun and excitement, I don't mind a quiet time to recover  Smile Smile
love the positives you mentioned just what I was hoping for, lets hope things can pick up and hope for the best outcomes possible  .thank you for your reply appreciate that.   Thumbs Up Thumbs Up

p.s Ref life savings ,I have regular income. but its still investing a lot of Money (I agree not safest of times ) . currently price range is £300,000 upwards for villas I have been looking at.
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I will only comment on what I can give input to, having only moved here 7 months ago and being in a different age group.

Buying tools and things here is not as easy, but still significantly better than some of the other islands.
There are big retailers that have all the tools, bits and bobs from named brands as you would expect, so while it may be hard to get the exact thing you want, there are other good quality things here.
I previously lived in Germany, and frankly the friendliness of people here and willingness to assist makes the buying experience a dream, even if it means you may need to replace the item sooner than elsewhere.

For the rest of the things: there are specialist companies all over the canary islands that can be found online. Most have Spanish sites, but they're easily translatable with google chrome translate and orders arrive fairly quickly. You can order from Europe, but expect delivery times of between 10 days and 3 weeks. After a while you get used to the planning ahead.

I wasn't too concerned about this, the islands have so much to offer. If after a few years you get bored of something, there's a million other things to try out. On my "Things to do in the future" list I have: Scuba Diving, Diving Certification, Learning to Surf, Learning to Sail, Paragliding (no training on fuerte, but available on other islands), Gardening, get back into cycling, camping, fishing. And not to mention all the other millions of activities that the other islands offer with a short 30 minute €12 flight.
To be honest, I don't think its possible to get bored here, there are so many things to do - its just a case of finding them. And if you love the ocean/open water, almost everything is possible here.
If its really bad, take a short flight to Morocco and explore there Big Grin

I live in a holiday resort turned residential complex in Corralejo. I prefer the north of the island and love the options this side of the island gives. I am currently 7 months into my 2 year rental trial to see if the island life is the life for me, and so far my passion and excitement for this place has only grown (even during the lockdown, I really love how its all been handled here). My plan was to rent for 2 years, then buy some land and start to build. But as things stand right now economically (global) I may delay the 2nd part of my plan for a few more years.
You can easily find somewhere within your budget, villas in the complex I am renting in is valued at that. But I would say to find someone who lives where you want to buy and get all the details of ownership/administration.
However... I would personally not invest any substantial amount into anything for the next few years. I follow the markets (financial and stocks) closely and have studied the history of recessions well enough to be weary at the moment. I'm not a doom and gloom guy (quite the opposite) but I think there will be some amazing (better) opportunities in a few years time Big Grin

I hope some of this helps!
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Hi Mcadam,

Thank you for your thoughts and advise, nice to see someone else looking at similar activities. Glad your enjoying the island. I like the fact you given a two year plan to see how it goes. I feel your right globally economies are going to be hit hard. Last time I was out we actually did cheap flight to the one of the other islands to meet friends .it was great and other options for future adventures . 
Reading the replies makes me smile and look forward to a move with new plans for the future. I lived and worked  on in cayman islands  which was fantastic, but  had similar problems as its reliant on importing. I must be hooked on island life lol .

On the buying an investment property a villa Ive seen I really like, would need about 40k to revamp to a contemporary look. that's if it was my builder in the uk . I am wondering if anyone here can equate building costs /materials to the uk market. only rough comparison. As I may be better to just buy new build - when I decide to buy . All up in the air and looking more like a rental at the moment. But I have always felt that's dead Money. I had friends who had rented in Cayman but wished they'd bought 5/10 years later. but renting is definitely safest option right now . 

