New Testimonial Video – Neil Abbott Uk Client Jan 2023

In this video Neil Abbott an English client of Spanish Property North gives a testimonial about working with Mary when he bought his property in Asturias.

We are so grateful for the recommendation and if anyone out there is looking for a house or simply needs help with the purchase process or other relocation services please do get in touch and we will offer you the same level of service that made Neil a very happy client.

The text of the video is below:
‘My name’s Neil, a client of Mary Ryan from Spanish Property North and i just wanted to recommend her if you are thinking of buying a place in Spain, to get away from it all and to live the dream!
I just wanted to say that Mary is a very, very good estate agent who knows how things work here. I couldn’t have got this place without her – she made the impossible happen! So i got this 265m2 house with 5 bedrooms – I’ve renovated the 5th bedroom into a yoga space so now I can offer meditation + yoga retreats breathwork, and cold water bathing. So thanks Mary, it was amazing how you managed to pull all that off during the lockdown.
So I’m really grateful for that, and if anyone’s having thoughts about using Mary, I’d say she’s your best bet, especially if Spanish is not your first language as she knows the system and keeps everything simple and very efficient. I couldn’t have done it without you Mary It was incredible how it all worked out and now I own this place! I have big plans for this place and everyday it’s a joy to get up and do things here!’

Winter in Asturias

As we enter the second half of January, winter is finally arriving here in northern Spain. Over the weekend, from our home high in the Cordillera Cantábrica mountains of central Asturias, we watched a steady trip-trap of horses being led down from their grazing on the high plateaus, as farmers prepped for the predicted arrival of Storm Gérard. Our house is at 700m above sea level  and we are surrounded by high mountain passes and even higher peaks so it’s a great spot from which to witness the unfurling of winter. 

Given the forecast we decided to undertake the same pilgrimage as our farming neighbours, up onto one of those high plateaus. Our hike up to the Braña of Vicecenturo (approx 1,300m altitude) from the Puerto de Marabio (1,000m alt.) was, however, for pure pleasure; to simply breathe in the fresh mountain air and drink in the spectacular views before Gérard would keep us indoors for a few days. Here’s a selection of snaps from Saturday:

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Sure enough, today rain and wind have raged and the rivers are running in full spate, mini waterfalls sprout at the sides of the road that cuts through the steep-sided gorge at the bottom of our valley. On the early morning school run we passed the snow plough heading towards Puerto Ventana, on the border with León, where the snow will already be fast accumulating. 

Our usually spectacular views have been obscured and it’s been a great day for head-down office work, cracking on with all those mundane Monday tasks.  And all the while we are happy in the knowledge that when the rain does stop and the sun comes out it will be to dazzle upon gleaming white-capped peaks.

The excitement is palpable within the large winter and mountain sports community who have had to wait longer than usual for their playground to come into condition. The ski stations are scheduled to open on the weekend and the cross-country skiers and snowshoers will be out in force all over the Cordillera!

P.S. We know that weather and climate is a fascination for anyone with an interest in Asturias. Would you like to see more weather-related posts to get a feel for what the lived experience is? Please put your questions and suggestions below in the comments or email us at info@spanishpropertynorth.com

P.P.S. If you fancy visiting the trails and crags of Teverga for yourself then check out our holiday rental apartment in the heart of San Martín de Teverga

Below are some photos from the last big snow we had, in January 2021 when Storm Filomena passed through and when we got out snowshoeing at Marabio.

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Buying a rural property? You could be eligible for reduced purchase tax

When purchasing property here in Asturias the rule of thumb is to allow 10-12% above the purchase price to cover all extra fees and taxes. The biggest chunk of this is the purchase tax which in the case of second-hand properties (impuesto de transmisiones patrimoniales, ITP) is set at 8%. On new build properties the applicable tax is 10% IVA (VAT).

However, if you are looking to buy a rural property and make it your home then the good news is that you may be eligible for a 25% reduction in that purchase tax, from 8% to 6%.  As an example, on the purchase of a 300,000€ property you would save 6,000€, which is not to be sniffed at.

 

Asturian government document on property tax

This lowering of the ITP tax rate to 6% is a measure that is aimed at combating rural depopulation and is applicable in rural areas that are deemed to be particularly at risk from declining population and as long as the property will be the buyers’ main residence.

In order to qualify for the reduced tax rate you must take up residence in the house within 6 months from the date of purchase and it must be your full-time home for a continuous period of at least 3 years.

