During this lengthy period, we regularly enjoyed our villa in Spain but in so far as developing the villa was concerned little progress was made. I had retrained for a career in financial services working for most of this period until late 2014 as an IFA working mostly for HSBC and finally from late 2015 as a Compliance Officer.
This period coincided with times in which Cathy suffered some health problems. In addition the credit crunch of 2008 proved a significant factor in our planning as it did I am sure for so many others. Initially, the financial crisis of 2008 had little impact, although locally in Spain its effect was much more evident with shop closures, cessation of construction work and unemployment particularly amongst the young being widespread. As lower pound euro exchange rates became the norm the upkeep of a relatively large capital asset that generated no income and all of its outgoings were based in Euros took its toll upon the availability of spare money for villa development.
As I strove to establish myself professionally in a new industry, maintaining an overseas property proved to be challenging to say the least. Property valuations across Spain plummeted when the credit crisis materialised in 2008 and 2009, destroying local jobs and businesses in its wake and Moraira was not immune to this problem. At this point, I considered selling Las Parras and advertised the villa with two estate agents in early 2009. I think mid 2009, the year of my 50th birthday, I received a silly offer to buy the villa and thankfully was still in the position to be able to decline it.
As a consequence we chose to carry on with the plans that were by now only in our heads, in the belief that as with all investments at some point the market will recover. This belief was based on the premise that Moraira was beautiful, the local people and the villa were lovely and I still wanted to live in the villa on a permanent basis although at this point I was struggling to imagine when this might be.
Fast forward 5 years to 2014, and the local economy in Moraira started to show signs of recovery and with it came some signs of the property valuations becoming more realistic. Around 2015, we could tell as we made some enquiries to recommence building work on the villa that the demand for builders had perked up as we had to wait several months before our proposed new building work could be completed.
We made a conscious decision to begin developing the villa again. We put in place a 10 year plan in which to make this transition which included a plan to generate letting income from the villa once the planned works had been fully completed. In 2015 I celebrated my 55th birthday and Cathy her 52nd birthday.
Our rejuvenated plans for Las Parras were to finish the property to how we had always envisaged it. This would involve establishing a Mediterranean garden and refurbishing the interior of the villa to bring all rooms up to the standard of the newer portion of the villa. Specifically, in addition to developing the garden, we were looking at refitting 2 bathrooms, 2 bedrooms, replacing 3 old wooden windows and installing new air conditioning.