Home » Uncategorized » How to Buy Property in Spain – 10 Tips to Avoid Disappointment

How to buy property in Spain has been a popular question for UK buyers for some decades. Now US investors are catching on. Spain has a magnetism that is hard to explain and that few other countries possess. It’s not only the spectacular scenery, fantastic beaches and year-round sunshine. It seems to be something about the easy, relaxed pace of life and the exuberance and happiness of its people, that draws people back year after year and makes them reluctant to leave. Plus, of course, it has the lowest cost of living in Europe!

But of course it’s exactly this magical quality that you need to beware of when it comes to buying property! It’s fatally easy to fall in love with a house that’s bathed in sunshine, with a sensational view, and let all common sense fly out of the window – as thousands of British buyers have discovered to their cost. Stranded with no property and no money, many are wishing they had never heard of Spain.

So if you are serious, you need to understand how to buy property in Spain in a way that will enhance your lifestyle, and won’t leave you out of pocket. Here are ten suggestions to point you in the right direction.

  1. Once you have chosen an area, book into an hotel for some days and explore. Ideally, do this at the least attractive time of year weatherwise. Pretend you are a journalist and try to find as many downsides as you can. If it’s in a resort area, would you fancy it when most vacationers have gone home? If it’s in a rural location, would you feel cut off in the winter months? If one of its attractions is that it’s near an airport, how would you feel if your airline stopped flying to that airport? (This does happen and makes a huge difference to the property’s usefulness as a vacation home.)
  2. This one’s a biggie. Hire an attorney whom you can really trust and who really understands all aspects of Spanish real estate law, including planning/zoning laws. Your consulate may be able to provide you a list of recommended attorneys. Do you know how many people have been left bankrupt, with their dreams in shreds, because they didn’t check planning regulations? Either they didn’t check that they had full title to the land, or they failed to ensure that the property they were buying was legally built on that land. If this happens, the authorities will simply demolish the property, leaving you with nothing. And this has happened to plenty of people.
  3. Remember also that in parts of Spain, even if the property is legally built on the land, the authorities can take back the land if they decide they want it for municipal development. And there is nothing you can do about it. This is known by English speakers as the “land-grab” and has happened, for instance, in areas of Valencia including the Costa Blanca. Although this was declared illegal under European law, many foreign property owners are still threatened with loss of their property. So do take very clear and thorough legal advice before proceeding.
  4. Before you start your search for a property, write down your budget and keep looking at it. In the Spanish sunshine, after a few glasses of Rioja, it is easy to be seduced by a gorgeous property that you really can’t afford. Be clear about your budget and stick to it.
  5. When you have started in earnest on your property search, view the properties as often as you wish. If any owner wants to restrict you to a single viewing, walk away. Be careful to check such details as telephone connections, and broadband if this is important to you. After your initial viewing, plenty of questions will occur to you so write them down before next time. Try to visit in different weather conditions and at different times of day.
  6. For financing, the easiest way to raise a mortgage is often by going to a Spanish bank. You can usually get Avvocato in Spagna up to 80 percent of the purchase price that way. Alternatively, you may prefer to re-finance your existing property.
  7. Don’t forget that in Spain there are initial charges that have to be paid up front. These include transfer tax, stamp duty, fees to the notary public, and name changes to the deed. You should allow about 10 percent of the purchase price to cover these.
  8. When you have finally got to the point of purchasing your property, the first thing you do is sign a “reservation” agreement. This means the vendor has to withdraw the property from the market. Once the lawyer’s search is complete, you and the vendor sign the “sale and purchase” contract. This is legally binding and all the details of the property have to be correctly entered.
  9. On completion day, you and the vendor, both with your lawyers, attend the office of the notary public to sign the final contracts. The process is now complete.
  10. Relax with a glass of wine (or three) and enjoy your new property!

These tips about how to buy a property in Spain should ensure that the process goes smoothly – and that you don’t fall into any of the pitfalls which many expatriates have encountered. Just make sure that you have covered all the legalities, that you can trust your lawyer/attorney, and that all the paperwork is correctly filed. It seems a hassle at the time. But it will enable you to enjoy and profit from your new property for the rest of your life.

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