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A weekly review of life as an ex-pat in Las Palmas Gran Canaria, the Canary Islands. 



Downhill from here?


The last week brought some good news on the Covid front.


The Canarian government abolished the need to show covid certs to enter hospitality.  People were way ahead of the government.  Very few places were asking for certs.  


On Thursday the Spanish government will repeal the law on wearing masks outdoors.  Again people were making up their minds on this.  Some wore them, and some did not.   I never saw the police speaking to anyone that was not wearing a mask outside.   

Covid rates dropped again last week and for the first time in this wave hospital cases started to fall. 


The only change to restriction levels last week was La Palma went from Level 4 to Level 3


Some other significant changes would benefit tourists.  All islands on level 3 and below will get an extra hour in bars/restaurants. 


For example, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, who are on Level 3, closing times are now 2 am


All islands are making good progress and Tenerife and Gran Canaria will be looking to come off level 4 at this weeks review on Thursday.  

Abandon ship.


Last week was busy for just two reasons.  I had some friends visiting, and I brought and moved into an apartment in Las Palmas. 


I went from viewing an apartment to moving into an apartment in just ten days.  It was an interesting process that some people might be interested in. 



One of the weirdest parts of looking for an apartment in Las Palmas was trying to find someone interested in having my business. 


Estate agents make most of their salary on commissions from sales.  So if you tell someone that you are a cash buyer looking for a place to live now, they will be very keen?   Not necessarily. 


The first two agents that were to show me an apartment did not show up—no calls, emails or explanations. 


I decided to walk into an estate agents office.  I planked myself on a seat.  Explained I was very keen to find a place quickly.  I did not need a mortgage, so it would not be complicated.  She took down my details and said she would be in contact.  We both knew she would not. 

Having lived in the Canary Islands for a while I am not so surprised.  I will however never be able to understand it but living here is primarily positive.  If you cant change it embrace it or go to plan B. 


My plan B was to call a person a friend had recommended.  Laura Leyshon is a Welsh lady who has lived in Gran Canaria for over 20 years.  I knew things were going to get better.  We made an appointment to meet and she actually turned up. 

My third viewing was an apartment located a one minute walk from Playa Las Canteras.  This is where I walk, swim and have beers.   As soon as I saw it I knew it was for me.  Ten days later I was living in it. 

The deal.


So what is the process of buying property in Spain?


First up was the offer.  I made an offer a lot lower than the asking for.  This was just to get the ball rolling.  I was asked to put this in writing and pay a 500 euro deposit.   If they had accepted the offer and I pulled out I would have lost the 500 euro.


They came back with a counteroffer.  After some tweaks, we agreed on a price.  


I then paid a 10% deposit (500 euro included) Once the buyer and seller sign this contract they are liable to pay the other person the value of the deposit should one pull out.

The Handover. 

On Friday, I went to the Notary.  This is the legal part.  The seller and I sat across a table with our representatives with the Notary at the top of the table. 


If you ever get to do this, make sure the representative speaks good Spanish and explains everything as it happens. 


Documents were checked by the Notary.  They also check that the property is debt-free. 


The seller gave me the keys, and I gave him the bankers draft.   Thirty minutes later, I was in the apartment. 

The aftermath. 


The final part of the process is the Gestoria. I had to transfer funds to pay the government tax—the Notary. Register the property and, of course, pay themselves. 


From my experience, you need to be careful with the banks. I opened an account with Sabadell


They are aggressively trying to sell extras you may not want. 


I was told I needed private health insurance to open the account. I wanted this, but I am not sure this was true.


I opted to pay per month, but they took a full years payment from my account.  


They also signed me up for extra insurance I had told them I did not want. I have demanded both payments be returned ASAP. I don’t believe either issue was an error. 



The weather on the Canaries continues to be mixed.  A lot of Calima dust from the Sahara in the last week.

Until next week Hasta Luego. 

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