However it is understood that the house does not cease to be considered your permanent residence under the following circumstances:

a) In the event of the death of the taxpayer or of other circumstances outside of their control that prevent them taking up residence

b) When the taxpayer has a permanent residence linked to their profession or job, in which case the timeframes indicated start once their contract has ceased.

c) When renovation works need to take place prior to taking up residence. In this case the timeframe within which the buyer must take up residence is within 3 months of completion of the works, with an absolute limit of one year from the date of purchase.

The areas that are considered to be at risk of depopulation have been determined by the government and are listed in the official government bulletin (BOPA 240 15-XII-2020)

Latest testimonial – Assistance with property purchase in northern Spain

One of the services which Spanish Property North offers is a package to assist people, even though they may not have found the property through us, to complete a purchase of a property in Northern Spain. We can ‘hold your hand’ throughout the process – from initial view of the paper work to translating at the signing (and beyond) – to make sure this important, expensive and often tricky process runs as smoothly as possible.

For example, earlier this year we had the pleasure of assisting Frank and Safia from the Netherlands with the purchase of a property in Colunga, Asturias and later advising them on a second purchase that they were also considering. They found the properties via a local agent and they then employed us on a consultancy basis to guide them safely and easily through the whole process; from negotiations through obtaining NIEs, overseeing technical reports, attendance in Notaría and assistance with utiities and bank accounts.

Here you can read their experience in their own words:

Our story:
Mary was introduced to us by a young Dutch woman, who until recently lived in Asturias, somewhere high in the mountains, who had positive experiences with Mary when buying and selling her house in Spain. Mary is originally English, but has lived with her family in Asturias for almost 18 years and is therefore fluent in Spanish.  She knows professionally about all the in/outs/formalities and was willing to guide us through this purchasing process.  You need someone like that.  Point.  Only then can you continue in the purchasing process.

A buying process of a house in Spain requires specific knowledge and is not completed in 1 day.  To avoid surprises and traveling back and forth, we have authorized Mary to do business on our behalf, up to the signing of the purchase contract.  This is formally recorded with a Spanish notary, in Oviedo.  This means that it is not without obligation, and reliable.

There were some minor defects in the house we wanted to buy that needed to be resolved.  All this was neatly laid down in the preliminary purchase contract.  Under the watchful eye of Mary. Anyway, we finally came to a financial agreement with the seller, the required documents were approved by Mother Mary, and on the last day of our stay in Spain we were able to sign the preliminary purchase contract ourselves.

Back in NL we have transferred the deposit, 10% of the purchase amount, with which the ‘object’ is also off the market. Mary started in Spain with the application of the required NIE numbers.  This is a citizen service number for foreign residents  and is requested at a police station. Finally, a few months later, Mary signed the purchase contract in Spain, so we did not have to go to Spain, which saved us time and money!

At a later stage, Mary also helped us with some problems with the bills from the energy company there. Finally, she advised us on the inspection of another house in Asturias, by calling in an architect for an architectural report, as a result of which the purchase of that house (fortunately afterwards) did not go through.

In other words: Mary, thank you very much!
Frank and Safia, the Netherlands (and now Asturias).

A Notary's office

The Notary prepares the deed of purchase and publicly notarises before presenting it to the Land Registry

Inspiration in the Picos

The Picos de Europa mountains in all their winter glory. View from Labra, Cangas de Onís

Yesterday, Saturday, as I left a viewing and dashed hurriedly to meet another client and hand over her deeds, I was confronted by this spectacular sight as I rounded a bend. Despite 14 years living in Asturias the views never get old. They change constantly with the light – whipped around by time of day and year and varying meteorological conditions – and never fail to inspire awe. So, despite being in a rush, I stopped the car, jumped out and took a couple of snaps with my phone (cursing myself for not carrying a proper camera with me.)

The snap doesn’t do the scene justice at all. It is but a very pale representation of the reality but I share it anyway because even in its insipid imitation it can afford you a tiny glimpse of the backdrop to my daily work and life. Lucky or what?

But you know what they say – you can make your own luck. Which is exactly what so many of my clients do and why I find it so rewarding to work with them (with you!) Just as the natural splendour of the Asturian landscape never ceases to inspire me nor do my clients. I work with people from many different countries and a wide range of backgrounds and ages but they all share one thing in common – they all dare to dream. Some dream bigger, some smaller, some more complex and some more straightforward but all, without exception, are dreamers of some form and all are daring enough to take action towards those dreams.

