We’ve all seen those television programs about people who go abroad with a dream of opening a Bed & Breakfast. And no matter how much these couples want it to succeed, there are a lot of things that go wrong.
Carlijn and Yalcin also had this dream, but they decided to ask for help. The House Doctor Costa Blanca found a suitable location for them and helped arrange all the paperwork. Here they share their experiences.
Have you always dreamed of opening a Bed and Breakfast in Spain?
We came up with this plan about five years ago. We owned a house in Amsterdam, had busy jobs and therefore busy lives. During a touring holiday in Spain, we discovered: we want to live in this country. Eventually, we decided on Benissa, on the Costa Blanca.
A year later you're already living there?
Yes. We have been living in our new home for three weeks now. And a lot still needs to be arranged. In the Netherlands, you go to the bank, the notary and you arrange the transfer. Everything is more time-consuming here. You must be able to surrender to that because the time factor is different here than in the Netherlands.
Yalcin and Carlijn have been living in Benissa on the Costa Blanca since April 2019 where they started a Boutique Bed & Breakfast.
How did you find this house?
We came here for a weekend in October. We met with Ronald and Annemarie from The House Doctor. Our wish list was quite long because we wanted enough space to be able to live and let. And we were also looking for a large garden with enough space for a swimming pool. Ronald showed us several different houses during that weekend, but “our” house was not one of them. Until he showed us a surprise. He took us to a house that on paper we had already rejected. He had gone there, together with Annemarie, to secretly view it and they were convinced thought we should see it. And they were right. We immediately fell in love with this house, the location, and beautiful views.
What made you choose this specific house?
The location is unique. Our 6,000 square meters of land borders on a nature reserve where construction is prohibited and we have an unobstructed view. It looks like we live in the middle of nowhere, but we are a just few minutes from the center of Benissa and the wine village of Jalón, and not far from the beach. Furthermore, the house was in very good condition so that we could make it suitable as a B&B with only a relatively small renovation.
All's well, that ends well?
Well, not entirely. The house was sold with all the stuff still in it, there was even a car in the garage. It turned out to be an inheritance that still had to be settled, with family members living all over corners of the world.
In Spain, you have to place a reserve (down payment) when buying a house. Then all papers are checked to see whether they are in order and that everything is properly described, and no debts are attached to the property. But it turned out that there is a lot that is handled differently than in the Netherlands. For example, the appraisal report suddenly became invalid. It was difficult to arrange everything from the Netherlands. Our emails went unanswered.
Fortunately, Ronald was able to stop by or call people on our behalves to get them to pick up the pace. Eventually, by the end of April, we got in our car and headed towards Spain. It wasn’t until two days before our departure that we heard that everything was all right.
Ronald took care of the entire purchasing process for us. It would not have happened without him. He found us the house and it is because of him that we now live in it.
So, never a dull moment?
That’s for sure. Sometimes we thought it would never happen. After every step in the right direction, there was always a setback. But we often heard “everything will be fine” and “things work differently in Spain…” And finally, we suddenly were the owners of the future “Casa Alba” in Benissa.
What should you pay attention to, if you want to start a Bed & Breakfast in Spain?
We researched the area to see if there are enough tourists and what they, in turn, are looking for. We have a unique concept in mind, for a somewhat more luxurious market segment that will attract a certain clientele. We will initially start with four rooms.
Do you already have the operating permit?
We are currently working on that. And yes, once again it is complicated, but we don’t expect that it will become a problem. The entire region is being developed and the tourism industry is being greatly stimulated.
What pitfalls might you have encountered without the help of The House Doctor Costa Blanca?
Many, probably. The lesson we learned is real: this cannot be done remotely, you need someone locally. Someone who will go to see people if you aren’t getting a response. If you try to go it alone, you’ll have a lot of extra costs. And you run the risk of working with the wrong people.
Any tips for people who also want to take this leap?
Take the time to research everything properly, to find a place where you will feel at home. There will always be a place that is intended for you. Accept that it takes time. And ask for help. Without local help, it will not work.
Curious about the Yalcin and Carlijn’s mediterranean dream come true? Casa Alba is a boutique Bed & Breakfast with stylish Mediterranean casitas and rooms located in the hills of Benissa. It is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the mind-blowing present.