‘Caravan’s bigger!’ A Place in the Sun’s Ben Hillman shut down over ‘claustrophobic’ find

A Place in the Sun: Couple put off by 'claustrophobic' flat

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John and Liz were looking to settle down in Gran Canaria for their retirement after several years of visiting the Spanish island as a holiday destination. Five years ago, they were introduced to each other in the town of Puerto Rico, where they decided they would buy their new home. A Place in the Sun’s Ben Hillman lined up five potential properties for the couple, who had a budget £140,000. He was shut down by the pair during the first property tour though, with the couple claiming the home was “smaller” than their caravan and dismissing Ben’s attempts to change their minds.

Property one was a one-bed apartment in Mar Paraiso, located a five-minute walk from the beach and local amenities.

It came with a communal pool and terraces, and was on the market for £136,036.

Ben quickly realised he’d made a mistake with the find, though.

As he led the couple into the living room to begin the tour, he commented: “You’ve gone quiet…”

“Very small, enclosed,” Liz replied bluntly while John stated: “Yeah, seems slightly claustrophobic.”

A disappointed Ben responded: “Right,” thinking of ways in which the property might appeal to John and Liz.

“This is more like somewhere you’d come for a week,” John shared. “Like for a holiday rather than a permanent home.”

Looking at the small kitchen area, which was attached to the living room, he continued: “We want to have a kitchen, I couldn’t do much with paella or a pie and chips – I would like an oven.”

He added: “You can take the unit out but if you took it out there would be nothing left in the kitchen in here, would there?”

Liz remarked: “My two boys live in the house, we don’t live with them but they would be coming out here, and there’s not enough room.”

“They’re living in the house?” Ben asked. “Then what you are living in if they’re living in the house?”

“A caravan,” Liz laughed as she added: “But the caravan’s bigger than this.”

When Ben pointed out the close proximity to the pool and other amenities, Liz explained: “I’d rather step back a bit and get a bigger apartment for our money.”

Giving up, Ben asked: “Are you writing this place off then just based on the size?”

“Yes, I’m afraid so,” Liz confirmed, and the three left to continue the house hunt.

Luckily, the couple was drawn to property two – a third-floor one-bed apartment located close to Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria’s town centre.

It included a communal pool on a roof-top terrace and had its own private balcony. 

Valued at £152,252, John and Liz immediately made it a contender.

However, by the end of the search, the paid had changed their minds. “We’d like to do more of our own research,” Liz told Ben.

The two decided to spend some more time on the island exploring further options.

A Place in the Sun airs weekdays at 4pm on Channel 4.

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