Costa Blanca Get Away for Winter


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Costa Blanca

Couples and friends search for perfect rental properties abroad. Chris and Val try to rent out their house in Leeds to fund their dream winter in the Costa Blanca.


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LineFromTo

-Paradise!

-Absolutely!

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What if you could live abroad in winter

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for the same cost as living in the UK?

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-This is priced at £595 per month.

-Is that all?

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By renting a piece of paradise.

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Unbelievable! Wow, this is amazing!

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You could swap sleet and snow for sun and sand.

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-Right, let's go and have a look at some properties.

-Well, absolutely.

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Get Away For Winter teams up sun seekers

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with a local property expert...

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-Can you see yourself in here?

-I can, yeah.

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..to find their perfect rental retreat.

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It's like you're on holiday all the time.

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Together, they leave no stone unturned...

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This is unbelievable, isn't it?

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..in order to find and fund their dream winter getaway.

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This is what I was dreaming of and didn't even think existed.

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This is Garforth in Leeds.

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And when those dark winter days draw in,

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this village averages only two hours of sunshine a day.

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This is one reason why locals Chris and Val are planning to get away.

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-How many eggs do you need?

-Six, please.

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Chris loves Mediterranean-style cuisine.

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And Val, well, she loves to eat it,

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preferably with a small glass of Rioja in hand,

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sitting outside in the evening sun.

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However, that is an all-too-rare occasion in the chilly north east.

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We've been together over 30 years.

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-Yeah.

-We've been married 19.

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Yeah. Cos she'd never have married me at the beginning.

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-No, I married you for your money.

-Yeah. My money?

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-His pension.

-Me pension.

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Our children have grown up and gone, so it's our time.

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-We've got...

-Three daughters.

-..three daughters, yeah.

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And we've got three granddaughters, and two grandsons.

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-Two granddaughters and three grandsons.

-Sorry.

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Well done.

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He kisses well too.

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And these sun seekers are ready to make a much-needed change to their lifestyle.

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I definitely won't need that.

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Five years ago, Val was diagnosed with a debilitating illness.

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I suffer with arthritis in my hip and my shoulders.

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It gets that you can't walk some days.

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Yeah, getting out of the car's hard.

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Cos my legs and my thumbs.

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-Picking things up, cups and things.

-Yeah.

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On really bad days, when it can be really cold,

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her thumbs will dislocate and she has to...

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-Click them back in together.

-..click them back in.

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And that is extremely painful.

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I can have an operation, but it's...

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No, cos that's... You can, but you'll end up with a straight thumb.

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-Yeah, walk round like this.

-Walk round like that.

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I'd have to wear mittens, I couldn't wear gloves.

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You'd have to have braces then, wouldn't you?

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Raincoats. Do I need raincoats?

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No.

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Unfortunately, Val's arthritis worsens

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during the cold weather of winter.

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When I see her in pain, that makes me feel really sad.

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And with this opportunity, I'm hoping it changes that.

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When she's happy, I'm happy.

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That's about it, really.

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The couple's escape is only possible if they can raise money

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by renting out their three-bedroom semidetached home.

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-Hiya.

-Hi, is it Chris?

-Yes, I'm Chris.

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Hiya, I'm Jancis. Nice to meet you.

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They've invited in a letting agent to give them an estimate of their

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potential rental income.

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Chris recently took early retirement.

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He and Val bought this house 24 years ago, and are now, luckily,

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mortgage-free.

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Will you be leaving it as fully furnished,

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or would you be thinking about unfurnished?

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-This is what we want advice on.

-Right, OK.

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The house is in the popular commuter belt of Leeds.

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And the couple have been advised that they could achieve

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£895 per calendar month.

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So Chris and Val want to use this to fund their accommodation

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and, of course, their living expenses.

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We're going to do it. It's going to work.

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-It's going to happen.

-We've done other things in our life,

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which have been a lot more difficult than this.

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-Talked about it too much.

-Yeah, sick of talking about it.

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Now, we're going to do it.

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Chris and Val hope to have a winter sunshine budget of £895 per month.

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£600 of that will be set aside for accommodation and utility bills.

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And where do our couple want to go to beat those winter blues?

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The place that we've chosen is the Costa Blanca.

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So it's bye-bye British drizzle, hello sunshine sizzle.

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The couple holidayed in Costa Blanca last year,

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in the Alicante region of southeast Spain.

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It's centred around the tourist hotspot of Benidorm.

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The region has it all, from cities by the sea...

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..to secluded villages with oodles of local charm.

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The average winter temperature here is 17 degrees.

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Quite a bit warmer than the five degrees of Garforth.

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The winter season lasts from October into April.

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And during this period, you can pay the same amount in rent per month

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as you would per week in high season.

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To help Chris and Val with their search

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is local property expert Lisa Turner.

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She's originally from Norfolk, but moved to Alicante 13 years ago.

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She knows that finding Chris and Val a winter getaway won't be easy

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as most long-term lets are booked at least a year in advance.

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Over the last, certainly the last eight years, I would say,

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more and more people from European countries have been choosing

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the Costa Blanca to come to, just for the winter months.

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During January and February,

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which are probably the coldest months here in Spain,

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you can still seek out the sun.

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You can walk along the beach, you can go and sit in cafe bars,

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you can have the sunshine, no doubt about that at all.

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Lisa will be working very hard to find the right place

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at the right price for Chris and Val.

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Only one of them will be joining her in Costa Blanca

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for the property search.

