Happy New Year Message… 2020 into ’21

happy New year in 2021 from Hondon Villas, Spain

We at Hondon Villas hope you are well, making it through or at least coping with the current 3rd wave of Covid-19 now spreading across Europe. Keep strong and let us all look forward to a better 2021.

We reflect … Across the board, it was a hard year.

It’s not been a happy year for many, indeed most of us. Either personally or professionally 2020 was a challenging year across the board. Sadly, we have seen and heard some heart-breaking stories of people passing, losing jobs, not seeing family / friends and eroding their normal security or social circles. Many have had to endure isolation, loneliness, hardship and uncertainty and not least of course, had the dreaded disease itself. Everything changed.

The 2020 Covid Pandemic.

We have to thank the frontline & health workers that made life bearable, made the world somewhat safer and kept things ticking over whilst most of us stayed indoors, binging on TV (and food in our case ;-) ). They put their own lives on the line. APPLAUSE!

Well, of course we all saw or heard the news over & over.
Simply depressing on the whole. But …

The Hondón Valley and areas were (and still are) relatively free from Covid. We are quite remote enough inland & not that touristy so the population is fairly static, except in the summer months. Thankfully we feel generally safe here but not complacent or careless. Covid has and can still turn up anywhere. So we keep an eye on the stats, employ the hygiene and social distance rules at all times to protect ourselves, our staff and our clients. Practises had to & did change. The local shops, bars and restaurants also comply. We are open and trading with precautions. The office is open… please call in. We like to talk about houses ( funny that!) but e like to know what you are doing with your new life in the sun, or your hobbies and new friends. Love Hondón and it will love you back.

The cake got smaller, the slices thinner!

But for sure, in terms of business, Hondón area house sales are down over 2019, but not so bad as we feared. We rely heavily, not exclusively, on international travel for new buyers. And as we all know, flights & inter-country movements to/from Spain was/is drastically down in 2020. So logically, there are less people to see or buy villas in the Hondón Valley. And, in turn, less sellers being able to plan their future, reach their goals or even list their homes until the pandemic is over. Indeed the cake became considerably smaller with local agents competing over smaller slices.

A slice of the Euro pie !!

Indeed, this is the first year we have not beaten our previous year-on-year sales targets. And we blame the pandemic. We did see more people interested in New Build this year and we found new ways to collaborate with trusted agents, marketing lines and portals.

As a registered business, this downturn was cushioned somewhat by being able to enrol staff on the Spanish Gov’s “ERTE” scheme that pays a % of salary whilst in the “State of Alarm”. Like other agents we had to shut the office in the early months of Covid. We could work from home though to service existing sales, leads and general online upkeep. Nevertheless, it has hit the general overseas real estate industry & holiday trade hard. Already we see some agents / businesses closing up and unseen practises and new ideas to bolster things to survive. Trading got and still is harder in the midst of a Covid & post BREXIT world.

2021? Towards the light…

As humans we try to turn to hope first, to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We have to believe things will get better. After all, a Covid vaccine is being rolled out as of now. People & businesses have gotten used to the strict safety measures now. And thankfully, most of us comply and understand the seriousness of controlling Covid for the collective good and all our futures.

Although far from perfect, in the EU we have the back-up and support of Government help and volunteers. Most people got assistance at home and at work and it showed that the “war time spirit” can still surface when called upon. There have been heart-warming stories, human kindness and community heroes. Maybe you had your own hero to help you. Maybe you were a hero.

So onward… as we cannot go backwards.

Hondon Villas, like most small businesses felt the repercussions of a Covid Europe in the first half of the year. Lockdown, meant little or no business, staff confined to home, no travel, no office and literally no customers wanting to buy in a locked down Spain.

But to our surprise, since restrictions were lifted, we have definitely felt more positive about the future of overseas property sales and the Hondón Valleyalthough we are still cautious as we do not have a crystal ball.

