Real estate buying in Covid times — Against all odds

The nationwide lockdown in Spring 2020 put life as we knew it on hold, and for many that included property transactions. But where there’s a will there’s a way….

Alex y Luise e hijos — Comprar una casa en Menorca en tiempos de Covid
Alex, Luise & their sons — Buying a house in Menorca in Covid times

Alex and Luise discovered Menorca through friends who had proper-ties and family ties to the island. After several enjoyable holidays, they decided to look into buying a property of their own here. In November 2019, having contacted a number of estate agencies, the couple flew over for a weekend of property viewings.

Exterior casa de campo en Menorca — piscinaAs they and their two year-old twins usually live in a flat in London, having plenty of space, a quiet location, and no neighbours in sight were high on their list of priorities. But as Alex is a wheelchair user they also needed a home that would be practical and accessible for him.
The last property they visited prior to catching their return flight was a three-bedroom house located in a protected natural area, with four hectares of land and a large pool.

Designed and built by the previous owner, a technical architect, the house is clean, bright and modern, but retains a rustic character thanks to the sandstone walls and wooden doors and window frames. More importantly, the floors are even, the doorways wide and two bedrooms are located on the ground floor, making it easy for Alex to get around.

By the time they landed back in London, they had decided to put in an offer. “We signed the contract in December, and planned to come out to complete at Easter,” Alex says. “But then Europe went into lockdown.”
Their property purchase, like many others, was delayed indefinitely. Even as restrictions were eased in early summer, Spain’s borders stayed closed, air travel was still limited, and the transaction remained pending.

Salón de la nueva vivienda de Alex y Luise en MenorcaDespite their best efforts to get here — including traveling overland across France — they were turned away at the Spanish border. Fortunately, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Over in Menorca their lawyer and Helene, their agent at Fincas Mantolan, sprung into action. The lawyer completed the purchase in their absence, using their power of attorney. They then took the paperwork to the town hall to process their ‘empadronamiento’ which ensured they were registered as the new homeowners, and so could enter the country even before borders reopened. It wasn’t easy or straightforward, but it was well worth the effort.

Alex, who used to travel several times weekly for client meetings, had embraced working from home by then, and this meant the young family was able to spend the entire summer enjoying their new home and sharing it with family and friends.