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First, Lisa needs to know exactly what the couple want

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from their winter home-from-home.

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VIDEO CALL RINGS

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Hello, I'm Lisa.

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-Hello, I'm Chris.

-Hi, I'm Val.

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I think we're going to talk about today a new adventure for you.

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You're going to think about coming to Spain for the winter.

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We're not thinking about it, we're doing it.

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You're coming, that's great!

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What sort of property are you looking for?

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Low floors, I don't like heights.

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Keep it under six, or under ten?

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Three, please.

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-Ground floor, or up to three.

-Please.

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Ideally, they want to rent an apartment with two bedrooms

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and two bathrooms, so that they can invite their family

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to stay for holidays.

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But that's not all.

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-A balcony, that's the most...

-South face...

-Yeah.

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-To be able to have some outdoor space.

-Outside, yeah.

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-Outside space.

-Excellent, OK.

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We don't need any high-tech kitchens or anything like that,

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as long as it's usable, you know...

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I like cooking.

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-He likes cooking.

-I like cooking.

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Ideally... I don't want a fire that I've got to build

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out of olive trees in the morning.

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Well, Chris and Val, you've given me a lot to think about.

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So, which one of the two of you is coming out to view the properties?

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-That will be me, Lisa, I'm afraid.

-You got that job.

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-I will report back to Valerie...

-OK.

-..for approval.

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While Chris is house hunting in the sun,

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Val will be getting their home ready to rent out.

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But he's well aware of her list of demands.

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He knows what I want. He knows what I like.

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And it's not debatable.

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THEY BOTH LAUGH

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It's well he's got that smile.

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Chris and Val want to keep to a budget of £600 a month

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for accommodation and the household bills.

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They want an apartment no higher up than the third floor,

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with two bedrooms and en suite bathrooms,

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with outside space in a lively, but let's face it,

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not too lively an area.

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In Costa Blanca, the autumn season is drawing to a close

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but that doesn't mean that the area's shutting up shop for the winter.

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Chris has travelled 1,500 miles due south,

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and along with his morning cuppa,

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he's really soaking up the sunshine.

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Ooh, lovely.

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It's the first day, I arrived last night,

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and it's looking good so far.

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And, I'm very optimistic, very optimistic, actually.

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On her way to meet Chris is Lisa, to show him what the area has to offer.

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The Costa Blanca is well-known as an area for people to come to

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over the winter months.

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So, a lot of people have, had already booked properties,

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and a lot of people are still booking properties,

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which means we find something, and then we get a reservation on it,

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so it's no longer available.

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If Lisa has turned up trumps with her property shortlist,

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making a quick decision is not going to be a problem for Chris.

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By the end of the week, I want to have a property and sign a contract.

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That is, that is my aim for this week.

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-Hi.

-Hola.

-Chris.

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-Nice to see you.

-Nice to meet you.

-We do it the Spanish way.

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All right, then.

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-We're going to see some properties.

-Oh, brilliant, yeah.

-Excellent.

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Lisa will show Chris and Val four different properties.

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And she's hoping that they'll fall in love with at least one of them.

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-I'm getting excited now.

-Are you? Excited now.

-Really excited.

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We've had quite a challenge with you, Chris, I have to say.

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-Good.

-It's been a little bit difficult to find you the properties

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that I think you'll like.

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At each property, Chris will video call Val back in Blighty

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to get her opinion.

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Today, I'm taking you to a modern ground-floor apartment,

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I know that Val didn't want to be too high up,

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-and it's also got a private garden.

-Nice.

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And I know outside space was of interest to you.

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Lisa's taking Chris into the hills overlooking the coast

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for property number one.

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It's located in the new development of Sierra Cortina.

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The hustle and bustle of Benidorm is only about a ten-minute drive away.

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But out here, there's plenty of peace and quiet.

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It's a nice residential development,

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very green and leafy, lots of palm trees and Mediterranean shrubs.

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For years, it's been Chris and Val's dream to get away for the winter.

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And this is the first stop on the journey to make that dream a reality.

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Let get in and see what you think.

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Oh, yeah. Oh, I like this.

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This modern apartment is fully furnished

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and includes a television and hi-fi.

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It has an open plan living and kitchen area,

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which comes with fridge freezer, dishwasher, and oven and hob,

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which is perfect for cookery buff Chris.

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You can cook while Val's watching TV or whatever.

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-I like this.

-And it's also nice when you have people coming to stay...

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-Yeah.

-..that you're not stuck away in the kitchen, perhaps.

-Yeah.

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There are the two bedrooms that Chris and Val wanted,

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so that they can invite their children and grandchildren to stay

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for holidays.

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Perfect for grandkids.

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There is a master en suite and indeed a family bathroom.

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You have to bear in mind that when renting, there can be compromises,

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especially on the smaller details.

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But I don't think that applies here.

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The shower head rail goes right up, that's good.

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I have a lot of trouble with showers cos I'm tall.

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-Perhaps the most important part...

-Ah, yes.

-..of any property.

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You've got a beautiful terrace.

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-Enormous terrace, really....

-It's huge.

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..by the standards of apartments.

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-Nice view.

-Beautiful views, and then you also have...

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Look at this, good grief.

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The apartment comes with not only a south-facing balcony

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but also a private garden area.

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The development also has residents-only swimming facilities,

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which is another plus point.

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Lisa has hit everything on Chris and Val's wish list

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for a rental property.

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But the question is, does it come within the budget?