We know from our own online stats, phone enquires, emails, industry news and tourist data that the desire to visit Spain for holidays, buying homes abroad and tourism is still there. How it pans out or how long it takes of course, we don’t know yet. Time will tell. But we have sold houses this year when it was possible, enquiries are coming in, website visitors are up across all our portals and sales channels, and we have email after email saying “we want to buy” / “as soon as we can get over”. We have even had a few sales that have been bought “blind” on the strength of our help, videos, photos and video calls. Other buyers have “popped over” in a non-quarantine period to view property in the Hondon Valley.

Positive and improving

We think demand will return slowly as Covid takes a backseat. We can’t wait to get back to some form of normality. That desire to get a better, more relaxed lifestyle has not gone away, just delayed. We still feel positive at Hondón Villas.

During this lean period (and Christmas is also traditionally quiet) we are:
1) Improving our systems & paper processes
2) Increasing our online presences & portals options
3) Updating auto’ property feeds to portals like RightMove, Kyero, Think Spain and Google
4) Improving our Social Media output in 2021
5) Looking at video/image tech’
6) Re-training staff for a better service, personal experience
7) Intend to improve our Frailes Office
… and more to be announced as and when the pandemic allows.

Keep strong, keep local… We need your support too!

So as it stands, we intend to keep the office open in the Frailes Plaza. Our staff should be better trained and geared up with better tech to assist buyers and sellers. We feel positive & ready that Hondon Villas and the Spanish real estate industry has a good future in 2021 but probably quite slow to return as dependent influences, economy, policy and confidence returns. Here’s to a better 2021.
please keep strong, support local businesses and follow your dreams.

After all the Hondón Valley, its beauty, its peace and that glorious Spanish sunshine is as appealing as ever.

A Place in the Sun Property Portal

We love #aplaceinthesun. We had the honour of helping them many times for their show here in the Hondón Valley areas.

HV- Place in the Sun MagazineSummer2020

Well you can also see a good selection of Hondon Villas for sale on the APITS property portal.

We strongly recommend that you register with them as they have lots of generic online help & online webinars for buyers of homes abroad. Most of the main presenters are involved too. You can download buyer’s guides too to read on your web device and even ask questions on their social media pages. Start on the main APITS “The Hub” section here. ( https://aplaceinthesundigital.co.uk/the-hub/ )

or see their downloadable Buyer’s Guides here.

We Love To Help… 15+ years in the Hondon Valley!

CONTACT US TO MAKE AN ENQUIRY or APPOINTMENT
Hondon’s First Choice Local Agent for 15+ Years!
TEL: +34 965 075 357
Mobile +34 683 635 339

OFFICE: Central Plaza in Honodn de los Frailes
Google Map: https://www.hondonvillas.net/google-maps-for-hondon.php


A Place in The Sun Summer 2020

We know many of our British clients are familiar with and love “A Place In The Sun”. Well they have made their summer magazine FREE to read online. yes FREE!
It includes lots of advice on buying property, including new builds, viewing trips and finance. (Click here or the graphic to view)

A Place in the Sun visit the Hondon Valley

Hondon Villas have assisted the APITS team quite a few times over the years. The presenters are always lovely, professional and accessible. It still pleasantly surprises us how many times they have been to the Hondon Valley areas. You can see most of the previous APITS series on UK television Channel Four (All4) if you can get that online or a set-top box.

We also ADVERTISE our Hondón property listings on the APITS Portal.
> https://www.aplaceinthesun.com/property/agent/519084/hondon-villas

NEED HELP? If you need specific help with buying or selling Property in the Hondón area… well you know we are here for you. :-) Keep Happy. Keep Safe this Summer.

Cannot say enoughgood things about the Hondon Property services

About Hondon Villas : We are a registered AIPP Property Agent in the Hondon Valley, Costa Blanca South. And WOOOOO Hoooo, we were voted Business of the Year by a Spanish regional newspaper. We are now at OVER 2 MILLION website visitors and always do well Customer Ratings. With over 30 years real estate experience there is no-one else in the Hondon area with such a pedigree in property sales and service. Our bricks & mortar office is in Frailes Plaza, next to the village restaurants and bars. So you can actually pop-in to see us in the flesh unlike the mobile agents operating from a car!

