Cloudnine Spain Blog

[EP3] Jan 2023 - La Piedra Spanish Property Podcast with Mark Stücklin

[EP3] Jan 2023 - La Piedra Spanish Property Podcast with Mark Stücklin

The 3rd episode of “La Piedra”, a new monthly series of podcasts featuring Cloud Nine Spain Managing Director Sean Woolley and Mark Stücklin (Spanish Property Insight) discussing the Spanish property market from different perspectives. Mark is very well known as one of the leading voices in the Spanish property arena and is one of the authorities in the industry, often quoted by the media.

Listen to the podcast version here

Link to the youtube video here

Sean: You know, we noticed the drop-off in Quarter 4, and I expected that to continue into Quarter 1, but, oh no, I’ve been completely surprised. Quarter 1 has started like the first half of last year. We have seen increasing numbers of inquiries. We’ve seen increasing numbers of visits and also sales. So far, we’re just over halfway through the month of January, we’ve had our best January on record. Hello everybody. Welcome to the third, the third episode of the La Piedra podcast with me, Sean Woolley from Cloud Nine Spain…

Mark: …and Mark Stücklin from Spanish Property Insight. For those of you who don’t know Mark, he’s one of the top, I would say, commentators on the Spanish property market. He has a very informative website and keeps people abreast and up to date of what’s happening with the data from the authorities in Spain, so that you can make informed choices based on what’s been happening and also on what I’m gonna tell you, which is kind of what’s happening here on the ground and maybe get our crystal ball out and look into the future. So we hope between us, we can cover most of it. What we’re gonna do today is we’re going to have a little look at what’s happened at the start of the year. We’re gonna be focusing on the new development market because it’s a thriving market. We’re always asked about new developments by clients. So we’re gonna have a look at that and see where it’s been and where it may be heading. And then we’re gonna finish with a question from one of Mark’s followers, which is very interesting actually, ’cause it brought to mind some examples that I can give. So we’ll do that at the end and we promise we’ll keep it a little bit shorter this month. We know that we had so much to talk about though, Mark, didn’t we?

Sean: Well, no, I think the problem is we’re both real wind bags.

Mark: Yeah. Speak for yourself. No, we aren’t and so we’re gonna limit it to half an hour because I listen to podcasts when I’m kind of getting ready in the morning and maybe when I’m having a shower I’ve got them on and certainly when I’m driving, but I think half an hour is a good time.

Sean: It’s the right length, yeah.

Mark: Absolutely. So Mark, any news? Anything happening that we need to know about from the perspective of the data? What’s going on?

Sean: In general, there’s been a downturn. As far as the data that we have, which obviously lags what’s going on today, but there was a downturn in the final quarter of last year. But it was inevitable, it had been booming for a long time and a downturn, sort of a settling down or a downturn, had to come along sometimes. So that’s gonna be showing up in the figures, but just focusing on the new market, so those are newly built homes and their sales in Spain, which used to be, back in the boom years, in the construction boom, we’re talking in 2005/6/7. I mean we, you know, we’re old timers. We are constantly referring back to that period of halcyon days. In fact, it was a terrible time. It was a very unhealthy period for the market and lots of things but we’ve got into it a bit in our previous conversations. But the amount, Spain was building a huge amount and selling, a lot of sales were taking place off-plan and the market was, I don’t know, I need to look it up, but I’m assuming it was close to 50% or even more in some provinces of the housing market. Then of course, came the crash and as I explained once before, housing starts, the new home building market collapsed by 97%, so home building in Spain almost disappeared for about five years. It’s been recovering since about 2015. And then the latest figures I can see, sales in Malaga province, new homes were 15% of the market in Malaga province.

Mark: Okay. Yeah.

Sean: It would’ve been much bigger. It’s been much bigger in the past. It’s now back to, and it’s been much smaller in the more recent past, but it’s now back to around 15% of the market. But that’s looking at figures which lag the actual market because it doesn’t include off-plan sales.

Mark: Is there a healthy percentage that it should be? So if someone said, “What’s a healthy percentage of new build sales in terms of the whole market?” Is there a point at which you think, “Okay, that’s good,” or “That’s too toppy?” or are there any warning signs when it gets a bit over the top?