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-So we need to talk about price.

-OK.

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-This falls into your budget.

-Does it?

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This is priced at 595 euros per month.

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Is that all?

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Now, using an exchange rate of 1.12,

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that's £530.

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For Chris, the dream of winter in the sun

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is becoming tangibly real.

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I thought it were going to be more than that, to be honest.

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Well, I'm pleased. I'm pleased you're pleased.

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I'm over the moon. And this is just number one.

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So, let's hope that we get better each day.

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You're welcome.

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-Thank you.

-You're welcome.

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-We can do it, I know I can do it.

-I know you can do it.

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It'll be a great new adventure for you both.

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So maybe now, it's a good time for you to have a chat with Val.

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I think I should get on the phone now, thank you.

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This is the crunch.

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Will Val be as enthusiastic about this apartment as Chris?

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Their home in Garforth in Leeds is now up for rent.

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But with no viewers yet,

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Val is starting to get worried about financing their escape.

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Chris phoned me last night,

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and I think he's settled in, he had his first pint.

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My husband doesn't get his old age pension yet,

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so we're living on small pensions but I think we'll survive.

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I'd rather be in the sun, and eat less, and drink less.

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At each property, Val will be shown around by Chris on his video phone.

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-Hello, love. Can you see me?

-Hola.

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-How are you?

-I'm fine, how are you?

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-Are you coping without me?

-Yes, yes.

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This is the lounge area. We come right through from the kitchen

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-and straight through onto the terrace.

-OK.

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Even through a camera phone,

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the sunshine has actually got her smiling.

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What do you think so far?

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Yeah, it looks good, it looks spacious.

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And you come out here, to this on a morning,

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which is the view from the bedroom windows as well.

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Oh, that's big enough.

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Gosh, it's massive.

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-I want to come out there now.

-I know.

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So whereabouts is it?

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It's in a place called Sierra Cortina.

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Oh, I've never heard of that place then.

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There's no shops around here. There's no bars around here.

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No, it's quiet.

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When Chris and Val holidayed in Costa Blanca last year,

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they stayed in the heart of a small seaside town and they just loved the

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hustle and bustle of its cafes and bars.

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Here, you've got everything a short distance away.

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But you've got a beautiful, green, well-maintained,

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quiet area here, if that's what you want.

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What is it lacking for you, then, anything?

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I'd like a local bar.

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-Ah, right.

-But that's the only thing.

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It's very, very quiet.

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It's nice to just have a walk and just have a coffee and cake.

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-Yes.

-Well, it's the first one on the list, so it looks and sounds good.

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Ciao for now!

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Ciao, ciao! Bye-bye, love.

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Bye-bye. Love you.

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Bye, love you.

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With this apartment, Lisa has made a great start.

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It's just one slight thing, and that's...

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we'd like to have had a cafe or a bar where we could go out

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for maybe a lunch or an evening meal, sometimes.

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-Yeah.

-So, you've set the bar very high.

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-I'm pleased.

-Really high.

-That's good. Great.

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-9.8 out of ten.

-9.8?

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Don't make your mind up just yet, we have got some more to look at.

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And let's hope we can get to that 9.9.

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-Let's get to ten. Let's get to 11!

-OK!

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The apartment has the two bedrooms and bathrooms

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that Chris and Val wanted.

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It's got a kitchen that is really good and meets the chef's

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requirements, and the outside space is more than they hoped for.

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But the location is proving a bit of a problem.

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Chris and Val hope that enjoying the sunshine in the winter months

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will lead to health benefits, not just for Val

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but for both of them.

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The good weather will encourage a more active lifestyle,

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spending their time outdoors walking, cycling, swimming

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rather than staying indoors, hiding from the wind and rain.

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An active lifestyle can help reduce the risk of diabetes,

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heart disease and dementia.

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But to fund this new, healthier way of life,

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they have to rent out their home back in the UK.

0:18:070:18:10

Good old Val is giving the house one last clean

0:18:160:18:19

before her first viewers arrive for the guided tour.

0:18:190:18:22

This is the lounge-cum-kitchen area.

0:18:230:18:26

-Yeah. Who did all the decor?

-My husband.

-Like it.

0:18:260:18:30

Val's viewers are engineers who will be working in the area for a year.

0:18:300:18:34

They're from Newcastle and contacted the letting agents

0:18:340:18:37

who've been advertising the property for rent.

0:18:370:18:40

And there's room for two cars on the drive, as well.

0:18:410:18:44

Yeah, you could probably squeeze in three, if they were small cars.

0:18:440:18:48

Using a letting agent to rent out your home can take away a lot of

0:18:480:18:51

the hassle, and offer you, at the end of the day, peace of mind.

0:18:510:18:55

Nice, warm house.

0:18:550:18:57

They can arrange viewings for prospective tenants,

0:18:570:19:00

check references, supply tenancy agreements and deal directly

0:19:000:19:04

with the tenants while you're away enjoying yourself.

0:19:040:19:06

Fees can differ widely but you can expect to pay around 10-15%

0:19:080:19:12

of the rental income for their services.

0:19:120:19:15

Is there a pub within walking distance?

0:19:170:19:19

Because that is a critical and crucial question.

0:19:190:19:21

Right, right, that's the best thing about living here...

0:19:210:19:23

-I like the sound of this.

-If you walk outside you'll see a little...

0:19:230:19:27

Val could've sealed the deal on her first viewing.

0:19:270:19:30

We might be in Spain next week!

