Buying property, whether it is in the UK, Spain, or any other country, is always a very big decision, and of course, a serious commitment. The credit crisis took its toll on Spain. But the country is now recovering, and low property prices are among the factors attracting the British and other foreign buyers to Spain.
You don't need to be a legal expert to find your way round the buying procedure in Spain, but it is useful to have a few handy hints to follow. Handbooks and legal advice can be full of the official information but good tips for buying a house in Spain can make all the difference.
Some of these tips for buying a house in Spain might seem to be common sense. And they are. But in the excitement of buying a property you've fallen in love with it's surprising how quickly you can suspend your better judgement. So, keep these tips by your side as a ready reference, just in case you're tempted to cut corners and leave your common sense at the airport.
Once you have decided that you want to move to Spain, it's important to start organising your finances straight away. You will need to raise money for the purchase of a property, taking into account buying fees and any other costs that could arise; this could include legal fees, registration fees, estate agent commission and more.
It's so important to know exactly how much you can afford before you make a trip over to Spain to view property. The last thing you want to do is fall in love with a property and then find out that you cannot realistically afford it. Don't push your limit too high. Make sure you allow for the added costs that there can be and allow another 15%, as a general rule, on top of what the house costs itself.
Very often, a buyer will view a property and decide to buy based on the GBP/EUR rate of that day. As rates fluctuate by the minute, by the time they come to complete on the purchase and make the transfer, the rate could have dropped dramatically.
That's the reason why we recommend speaking to a currency exchange specialist to help you assess the risk of currency fluctuations and guide you on the best ways to protect yourself and maximize your budget.
With such a huge decision as purchasing property, especially one in another country, preparation will always be of paramount importance. However, don't get too bogged down in the detail. If you employ a good lawyer then you don't need to know all the ins and outs, but a general understanding can be useful.
Spain has a wonderful choice of locations and property types, so you should be able to find the home that's just right for you and your family. Maybe you can start writing down what you need, how close you want to be to a town or shops, whether you want to drive or not and how much the overheads will be.
Hard sell is not as evident as it used to be but remember that it is a buyers' market. Ask to see the property again, at different times of the day and on different days of the week, if you can.
Put some thoughts together and decide where and what kind of property you want to buy in Spain. It's so important to assess each area you like the look of and work out exactly what it is you want from your new neighbourhood in terms of climate, facilities, residents and anything else important to you.
It's a good idea to visit your prospective neighbourhood in the winter as well as the summer. The weather will often be a bit colder and the towns a lot quieter than you would expect, and this gives you a chance to familiarize yourself with all the seasonal differences. In the winter months you may also find that the estate agents have more time for you and vendors may be willing to accept slightly lower offers.
MOST IMPORTANT of all of our tips for buying a property in Spain is not to sign anything or pay anything until you have had a comprehensive legal check carried out on the property and the purchase contract. This is so important and people can be easily persuaded that it's not necessary.
This tip is perhaps along the same lines. Invest in a good, independent lawyer. Having an independent solicitor on your side, someone who is familiar with the buying process in Spain, is really important. They will work with your best interests in mind and will be able to advise you at every stage.
Your estate agent will be one of the most important people to help you on your property journey, and it's important to make sure you chose the right one. You need an agent that specialises in the areas that you are interested in, who will understand your exact requirements, and who has experience in buying or selling with foreigners.
Researching online is useful, and will give you an idea of the different options you can chose from. If you know someone who has already purchased property in the area, see if they can recommend an agent personally. It's so important to make sure you have an estate agent that you trust; this will ensure you can make the most of any viewing trips, saving you both time and money.
If you are planning to make changes to the property, remember that you will need planning permission. It may not look as though you do from other properties around but the authorities are getting stricter about this.
If you are planning to rent out your property check what the arrangements are in the region where you are buying. There are big differences between regions from those where you must do little other than to register and those that have strict criteria for rentals. Don't get caught out.
Once you purchase the property, you reach a point of no return, after which there will be serious financial implications to backing out. Don't rush into it. Before signing anything, be sure you have had your lawyer look over it. Don't allow anyone to pressure you into signing without due diligence.
Whatever you decide to do, you can avoid the risk of currency fluctuations by making use of a specialist currency product called a forward contract. This enables you to lock in an exchange rate at the time you commit to purchasing the property, meaning you won't lose any money if the currency markets move dramatically while the sale is in progress.
When the time comes to transfer the final balance for a property, you can be safe in the knowledge that the rate (and therefore the price of the property in sterling) will remain the same – no matter what the market is doing.
As an independent real estate company, at Complete Spanish Property we pride ourselves on a relaxed, welcoming approach to property, allowing our client´s to not feel daunted by the process but to ensure they have an understanding of what is needed and when.
Please feel free to contact us for a general, informal chat or if you have found a property you want to view on the website then we very much look forward to meeting with you. We want to be your estate agents in Orihuela Costa.
Your property experts
in Costa Blanca and Costa Cálida