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It’s hard to believe
that it was the end of October 2004 when we decided to buy the old house
that we are now, at the end of June 2005, about to move into.
many people we had the dream of moving abroad to a sunny, slower and less
hectic way of life. We also had the dream of renovating an old house and
bringing it back to life, just as we had done in the UK.
Cretanagora, under the watchful eyes of Nikos and Hilary Constantopoulos,
managed to deliver both dreams to us without us getting our hands dirty!
looked at many old houses on various Greek islands, some just about
habitable, many uninhabitable. The house we have now bought on Crete fell
into the latter category.
looked at new properties with Nikos as he had some nice plots at
reasonable prices on the edge of traditional villages, some with stunning
views. But eventually we went with our original idea of an older property
to be renovated. Crete as an island still offers many types of houses at,
dare we say it, bargain prices compared with other Greek islands where the
prices have risen sharply in recent years.
the first company that we had seen that offered an old house with a fixed
price for a full renovation attached to it. This was the way we would keep
our hands clean!
within the cost where the necessary building licences and local taxes,
these can be hidden costs that not everyone is aware of. And it also meant
that we wouldn’t have to get too heavily involved with the wheels of
bureaucracy, which can grind slowly in Greece.
opening a bank account with the help of Nikos we returned to the UK with
confidence that the house would be delivered to us by June 2005 fully
renovated to our requirements at the agreed price.
able to meet with them over Christmas to discuss the finer details of the
layout of the house. However whilst in Crete they were quick to answer any
concerns that we had by either e-mail or a simple text message. We also
chose tiles, worktops, kitchen and wardrobe colours via e-mail samples.
Nothing was too much trouble. Nikos understands Greek building techniques
and Hilary, being English, understands how the ’Brits’ like their homes so
they are a good balance when you give them your requirements.
discussed the timings for payments that were made in stages during the
renovation. This is a simple system whereby when we had sent money to our
account in Crete and we would then fax the bank to release exact amounts
to Cretanagora. In our case we were in a hurry at the beginning so
we sent our first payment directly to Niko’s bank account and gave him a
Power of Attorney to use this money to buy the property.
company uses local craftsmen to carry out the building work, which means
that their reputation is on show a lot of the time in or close to the
village that they live in, so it is in their interests to do a good job.
over to Crete in early May 2005 to deliver our furniture and belongings to
the house and although we had received e-mail pictures of the house during
renovation from friends living in the area, we were amazed at the
transformation of the house. Earth floors downstairs where animals had
once lived were now beautifully tiled, crooked doorways and windows were
now filled with high quality aluminium frames. The two bathrooms that we
specified were finished to a high standard, and we had a full rewire
throughout the house. The newly rendered walls where finished in
traditional white paint and some nice old features like beams and niches
where restored. The builders also managed to work around the old
grapevine that drapes the upper veranda of the house and gives it its name
Klimataria, they also recreated a beautiful arched entrance doorway to the
house. Just a few minor jobs needed finishing before we returned for good
We wouldn’t hesitate in
recommending Cretanagora to anyone, as the company and its people care
about the work they are doing and have a love for the places where they
are doing it. They have delivered our home to us within a matter of
months, whereas it may have taken us much longer and with the stress that
would have gone with the job and managing the budget for it. Our only task
now is to concentrate on learning more Greek and settling into village
John and Debbie