An Apartment in Palma with Outside Space

An Apartment in Palma with Outside Space

The Brief

  • 2 bedroom, preferably 2 bathroom apartment
  • Outside space essential
  • Walking to facilities
  • Prepared to do some work though not major renovation
  • Would consider new build

The Challenges

  • Outside space in the city comes at a premium & the Spanish crave it as much as you do
  • Community roof terraces (shared with all the owners within the same block) can turn out to be tidy, pleasant areas to sit, with a defined area for laundry lines and neat lock-up stores or junk yards with aerials and clanky air conditioning units
  • Palma “Casco Antiguo” (old city) is atmospheric but its buildings in the narrow streets often lack light
  • Renovated apartments in old buildings are highly sought after and any period features such as wooden beams, original tiled floors or Mallorquin “winter balconies” bump up the asking price.
  • The market at the time was moving rapidly. There was unprecedented interest from “Euro Commuters”, especially younger buyers in their 30s and 40s wanting to get a foot on the overseas property ladder

The Search

Mary Foxcroft wanted to find an apartment for the summer which gave us 7 weeks to scan the market. She had been scouring internet sites for several months previously & been inundated with property details but very few showed the actual building & there was never enough information to determine if a place was worth viewing. The market was moving fast at the time & the real opportunities weren’t posted online.

The most important part of any search is to establish suitable locations and work from there so we discussed the pros & cons of various city districts to establish a search area.

Calatrava wasn’t discounted but it would be difficult to find the right outside space there for the budget. We started llooking within the Avenidas zone (the zig zag peripheral road surrounding inner Palma) and very slightly beyond, as well as Santa Catalina (west of Avenida Argentina).

Within 3 weeks, the choice had been narrowed to 15 apartments which needed further investigation, 3 private sales & 12 via agencies, not all Palma based.

The most interesting came via a small agency in Son Ferriol, a suburb way outside the city on the road to Manacor. It belonged to the owner’s daughter, so it was exclusive to that agency – very unusual. They only posted their properties on a spanish websearch portal and had no website of their own. However, a Spanish couple had expressed serious interest and were making mortgage enquiries. This didn’t look good so we were prepared for it to sell before Mary arrived.

A penthouse within the budget was not out of the question, however, it would have to be on the 4th or 5th floor of a building without a lift, and after more discussion, this was ruled out. Walking up five flights of narrow stairs in summer with the groceries is not for everyone although Palma supermarkets do deliver heavy items, such as water and cleaning products, using special triple-wheeled trolleys to bump up the steps.

We considered several new apartments in renovated buildings where the developers had installed a lift. You have peace of mind with new electrics and plumbing, but in many cases, very few traditional features are left apart from the refurbished façade because the building has been essentially gutted. Furthermore, new apartments rarely have kitchens or appliances installed, so you have to invest more time and money.

We sent Mary full details of all the apartments & narrowed down the search further to 7 possibilities which we eventually viewed together over 2 days. The appointment for the last one was made just 30 minutes before the Spanish couple who were viewing it for the 3rd time.

The Result

This renovated apartment was a dream – a great location in a quiet street off the Ramblas, with all its flower sellers,
near the city market in Plaza Olivar and 3 minutes’ walk from Plaza Mayor, the heart of Palma. On the first floor with a sunny, private patio at the back, it was packed with traditional features.

Realising that we could lose the property within the next hour, we acted like lightening to secure it with a reservation deposit – this is not the normal procedure in Mallorca but it bought valuable time. Mary was introduced to an English speaking lawyer to arrange power of attorney, a simple procedure at the notary, & a local bank where all paperwork for opening an account had been prepared in advance.

After the purchase, we were able to recommend a local insurance company, organised a quote for installation of additional reverse cycle heating units & arranged an English speaking maintenance company as key holders. Mary decided to recoup some of her investment immediately so we introduced her to a reputable rental agency which quickly found a suitable tenant for a year long agreement.