0:19:310:19:33

If Val is going to be revelling in the Mediterranean sun next week,

0:19:360:19:40

then Chris had better find their winter retreat fast.

0:19:400:19:42

We're going to a very nice, very typically Spanish property

0:19:450:19:49

that is located in Alfaz del Pi.

0:19:490:19:53

A 15-minute drive from Benidorm is the town of Alfaz del Pi.

0:19:550:19:58

The area is predominantly made up of citrus fruit farms

0:20:020:20:06

but is becoming more popular with tourists

0:20:060:20:08

who enjoy the quiet suburbs combined with the traditional town centre.

0:20:080:20:12

Lisa is taking Chris to view a traditional, Spanish-style villa

0:20:180:20:21

on the outskirts of the town, where the residential suburb

0:20:210:20:24

meets the orchards and groves of the countryside.

0:20:240:20:27

OK, Chris, here we are.

0:20:290:20:31

-Your next property.

-This is brilliant.

0:20:320:20:36

Wow!

0:20:360:20:37

The locals call this type of property a finca,

0:20:400:20:42

meaning an old farmhouse.

0:20:420:20:44

Chris thought his £600 maximum spend on accommodation

0:20:460:20:49

would limit his choices to an apartment.

0:20:490:20:52

-Not what I was expecting, to be honest.

-Great.

0:20:520:20:55

And it's looking very, very promising.

0:20:550:20:58

OK, this is the kitchen.

0:21:000:21:02

Oh, this is nice.

0:21:020:21:04

While it may be a traditional type of home,

0:21:050:21:08

inside, the kitchen has been fitted out with all the mod cons.

0:21:080:21:12

There's also broadband Wi-Fi,

0:21:130:21:15

which means Chris and Val can video call the family back in Britain.

0:21:150:21:18

Should they want to come and visit, and let's be honest,

0:21:210:21:23

who wouldn't - I certainly would -

0:21:230:21:25

there's plenty of room in the open-plan living area

0:21:250:21:27

and three double bedrooms.

0:21:270:21:29

-It's bigger than I thought.

-Mm.

0:21:330:21:35

Which means we can get more and more people over,

0:21:350:21:37

maybe not always a good thing but...

0:21:370:21:39

-Yeah.

-I like it though.

0:21:390:21:41

I do like it, because I like the size of it.

0:21:410:21:45

If Chris likes the size of the inside,

0:21:450:21:47

when he steps outside, he's in for a real treat.

0:21:470:21:49

The property is set in a large garden

0:21:520:21:55

with fruit trees and tropical plants.

0:21:550:21:58

-Oh, this is beautiful.

-The outside space here, Chris,

0:22:020:22:04

is just absolutely wonderful.

0:22:040:22:06

This is where Val loves to be.

0:22:060:22:08

-Is it?

-Outside.

0:22:080:22:10

-I can see her sat down with a book.

-Yeah.

0:22:100:22:12

So there's something here I think you might like and Val might like,

0:22:120:22:15

-as well.

-Oh, wow!

0:22:150:22:17

Didn't expect this. A private pool!

0:22:180:22:21

-Think the grandkids would like this, wouldn't they?

-They'd love it.

0:22:210:22:24

The finca has a rental price of £625 per month, excluding bills.

0:22:250:22:31

That would eat into the money Chris and Val are setting aside

0:22:320:22:35

for living expenses.

0:22:350:22:37

Now, to afford it, the couple would need to rework their budget.

0:22:380:22:42

-Hiya!

-Hi.

-Hiya, love.

0:22:420:22:44

Here we come...

0:22:460:22:47

..to the extremely long terrace.

0:22:480:22:51

Oh, that looks lovely.

0:22:510:22:53

I like it. I like the Spanish look.

0:22:530:22:57

Be nice to stop in somewhere traditional.

0:22:570:22:59

How many guests do you think we could have?

0:23:010:23:03

Erm, how many bedrooms are there?

0:23:030:23:05

-Guess.

-Three?

-Three bedrooms.

0:23:050:23:08

All good-sized doubles.

0:23:080:23:10

Oh! Swimming pool!

0:23:110:23:13

We'd just invite all the family here for Christmas.

0:23:130:23:15

-No, no, no, no, no.

-No, no, no, no, no!

0:23:150:23:18

VAL LAUGHS

0:23:180:23:20

Val's loving it, just like Chris.

0:23:200:23:22

Are they willing to take the plunge and up their accommodation budget?

0:23:220:23:27

We spoke about having a pool.

0:23:270:23:29

It wasn't on the top of the list, was it?

0:23:290:23:31

-No.

-But is it worth paying the extra for the pool?

0:23:310:23:35

If and when family do visit, family and friends visit,

0:23:350:23:39

I could see us having some great times here,

0:23:390:23:42

-making some really good memories.

-Yeah, but we have to prioritise.

0:23:420:23:45

-It's what we want, not what family want.

-Yeah, yeah.

0:23:450:23:48

If we've got room then that's fine,

0:23:480:23:51

but is it worth paying the extra for the pool?

0:23:510:23:54

But, yeah, you're right.

0:23:540:23:56

-Hi, Chris.

-She thinks it might be a bit big for us.

0:23:570:24:01

It's difficult when you're trying to choose a property that the family

0:24:010:24:04

are going to come to, but you're going to be spending far more time here than the family, I guess.

0:24:040:24:08

The thing is, it's lovely.

0:24:080:24:10

The pool is lovely, and it is.

