VILLA NO 10
Our first visit to Kefallinia was in 2000. A friend knew I loved Greece and that I had visited most of the usual islands, Rhodes, Corfu, Thasos and Crete. He recommended a holiday to Kefallinia. We immediately fell in love with the island scenery, the beaches and above all the warmth of the people. We started to return year after year for our holidays, still going to other destinations too, but always returning for our “two weeks in Keffy”!
One Tuesday morning, whilst on holiday in August 2009 during one of our many property hunting expeditions we found ourselves driving towards Pessada. Remembering a small development we had previously visited a few years earlier, we decided to try to find the development again. Eventually after driving down a few dead end roads we found the AEC Development in Kountourata. As luck would have it, Per was on site and offered to show us around a single storey Villa that was almost completed. We were very impressed by the design, quality of workmanship and specification. However, the Villa location wasn’t quite right for our needs. Per suggested we take a look at another Villa on the Development, this one being two storeys and in a slightly more secluded position. As soon as Per took us into the property we got that feeling we had found our dream home. Per was excellent, he left us alone to chat things over, giving us space and time to soak up the ambience, look around and also answered any questions that we had. He was very professional and friendly. No pushy “sales spiel”, just good common sense explanations. Per gave us an idea of the costs involved in purchasing a property in Greece and explained that a swimming pool could be an additional extra, giving us a ball park figure on costs. After consideration we telephoned Per later that week and made an appointment to meet Per & Panagis (Construction Engineer) to discuss things in more depth.
On arrival at the AEC Group office, we were a little nervous that we might be pressured into signing up. We need not have worried, we were made very welcome and Panagis went through the details of what was included in the price and answered all our questions. He was so professional and a true Gentlemen. At no point was there any pressure to buy, in fact quite the contrary. Panagis & Per wanted us to take our time and consider all aspects of the purchase before making any decisions. After all, they explained we needed to appoint a solicitor, get the title checked and make financial arrangements. We returned to the UK without signing any forms or making any final decisions. In the brief time since leaving for Greece and returning to the UK, the euro exchange rate meant that the property we had now decided to purchase had increased by £4,000! We e-mailed Per & Panagis and explained to AEC Group that we were unable to proceed at the price discussed on our visit. The AEC Group were brilliant, after a Partners meeting they agreed to lower the already discounted and competitive price even further. Alas, sterling continued to fall against the euro and despite this revised generous offer; we were still unable to agree a deal. It was at this point AEC said that they were happy to wait for us to come back, that the revised offer was staying on the table.
In the meantime we instructed a local solicitor Magdilini Georgatos who made a number of searches on our behalf. Magdilini sent us a report that stated that the property was suitable and appropriate to purchase. After weeks of watching the currency markets and talking to a number of the Foreign Exchange Banks we managed to make the most of a rally in sterling and fixed a sterling/euro rate. We were able to telephone/e-mail AEC Group with the good news. Still nothing signed and no monies paid. Panagis suggested that we come over to Kefalonia to meet our solicitor and make sure everything was satisfactory. He went on to say, after meeting with Magdilini we could meet up and arrange to discuss the draft contract.
So in the January of 2010 we travelled to Kefalonia, met with Magdilini and then arranged a meeting with AEC Group to sign a pre-contract and pay our 10% deposit. A site meeting was arranged to agree the position for the swimming pool and choose tiles / and plan the kitchen. Panagis was very well organised, Andreas (Site Manager) also joined us on the site meeting as he was overseeing the building of the pool. We agreed pool and patio positions, Panagis took us to the kitchen and tile shop. Per took us to the lighting shop to choose lights and showed us where a number of furniture shops were near Argostoli.
We returned to the UK.
Later in February we received an e-mail from Per stating that there may be an issue with the permission for the swimming pool. This was due to the Greek government changing the law, without informing anyone! AEC Group were brilliant, they reassured that they would do everything they could to help us obtain the planning permission. They also offered to refund all our money if we didn’t go ahead. Panagis made a number of calls and held several meetings on our behalf. Through his diligent research and attention to detail Panagis secured the agreement of the local planning department that our application was submitted prior to the law changes and therefore permission was given in writing and the pool could be built.
The pool building work started in April/May and was finished along with the patios and fitted kitchen prior to our arrival in Kountourata in June. Throughout the building process we were sent weekly photo updates and commentary of the progress via the Internet. These became the highlights of our week-ends!
We arrived in Kefalonia on 1st June. Due to the un-availability of the Notary until 3rd June, AEC Group permitted us to move into the Villa before we had paid any more money or completed the final contract. They had also arranged with our furniture supplier to have the furniture moved into the property ahead of our arrival. How many UK Developers/Builders would provide that service? Free!
In summary I have no hesitation in recommending AEC Group to anyone wanting to buy a property in Kefalonia. The expertise within the company and true customer service is in my opinion second to none. Many companies in the UK aspire to provide excellent customer service and treat their customers fairly. In the AEC Group I truly believe you have a company that lives and breathes customer service, putting the customer at the centre of everything they do.
Graham and Sue Cole, Villa “Deka”, Kountourata, Kefalonia. July 2010.