So as we embark on a new decade I say here’s to a great year of working together to make those dreams come true!

Peña Mayor and Les Praeres, Nava

I’ve often heard Asturias described as ‘Wales on steroids’. The truth of this really came home to me one day when I realised that the ‘wee hill’  behind Nava in the Comarca de la Sidra is actually higher than Snowdon!

Dwarfed by its imposing background of the mountains of the Cordillera Cantábrica and Picos de Europa it may be, but Peña Mayor is a beautiful mountain in its own right and is criss-crossed with great hiking and biking trails to explore and from where to drink in the stunning panoramic views. On a clear day you can see as far as the sea to the north and to the south its snow-capped sisters are almost always in view, although ever-changing according to the varying light of different times of day and year.

cabin on Peña Mayor, Asturias

Cabins on Peña Mayor, Picos de Europa to the background

Peña Mayor actually straddles four counties; Nava, Piloña, Bimenes and Laviana. On the Nava side of its slopes lies the open expanse of Les Praeres, easily accessible via a 4km track that ascends steeply from the village of Piloñeta topping out at the famed bar-restaurant. A unique establishment, Bar Les Praeres is off-grid and chock full of authentic rustic charm, as well as having views to die for. On weekends it does a splendid barbecue with meat often supplied by local hunters. Great for replenishing energy after a day spent exploring some of the many trails that set off from here. Although if you get too friendly with their adopted resident deer Bambi then you may find the meat grill losing its appeal….

This year, on September 8th 2018, Les Praeres will host a stage finish of the prestigious Vuelta a España, bringing its charms to the eyes of a wider international audience with the televised footage. But for a sneak preview and a proper bird’s eye view of it check out this drone footage from Turismo Asturias.


If you like what you see and you’re interested in grabbing yourself a more permanent slice of Peña Mayor then we can help you. We have cabañas for sale in various locations on the mountain itself as well as houses in nearby towns, villages and countryside. Contact us with your specific requirements and soon you could be hiking these trails whenever you want!

 

 

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.

 

Sun and ski – a February half-term holiday in Asturias

If you’re a regular reader of our blog you may already have met Mick Wyldbore-Wood as he previously shared his experience of buying a house through us. Well, it’s not quite a year since he completed his purchase and last week I was thrilled to see via Facebook just how much he and his family are enjoying their new property in Asturias.

A half-term break in February might not sound like the most promising time for a holiday in northern Spain but parents can’t be choosers. The Wyldbore-Woods are an intrepid bunch anyway and wouldn’t let the potential for some wintry weather put them off – in fact, they came fully equipped for skiing and hoping for snow. The mountains didn’t let them down and they managed to check out the three (yes, three!) nearest ski stations on different days and much to the kids’ delight.

Best of all they got to intersperse their days skiing with days at the beach soaking up some glorious winter sun in temperatures akin to a fine British summer’s day. With the mountains and the sea within an hour and a half’s drive of each other in Asturias, it’s a great combination for active holidaymakers. It’s even perfectly possible to ski and surf in the same day if you’re feeling particularly energetic!

It certainly means you can cram an awful lot into a relatively short holiday and that’s before we mention the wonderful regional cuisine. Mick and Claire were lucky enough to sneak in a romantic Valentine’s dinner at the Michelin-starred El Corral del Indianu in Arriondas. Definitely one for the bucket list.

Big thanks to the Wyldbore-Woods for sharing their fab video of their half-term break in Asturias with us! How much does it make you want your own holiday home in Asturias?!

Latest Client Testimonial

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Dave and Anna Renner are a young British couple who got in touch with me in autumn last year looking for assistance in finding their ideal property here in northern Spain. They had already been searching for some time when they had the good fortune to meet some former clients of mine who are currently renovating a house they bought through me in Cantabria and they recommended they contact me.

Cordillera Cantabrica mountains in central Asturias

Dave and Anna fell in love with views like this in the mountains of central Asturias

Below, in their own words, is the Renner’s experience of house-hunting with Spanish Property North.