0:24:100:24:12

But are we going to use it?

0:24:120:24:14

We'll be paying extra for the pool and we'd have to balance the cost of

0:24:140:24:18

that against, do we really need it?

0:24:180:24:20

-Or do we just take a ten-minute drive and go in the sea?

-Yeah.

0:24:200:24:23

The rental price for this finca is £625 per month.

0:24:260:24:31

Chris and Val love its traditional style and large garden.

0:24:310:24:35

But are they willing to up their accommodation

0:24:350:24:38

and household bills budget to get it?

0:24:380:24:41

The Costa Blanca spans over 120 miles of Mediterranean coastline

0:24:490:24:55

and it attracts five million tourists a year.

0:24:550:24:57

Many flock to Benidorm, where you can enjoy a week in a three-star

0:25:010:25:05

self-catering apartment for only £130 during the winter months -

0:25:050:25:09

almost half of what you pay in the summer.

0:25:090:25:12

Across all budgets, there are great deals to be had.

0:25:160:25:19

Take this super-stylish contemporary villa.

0:25:200:25:23

It has eight bedrooms,

0:25:270:25:28

and even the five bathrooms come with stunning views.

0:25:280:25:31

Available to rent for £7,700 per week,

0:25:350:25:39

that gets you a gym, a games room...

0:25:390:25:42

..swimming pool, and even a nifty car parking turntable

0:25:430:25:47

for easy access to the garage.

0:25:470:25:50

It shows that even at the higher end of the market,

0:25:520:25:55

there are savings to be made.

0:25:550:25:56

Take this lavishly furnished four-bed villa.

0:25:560:26:00

This property is available to rent for just under £1,200 per week

0:26:010:26:05

in the winter, £700 less than in the summer season.

0:26:050:26:09

So whatever your budget, there are sunshine bargains to be had.

0:26:130:26:16

Reduced rental rates are not the only reason

0:26:210:26:23

to spend your winter months in the sun.

0:26:230:26:26

There's also the chance to live like a local.

0:26:260:26:28

Chris loves cooking Mediterranean cuisine,

0:26:300:26:33

and Lisa has arranged for him to visit the kitchen

0:26:330:26:35

of a seaside restaurant to experience how they cook

0:26:350:26:39

a local speciality - paella.

0:26:390:26:42

Raoul is head chef,

0:26:420:26:44

and he's agreed to share a secret or two with Chris.

0:26:440:26:47

-Esto es caldo de pescado.

-Pescado - fish!

0:26:490:26:51

-Si. Caldo carne.

-Carne - meat.

-Si.

0:26:510:26:55

I love it!

0:26:570:26:58

While there may be a bit of a language barrier,

0:26:580:27:00

both speak the international language of tasty grub!

0:27:000:27:03

Ooh, very nice. Pork and rabbit. I haven't had rabbit.

0:27:060:27:09

We don't eat a lot of rabbit in England.

0:27:090:27:11

Paella is a rice-based dish which, during the 18th century,

0:27:110:27:15

was the common crop in Spain.

0:27:150:27:17

Un poco colorante.

0:27:170:27:19

-Colorante.

-Colorante?

0:27:190:27:22

Turmeric? Any turmeric, no?

0:27:220:27:25

Azafran - saffron?

0:27:250:27:27

Azafran. Azafran, si.

0:27:270:27:30

Ah, saffron! Very expensive!

0:27:310:27:33

Paella had humble beginnings as a quick and easy meal for farmers.

0:27:340:27:39

Rice was fried with spices, and meat was added to make it a hearty meal.

0:27:390:27:44

-I'm a chef.

-Ai.

0:27:440:27:46

-Enough?

-Muy bien.

-Muy bien. Gracias!

0:27:460:27:50

It's beginning to look fantastic.

0:27:510:27:53

The name, paella, is likely to come from the type of pan it's cooked in

0:27:540:27:58

and, while it may no longer be a humble dish for farmers,

0:27:580:28:02

tradition dictates that it's served up straight from the pan.

0:28:020:28:06

Mm, bueno. Mucho bueno!

0:28:060:28:09

Very nice.

0:28:090:28:10

Our Chris needs to keep his strength up,

0:28:100:28:13

because tomorrow he's back on the rental trail.

0:28:130:28:15

It's a new day and with it, Val's excitement at the prospect

0:28:210:28:24

of basking in the Spanish winter sun is increasing.

0:28:240:28:27

I'd like to know what the weather's like.

0:28:290:28:31

I think it must be warm and sunny out there, and I'm frozen!

0:28:310:28:34

Their dream of getting away for winter is inching ever closer.

0:28:360:28:41

I'm looking forward to chatting to Chris today.

0:28:410:28:44

We had two viewers yesterday to look round the house.

0:28:440:28:47

It looks promising, but there you go, we'll have to wait and see.

0:28:470:28:50

Waiting to feel that warm sun on my back and on my shoulders.

0:28:500:28:54

It's good for the bones!

0:28:550:28:56

Val is determined that this winter

0:28:580:29:00

her arthritis won't be as debilitating as last year.

0:29:000:29:03

Lisa is taking Chris to property number three,

0:29:090:29:12

which is in the market town of Altea.

0:29:120:29:14

Nestling on the coast, it's only six miles east of Benidorm,

0:29:160:29:20

but a world away from its high-rises.

0:29:200:29:22

The picturesque old town, with its white-painted houses

0:29:250:29:28

and maze of narrow, narrow streets,

0:29:280:29:30

comes alive at night with its cafes and restaurants.