Our vast experience, wide network of local experts and extensive local knowledge has come in very handy for countless new Hondon Valley home owners. We care and it shows, we are on hand to help… something you may not get with other agents here or collaborators who do not know the area.

So let us hold your hand, care for you and get that dream home in the Hondon Valley. Visit our website for more information.
Regards, Maureen:
Hondon Villas owner and service champion.

Brits Wanting to Live in Spain… Be Ready!

Approx’ 1 million Brits are living in Spain. We love it! Which means it is very doable and most of the headaches or hurdles have been conquered by those that have taken the plunge already. Good news indeed for new foreign workers and overseas home owners to this lovely part of Europe.

AIPP Badge 5 Years for Hondo Villas, Spain

Hondon Villas can help of course and we have good connections and contacts who will assist you with legal paperwork, language, lifestyle, utilities, moving in and beyond. Let us know… 100% well be able to guide you for our geographical area. Our AIPP membership makes us duty bound to give you good, well meaning and honest info’ .

Get the Knowledge First:
Of course there is lots to know and learn about the differences from one country to another. Spain has many, especially around property, work, legalities and culture. So, if you are thinking of coming here, then the more preparation and research you do before hand will help relieve the stress of your important life changing decision. Indeed, good knowledge will save you valuable time and possible minimise the costs you’ll incur to be here. Get wise and read up.

Speaking Spanish:
Of course knowing the language is going to help a lot. It’ll speed things up and you’ll feel more in control. Having said that most foreigners in our area DO NOT speak Spanish so well and rely on interpreters but most lawyers and agents communicate in English in this area, such is the demand. You’ll get by but learning Spanish will help you integrate more.

Government Help:
Both the Spanish and UK Governments have online help, official channels, consulates and experts in various fields to help along your journey. You’ll need to know how to change residency and register for health services or tax. The good news is, in Spain for a relatively small charge there are Gestors / Lawyers and Accountants that can help with all this.
> UK Gov “Living Abroad”
> UK Gov “Living In Spain”
> Citizen Advice Bureau, Spain

Property Buyer’s Guides:
Many real estate agents and well-known portals, like A Place in the Sun have property buyer’s guides that can be downloaded and read online. The AIPP/AIPO have your interests at heart and provide a list of approved agents and many useful downloads on property overseas. They also offer some FREE legal Advice.
> AIPO Website
> A Place in The Sun website (Buying, currency, legal, mortgages, viewing trips, tax)
> Righmove Overseas Buyer’s Guide

Property Exhibitions:
If you prefer to talk face-to-face, then before you buy or even come over to Spain, you could attend Property Shows and Trade Exhibitions, etc to meet experts and advisors. The large UK venues like Olympia, NEC, ExCel, etc are a good place to start. There are still some UK agents offering Inspection Tours (3~5 day trips to look at areas and houses).

Check you local press or search online for these exhibitions near you, they can really help fire you up to an overseas move and put your mind at rest that there is lots of help out there. You’ll be able to get specific advice rather than generic help online, by emailing or calling your questions to agents, lawyers, tax experts, employment agencies, etc. So make a list of concerns or questions pertaining to your circumstances and then find the expert you need to get answers.

Interact with Online Blogs, Groups and Social Media:
Up-to-date information is key as Spain does tend to change rules and laws around property and its related topics. There are lots of social media groups to ask Expats or experts about the areas you are interested in. We run the “Hondon What’s On” page, our own Hondón property Facebook page and have a Hondon Villas Blog. But find one that suits you where you can interact with people already living in the area. It’s worth the time and effort.

Jasmine - A Place in the Sun

Read Books and Magazines:
There are also plenty of paperback books on life in Spain, buying or investing in Spanish Property available on Amazon or other eBook formats. Book stores will have some or can order them for you. Make sure they are up-to-date though.