 Thank you for the wise words on rushing into buy at this time . its a very new historical phase and no one really knows the outcome. Looking at Fuerta they have handled it well. So  stay safe thanks for the input really appreciate it .
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I'm generally also of the belief that renting is dead Money, but in the current climate I see it as a hedge investment instead. I would be very surprised if prices did not fall significantly at some point in the next two to five years. Rental prices here are very reasonable, so while there are no guarantees, I don't believe you will lose Money renting for 6-12 months vs buying now. That said, the island last time did take a long time to adjust to the "new normal" in terms of property prices: ie, people were just refusing to sell, and properties were sitting on the market for months or years. As the cost of ownership here is so low compared to the UK and other places, sometimes people will just try to wait out market downturns rather than sell for less than the property would previously have been worth. I don't think prices here bottomed out until maybe 2014/5, whereas recovery was much faster in the rest of Europe and the UK. 

My experience with construction/refurb here vs the UK is that labour is here substantially cheaper, and materials may or may not be so. The biggest difference you're going to find is a difficulty in sourcing quality contractors who also speak English. There are many who are one or the other, but those with both good English and good standard of work are more of a rarity. They tend to be well booked up ahead of time, so expect to wait until the builder has a slot for you. 

The other big difference is choice and availability of materials. Our builder warned me when we went to pick tile and finishes that if something I liked was in stock, it was better to purchase it on the spot, because tomorrow it would be gone, and there might be nothing like it again for six months. At the time, I thought he was having a laugh, but it has consistently proven true, so now I do not dilly-dally when it comes to buying things. However, as McAdam said, eventually you just get used to planning around this. It's frustrating when something unexpected comes up or something breaks, though! If you have space to store spares for important things like cables, it's not a bad plan to do so. 

It's absolutely possible to have a wonderful life here on the island, and if you did the Caymans, you'll be very well equipped to deal with the restrictions that come with living here— the Canaries are much more linked/developed, I think, though Fuerte is obviously less so than somewhere like Gran Canaria. However, once you are resident, you qualify for those lovely cheap flights and can hop over the Las Palmas for buttons whenever you like if you are looking for more life or shopping opportunities! They seem to be talking about opening up again for the winter season, so hopefully you will be able to come out here and give it a try.  Smile
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(11-05-2020, 12:28 PM)Ducks Wrote: They seem to be talking about opening up again for the winter season, so hopefully you will be able to come out here and give it a try.  Smile

Is this hearsay or something indicated in official statements? I am keeping fingers, legs, toes and everything else crossed this might be the case, even if it were to only allow property owners to visit it would have a massive impact on the economy.
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(11-05-2020, 02:21 PM)Jason W Wrote:
(11-05-2020, 12:28 PM)Ducks Wrote: They seem to be talking about opening up again for the winter season, so hopefully you will be able to come out here and give it a try.  Smile

Is this hearsay or something indicated in official statements? I am keeping fingers, legs, toes and everything else crossed this might be the case, even if it were to only allow property owners to visit it would have a massive impact on the economy.

It's posted here, in the de-escalation thread:

Quote:"First, will be reopening the connections between islands, and we’ll need to work out ways of controlling people who use transport during the month of May. By the start of June, with necessary measures in place, we can then start to talk about moving towards tourism from mainland Spain," he added.

"The goal is that, between July and August, we can recover some of our economy, first with Canarian tourism, then with Spanish tourism," said Torres. "We are aware that we’ll have to wait until September or October to start talking about international tourism."

That said, "international tourism" doesn't preclude people travelling for business/necessity reasons i.e., to attend to matters regarding their own property. Some airlines might fly, and the island airports might allow small numbers of planes to land for people who want to visit their own homes who will not require tourist accommodation or expect touristic attractions. Of course, you will hopefully always have the option to pass through mainland Spain also (though we would like to avoid that if at all possible)!
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Briefly on the subject of rental v purchase, we know of some who were offered property rental with the option of buying after a certain period. All monies paid in rentals were taken off the purchase price.

Some nice properties on the island have not sold in 15 years.

A beautiful property. We looked at it in 2008 and it wasn't anywhere near new then!
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Thank you for the input . I am surprised at that. not bad idea rent to buy. I am looking forward to whenever I may be able to get over again.
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