0:29:300:29:33

The Our Lady of Solace church, with its blue-tiled dome,

0:29:370:29:41

looks down to the recently regenerated promenade below.

0:29:410:29:44

Set back from the seafront is the more modern town centre...

0:29:470:29:51

..which is where the apartment Chris is here to see is located.

0:29:520:29:55

This is very typically Spanish in my mind,

0:29:570:29:59

very typical of this part of the Costa Blanca.

0:29:590:30:03

This seems an ideal location.

0:30:050:30:08

Extremely Spanish.

0:30:080:30:10

It is. You see, there's...

0:30:100:30:12

Busy, but it's got a vibe.

0:30:120:30:15

The property is a second-floor apartment

0:30:180:30:20

just a short stroll from the promenade.

0:30:200:30:23

While this flat may be in the heart of a traditional town,

0:30:240:30:27

it's got a really cool and contemporary feel.

0:30:270:30:30

-Ah, yes.

-Knowing how you like cooking,

0:30:320:30:34

-I thought this might appeal to you.

-This is lovely, this, yeah.

0:30:340:30:37

The apartment is deceptively spacious.

0:30:390:30:41

It's got three double bedrooms,

0:30:410:30:44

so there will be plenty of room for visiting relatives.

0:30:440:30:47

-So, what do you think?

-So far, so good.

0:30:490:30:52

-So far, so good?

-It is. It's a lovely place.

0:30:520:30:54

The windows are double glazed to keep the noise

0:30:560:30:58

from the hubbub of the streets below to a minimum.

0:30:580:31:00

The single shower room has stylish units and a high up shower,

0:31:010:31:05

so there will be no need to duck for big man Chris, while he's singing

0:31:050:31:10

"Y Viva Espana" during his morning wash!

0:31:100:31:13

There's even a balcony area with spectacular views of the old town.

0:31:140:31:18

You can see the church from here.

0:31:200:31:22

-The dome of the church.

-Shows you just how close you are.

0:31:220:31:26

Overall, a great apartment in a great location.

0:31:260:31:29

And, at £560 a month, it's well within Chris and Val's budget.

0:31:290:31:34

Are you wanting to see where I am at the moment?

0:31:360:31:40

I can't wait!

0:31:400:31:42

Chris' description of the market town on the doorstep

0:31:440:31:47

of the apartment certainly appeals to Val,

0:31:470:31:50

but will the flat itself be to her liking?

0:31:500:31:52

I'm going to take you into the kitchen.

0:31:530:31:55

As you can see, it's all been fully modernised.

0:31:550:31:59

There's all your mod cons.

0:31:590:32:00

It's all very white and bright. It looks good.

0:32:000:32:03

Val's impressed by the modern decor.

0:32:030:32:06

And having three double bedrooms is a big plus, as well.

0:32:060:32:09

The bathroom is a lovely size.

0:32:110:32:14

Is it two bathrooms?

0:32:140:32:16

It is the only bathroom in the property.

0:32:160:32:19

But it's a lovely long, high shower.

0:32:200:32:24

The height of the shower is not making up

0:32:240:32:27

for the lack of two bathrooms for Val.

0:32:270:32:29

They are going to have to think about compromising,

0:32:300:32:33

and where they're going to make that compromise.

0:32:330:32:35

Leaving things this late in the year,

0:32:350:32:37

they are never going to tick every single one of their boxes.

0:32:370:32:40

The most important part.

0:32:420:32:44

The most important part for you.

0:32:440:32:46

What do you think so far?

0:32:460:32:48

-It's not a very big patio, is it?

-I agree, I agree.

0:32:480:32:51

I think we're going to have to compromise on something.

0:32:510:32:54

I think so, because we can't have everything.

0:32:540:32:56

Hi, how did it go?

0:32:590:33:01

The main concern is just the terrace.

0:33:010:33:03

I knew you were going to say that.

0:33:030:33:05

What she did say was, if we were here for a fortnight, snap it up.

0:33:050:33:10

-Oh, well. So not all bad.

-Definitely not all bad.

-But not all good.

0:33:100:33:14

-No.

-There's still a little bit of work to do.

0:33:140:33:17

The search goes on.

0:33:170:33:18

This apartment has a monthly rent of £560 a month,

0:33:200:33:24

well within Chris and Val's budget.

0:33:240:33:27

It's right in the heart of a traditional town

0:33:270:33:29

and it has three bedrooms, but only one shower room.

0:33:290:33:33

However, all the plus points may not make up for the small balcony.

0:33:330:33:37

Lisa has challenged Chris and Val's preconceived ideas

0:33:420:33:45

of renting for the winter.

0:33:450:33:47

But they're learning fast,

0:33:470:33:48

and they're learning what is important to them.

0:33:480:33:51

Chris and Val hope to rent out their house in the UK for £895 per month.

0:33:530:33:59

Now, £295 of that is allocated to living expenses

0:33:590:34:02

such as food and drink.

0:34:020:34:04

Eating out is significantly cheaper in Costa Blanca.

0:34:060:34:09

The average price of a three-course meal here is £30 -

0:34:090:34:12

20 quid cheaper than at home.

0:34:120:34:15

Chris plans to cook most of their meals,

0:34:170:34:19

and food is generally cheaper in Spain.

0:34:190:34:21

In Costa Blanca, the average weekly food shop can be 25% less

0:34:210:34:25

than in the northeast of England.

