BUYING A PROPERTY IN SPAIN 2021 – OPPORTUNITIES, PROCESS, PLACES AND COSTS

Mediterranean Villa in Calpe, Alicante (Costa Blanca)

INTRODUCTION

Hi there! What a year? 😳

First, the ongoing uncertainty of Brexit and then we get the coronavirus.

When is it all going to end?

Well, I suppose we finally have certainty about Brexit

We’re out for better or worse and beginning to see some light at the end of the long, dark Covid19 tunnel. Roll on the vaccination programme!

So where do we go from here? 🤔 What about buying a property in Spain, put the “annus horribilis” behind us and start afresh?

Get away from those cold, dark winter days, enjoy a great lifestyle, sunshine and temperatures that we’ve only ever dreamed of. 😎

Ave daily temp Mar 16ºC, sea temp 16ºC and 9 hrs sunshine
Ave daily temp Oct 22ºC, sea temp 25ºC and 9 hrs sunshine
More details here: -  https://www.holiday-weather.com/calpe/averages 

WHERE

AND WHERE? THE SUNNY, SPANISH COAST?  🌞

A RURAL PROPERTY IN THE BEAUTIFUL SPANISH COUNTRYSIDE?

OR MAYBE AN APARTMENT IN ONE OF SPAIN’S GREAT CITIES?

EVEN BUY A PIECE OF LAND?

and have your dream home designed and built to your own specification?

idealista

Okay let’s look at buying a property in Spain in more detail. Questions immediately come to mind: – what, where, when, how. how much, how big?

The w’s and h’s! We’ll get into all these and more during the blog post later so read on and we’ll answer all your questions.

Pristine beaches, warm sea temperature, wonderful climate, poolside bbq’s, great cuisine and the mediterranean lifestyle.

It all sounds wonderful doesn’t it and it can and should be however if you don’t do it right it could end up as a nightmare.

What should take x time and costs y, can become 3X and 3Y and you could suddenly realise that your life savings are gone having been cheated by an unscrupulous developer. 
So... stay with us and keep reading to learn the key things that you need to know before buying property in Spain in 2021  ✅
In our Blog Post we answer the following frequently raised questions about buying a property in Spain and much more: -
Playa Arenal in Calpe and the Peñón de Ifach Rock – Symbol of the Costa Blanca

OPPORTUNITY

What?

Where?

How?

When?

How much?

Okay, we’ve decided to seek our dream home in sunny Spain, wow, think about the 300 days of sunshine, the warm Mediterranean, the paella, seafood yummy! I can almost taste it already.

Paella Valenciana
Paella Valenciana

So where do I start? 

A GOOD PLACE TO START IS WITH THE W’S AND H’S: –

what property type do you want to buy? apartment, villa, farmhouse. semi detached house, townhouse?
why not buy a piece of land and have a villa built to your own design and specification?
where do you want to live? beach, countryside, village, city? 
what do you think about noisy neighbours?  The Spanish are known for talking loudly and older properties are not well sound proofed!
which part of Spain?  Catalonia, Valencia Región, Costa Blanca, Murcia, Andalucía, Almería, Costa del Sol, Costa de la luz?
how many bedrooms? Got kids so need more space?
how many bathrooms? Bath or shower?
how much do you want to spend? allow for additional fees etc. see later
will you want a garden, pool, or garage?

These are just some of the questions you need to be asking yourself before you even get started. You may not have all the answers at the beginning but in time they will come to you.

It is now getting exciting, just imagine in a few months we can be sitting by the pool, soaking up the sunshine with a glass of Cava in our hands but: –

Relaxing by the pool

Be careful! It can and will be like that if you do it correctly but don’t make the same mistakes that many others have made before you, getting carried along by the excitement and the dream and leaving their brains at home.

Buying a property (apartment or villa) isn’t as easy as just saying it. There are lots of bureaucratic and other traps that can end up extending the buying process for months (or even years!).

Hidden  costs that will increase your  budget forecast. Or even legal aspects that can ruin the entire buying process and cost you dearly. The process is difficult, here is what you need to know.

dangerous or illegal house being demolished – pic by Mchumor

Later in this Blog Post we’ll mention the most common pitfalls and a few real-life  horror cases so you get an idea.

