Newsletter 15 June 2016

Welcome to our latest newsletter with plenty of job vacancies in Spain, news updates and opinions from expats…

In today’s newsletter we interview Richard Gibson-Brown from GeeBee Properties who covers the Barx area – in particular we wanted to find out from him why people might consider moving to this area of Spain and what they could get for their money.

Richard thanks for helping our readers, I guess we should start off by asking when you moved to Spain and why?

Richard Gibson-BrownWe first started looking at Spanish properties 4 years ago. Deana had spent many years out here in a variety of areas and villas, had strong links to the property business, and eventually dragged me out here to show me what a great place to live the La Safor region would be.

Over the years I had been used to the inevitable golf trips to the South, and had very little knowledge of this area, but I was probably converted after my first visit.

While I still split my time between the UK and here, Deana is pretty much full time in the area, and the pull that it has makes it harder to leave every time!

Where did you move to and how did you come to choose that area over others?

We had already decided that we wanted to be close to Gandia. It is such a vibrant, and typically Spanish city, with many great communities within a short drive. We probably looked at 10 or so houses in areas within striking distance of the city, but finally settled for the first house that we had looked at in an Urbanisation called La Drova, in between two mountains, and just outside the village of Barx.

There is a great mix of nationalities who either live here permanently, or have second homes, and even though Barx is a very sleepy village (about 1200 residents) it has every facility that you may need, Doctor, Dentist, supermarkets, pharmacy………..and the locals are a really friendly bunch, and as you will find anywhere in Spain, even the most feeble attempts at speaking Spanish will be welcomed and encouraged!

What insights from buying yourself did you learn in terms of giving important advice to others following in your footsteps?

The most salient advice I could give is take your time. There is a wealth of property for sale so don’t get pressured into buying the first house that takes your fancy. That may sound a little like a Turkey voting for Christmas, but you would not rush into a house purchase in the UK, so try to use the same logic here.  There are many intricacies to the Spanish property market, although it isn’t hugely different to the UK, and a good Lawyer will be able to walk you through what you need to know. We have a fantastic Legal company that we use ourselves, so are more than happy to recommend them.

Perhaps you could give us an overview of your area and explain the terms La Safor region and La Drova area so readers get a better picture?

The La Safor region is the area of the coast that stretches from the bottom of the Costa del Azahar (Orange Blossom Costa) down to Denia in the South. Within this area there are many villages and Urbanisations, La Drova, Marxuquera, Monte Pino, Santa Marta to name but a few. La Drova is essentially an area that sits on an old herding route between Gandia, and the monastery town of Simat, and lies about a mile away from Barx.

la safor

Photo Credit:

Taking Barx, what would you say would be the advantages to living there?

Barx is the most wonderful, sleepy Spanish Village. While there is little English spoken here, in fact there isn’t a great deal of Spanish either, the local dialect is Valenciana, which I gather is akin to Catalan, but don’t tell the locals I told you that!

The Village has everything you need on a day to day basis. There are several bar restaurants, with another couple that are just outside of the Village. And while Barx is not really on the way to anywhere, Valencia is 45 minutes away, and Gandia about 15. It is surrounded by mountains and spectacular scenery, and is slightly cooler than further down towards the city, and is a real oasis of calm. The cost of living is really low too. Your weekly food bill is a fraction of the UK, you will probably only need heating for 3 months of the year, and the council tax for the year is between €300 and €400. It may not surprise you to hear that we sold our house in La Drova in March, and rushed into Barx to buy an idyllic village house.

Would the area not suit certain types of people, i.e. are there any possible downsides?

Although there are many facilities locally, it is a great advantage to have a car. There is so much to see and do if you can get out and about. Having said that, there is a fantastic community spirit in the area, and a great deal going on within a very short distance.

How does your area compare to well-known areas such as the Costa del Sol or Costa Blanca?

This is really like comparing Apples to Oranges. The Costa del Sol and the more popular parts of the Costa Blanca are more populous, and a little busier as a result. The La Safor region remains very Spanish, and if you choose to learn even a little of the language, you will find so much more open to you than in the more southerly areas. If you are considering renting your home during the holiday season, the area is still very popular, and you should be able to cover the costs of your house, and maybe make a few quid into the bargain. We are happy to advise on the best way of maximising this. The area is also a little more temperate, and not as arid as many of the more southerly destinations, and it can get quite chilly in the winter.

What are your favourite things to do in the area?

The key to this part of Spain is the outdoor living, the scenery is spectacular and is just waiting to be explored. Gandia is steeped in history, has fantastic shopping areas, and is fabulous for people watching from any of the large number of cafes or bars along the Passeig or in the many small squares. However, the best part must be the nearly 5 miles of stunning, white sandy beaches that you find in and around Gandia, forget Florida, this is real, and you don’t have to queue to get a space.


Four-bed villa for sale on La Drova from GeeBee Properties – €259,000

On a personal level, I am a qualified Hockey Umpire, so travel up to Valencia whenever I can to umpire in the regional league. (makes my hockey colleagues in the UK very jealous)  The facilities are amazing, and they host top level competitions every year. Last year saw the World League semi-finals which were won by Team GB, and qualified for Rio as a result. The area is a mecca for cyclists of all ages, and there are some great mountain climbing areas too.

Can you give us some insider tips to the best bars or restaurants?

Locally you will not find a bad restaurant. If you like Pizza, Bar la Font is amazing, and they do takeaways too. For steak there is none better than Bar Bon Mosset, and a little further afield are Bar Puig Mola and La Vistetta, both are fantastic for Paella. In Gandia, our favourite is Visconte, a wonderfully airy and bright place for drinks, and wonderful food too.

Are there smaller villages nearby that you might also recommend?

There are countless villages and small towns, far too many to name, but if you are thinking of buying over here, give us a call, we will be more than happy to show you around.