0:34:250:34:27

If they are to achieve a cost-efficient life in the sun,

0:34:280:34:31

they'll have to get their house let

0:34:310:34:33

and find their winter rental property.

0:34:330:34:36

Lisa has one more property from her shortlist to show Chris.

0:34:390:34:42

And, for her final roll of the rental dice,

0:34:430:34:46

she's returning to Sierra Cortina -

0:34:460:34:49

the same area as the first property that she showed Chris.

0:34:490:34:52

So we're going to go and have a look at a slightly different style

0:34:540:34:57

of property there, in another urbanisation,

0:34:570:35:00

a modern build property but this time it's a house, not an apartment.

0:35:000:35:04

-A house?

-A house.

0:35:040:35:06

She said "a house".

0:35:060:35:09

Sierra Cortina is a new residential development.

0:35:090:35:13

While it may not have the choice of cafes and restaurants close by,

0:35:130:35:16

there is regular public transport to the nearest village

0:35:160:35:19

and Benidorm is only ten minutes away.

0:35:190:35:22

It is a quiet urbanisation but it seems to be within easy reach

0:35:220:35:27

-of all facilities.

-I think you're right there, Chris.

0:35:270:35:30

-So, here we are.

-Looking good so far.

0:35:300:35:32

At each property,

0:35:380:35:39

Lisa has certainly hit the mark in terms of living space.

0:35:390:35:42

Will she have another bull's eye with this one?

0:35:420:35:45

-Lovely big lounge.

-Yeah, beautiful big lounge, yes.

0:35:460:35:49

I like it. I like the decor, I like the comfort of it.

0:35:490:35:52

And he'll like the kitchen because he wants to get cooking and,

0:35:530:35:56

to help manage the couple's expenditure,

0:35:560:35:59

the electricity is meter-controlled.

0:35:590:36:01

And then here at the top of the landing is the family shower room.

0:36:020:36:06

Oh, that's nice, yeah. Yeah.

0:36:060:36:08

The property has two bedrooms with large windows

0:36:100:36:13

that allow the sunlight to stream into the house.

0:36:130:36:15

The master bedroom is en suite, with a Jacuzzi bath.

0:36:170:36:20

Mm-mm, what a treat!

0:36:200:36:22

The master bedroom also has a balcony with stunning views

0:36:260:36:29

of the surrounding area.

0:36:290:36:31

Aw, that is beautiful!

0:36:340:36:37

Not only is there a balcony, but also a terrace

0:36:400:36:42

and a private garden area.

0:36:420:36:44

The town house is built on a southeast aspect

0:36:460:36:49

so Chris and Val can enjoy the sunshine from sunrise

0:36:490:36:52

to that drink at sunset.

0:36:520:36:54

However, its rental price is £620.

0:36:570:37:01

That's a bit more than they really would like to pay.

0:37:010:37:04

-So, what do you think?

-I've really liked all four properties.

0:37:040:37:07

They've all got their own attributes.

0:37:070:37:09

-In my mind...I'd prefer this.

-Right.

0:37:100:37:13

I'll have to have a word with Val.

0:37:130:37:15

-Absolutely will.

-No decision just yet.

0:37:150:37:17

Chris loves this property and is not put off by the price,

0:37:170:37:22

because he's overcome his reservations

0:37:220:37:24

about the area being too remote from cafes and bars.

0:37:240:37:27

Question is, will Val feel the same?

0:37:280:37:30

-It looks really sunny out there.

-It's beautiful and sunny.

0:37:320:37:35

Looks gorgeous.

0:37:350:37:37

Since seeing the first property in this location,

0:37:370:37:40

Val has researched the area.

0:37:400:37:42

It's a ten-minute drive from where she and Chris

0:37:420:37:45

spent their summer holiday last year.

0:37:450:37:47

What do you think to the lounge/dining room, then?

0:37:480:37:51

-It looks good.

-It's nice and modern.

0:37:510:37:54

Let's take a look upstairs, then.

0:37:540:37:56

Val likes the modern feel but her priority is outside space.

0:37:580:38:01

Look at that clear, blue sky, Val.

0:38:030:38:05

That's really good. I love that.

0:38:050:38:07

Right, then, Val, I'm just taking you through onto the patio area

0:38:070:38:10

and into the garden.

0:38:100:38:11

That's like the dining area.

0:38:110:38:13

Oh, I love the outside... I love the outside space.

0:38:130:38:17

I've got a really good feeling about this one because we've ticked

0:38:220:38:25

an awful lot with this property of what's on Chris and Val's list.

0:38:250:38:29

So fingers crossed they like it.

0:38:300:38:32

But I've got a good feeling.

0:38:320:38:34

The monthly rental of this house is more than Chris and Val

0:38:350:38:39

were hoping to pay, and that is a big dilemma.

0:38:390:38:41

It's got to be, like, cost neutral, if we can,

0:38:420:38:45

by renting our home out in England.

0:38:450:38:48

That is the whole idea is,

0:38:490:38:51

it doesn't cost us anything to live in Spain.

0:38:510:38:53

But if we're going to be there for six months,

0:38:530:38:55

I don't think we should just go for the cheapest.

0:38:550:38:57

We've want to go for the one that's more comfortable for us.

0:38:570:39:00

It's a very difficult decision at the moment.

0:39:000:39:02

-Hi, Chris.

-It went well.

-It went well, did it?

-It went well.

0:39:030:39:07

We haven't decided yet.