Sean: It’s a very good question and this is because sometimes there’s a speculative building boom and that so you get too many, I mean, there’s another thing which is housing starts or housing completion, so new homes built as a percentage of the housing inventory.

Mark: Yeah.

Sean: And there’s always, it depends on demographic population increase or decrease, depends on the age of the housing stock. There must be, for each country, an optimum level of house building whereby they’re replacing an ageing housing stock or building for a new demand.

Mark: Mm.

Sean: And so you don’t get these tightness and these problems in the housing market where it becomes unaffordable and it becomes a real problem for the society, and you see that clearly in the United Kingdom where they’ve been under-building for decades.

Mark: Yeah, yeah.

Sean: And it creates trouble, real trouble, and it makes housing very political. And so in answer to, I don’t know what the, I’d love to know, but I think it varies from country to country and depends on its specific demographics and its housing stock and the age and quality of that. ‘Cause you know, you could have lots of housing, but they’re kind of cave houses or old, built 200 years ago, pokey, small without, you know, people don’t wanna live in that.

Sean: And I guess when you’re looking at like the Malaga province or Andalucia as a whole, we can’t delve in in detail to kind of separate the local market to the second home market, can we? So again, I guess there’s two different forces at play for each of those markets, depending on the time and the economic.

Mark: Yeah, absolutely.

Sean: Economics of it all.

Mark: Different segments need different types of housing and need a different level of house building to keep up with demand. So when demand’s growing and unfortunately, ’cause there’s a big lag, you know.

Sean: Yeah.

Mark: Between conceiving of a project, getting planning approval to purchasing the land and getting the financing. And by the time you’re actually delivering, handing over keys to the front door, it’s five, I mean, you know, years later. 

Sean: Yes. Yeah.

Mark: And this is one of the risks of the house building industry is that it’s difficult to time the market. People start building and by the time they’ve got their products ready, the demand has peaked and is declining. It makes it a riskier business than other industries where you can ramp up production very quickly in response to demand or pull it back.

Sean: Absolutely. It’s interesting ’cause I was looking at a report, I think it’s from S&P, but they were quoting a report from Colliers, which is quite a well-known and well-respected property consulting firm. And they were saying that the real estate market in the province of Malaga has been experiencing frenetic activity in 2022, which is something that we’ve said, but the pace will slow down in the coming quarters due to the tightening of financing conditions by banks. And that was a report published I think last week or the week before. It stated that Malaga presents, in the case of the new housing segment, the second highest absorption rate in the country with a rate of 134%, only surpassed by 154% in the Balearic Islands and ahead of the range of 70 to 79% presented by places such as Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville. This rate shows that all the homes that are built and delivered in Malaga province are quickly absorbed by demand, including any stock that may have remained from previous months. So they’re saying that the report reflects that the spectacular behaviour of the Malaga case is due to both a significant increase in demand and certain reduction in production in recent months, something linked to the uncertainties around construction costs, which we mentioned last time, and the delay, which is still accumulating due to the stoppage that occurred in some works during the pandemic. Interesting, isn’t it? It backs up what you’re saying, that the amount of new builds has been high in 2022, just tailing off a little bit towards the end of the year in terms of probably the absorption rate, but that absorption rate is pretty high, isn’t it? And it actually backs up what we’re experiencing on the ground where, normally speaking, if you’ve got a fairly level market, which is behaving itself as you would expect, you would always expect that in off-plan developments, there would always be a choice of stock. So you always get the first people in there maybe wanting to secure the best prices and the best units. And then if things go steadily, if sales go steadily, there should be availability all the way through the construction phase. Obviously diminishing stock, but there should be availability pretty much until the whole thing is launched. And the developer obviously wants to sell them quickly, but we are noticing that there’s hardly any choice. We’ve got developments that are selling out after six months of release, so they’re not even getting to putting the roof on and it’s sold out or we’re getting a lot of clients saying, “Yeah, I love that development, but they’ve only got two units left and they’re both grotty ’cause they face the wrong way and blah blah blah, blah blah”. So we’re getting a situation where clients are either being forced into a resale market because they can’t find what they want that’s new and they don’t wanna wait, or they’re having to do things like a self-build to get exactly what they want and have some control over it. Or they’re having to go into an off-plan market, but on day one, and wait for two or three years. They’re the options open to a lot of people who want new stock. It’s quite interesting right now.

