The Expat Hub

Buying a property in Spain

Buying a new home can be a long, stressful process, and one which can vary significantly from country to country. There are more than 2 million foreign property owners in Spain and our handy guide can help you join them.

If your move to Spain is temporary, than renting a property is probably your best option. Rent prices fluctuate significantly from region to region. You can expect to pay a premium in the most popular locations, but there are bargains to be found if you’re willing to put in the legwork. You can find rental listings for Spain online, in international magazines and Spanish newspapers. A particularly good website is www.spanishpropertyinsight.com.

Another great place to get an idea of the Spanish property market is at a property exhibition. These are becoming extremely popular in Spain. After paying an admission fee, prospective buyers can view homes, talk to estate agents and developers and chat with others going through the buying process.

Renting a property can also be a good idea for those intending to buy. You can get a good idea of whether the area/lifestyle will suit you before you make a financial commitment.

If you’ve really thought about it, done some thorough research and still have your heart set on owning that dream home in the sun then we are here to help.

Research

Whether you’re buying a property in Spain or Timbuktu don’t rush the process! Buying a home on sangria driven whims is never the best idea.

Unless you’re already very familiar with Spain it’s a good idea to visit during the worst weather months. If you still love it then you know you haven’t been seduced by the lure of the sun. You should also explore the different regions. Spend some time in each and get to know the opportunities, costs and way of life they offer. Talk to locals and other expats as much as possible, they can be full of invaluable advice.

Once you’ve found the region for you, get an accurate picture of what kinds of properties are available and what you can realistically afford. Know what you want and need from a house but don’t have idealistic expectations.

Don’t get carried away if you do find a property you love. Take a week to think about it and find out as much about the property as you can. Buyers are far more likely to get stung if they don’t really know what they’re buying!

Subrogation is a Spanish law that all property buyers should know of. Under the law of subrogation a buyer inherits any debts attached to the property, such as mortgages, local taxes and community charges.

Problems

There are many problems that can be experienced by property buyers. Don’t let the list below put you off, just be aware of these issues.

Properties bought without a legal title.

Properties sold with forged deeds.

Properties built illegally.

Properties missing infrastructure.

Builders and developers going bust.

Properties sold that are subject to embargoes.

Inherited mortgage from previous owner.

Overcharging by vendors.

Properties sold to more than one buyer.

Avoid the pitfalls

Some property buyer’s end up regretting their purchase and losing money because they made some easily avoided mistakes. Whilst we can’t guarantee you won’t have any problems, if you follow our advice your purchase should go a lot smoother.

Don’t buy a home that’s difficult to resell.

Don’t assume that an English estate agent will give you a better deal.

Don’t buy a home in an area you’re not familiar with – rent first.

Don’t rush the process.

Don’t buy a property that needs restoration without realistically and thoroughly working out the restoration costs.

Don’t deal in cash where possible and don’t hand over any cash before paperwork has been signed!

Don’t assume you won’t need legal advice – you will!

Don’t hire a lawyer that isn’t accredited and recommended.

Don’t forget to include the necessary conditional clauses in the contract.

Don’t take on too large a mortgage.

Don’t buy land to build a property on without making sure it has the relevant planning position. Don’t just take the vendors word for it either, check.

Legal Advice

When buying property in Spain you MUST take independent, expert and reliable legal advice. Seek advice from an accredited, recommended lawyer who can speak your language as well as Spanish fluently. Make sure they have experience in Spanish property law. Don’t be dissuaded by estate agents and don’t view it as a waste of money. If you don’t hire a lawyer and then end up in a sticky situation it will cost you a lot more!

A gestor can also be hired to deal with the piles of red tape and obstacles blocking the road to property purchase. Gestor’s services are usually reasonable and they are official, government licensed agents who act as a mediator between bureaucracy and you.