Whatever we may think of Europe, it doesn’t seem to have dampened our enthusiasm for buying property in Spain. Consistently the most popular destination for foreign property investment, Spain has a clear advantage. There’s the weather, of course, but more importantly property prices in Spain are now probably at their lowest point, meaning it’s a buyers’ maret. Now is a good time to negotiate the best prices for your Spanish holiday home.
However, this does not mean you should throw caution to the wind. On the contrary, if you are thinking of investing into the Spanish property market, getting a buy-to-let apartment on the Costa del Sol or renovating a luxury villa, be sure to visit the FAQ page on ProMas.com. They have over 20 years of experience in Spain and can offer fantastic insight into the construction, design and estimated costs of your new venture.
Here are 6 tips that you should definitely take on board.
1.Choose the right location
It doesn’t matter whether you buy a flat in London or a beachside villa in Marbella, you know the mantra of every estate agent: location, location, location. Decide the purpose for buying a Spanish house or flat so that you can home in on suitable properties in the right place.
Are you thinking of renting the property out as a holiday let? Proximity to the town centre, beach, major tourist destinations and other local amenities may be more desirable than a remote rural location. Also consider the transport connections – how easy will it be to get to a major road or the airport?
Think about how easy it will be to sell the property on when the time comes to cash in your investment. If your villa appeals to both Spanish and foreign residents it may be quicker to dispose of.
2. Instruct a qualified legal adviser
Before you even start looking for your dream Spanish home, it’s critical that you choose an independent, Spanish qualified lawyer who can guide you through the maze of red tape and the infamous Spanish bureaucracy that you are most likely to encounter.
Your legal adviser should be able to assist you from the beginning of your purchase, advising on any documents you’re asked to sign, monies to be paid and doing all the necessary financial checks and local searches.
On this point, it cannot be overstated how critical it is to have a legal adviser who is fluent in both Spanish and English and who, ideally, is a qualified lawyer in both countries. You need to have someone on your team who can explain the intricacies of the Spanish conveyancing process in proper English, perhaps with a comparison of how it differs from English Law.
3. Check the overall cost of purchase
Right from the outset, you can expect your legal adviser to provide an estimate of the likely overall cost you are going to incur. This will help you understand some of the costs and expenses involved in buying Spanish property that may be different to how things would work in the UK.
Depending on whether the property in question is a new development or a resale, there will be taxes to pay for the purchase ( a bit like our stamp duty), as well as additional expenses such as legal (Notary Public) fees and Land Registry fees.
What’s more, there may be extra costs such as property insurance, surveyors’ fees, bankers’ cheques commissions and ongoing property ownership tax.
4 .Treat estate agents with caution
While Spanish estate agents can be very helpful in smoothing the transaction, be mindful of the fact that they have a contract with the vendor to sell the property on his behalf, and receive commission on the sale – same as in the UK. In that way, their advice may not always be in your interest. It is an unfortunate fact that some estate agents have no problem taking advantage of naive foreign buyers who may not understand the Spanish system.
Don’t be pressured by an estate agent to make a payment at the offer stage, or to close a deal without your own solicitor having made the necessary checks. Whether you pay a deposit or the balance, it should be agreed on the mutually accepted purchase price and with a contract (checked by your lawyers) in place.
5. Arrange your finances
Since your property transaction is most likely to be carried out in Euros, not Sterling, it’s important to keep an eye on the currency exchange rate, which can fluctuate noticeably. Timing is everything. Contact a currency exchange specialist to help you make the most of your Sterling investments, and to save money in commissions with a better exchange rate.
If you need a mortgage, there’s an added complexity. Find a specialist international mortgage broker who can help you find the best deal for you and who can explain and advise on the terms and conditions of the exact mortgage agreement before you commit. Your mortgage lender must explain any and all documentation that you are asked to sign.