One of the most popular monthly magazines on overseas property is the A Place in the Sun magazine. Well worth it for buying tips, hot properties and locational info’. You can buy this in newsagents or order online to be delivered to your door.
> Amazon UK : Books on Buying Property In Spain

If you need to ask us a question or are concerned about buying property in the Hondon Valley area, in any way here are the main points of contact.
WEBSITE: WWW.HONDONVILLAS.NET
OFFICE: +34 965 075 357
MOBILE: +34 683 635 339
EMAIL: agent@hondonvillas.net
FACEBOOK: facebook.com/hondonvillas/

Help from the Citizens Advice Bureau, Spain

CAB Spain is wonderful online resource for all things living in Spain. They are a minefield of information. They write, publish and answer Expat’s question of laws, lifestyle and cultural aspects when living here in Spain. And it is run by a team of awesome dedicated people as volunteers. if they don’t know the answer to your questions they have the connections to find out.

Citizens Advice Bureau Spain helping the Spanish Community

Anyone can join ( this to include visitors, expatriates and Spaniards alike ) their service or read their blogs and social media channels (Facebook page). If you find their advice and services useful then you can make a donation (small or large) to help with their website running costs. DONATE HERE

Here’s what they say about their services:

We [ CAB Spain ] are confident that you will find the website both informative and useful. The site will assist you with all aspects relating to living, visiting, owning a holiday home or investing in Spain.

Our aim is to provide independent advice, information and support for all interested citizens in Spain, this to include visitors, expatriates and Spaniards alike. We cover all regions of Spain, the Balearic’s and Canary Islands. We believe that such an organisation is imperative, especially for hundreds of thousands of non-Spanish residents, who often struggle to understand their rights in a complex bureaucracy with the existing and ever changing laws and rules.

We are an apolitical concern but with our growing membership intend to become a strong enough force to be able to lobby for our rights here where we are habitual residents. We are also aware that Spain also needs a functional and serious consumer protection agency.

The services we provide are free via emails phone calls, legal clinics, social media but we accept donations to keep us afloat. There is also a private section “Ask for Advice” for donating members. Citizens Advice Bureau Spain is a registered charity, a Spanish Non-Profit/NPO/ONG organisation (Registration nº 11253).

We are quite convinced that we can make a difference and that we are stronger together!

Help us to help you by donating. Please do not leave this to others.

Thank you for caring and visiting us today.
Myra Cecilia Azzopardi, Founder.

COVID-19 Crisis : Bouncing Back

Thanks to Dino T. on Facebook for the following article / a quick guide to managing this crisis, for workers, business owners and residents during this CoronaVirus 19 Lockdown in Spain. #keepsafe #stayathome #coronavirus

GET UPDATES on COVID 19 : WHO Website

Coronavirus Covid 19. #stayathome in the Hondon Valley
Please keep yourself and others safe.

No. #1 Be positive – we know how hard it is to be positive at the moment, but the law of attraction means that the more positive we are, the better things start to turn out. Life will go on, we will make a success out of the changes, however long things may take.

Protect your future business – before closing down, consider using ERTEs to be able to temporarily lay off staff, you can then take them back on again when business gets back to normal. Claim your one-off benefit from the state and register for the social security moratorium. Stay in touch with your Gestoria about what else you could do. Contact your customers to re-assure them that you will be back soon. How can you strengthen your business in the future? Who can you collaborate with? What opportunities will all these changes bring? How can your business help other local businesses?

Mortgage break – Most banks are now offering a Government backed scheme to have a moratorium of up to 6 months, that could give you the space you need to get back on your feet. You may need help filling in the forms from your bank or Gestoria.

Sort your rent out – pay it if you are able, look into what help might be available, ask your landlord for a payment break. Do not bury your head in the sands, landlords will be more flexible if you stay in touch with them.

Make sure your paperwork is up to date – register when you can on the “padron” at the town hall, check that your residencia is still valid, make sure your tenancy contract is up to date. Without these things, you may struggle to get help from authorities.

Don’t worry if the ITV inspection of your car is overdue – the centres are closed, so you won´t be fined. But remember to book it in as soon as they re-open and don’t drive your car if it is not roadworthy or insured.