Getting there – what are the roads and airports like?

We prefer to fly into Valencia, but there are also flights into Alicante too from most major UK airports. The road links are great, Valencia is about 55 minutes away, with Alicante just over an hour. Forget the M25, the roads are normally very quiet, even in peak times.

What are the nearest internationals schools and how good are they?

You will find that every major city in the area will have an international school. Most of these will follow either the UK or US curriculum, but again a bit of research will pay dividends, but on the whole, the education standard is fairly good. Gandia also has a University Campus that is attached to the University of Valencia.

Is crime an issue for expats?

I would not say it is an issue, but you would not leave your doors and windows open in the UK if you went out, so why do it here. There are isolated incidents, but very few and far between. If you are going to leave your villa unattended for long periods, it may be worth installing an alarm, or asking someone to pop by on a regular basis to check all is ok. We can help with this with our after sales services.


Four-bed villa for sale on La Drova from GeeBee Properties – €295,000

Coming onto buying property – what is the market like now in terms of prices going up, down or staying the same?

The property market is becoming busier year on year, but as yet, no huge rise in prices. Some sellers are now becoming more realistic, and coming to the realisation that their house may not be worth what they paid for it. I would not by a house here with a view to making money, but as a place to live, there are few better locations.

Is this a good time to buy and are there any repossessions or very cheap properties still available to buy?

Forget what the Estate Agents tell you!! There is that Turkey again! This is a buyers market. There are some price ranges that are a bit thin on the ground, but on the whole, there are bargains to be had. While Barx does not have too much in the way of re-possessions, the prices for the area are a little lower than you may pay in Denia or Javea, so still great value for money. One small point, I am writing this before the EU referendum, whatever the outcome, there may be an impact on the GBP-Euro exchange rate.

How much are typical property prices in Barx for apartments, villas etc?

Roughly speaking, and I mean very roughly, a three bed Villa with Pool, and a reasonable plot will range from around €210000 to €290000. Village houses without pools peak at around €200000, and apartments in the Gandia area can be picked up for as little as €50,000. There are also some great development opportunities available if you fancy a project, but some are not for the faint-hearted.

Any tips and advice to people looking to buy in Barx or surrounding area?

Do your homework, fix your price range and remember that you will need 10% purchase tax on top of the purchase price. Legal fees will cost another 2 – 3%.

Decide what you are buying. Are you looking or a holiday home perhaps with rental income, or somewhere where you are going to live now, or in the future.

Richard thank you so much for taking the time to help our readers with your experiences in Spain. If you want to contact Richard you can find his details below.

Contact us to be featured – we want more expat interviews for the newsletter and website.

GeeBee propertiesGeeBee Properties

  • Email:
  • Phone: +44 7808 476032

“What you will get from us is good honest advice, access to a great legal team, and aftersales service that is not always offered. We want to welcome you into the area as friends, not as former clients.” – Richard Gibson-Brown

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Help Required – Do you Live in Spain?

Can we ask you a question or two via email to help get some local tips and advice that would help others?


It might be something like, what is it like to live in your village or what things are there to do and see locally?

We will publish any answers on the website (and perhaps the next newsletter) with your quote, crediting your name as the source as it would be if it was published in a newspaper.

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Readers Letter of the Week

Today we feature a comment from David giving his thoughts about living in spain

Why on earth do some British people think they can go to Spain and integrate into Spanish society when they can’t speak Spanish, know nothing about Spanish history or culture and expect Spanish people to behave like them?!

I’m British but can speak and write fluent Spanish. My children have dual nationality and, like me, love Spain and the Spanish people. Of all the countries I have ever visited, Spain must be the friendliest and most welcoming. Spanish people are patient and long-suffering when it comes to British thugs and hooligans who invade their country and abuse them with drunken vile behaviour.

In nearly 30 years of  living in Spain I have never once been insulted by a Spaniard. I have many Spanish friends who have only ever shown me great kindness and generosity. Spain’s tragedy is simply that it joined the Euro – were it not for that fact, I am convinced that Spain would be doing just as well economically as the UK. But that is the fault of politicians, not ordinary Spaniards, who were told the Euro would be good for their country.

Walk along a typical street in a Spanish town around 8 o’clock in the evening – the ‘hora del paseo’: crowds of Spaniards are out for their evening walk, enjoying the warm sunshine, stopping for a drink or a tapa, chatting to friends and family. No sense of fear you might experience in some British towns in the evening, especially if you look at someone, which is OK in Spain. Go into a bar in the evening and you’ll find families with children having a meal and talking to each other in a civilised way, not binge drinking in a mad rush to get as drunk as possible as quickly as possible.

Take a drive on the excellent roads in Spain and you’ll be impressed by the disciplined and courteous driving. Ever travelled by train in Spain? Their modern high speed rail network and comfortable, state of the art trains put dirty British clapped out rolling stock to shame. Ever visited a Spanish hospital? Ever noticed that no-one is ever placed in a room (i.e. ward) with more than two people?

I love Britain and I certainly don’t think Spain is perfect. But I am shocked by many of the comments I have read on this blog about Spain and the Spanish people.

I can tell you from my own experience that it is easier to get a social security number in Spain that it is to get a national insurance number in Britain. I speak from my own experience. I got a Spanish social security number in 15 minutes last year in Madrid. A Spaniard living in my house in England took 2 months to get a national insurance number! Talk to Spanish people about the problems they have with bureaucracy in Britain before you criticise the Spanish system!

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Positions available:

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We will consider couples as well as single people.

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Live In (on-site accommodation)
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You must be available to start immediately…

Club Menorca –

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Thank you everyone and we look forward to receiving any contributions towards the next newsletter.


Mark Eastwood – Spain Made Simple



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