Buying Property in Spain
16 june 2022
A few Does and Donts
If you are thinking of buying a property in Spain then this post may help you make the right decision and could save you a lot of time and money.
First why listen to me?
Well i have lived in Spain for 20 years now and have bought and sold several properties and just a few years ago bought some land to build a new house“see here” and sold an apartment i owned here in Almeria.
I remember the first place i bought here 20 years ago now. I had just arrived in Spain and was renting for 6 months as i wanted to get a feel of the land before committing myself… ” this is a great way to start by the way” Renting in Spain is easy and you have a lot of choice and you have the ability to move on at any time if its not what you thought.
So many Brits i see here buy straight off without knowing the area or learning Spanish and that can be hard and sometimes a big mistake. Many Brits full in love with Spain and are very keen to buy a property here and i too was like that, very eager to have my own place in the sun but i was lucky to get some great advice from a guy who had lived here for many years… he told me to slow down, rent first and see what its really like in your area as things change fast here and you may not like that new building thats going up next door or dont like the noise from that bar late at night or even like your neighbours. there are so many things to love here but just 1 or 2 bad things can really get on your nerves and renting first can help you make a better choice.
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The process of buying in Spain is getting better each year but i remember the first place i bought was a 2 bed apartment and i had to pay for a solicitor and an interpreter as my Spanish back then was very poor. We settled on a price and the big day to sign had come and there was about 8 people sitting at a big table in the notary office listening to the notary read out all the sale details that had to be interpreted to us and this takes about 1 hour. Then the notary left the room so as we could pay “the Black Money”….this is still done but not as much now. sellers and buyers dont want to pay the full price or all of the taxes so they agree a price and the rest is paid in cash under the table. It really was not possible to do it any other way back then and everyone knows about it including the solicitors who suggested it but the last 4 sales i have done this is now not the case.
It can be a very stressful experience if you dont fully understand whats going on so a good recommended solicitor is essential.
Never use one recommended by the estate agents office. Personally i would say this because i have a friend who works at an estate agents and they get commissions for recommending solicitors and dont care if they are any good as they still get their commission. Also there are many different types of solicitors who can all deal with house sales but they are not all qualified the same.
Look for one who also speaks very good English as this will save you interpreter fees but remember you are trusting he so make sure he has come recommended.
Buying in Spain now.
The last buy i had here was some land for my house build and thats pretty much the same as buying a property.
First once you see a place you like you need to go to the agents or solicitors office and pay a deposit thats normally around 2 to 3k that then means that if you pull out for any reason you will lose that money but if the owner pulls out they need to pay you double the deposit.
Then if using a solicitor they do the checks and papers and in around 2 or 3 weeks you go to the notary with both parties to sign and pay the balance. You sign all papers with the notary and sellers then the notary checks that the money is paid and you hand over the keys or deads. you will get copies and about a week later you go back to the notary to collect the new updated deads.
On one property i bought here a few years ago we paid first 2k deposit then about 1 week later we paid another of around 10k but normally you pay around 2.5k first then the balance at the notary office.
Remember if you really want the place then place a larger deposit so as its harder for the sellers to pull out. I did this on one place a few years back that i really wanted and i paid 10k deposit so if that seller wanted out or thought he could get a better price he would have had to pay me 20 k back.
checks are done here but sometimes not as much as you may think so.
Go to the planning registry office yourself and ask all about that property. its free to do and you learn a lot from them . see video below..
Buying off plan.
I was very tempted to buy off plan here several times. There was an office near the beach here that was building new houses in a great area in Almeria and we saw some amazing looking artists drawings and plans of the place but nothing was finished. The agent was offering great deals if we put down big deposits but the finish date was not set.
I ended up buying a new apartment in a small building that already had people living in the building.
My reasons for not recommending buying off plan.
Working here back then as a carpenter i had many British clients that needed new kitchens and bathrooms fitted in their new purchases. I would often go to places that had just been finished to fit a new kitchen and several times i was told about how long over due the build was and the problems people had.
When you buy off plan many times the constructor has used the banks money to build the houses and they are very keen to get some sales as they need to get some money back. They often dont finish off the pool or community grounds as this costs them money and will not stop them getting the sale. There have been people i personally know who have lived in their new place and not been able to use the garage or pool as its not finish even after 3 years. The community areas are the last to get finished but these areas are the first areas that you will want to use.
There are many stories like this here in Spain.
So what to buy here in Spain.
If i did it all again this is what i would do…
Rent for 3 to 6 months to see what its really like there, then if all ok i would buy a second hand place or a new place that was finished and had people living in neighbouring buildings or apartments. Go the see the place at night as well as in day time things can be a lot different at night. Drive by the place at different times of the day to see what its like. I remember one place i liked we did a drive by one afternoon and saw that a local school nearby had all the parents parking right outside our entrance way to collect their kids and this happened every week day at 2pm.
Its ok buying out of the way or inland a bit as i was tempted to do once but what about the roads into town are they decent roads all year round and are the shops nearby, what if you are ill or cant drive for some reason, can you still get to the shops to buy food.
There is a lot to think about to get it right here but remember its your dream so do what you feel is right for you.
These are just my personal views and i hope they can help you make the right decision for your dream purchase in Spain.
If any of this has helped please leave a like or comment thanks.
Read more on buying in Spain…Click here