Ian and Brenda Lee, Nerja

Hi – my name is Brenda Lee aged 49 – for the next 3 weeks! – and I live here at beautiful Lake Vinuela with my Husband Ian aged 62.
We have owned property in Spain since 1988 – first Majorca then Nerja. However, we moved over permanently in 2001. The move was fine – apart from having to get rid of a great deal of acquired ´stuff´ that we couldn´t bring over. Having a house built here was a different matter!!!

We had our house built by a local developer who owned a 20 property plot. We had a choice of several different outside shapes and then could design the interiors to our own specifications. having the house built was a nightmare – Heaven help anyone trying to do this from the UK – and many things were not completed that we have paid to have finished ourselves. We had a 4 year wait for our Escritura that was very worrying but, thank God, everything is now in order.I don´t drive – and Hubby now has poor health; if this deteriorates further and he cannot drive we would have to move nearer the coast. But, at the moment, this is home and we have no intention of moving.

What is the property market like at the moment?

Local prices are pretty stable but prices have dropped considerably on the coast just 15 minutes away.

Are you employed or self-employed? What challenges did you face in either finding employment or running your own business?

When we first moved over I wrote to may companies seeking employment as I wanted to improve my Spanish. After a month I got a job and I worked in a Brit owned shop on the coast at Nerja for over 2 years – although the owners were Brits many customers and all Reps were Spanish speaking. After a serious car accident I had to give up work but, as I got better, I needed an interest and income. As we had 2 unused en suite Rooms below our villa we started to do B+B which we still do now.

Are there many other expats in your area?

Yes – our nearest village of Punete Don Manuel has more Brits than Spanish and an English Fish and Chip shops! However, our other local villages remain predominantly Spanish and we do most of our shopping in these.

What is your relationship like with the locals?

Excellent! Our Spanish neighbors have been most welcoming and we have made some very good friends. We find the Andaluz much more welcoming than the Catalans when we had our places in Majorca.

What do you like about life where you are?

Climate. scenery and friendly locals. Also closeness to major motorway networks and Airport.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

Spanish bureaucracy!!!

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Make sure that everything you do is legal, that you fully understand everything that you sign and that you keep multiple copies of all documentation.

What are your plans for the future?

Hopefully to continue our life here and meet more interesting Guests staying in our B+B accommodation.