On Sunday, we're off to Granada to look at houses!! I am very excited. Booked to stay in a self-catering house for a week and have various properties that we're going to look at - some to the east of Granada and some to the west.
To the east, it seems that there are more expats, many who want to sell up and quickly (do they know something we don't?) and so there are some real bargains to be had. To the west, most of the villages are typically Andalucian Spanish and although the houses are not nearly so nice or well kept, the prices are higher because very often, the sale is not really necessary. We discovered this in the north of Spain - houses tend to stay in the family until they become absolutely redundant - i.e. no one wants to maintain it, go there or live there but there is no necessity to sell immediately - or, it has been left as inheritance to a group of grown up siblings, who can't decide what they want to do with it or are arguing over it and so agree to sell for as much money as possible. Either way, the prices stay high and no one really wants to negotiate. One of my first questions to the estate agents is always, does the seller really want to sell - which seems obvious, but has resulted in some most unexpected answers!
There are a lot of cave houses in the area we are looking and it is in one of these that we are going to stay - I quite like the idea of living in a cave but thought perhaps the reality might be less appealing. If you are not the claustraphobic type, there's quite a lot going for caves. They are very economical - keeping a constant temperature of about 18 - 19 degrees, in both summer and winter; if your furniture doesn't fit or you need a shelf, you can just chisel away at the rock until you have what you need; you don't need to worry too much about mosquitoes, nosy neighbours or making a lot of noise! I'll tell you after whether there are any negatives to it.
Some of the properties have plenty land, which is what we were really hoping for but without paying for it in terms of being very isolated.
We have asked for time off so the children can come with us - it's important that they like the places too but I have set aside time everyday apart from house hunting so we can have a bit of fun and also for them to do some homework. It's bad enough that they have a lot of catching up to do, never mind dropping further behind; it's important they do a bit everyday.
So - we will see what happens next! Cross all fingers, toes, eyes, legs, arms etc. that we find what we are looking for.