Look after your physical and mental health and those around you – eating a balanced healthy diet, control your drinking, get some exercise, sing in the shower, share your problems, do deep breathing exercises, take up yoga, sleep regular timetables, leave your mobiles before bed, spend time with your children or pets.

Don’t worry about things that are out of your control. Read the news, but don’t obsess about it. Don’t get ill – things will seem worse if you get infected. Stay home unless essential. Don’t take risks with your health and those living in your household. When you do go out, use gloves and hand sanitizer, stay 2 metres away from people.

Coronavirus Covid 19, selfie with the Mona Lisa.

Check what benefits might be available – some new benefits are becoming available for those who don’t have the right to “paro” (unemployment). Find help if you don’t understand what you are reading. Consider what other employment or self- employment options may exist after the return.

Talk to Citizens Advice Bureau Spain about your problems and read their regular posts about benefits, tax, residency, etc… don’t ask on general sites because people may not know and inadvertently give you incorrect advice. Here is their excellent website.

Respect the workers – don’t get mad with health workers, town hall employees, supermarket workers, police. Instead thank them for their work and do everything you can to make their work easier and safer.

Focus on priorities – make an action plan and do something positive every day. Don’t ignore anything, be aware of what you need to do and when.

Prepare for the future you want – consider what kind of future you want, what would be your ideal work / business? Use the lockdown time to research your plans, making plans for the future will make you feel stronger.

Consider releasing monies that are tied up in savings plans and private pensions, but check if there are any penalties or tax disadvantages in doing so Consider renting out a room in your home to share expenses.

Share your experiences – how did you cope? Did you manage to get help from Social Security or the Tax Office? Share your experiences and help others. We are all in this together.

Show you care – call your closest friends, listen to their problems too, they are also suffering, remember that ¨a problem shared is a problem halved¨. Do something kind for friends and neighbours, it will also make you feel better.

Sell your stuff – when the lockdown ends, could you sell some of your valuable belongings? Maybe trade down your car for a cheaper model.

Consider going home – if you have exhausted all your options, be open to the idea of returning to your home country, especially if employment or business options will be brighter there. It is not failure, it is recognising when the time is right to do something different and moving on.

This article was first written and published b Dino Trubbianelli c2020 on Facebook. Please support his website “Visit Albir”.

UK Passport Holders, Post BREXIT

Until 1 January 2021, (POST BREXIT) you can continue to travel to Europe with your UK passport until it expires. New rules will apply for travel to Europe from 1 January 2021. See the GOV UK website.

UK Passport Post Brexit
Post Brexit Passports and Old EU Passport

If your passport is burgundy or has ‘European Union’ on the cover, you can continue to use it until it expires.

You’ll need to have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).

If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.

You’ll need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.

Need More Information? The UK GOV website has lots of help and you can apply for documents online. You need to Sign up for email updates on GOV.UK.

Save 1000’s with the MoneyCorp Foreign Exchange

bnr-moneycorp-currency-calculator If you are using a foreign currency, like Sterling or Dollars to buy or pay for your Spanish property / mortgage or just need to transfer some larger sums of money  to or from Spain then you SHOULD be using a Currency Exchange Service.

IT CAN LITERALLY SAVE YOU 1000’s ON FEES AND POORER BANK RATES. 

» OPEN A MONEYCORP A/c HERE / READ UP

Incredibly even a small percentage fluctuation in the rates can make a massive difference in what you get back.

IN FACT if you TIME IT RIGHT you can literally save 1000’s on an exchange deal when paying off your house purchase.

So it is ALWAYS WORTH using a reliable and trusted foreign exchange service, like MoneyCorp as their rates and service are much better than a typical bank or Bureau de Change service.

At Hondon Villas we use and recommend MoneyCorp for your foreign payments. Alan can advise you on the BEST ROUTE fro your needs, he is so helpful. Here is a quick link to » OPEN AN ACCOUNT TODAY, IT’S EASY