Mary made our property search relaxed and enjoyable, when previously it had been quite a frustrating process. She had a long discussion with us about our requirements, and had a good knowledge of our search area, meaning she was able to quickly narrow down the search to properties that matched our criteria and budget. Unlike some agents we had worked with in the UK, she didn’t waste time showing us unsuitable properties, and she was also very easy to contact and get information from. We were looking at properties all over Asturias, and Mary took loads of time driving out to meet us at various remote locations to investigate potential purchases. Once we’d decided on a property she managed everything to make the actual purchase process easy. She also acted as our translator with the Notary and the Vendor during the completion meeting, making sure we understood the contract and patiently going over clarifications and corrections to the deeds. She was really great with little details that might have tripped us up, like helping us get our NIEs and making sure we opened a non-resident rather than resident bank account, which would have caused problems on completion day. Overall it was a really positive experience and if you are looking for property in the area we would definitely recommend contacting Spanish Property North.

Dave and Anna Renner

Happy New Year!

mountain view in Asturias

It’s January 1st 2017 and this is the view I’ve woken up to. Today the choice is between mountains or beach and my seven year old has spoken and decided on a hike and a bike ride, so mountains it is. The sun is shining and the sky is blue, as they have been all of this Christmas holiday. I could not be happier with where I live. Will 2017 be the year you make a move and seek out your own piece of paradise?

Wishing you health and happiness for the new year.

 

Renovating and Letting a Holiday Cottage in Asturias

For a lot of our clients the dream is to buy a traditional property and renovate it, often with the aim of ending up with some tourist accommodation to let out as well as a family home. It’s a dream we can relate to perfectly, having started out from that very same place ourselves over 11 years ago. It’s also a dream we can help turn into reality as we’ve done exactly that for ourselves several times over as well as helping countless clients along the path to their own little piece of paradise.

If you’d like to know a little more about our own latest renovation project and the resulting holiday rental then check out this neat video we made. There’s some pretty cool drone footage of the mountains of Central Asturias in here as well as shots of our traditional Asturian house and holiday rental and some talking heads interview with us, as well as our ‘celebrity’ guests, North Face athletes and world-class rock climbers Caroline Ciavaldini and James Pearson.

And, of course, if you’d like to find out more about the realities of buying, renovating and renting out property here in Asturias then please do get in touch!

Latest Testimonial for Spanish Property North

Here at Spanish Property North we take great pride and satisfaction in the excellent service that we provide to our clients. Nothing makes us happier than seeing clients installed in the home of their dreams here in northern Spain, after a smooth and stress free house purchase. Here’s a personal insight into the process from another perspective, via a couple who recently celebrated the first anniversary of their house purchase here in Asturias.

After a 12 year search for a property in Northern Spain, we had all but given up hope of finding our ideal house. We had been close but there was either too much work needed or there was something just not quite right. We had found Spanish Property North through a search on the internet. In August 2014 we heard via an estate agent of a property in Asturias that on paper should have been ideal, in reality to was far from it. Fortunately we had contacted Mary before our visit so had arranged a meeting. From the outset we were impressed with Mary’s in depth knowledge of not just available properties but also her insights into the whole buying process, legal issues, costs, the process, very much the helping hand we needed. During our short visit Mary sent us some info on a house that we had seen on the internet before but had dismissed due to cost. The price had just recently been dropped to a point that it was now within budget, we loved it. Within 24 hours she had managed to arrange a meeting with the vendor and negotiations began in earnest. In early October we actually managed to rent the property for a couple of nights and Mary again arranged meetings and was able to find answers for us for those inevitable questions. By the end of our visit we had made an offer, by the end of October with Mary having arranged appointments for the all important NIE number, bank account, notary, we signed on the dotted line and we became the new owners of La Torea. I cannot recommend Mary and Spanish Property North more highly. Her help was invaluable and as the process went on we were ever more aware that we would not have been able to this without her. A massive thank you for all your help.’

Frank & Sue Hendre, Suffolk, UK / La Torea, Piloña, Asturias.

Frank and Sue's gorgeous home in northern Spain has spectacular views to the Picos mountains

Frank and Sue’s gorgeous home in northern Spain has spectacular views to the Picos mountains

Driving Over Apples

I read recently in El Pais in English (a great source for English-language news in Spain, btw) that Driving over Lemons author Chris Stewart is taking a sabbatical from his writing for a year in order to tackle problems with wild boar on his smallholding in southern Spain. This is a problem I am familiar with myself (they stole my potatoes the blighters!) and it is one of the (few) downsides of living in a wild and beautiful landscape.

Still, nothing that good fences can’t fix. And in the spirit of providing counter-balance to the bad news boar stories I thought I’d share this little video with you. It was taken around midnight on the way home from dinner a couple of Saturdays back. The quality is poor but the awww! factor is high.

 

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!