Unicorns and cheese shops!
I wrote something on the Facebook page this week about the inability of some clients to buy what they want. There is a simple reason for this of course, if what you want doesn’t exist then you cannot have it even if you really, really, really want it and scream loudly when you cannot have it. As the Rolling Stones said “You can’t always get what you want”. Whether you are the deluded Brexiters in the UK looking for unicorns, cake and sunlit uplands or a property searcher in Valencia, if your red lines conflict then you cannot get what you are looking for, sometimes things are mutually exclusive.
Let’s see what we are referring to shall we?
Me: Hi There, welcome to my cheese shop.
Client: I’d like an unicorn please and I have 20 cents to buy it with
Me: I’m sorry this is a cheese shop, we specialise in cheese
Client: Are you telling me I can’t have my unicorn?
Me: You can’t have your unicorn.
Client: You have an obligation to find and sell me a unicorn.
Me: We don’t have unicorns
Client: What sort of cheese shop are you that you can’t find me my unicorn at the price I want to pay?
Me: Unicorns don’t exist you know.
Client: Yes they do because I want one.
Me:**Bangs head on table repeatedly** Good luck with your unicorn search. I now have a headache.
Client: Other cheese shops tell me that unicorns exist at this price and I am going to see some when I am there.
Me: Fine, honestly, good luck with it. But before you buy make sure to check that your unicorn is not just a horse with an ice cream cone stuck to its nose. It makes sense
Client: Don’t tell me what I need to do.
And so on. Just substitute Yoga Retreat for Unicorn and cheese shop for “Estate Agency with 20 years experience” and you will get this. For once it is not a Brexit metaphor.
Now to give you some context, we have been working with clients looking for Yoga retreats in Valencia for years, we have had a couple of successes but mostly failures. We have come to understand the following:
- Generally you will not get approval for opening a business on rustic land unless the council is extremely amenable to tourism based businesses and most councils aren’t.
- Therefore you need urban land or land classed as tertiary in order to get your business licence.
- If the land is urban then the price is correspondingly higher.
- If the urban land is on an estate then there are restrictions on what you can do there. Many estates don’t allow for commercial use of any type except for home office use.
- The best option is often to buy a current business that has already gone through the process of getting all licences when this was easier to do.
- However you always have to be careful that a functioning business has all the licences because oftentimes, it doesn’t.
My answer to their final email was a bit more diplomatic
“I wish you luck but having worked with three separate couples recently looking for Yoga retreats we have experience of town councils. If you get a lot of land, 5000m2 for example, for your price then by definition the land is not urban land. This in itself isn’t a problem.
However, once the land is considered rustic then there are limits on the usage of the land and councils are extremely short sighted as to what you can do on that land. Running a business is one of the things that is generally not allowed. To get permits the land classification needs to be urban or tertiary.
Regarding the place in Utiel you said you wanted around 5000m2 and the 400m2 is the size of the house and patio, nothing more, therefore in your case there is not much space for yoga there. (On the plus side you would get a licence of which more below)
One of the clients we were working with had a budget of up to 700k and even a million for the “right” property. Even with this budget they were unable to find anything suitable either in Valencia or Alicante. In every single case once they found a potential place when they talked to the town council it fell through.
We eventually concluded that the only way to do it was to actually buy a business currently doing what they wanted to do as the business licence was already in place. Of course that requires finding a business for sale that owned the property and very few of them are advertised for sale as such as it gives the wrong impression (this is the same for hotels too which are generally for sale but you would never guess unless you knew). We assume therefore many would sell if an offer were to be made. Of course this would require offers above real market value as in order to convince someone to part with the business it would have to be worth their while.
Onto the property in …….. We started off by offering it as a B+B, something for which it had been used years ago, you can still find traces of its footprint on the internet.
However, two clients have now been to the council in ……….. with separate business ideas and both have been told in no uncertain terms that they cannot do what they want to do there.
The owner ran the business, we suspect, without the required licence for years without a problem. Then licensing issues started being flagged by Airbnb and the other portals. Without the licence number you cannot advertise on the portals and the council won’t give the licence.
I would suggest you talk to town councils and get guarantees that you can do what you want to do on any rustic property before proceeding on any deposit or purchase. Don’t believe the agents as they want to get their commissions and walk away without responsibility. We are more honest in that sense.
If you move your red lines regarding land size then you might get what you want as long as the plot and property is classified as urban. Again though always check with the council first because even on urban plots there are restrictions at times.”
However, this is not only the case with Yoga Retreats. This week we are working with a client who wants to spend over 500k in Valencia city centre and the apartment must be 200m2 with a terrace and various other red lines. The only place that is available is wonderful. It’s this awesome Palace near to the central market.
It has the space, it has the potential to be developed superbly and it has two huge terraces to enjoy the outside space. The clients didn’t think it would fit for them and that’s fair enough. However, we were also told they had seen 25 other places this week and none of them had what they want.
We asked for their red lines, their must haves, what they needed to find in a property. We then put those parameters into all of the portals and asked everyone we work with if they have anything similar.
“We have found one other place potentially.”
That place has three third visits to it this week. It’s 800k and it’s 200m2. It will sell this week. The other places they have been to see don’t come even close to the red lines. How do we know? We asked the agents we know they have been visiting with what they had shown and what the clients thought. The same story everywhere. Oh, but the client’s limit is 700k we found out yesterday. So we actually haven’t found any.
“Sometimes it is just impossible to find what you are looking for.”
But if you move your red lines… are you listening Theresa?
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