People in glass houses

Crikey – a sunny afternoon yesterday, we at Findmeahome jumped in the car and hurried round and visited 5 property owners who were all waiting to get their properties onto our books, and of course everything looks a lot more appealing when bathed in Andalucían sunshine. In the UK it’s that dreaded time of year when the credit card bills pop on the doormat after the Christmas spending splurge so sales enquiries will no doubt be slow for a little while whilst people reassess their finances.

Rentals however continue to surge ahead and clients especially are looking for quality homes with pools – as soon as we get them onto our books we have clients lined up to view. So if you are reading this and are finding it difficult to sell and need to move on why not rent out your home for a while and get an income for your self. Of course this option does not suit everybody but hopefully it may help some readers to start afresh.

Property agents that are proactive will do their best to sell whatever properties the client has chosen to view and also others that the agent feels are best value and most suited to the clients needs. Agents have the best chance of selling when the owner lets them get on with the job of showing the client the property. Owners are always advised to keep a low profile as otherwise the client may feel pressured or even worse the client gets over burdened with the information given by the owner. Sometimes owners when talking to clients can get carried away and speak about problems that have been sorted long ago in the past. They may mention mice or rats found years ago, the leak in the roof that once happened or the pig farm that’s a long way off.
The problem is the client will only remember the words ‘mouse, rat, leak or pig’ and associate them with that particular property. They forget the context it was said in and they then have negative thoughts about the property. Leave it to the agent instead to sell your house – If it’s in the past don’t mention it because your agent surely wont either.

Last week I wrote a little about conservation of water and also recycling. This week I started to wonder what anybody thinks when they first fly into Almeria Airport and look down and see the shiny plastic squares all over the ground that we all know are the omnipresent green house or invernarderos as they are called locally. I did some research (instead of replying to property enquiry emails) and found an excellent article by a chap called Bob Maddox who writes for a Malaga based newspaper.
He gives some amazing statistics such as in 1966 when Sergio Leone filmed the cult spaghetti western ‘The Good The bad and the Ugly’ in Tabernas there were only about 10 hectares under plastic in Almeria – now its over 26,000 hectares which is about an area equalling 55,000 football pitches. In fact 70% of the coastal strip is covered by greenhouses.

Remember the old school question about what man made object is visible with the naked eye from space? – The answer of course is The Great Wall of China and now it’s been joined by another – The Palm Islands project in Dubai. Type in the link to see a photo if you like
Did you also know that the only manufactured objects visible from space are……… the greenhouses of Almeria! And you can see those via the following link
Some 30,000 tonnes of plastic and organic waste are produced each year by the industry too. I remember living in the UK and seeing all those pretty bags of shiny red tomatoes which said ‘grown in Spain’ on the packaging and imagined sun drenched fields and dusky maidens hand picking the tomatoes and rolling them clean on their thighs STOP – NOW. Seriously though it was easy to imagine a pastoral landscape filled with tomatoes and peppers all growing under the Andalucían sun etc. Then you arrive in Almeria for the first time and suddenly realise with a shock – OH GOODNESS or ruder still. Luckily in our corner of Almeria – the Levante, the problem is not as bad as further south and west.

One positive consequence of the greenhouses with all this talk of global warming is that Spain as a whole has seen a temperature increase of 1.3 degrees over the last 100 years or so – yet here in Almeria the average temperature has in fact dropped by 0.9 degrees in 25 years. This is mainly due to the sunlight being reflected back to space, by all that shiny plastic. The other positive aspect is that so much produce is grown here the greenhouses act as a ‘carbon sink’, and absorb 10 tonnes of carbon dioxide for every hectare (2.5 acres) cultivated. That’s over 250,000 tonnes per year of carbon captured. So not all bad then.

Linking back to the water theme from last week the other dangerous consequence of all this intensive agriculture is the export of water. As 95% of fruit and vegetables consist of water this means Almeria is steadily exporting its most valuable resource abroad. The water comes from deep wells some of them illegal as the average rainfall is only about 200mm per year which is not nearly enough to support all the agriculture. The Spanish average is 650mm so we really do live in a semi desert area. Not that you would want to believe any rainfall statistic with the all the recent heavy rain.

Once the underground water has gone that’s it and the plains of Almeria will surely become a continuation of the Tabernas Desert. Modern living demands year round produce instead of seasonal availability as it used to be. Business often puts short term gain in front of long term viability so I doubt anything will change until the water finally runs out. As the aquifers dry up then sea water seeps in and slowly but surely agricultural land becomes unusable. 80% of all water used in Spain goes to agriculture, with only 5% used for urban supply. Spain actually does rather well in its water use as lots of the crops it grows such as almonds and olives use very little water. Some crops however use huge amounts of water which I may write about another time before I bore people with my eco warrior ramblings.

About findmeahomespain

In Almeria since 2006 set up findmeahome to give a personal service suited to clients needs rather than sell what earns the most commission.
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