THE PROCESS

When we bought our 1st house in Spain many years ago we had no idea where to start but now many years, mistakes and transactions later we know the process inside out and can share that with you: –

Again the W’s and H’s: – what, where, when, why, how etc.

It may seem obvious, but the first thing to consider is what do I really want/need? Do I need a 200 square meters villa, or  would I be better off with an apartment, bearing in mind that I’ll only be spending some weeks per year?

Will we rent it when we’re not there? Will we prefer a Villa? Should we care about noise?  Would a quiet urbanisation be better? (Yes, the Spanish are Noisy!)

At a family lunch some years ago I asked my Spanish wife how they can listen to others when they all speak at the same time - her response was “that’s easy, nobody listens, they just talk”. 
And guess what - it’s absolutely true!
Pic by Pinterest

Noisy Spanish!

Buying an existing property or a plot on which to build? What is the process in simple terms? Read on: –

Be sure to remember the basic principles of buying a property anywhere in the world: –

Is it value for money?

Is it legal?

Is it in good condition?

Is it unencumbered and free of charges?

Whether you’re buying in your home country or overseas these are the minimum questions you should be asking of any property and whilst the process in Spain is different the principles remain the same.

IS IT A BARGAIN?

Search for the best (and cheapest) places or lands.

We all want a bargain. but remember that cheapest is not always the best as there are hundreds of online portals to look through and thousands of houses.

Can you really trust what is shown in the photos or house description sheet? Is that description telling us all the details (not only the good ones?)

With these huge oversaturated online portals, you get “infoxicated”: –

What you see is not always what you get?
Save time in your searches by being sure as to what you want?
Filter your searches to save time!
Estate agents are only interested in a sale!

WHERE ARE THE BEST PLACES TO BUY PROPERTY IN SPAIN?

This, of course is subjective but below are but a few examples of areas to purchase proven popular with foreigners for many years: –

COSTA BLANCA (OUR FAVOURITE!)

Calpe, Moraira, Benidorm, Javea, Denia, Altea, Albir, Torrevieja and Alicante.

Peñon de Ifach Calpe

MALLORCA

Palma de Mallorca, Sóller, Pollença, Valldemossa, Cala d’Or.

Image by See Mallorca

VALENCIA

Paella, City of Arts, Bio Park. Valencia, the home of Paella and chosen as “the best city to live in the world” by a study of the Expats City Ranking.

Results based on weather, quality of life, situation (beaches and mountains), gastronomy, history, culture, activities and more. Wanna know more?    https://www.visitvalencia.com/en

COSTA D’ORADA

Sitges, Salou, Tarragona, Cambrils, Reus, Parque d’Aventura.

SEVILLA

La Giralda, Alcázar de Sevilla, Sevilla Catedral, La Feria de Abril.

GRANADA

See the Alhambra (most visited place in Spain) and ski in the Sierra Nevada

COSTA DEL SOL

Malaga, Marbella, Torremolinos, Ronda and Mijas

SAN SEBASTIAN AND BILBAO

Guggenheim, Casco Viejo, La Ribera market, La Concha beach, Parte Vieja, La Zurriola and pintxos, the famous Basque tapas

COSTS

What are the costs (and extra costs!) of buying a house in Spain?

What will be the additional costs of the purchase over and above the agreed price?

The extra costs/fees vary depending on from whom you are buying (a company or an individual) and what you are buying (an existing property or land on which to build) but will comprise some or all of the following: –

OFFICIAL COSTS

if buying from an individual ITP (Impuesto sobre  Transmisiones Patrimoniales) which is a property transfer tax a bit like UK stamp duty

if buying from a company (e.g. a new property) VAT will be payable 

if buying land on which to build your own villa VAT will be payable

notary fees

property registration fees

gestoria (advice agency) fees

OPTIONAL COSTS (RECOMMENDED)

valuation

planning searches and report

structural and conditional survey report

legal search and report

cadastral report

We will post in more detail about costs of buying soon so watch this space.

PITFALLS

COMMONLY OCCURRING PITFALLS ARE: –

1) no conditional survey resulting in expensive repairs after purchase 

2) no legal search leading to buying an illegal property that could be subject to enforced demolition

3) buying an encumbered property with 3rd party liens (charges) attached

4) paying over market value by not commissioning a valuation

5) overspending by not checking the “additional costs” prior to purchase

In the Blog Post we give details and examples of these and more mistakes that people have made and how to avoid them.