Mark: Hmm. That’s interesting. Yeah, that really is interesting. So sounds like completed developments, so you can buy a new home, you can get the keys within weeks or a few months, you don’t have to wait for a long kind of build out.

Sean: Yeah.

Mark: Although at that stage of the product, you get less customization and in recent years there’s been much more customization, which people really like, you know, they get to choose floor plans and other things, which in the past, it was just, “Take it or leave it. This is the way it’s been designed and lump it”.

Sean: And of course also, people who are happy to buy like a resale on a new development, so something that’s maybe a few months old. Of course, what you’ve gotta recognize is that you’re probably gonna pay a premium on the price that the previous person has paid because they were the ones that invested on maybe day one or month one and they paid the early price from the developer and what you are doing, okay, you are getting something that’s ready and able to move into, but you are probably paying a premium over that price because you’re not prepared to wait. That’s the compromise, isn’t it?

Mark: Yeah, absolutely. But do you get the sense that there’s a, so that’s for the almost finished, completed construction completion or close to, but you don’t have to have this long off-plan period with staged payments, you can almost sort of complete and.

Sean: Yeah.

Mark: Reserve and complete in a short period of time and you get possession and presumably the community’s already up and running, but what about completely off-plan? So literally there’s nothing, they haven’t even broken ground yet. I don’t know if they’re even selling like that anymore down there.

Sean: Yeah.

Mark: Are they?

Sean: They are, because although there’s a lot of developments, a lot of them are quite small and boutique. So we don’t have a huge amount of stock to offer people. People think.

Sean: Where you talking about? Let’s frame it first of all. You talking from, which part of the coast?

Mark: Pretty much from Malaga down to Sotogrande. So for instance, Sotogrande is a really good example because we’re getting a lot of clients who want to be in Sotogrande. The school is one of the best, if not the best, on the Costa del Sol. So a lot of wealthy families are looking to move to Sotogrande year round and to put the kids in the school, and a lot of them are coming over ideally with this September in mind. And so they’re looking for somewhere that they can buy. And there’s only, I think, two or three off-plan projects that offer all the bells and whistles, all the toys that people want. We’re talking about expensive stock, we’re talking about three, four bed penthouses, between one and two million euros for instance. So it’s a villa alternative, which a lot of clients want, particularly if they’re new to the area, they don’t want to get bogged down with a villa at this stage. They want somewhere easy to maintain, they can walk the kids to school, very, very straightforward, but they’ve either gotta wait or they’ve got to rent and the rental market is getting squeezed because we’ve got this influx of people. So it’s a very interesting market, a kind of lack of new stock and a high demand from quite a demanding client base. And it’s interesting, ’cause as I say, the alternatives for people are wait, rent, buy something that might not be quite right or move out of area and think again. And you would think people with that, we get people with fantastic budgets and they come to us and they give us their wish list, and you think in normal terms you think, “Yeah, great client, we can do this”. If you go out into the market and start searching around and it’s like, “Actually this market is tight”, and it comes as a great surprise to a lot of people.

Sean: So that’s Sotogrande, but generally speaking for the coast.

Mark: Yeah.

Sean: Is there a good selection of projects which are for sale off-plan but just nothing finished and ready to move into now? Or is it everything new is now, because there was a period, correct me if I’m wrong, a few years ago, especially around Estepona where, I mean Marbella is a different story because it’s such a minefield. It seems to me, you’ve gotta have real guts to build in the Marbella municipality because of the planning situation was so uncertain for so long.

Mark: Yeah.

Sean: And therefore that was, in a way, good for the, and that under the Gil years and under his subsequent corrupt town hall period, there was uncontrolled building and that was bad for Marbella but then there’s been, if I’m not wrong, years almost nothing built, because just people couldn’t take the risk and that, so in a way it’s been frozen.

Mark: Yes. Yeah.

Sean: New building in Marbella’s municipality, not the surroundings, but that kind of pushed it out to places like Estepona and down the road.

Mark: Benahavis.

Sean: Benahavis.

