Having decided that we wanted to buy a cave house, the next question was where do you start to look for estate agents that sell cave houses ?
Luckily, the article in The Telegraph that had first wetted our appetite for cave houses featured two such estate agents that sell cave houses . A google search revealed a third, all 3 of which were based within the area we were looking.
The 3 estate agents that sell cave houses are:
- Cuevas Spain Real Estate.
- Real Estate Rusticom Andalucia.
- Spanish Inland Properties.
There were also a number of multiple listing service websites such as ‘Kyero‘ advertising cave houses for sale. A search, however, soon revealed that most of the properties were listed by the companies we had already identified.
How we chose between the estate agents that sell cave houses ?
We decided to start by checking out both their websites and social media. After that we sent them a test email to see how they would respond.
The Company has Dutch owners (speak English 😀 as well as Dutch, German and Spanish) and are based in Huescar.
Their website is well layed out, with a site map that makes navigating very easy. The site allows you to view properties by type (farm, town etc), location (Huescar, Galera etc) and price range (30,000, 40,000 etc). Considering the number of cave properties they sell there was no ability to search specifically for a cave house. We found this to be both odd and a little frustrating.
There is a lot of helpful information on the site including a buying property guide and an indication of cost associated with property purchase. Their services include ensuring all the paperwork is correct and assisting in helping with opening of bank accounts and in obtaining a NIE number.
The search layout was great. It enabled you to comfortably view 4 properties at a time before having to scroll down the page. When selecting a property to view in greater detail, we found the page layout for each property to be consistent. Descriptions are concise and photos of the property are of a high quality. A google map showing where the village is within the region would be helpful.
There were links to their social media sites – Facebook, twitter, google+, pin interest and their blog. We were hoping that each of these would provide further insight into the area and daily life. Sadly they were used solely to advertise properties in an identical manner to that on their website. A real wasted opportunity.
We sent a test email to them enquiring about a couple of properties and received a very prompt reply which provided a few additional details on the property. The google earth location of the property was a really nice touch. It gave a real sense of where the property was, as well as the area and surroundings in which the property was located.
The company has British owners, with the office being in Baza.
We weren’t so keen on the layout of their website. It was too cluttered for our tastes and certainly wasn’t as easy to navigate around. That said, once we spent a little time on the site we found it had the same search functionality. It allowed you to search by property type, location and price range. The latter was a little more limited with only 3 price brackets – under 75,000, 75,000-150,000 and over 150,000.
The website provided a lot of useful and interesting additional information. This included (but was not limited to) information on the UK Embassy; a good link on airlines that fly into Southern Spain (and the airports they fly into), and some basic healthcare details. There were two additional links that we particularly liked. The first featured articles written about cave houses (including the one from the Telegraph). Whilst the second was an article featuring the renovation of a cave property. There was a somewhat hidden link to rental/vacation properties and a really funky looking regional map.
These were all great features on the website. What we couldn’t find, were details about the services they offered to the potential buyer or seller, or information about the process of purchasing a property.
Using the website in more detail we found that for us the search options were too general. The price bands were too wide – for example ‘under 75,000’ bought up 233 properties. The search layout itself only allowed you to comfortably view one property at a time, although within that there was a description of the property. Choosing to view a property in greater detail provided more photos of the property as well as a google map of where the village was located.
There were links to their Facebook page. Again this was used solely to advertise new properties coming onto their books.
Again we sent a test email and received a prompt response. The response provided a few additional details. We did like that they took the time to study the sort of properties we were enquiring about and from that provided other suggestions that they felt we might find of interest. That provided a real personal touch to their service. Their email also mentioned that they offered rental options within the area should we need any assistance during our stay.
Another Company with British owners. This time based in Galera (Galera probably has the highest concentration of expats in the region).
The website had (in our opinion) the best layout of the 3 companies. There is a great navigation bar that runs horizontally across the top of the website, filled with useful information. This included a very comprehensive section on all stages and processes of buying a property, aswell as a link to rental properties. A second vertical navigation bar provides additional information, the best of which is a FAQ link. This link answered many of our questions (and raised others that we had not even considered). Scrolling down the homepage revealed 3 additional great options. A download property list, a newsletter subscription link and a downloadable cave owners manual. The manual is an extremely valuable read for those considering making a cave house their next home.
Their services include ensuring all the paperwork is correct and assisting in helping with opening of bank accounts and in obtaining a NIE number
There was a very user-friendly property search feature. It allowed you to select by criteria (sale, long-term rental and self catering), location, type, number of bedrooms and both minimum and maximum price. It was certainly the most comprehensive search facility and we took advantage of it to view rental options for our proposed visit.
A final useful feature (for us at least) was a ‘latest property’ link, this meant that we could easily keep abreast of new properties coming onto the market.
The search layout allowed you to comfortably view 2 properties at the same time, each one had a detailed overview of the property. When selecting a property to view in greater detail, we again found the page layout for each property to be consistent. Again descriptions are concise and photos of the property were usually of a high quality. The images were presented in a slide show format, the descriptions and specifications were extremely detailed. A google map showed where the village was within the region.
There were links to their social media sites – Facebook, twitter, linked in, google+ and their blog. Whilst the blog was a little out dated, both the Facebook and twitter accounts provided a wealth of additional information as well as updates on latest properties (which mirrored their website). Both sites were regularly updated, including photos of the surrounding area, details of festivals and fiestas, places to visit, links to articles about the area etc. This gave us the more informal insight into the area that we were hoping for.
Again we sent a test email and received a prompt response.
As I said, Spanish Inland Properties had a great selection of rental properties. As we needed to find somewhere to stay during our planned 3 week trip to Andalucia we decided to test the waters by enquiring about a rental cave house in Galera. We received prompt and friendly responses, which we then followed up with a Skype conversation with Sean. We instantly liked Sean and got a good vibe about him so went ahead and booked a rental cave from him. Further testimonials, recommendations and forum comments from other people who had used Sean further reinforced the opinion we had of him.
Based on both the website and interaction we decided that Spanish Inland Properties were the company we wanted to work with.
That was the easy part … now we had to find our dream cave house !
I would close this by reiterating that we had no negative experiences with any of Companies and most importantly of all … it’s just my opinion !
So … Who are one foot in the cave ?
We (Danny and Josie) have spent the last 10 years living and working in the Caribbean. In 2015 we decided we wanted to move closer to family and friends so bought a cave house in the Granada region of Andalucia, Spain. We moved there full time in January 2017. Now we write about our experiences of cave living and how we are adapting to life in Spain.
We also have a Facebook page full of pictures, experiences and information that we have found useful along the way. If its your thing, you can also follow us on Instagram 🙂
5 words related to this blog entry …
Estate Agent – El agente inmobiliario
To Rent – Alquilar
Information – La Información
Email – El correo electrónico
An opinion – La opinión