Whilst in the majority of cases the process is concluded as expected sadly there are a growing number of instances that end in disappointment or even disaster.

Below we illustrate briefly a few real cases of the pitfalls purchasers have come across: –

FLOODING

FLOODING

We advised a client prior to buying a house on a sloping plot situated between 2 dry streams that a study should be carried out to ensure evacuation of excessive water in the event of heavy rainfall (in Spanish a “gota fria”). He ignored the advice and bought the house but with the first heavy rainfall the basement and ground floor were completely flooded. It doesn’t rain often on the Mediterranean coast but when it does beware!!!

STRUCTURAL DAMAGE

STRUCTURAL DAMAGE

A couple thought they had found a bargain when a villa came on the market at a very attractive price but fortunately they sought the advice of a structural surveyor prior to purchasing. He discovered that under the “freshly painted” exterior load bearing walls were recently filled cracks that demonstrated a serious problem with the foundations. They declined the purchase.

ILLEGALLY BUILT PROPERTY

ILLEGAL PROPERTY HAD TO BE DEMOLISHED

A couple wanted to buy a chalet in a remote rural area that was for sale at a very good price. They commissioned a detailed survey and found that the chalet was built without a licence and that the catastral reference didn’t correspond to the plot being sold. They were strongly advised against buying but went ahead anyway. Two years later they received a demolition notice for the chalet from the local town hall because it was illegally built. They lost everything.

WE WILL GIVE MORE EXAMPLES IN UPDATED AND FUTURE POSTS

ARE PROPERTY PRICES CURRENTLY STABLE IN SPAIN? – OUR FORECAST

WILL PRICES RISE, FALL OR REMAIN STABLE?

Since the major correction in property prices in Spain during 2008 the market has remained at a relatively low level with small increments in value to the beginning of 2020 but it has never got close to the highs of 2006-2007.

We will be giving a detailed insight into the current market and the best opportunities to buying property in Spain in a week or so but in the meantime you may want to take a look at the “TINSA” website (see link below) which whilst in Spanish only gives a lot of information on prices by region.

The coronavirus outbreak in 2020 had a further negative effect on house prices in Spain however it is believed that once the vaccination programme begins to have an effect and the virus spread is under control there will be a long awaited rise in values.

For more information please see the link to TINSA website (in Spanish): – https://www.tinsa.es/precio-vivienda/

COST OF LIVING IN SPAIN

Spain is generally less expensive than the UK, Germany, Scandinavia or Holland (maybe 15-20% cheaper overall) but gone are the days of really cheap alcohol, soft drinks, cigarettes, food etc. All that went when Spain joined the European Union.

Items that are significantly cheaper are as follows: –

Utilities 
Insurance
Food and drink 
Eating out
Property
Private education
Private healthcare insurance

We will update this subject in more detail in the coming weeks so keep an eye on this blog for detailed post updates.

Our blog is a living thing and changes constantly with more and more information being added and additional links to more detailed analyses.

PROPERTY FOR SALE IN SPAIN: VILLAS AND APARTMENTS FOR SALE IN SPAIN

Are you thinking of buying a villa or apartment in Spain? – if so read on.

There are literally hundreds of portals dealing with ‘000’s of property sales in Albir and, in Albir itself, many estate agents.

Trying to wade your way through all of those is extremely difficult, especially when you have to make allowances for “Estate Agent Lingo and Infoxication”.

That’s where we come in: –

At Search and Survey Spain we are not estate agents and have no allegiance to any estate agencies.
Our only interest is finding the right property for you, that the property is legal, well built, value for money and free of any external charges or liens.
If you like we can help you make the right selection to suit your requirements?

We’ve been doing for the last 40 years or so and it’s our speciality.

Click the link here to visit our website and see what you think? We are happy to give you a call if you want to find out more about us.

We’re here to help if you are thinking about buying a property in Spain. We will give you the comfort and confidence to buy a property without disappointment or risk.

Search and Survey Spain Team
The Search and Survey Spain team – from L-R Manu, Chari, Ian, Monica and Manolo.

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