More than just an estate agent…

I’ve never liked the term ‘estate agent’. There are far too many negative stereotypes associated with it. I am not that person. So I was delighted to read this piece written by some Danish clients of mine and find that they had coined a new title for me. Ambassador? I’ll take that…. :-)

Read their beautifully written story here – and get inspired!

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We are Signe, Tarje and Roar, Danes and recent homeowners in the rocky part of Asturias; Quiros. We met Mary more or less by chance after having spent half a year on the road with our baby Roar. Before that we were working as respectively an academic and a nurse, but we have always had that nagging feeling that fulfilling the ideals of society was properly not the road to meaningful and happy lives for us. The courage to do something about it, however, only came with parenthood. And while it does take a lot of courage to break away from your routine, we have learned along the way that the shackles don’t just fall off simply because you start to rattle.

We had an idea that we wanted to find a place in Catalunya – and start building towards self-sustainability. However, while Spain is littered with old ruins in need of love – finding a suitable one for sale turned out to be an insurmountable task. While we liked the experience, Catalunya seem to be hit hard by drought-spells and increasing heat – and didn’t really feel like home to us. With a few rock climbing images from Asturias, our heads turned west, and the lushness here immediately felt right.

It is only after you have gone through the process yourself you realize how much work Mary has put into finding properties suitable for expats. Mary calls herself an estate agent, but we feel a more descriptive title would be ambassador. Of course she runs a business, but you can immediately tell her main focus isn’t improving her own margins, but bridging the substantial cultural gap it is for northern Europeans to buy property in Spain.

One show of the abandoned village Eros – halfway up a mountain – and we were sold. We are now a few months in, the house seems to have stopped crumbling down – the once omnipresent brambles are starting to reappear less and less and we are making the first moves at making our house liveable and our garden edible.

Escape to the Continent

We’ve been really looking forward to watching the Asturias episode of BBC’s ‘Escape to the Continent’ since we helped the production team with filming last October. Yesterday our long wait came to an end and we have to say it was worth the wait. If you haven’t seen it already then check it out on BBC iplayer.

Magical morning views from one of the properties featured in the show

Magical morning views from one of the properties featured in the show

If you don’t know Asturias very well then it’s an excellent, highly visual introduction to the region as well as to the Asturian property market. If you’re already a fan of the area then you can just sit back and enjoy the spectacular scenery whilst keeping a beady eye out for places and people you recognize!

And if the show gets you itching to buy one of the properties featured I can tell you *SPOILER ALERT* that two of the properties are still available for sale. And one of them has just had a big price drop, making it even more attractive. Look away now if you don’t want to know which one 😉

Now on at €130,000!

Now on at €130,000! Eco water mill in Pilona Our reference MR340

If you want to know more about the water mill for sale near Sevares then click here. And if you’re hankering after those spectacular views of the Picos de Europa mountains that you got from the glass-fronted galeria of the house in Cabranes then*Update* This property has now sold!* Or if you’d like to find out more about any aspect of buying property in Asturias or the realities of life as an ex-pat here then do feel free to get in touch. We’re always happy to help!

Treasure Chests and Story Books

I love houses. Lucky really, given my job. I love the glimpses they give you into the lives lived within their walls, the histories created there and the views looked out upon over the years. Architecture, objects, landscapes all come together in a property to shape and illustrate cultures, communities and personalities.

Treasure chest, in the attic of a house in Quiros

Treasure chest, in the attic of a house in Quiros

With older houses in particular you’ll often stumble across pieces that speak volumes. Objects that make you want to run your hand along them, to hold that touch for a moment, pause and listen. As though it might be possible to feel history vibrate through a cool palm held on ancient hand-carved wood. Like this wooden chest that I found last week in the attic of a house in Quiros. What treasures had it stored down through the years?

Or these madrenas, found in an alcove of the same house. What paths did they once tread? Whose feet encase? When was it that they were shelved for the last time?

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A solid oak beam stands in the roof of the long-abandoned house. The light filtering through the wind-shifted, old-fashioned roof tiles falls upon it and highlights the rich, untreated grain, with not a single sign of decay or woodworm or any weakness upon it. A bang with your fist gives a reassuring answering thud. There is something deeply satisfying in the knowledge that some things really can withstand the test of time.

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If you fancy buying your own piece of history in northern Spain then take a look at this lovely traditional Asturian house set in a spectacular hill-top hamlet and ready to move into so you can start to write the next chapter…..

Front of property