Cloudnine Spain Blog

5 Things to Do BEFORE You Buy a Property in Spain!

5 Things to Do BEFORE You Buy a Property in Spain!

Sean Woolley, the managing director of Cloud Nine Spain, shares five things to consider before buying a property in Spain.

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Link to YouTube video here

Hi, I’m Sean Woolley, managing director of Cloud Nine Spain. I’m here today to tell you five things that you should do before you buy a property in Spain.

The first one is don’t rely on property portals. A lot of people begin their search on the property portals, and what they do is very good because they give you access to an enormous amount of properties that you can sift through and you can pick your favorites. Unfortunately, a lot of the data on these portals is unreliable, mainly not because of the portals but mainly because of the agent that’s supplying that data and those pictures and those listings to those portals. A lot of unscrupulous agents all over the world use the portals as a bit of a lead magnet. So they will put that three-bedroom apartment Frontline Marina in Puerto Banus onto the portal at 150,000 euros when it doesn’t exist. Or it might have existed, but it was sold five years ago. So just be careful. There’s also a lot of duplicates at different prices. I’m sure it drives you mad. So the portals are a great tool but don’t rely on them for up-to-date information. Always speak to an agent on the ground about what is available.

Which brings me onto my second point, which is choose an agent, ideally one rather than two or three or ten, as some people do. Here on the Costa del Sol, we all have access or we all should have access to shared agent’s databases which means that if we have a listing in a certain area we put it on the shared agent’s database, it means that all the other agents on the coast have access to that listing. It’s called an MLS, which is a multi-listing system. It was started in the states. People in the UK will not be used to the system because in the UK, if you want to go and see 10 properties in a town and they’re listed by 10 different agents, you’ll have to go to 10 different agents and have 10 different appointments and you’re kind of handed over and you deal with 10 different people. The beauty of this system that we have in Andalusia is that you can, if you choose, just work with one agent, you tell them the story, you give them your criteria and they then help you and open up the market really by giving you access to all of the listings.

Which brings me onto my third point, which is to make sure that the agent that you choose to work with, that you get on with and that you trust, has access to the whole of the market. So they need to be members of all the different agent databases, and ask them the question directly. Ask them, you know, “Are you just gonna show me your listings or are you going to also show me other agents’ listings?” Most agents are fine with opening up the search and showing you other agents’ listings, but some of them don’t want to mainly because it means the earnings that they make in commissions are halved or worse. So just be careful that they’re giving you access to everything that you need to see. Also, when you’re choosing an agent make sure that they have local expertise in the area that you are looking to buy. For instance, we cover pretty much from Benalmadena all the way down to Sotogrande. But if somebody wanted to buy an apartment in Malaga Centre we wouldn’t take that client out. We wouldn’t even try to because we don’t have the knowledge of that particular micro market. And so just be careful that somebody who’s based in a certain area who’s been here for a year isn’t trying to bite off too much, that they’re offering you a fantastic service and access to this, that, and everything else, that don’t really know where they’re going. And we’re seeing a lot of agents at the moment who are new to the area, who don’t really know where they’re going. They don’t know where they’re taking their clients so it means that they can’t be giving that client an amazing service in my opinion anyway.

The fourth thing that I would strongly recommend you do is to get mortgage pre-approval. Not everybody wants a mortgage or needs a mortgage, but for the sake of a few minutes of your time, it’s probably worth just filling out a form and we can give you access to that, filling out a form and finding out, A, if you can borrow some money, and B, how much you can borrow, because that then gives you an idea as the buyer of your budget. And it’s really hard. We get a lot of clients who come to us looking at properties and then they say, “Yeah, I found the perfect property. Now I’m gonna find out how much I can borrow.” That’s the wrong way of doing it, in my opinion because it often means that you’re gonna lose out on the property that you identified as perfect. So it no longer is perfect because it’s gone. Somebody else has bought it. So as I say, for the sake of a few minutes of your time fill out a form, get an idea of how much you can borrow. It means that when you are making offers on properties those offers are gonna be genuine, well meant, well intentioned, and it means that you can be confident of going through the next steps.

And the final thing, the fifth thing I would strongly recommend is that you budget for those extra things that maybe agents aren’t telling you about. So you have the headline price of a property, which in the case of resale properties will be hopefully negotiated down a little bit. But also bear in mind that on top of the price that you pay you’ll also have some fees and costs and taxes. With resale properties here in Andalusia, that is generally going to amount to around 10%. That includes 7% transfer tax, which is a fixed amount. It also includes normally legal fees, land registry fees, and notary fees. With new developments, it’s a little bit higher than that. So instead of allowing for 10% cost, you need to allow for about 12%, maybe slightly higher. And that is because instead of paying 7% transfer tax, you actually pay 10% VAT or EVA. And there’s also some stamped duty to be paid as well. So yeah, normally between 10%, 12, 12.5, 13 maximum will cover the fees, but depends on what type of property that you’re going to be buying.

And there are my five top tips, really before you come out and look at property, do those five things and you’re not going to go far wrong.

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Telephone: +34 951 203 808