0:39:070:39:09

We know we've still got to discuss all the others.

0:39:090:39:12

She likes the Juliet balcony, the views.

0:39:130:39:16

The house itself she thought was brilliant.

0:39:160:39:19

-We're that close, now.

-Fabulous.

0:39:190:39:21

We were that close when I first arrived, but we're that close now.

0:39:210:39:24

Property four is available to rent for £620 a month,

0:39:260:39:31

just slightly over Chris and Val's accommodation budget.

0:39:310:39:34

They love the modern decor, the outside space

0:39:360:39:39

and of course the views but, in order to afford their house,

0:39:390:39:42

they would have to revise their monthly living allowance.

0:39:420:39:45

Lisa has definitely opened up Chris and Val's eyes to the realities of

0:39:520:39:56

renting in Costa Blanca for all those winter months.

0:39:560:39:59

-Hi, Lisa.

-Nice to see you.

0:40:000:40:02

Nice to see you, too.

0:40:020:40:04

We've had quite a lot of fun this week, Val,

0:40:040:40:07

-looking at these properties.

-Yes, yes.

0:40:070:40:09

Are you like me, Val? Are you finding it hard to make a decision?

0:40:090:40:13

Yeah, I'm still thinking.

0:40:130:40:14

You know, it's, it's... I don't know, it's hard.

0:40:140:40:16

Everything's going through my mind at once, you know?

0:40:160:40:19

Have you got a favourite?

0:40:190:40:21

I've got two. I think I've now whittled it down to two.

0:40:210:40:24

Tomorrow, Chris will return home.

0:40:260:40:28

The couple will need to get their house let out quickly

0:40:280:40:31

or they may lose out on the properties Lisa has shown them here.

0:40:310:40:34

But they hope that this winter

0:40:340:40:36

they'll be saying hasta la vista to Leeds.

0:40:360:40:39

Chris and Val dreamt of swapping the cold, cold winters of Leeds

0:40:450:40:48

for sunnier climes, but had to rent out their own home to afford it.

0:40:480:40:52

It's vital that we rent this place to have a good standard of living.

0:40:520:40:56

We've done other things in our life which have been a lot more difficult than this.

0:40:560:40:59

-We've talked about it too much.

-Yeah.

0:40:590:41:01

Chris jetted to Costa Blanca, where property expert Lisa had four rental

0:41:030:41:07

properties for him to look at.

0:41:070:41:09

-I'm getting excited now!

-Are you getting excited now?

0:41:090:41:12

I'm getting excited.

0:41:120:41:13

The couple loved the first apartment...

0:41:130:41:16

Oh, yeah. I like this.

0:41:160:41:18

..but were unsure of its out-of-town location.

0:41:180:41:21

It's very, very quiet.

0:41:210:41:23

-It's just nice to have a walk and just have a coffee and cake.

-Yeah.

0:41:230:41:27

Next up was a traditional Spanish villa with a private pool.

0:41:270:41:32

Ah, swimming pool.

0:41:330:41:35

But the price tag was more than they wanted to pay.

0:41:350:41:38

But is it worth paying the extra for the pool?

0:41:380:41:40

The flat in the beautiful town of Altea was in a picturesque location,

0:41:410:41:46

but was let down by its outside space.

0:41:460:41:49

It's not a very big patio, is it?

0:41:490:41:51

It's not very big, no.

0:41:510:41:52

The fourth and final option, while slightly over budget,

0:41:520:41:56

hit the mark time and time again.

0:41:560:41:59

-Look at that clear blue sky, Val.

-That's really good, I love that.

0:41:590:42:03

I've really liked all four properties.

0:42:030:42:05

They've all got their own attributes.

0:42:050:42:07

In my mind...I'd prefer this.

0:42:070:42:10

So the big question is which property, if any,

0:42:110:42:14

have Chris and Val picked for their winter getaway?

0:42:140:42:16

Or is it another cold, cold season in Garforth?

0:42:190:42:22

-BOTH:

-Hello!

0:42:240:42:26

-We're here in sunny Spain.

-Yes, we made it.

0:42:260:42:28

The sunshine, good weather, good food, and a good wife!

0:42:280:42:32

In the end, Chris and Val picked property number one -

0:42:340:42:37

the two-bedroomed apartment in Sierra Cortina,

0:42:370:42:39

which had a large garden.

0:42:390:42:41

The couple rented out their house to Val's first viewers

0:42:430:42:46

and a week later, hey, presto, they were in Spain.

0:42:460:42:50

We've moved out here for Val's health.

0:42:500:42:52

With her arthritis, in winter, in England, it's really...

0:42:520:42:56

It's really bad.

0:42:560:42:57

We've come out here and Val has been out walking,

0:42:570:43:01

we've been out walking, which we couldn't do in the winter in England.

0:43:010:43:05

We are enjoying it. We're enjoying the weather.

0:43:050:43:07

-We just feel better, don't we?

-It's ace, isn't it?

0:43:070:43:10

I've no regrets at all. I love it.

0:43:100:43:12

-Cheers.

-Cheers!

0:43:120:43:14

If Val's happier, I'm happier.

0:43:160:43:18

And we're both happy now, aren't we?

0:43:190:43:21

You could smile!

0:43:220:43:24

Chris and Val need to rent out their house in Leeds in order to fund their dream winter away in the Costa Blanca. Local property expert Lisa is on hand to help, but will Chris and Val manage to rent out their home and make it to Spain? Gloria Hunniford narrates.