Mark: Yeah, yeah, very much so. So Benahavis and Estepona have really, they’re the ones that have benefited most in terms of the sort of California of Europe, Marbella, worldwide brand thing because you’re right, in Marbella it’s been very, very difficult to make a start. I mean, some developers had these things in the pipeline and they’re coming to fruition now. But even now, when we get a new development announced in Marbella, we’re like, first of all, we’re like, “Really?” And then secondly, we’re all over it from a legal point of view to make sure that they’ve got the permissions and they’ve got all the licences in place. I think the days of sticking a flag in the ground and saying “New development, come on, give us your deposits.” I think those days are gone for a lot of these.

Sean: Long gone. Yeah.

Mark: Long gone. But you know, you’re right. You do have to make sure that the licenses are in place. If licenses aren’t in place and so a bank guarantee can’t be issued for your funds, you need to make sure that the funds aren’t going to the developer, that they’re going to your lawyer, who can keep a close check on them until such time as either the developer gets their bank guarantee and gets their license, in which case your money is protected, or the developer can’t get the necessary documentation, in which case your money is refunded to you, so that’s just a little tip for the off-plan market. But yeah, it’s interesting. I mean, Estepona, Benahavis, you know, a lot of these developments, a lot of investors and a lot of buyers, they get in there on day one and they choose the best units and they’re the ones that are prepared to wait and it might suit a lot of people to wait. They’re the ones that are prepared to wait 18 months to two and a half years for the whole thing to be finished. But we do get a lot of people who want something of that quality. They want something that’s new and shiny, but they don’t wanna wait. And I think since Covid, we all know now how long two years, two and a half years feels, and ooh, it was a bit of a drag, wasn’t it? And I think it’s given us a sense of our own mortality, I don’t want to sound depressing.

Sean: Also the older you get, the more value two years is to have.

Mark: Absolutely, and we get a lot of people and they say it jokingly, they might be in their fifties or sixties and they say, “I haven’t got two or three years to wait”. And you think, “Oh my god”, ’cause I’m 53. But it does sort of bring it home to you that yeah, if I’ve got 20 years left on the planet, two or three is a long, long time in the grand scheme of things. So I think, and what actually we’re doing now as well, is we’re trying to bridge that gap because of course the problem with these new developments is that you do have to wait and the glossy brochures look amazing and you can look forward to moving in there. And as I say, it suits some people to wait. Whether the kids are going to school in the UK for instance, and then they wanna move over and, but we’re getting involved in eco builds, where developments can be built, or certainly villas can be built, without the traditional brick and block structure, but in a, almost like a prefabricated block that’s then in, you build it up, you build it up into a wall and then you build the wall and then you infill with concrete and you know, you can build about four or five times faster with this method. And it brings the construction time down from sort of 18 months to six months on a house and six months is palatable for a lot of people, 18 months isn’t. So we’re getting quite heavily involved with that kind of development to overcome that objection about the time scales. ‘Cause it’s something that people can put the deposit down, they can reserve the property, and then they haven’t got long, it’s six months and it’s done, and then they can take possession. And that’s attracting a lot of interest I think, because it’s not much cheaper, but it saves money because of time. So you get your product in a shorter amount of time, but you also get an A-rated efficiency certificate, you’re not really paying for any energy bills, which of course is massively appealing at the moment in the current climate. So that’s something we’re really focusing on because we see that as the future. Of course, there’s been resistance to it from the Spanish authorities. It took a long time for the building system to be approved in Spain because you’re putting builders out of work if it takes six months to construct something rather than 18.

Sean: Yeah. The poor old brick layer.

Mark: Yep, that’s right. I know, I know. So we’ve had a bit of resistance, but we’ve got there in the end. But yeah, I can see that, I can see the market heading that way and already some large scale apartment developments are being built in that fashion, of a sort, and that again, has proved very popular with buyers.

Sean: But if you’re predominantly in the foreign market and the second home market, I guess, not so focused on local buyers and in that segment, so the second home and foreign segment, of your clients, what are they looking for? Are they kind of indifferent between, do some come in, I presume some come in, they want new and others don’t want new and some are indifferent, but how does it work out? And then of course, agents can steer people in one direction or another.

Mark: Yeah.

Sean: But how does it work out in the end today in the segment, this segment that I’ve identified? So the foreign and second home segment, what’s the, 30%, 50%.

Mark: Yeah, it’s really interesting.

Sean: What’s the overall?

Mark: I looked at the stats for 2022 and 2021 and it’s pretty much 50-50, both years.

Sean: Okay.

Mark: And you know, I think that’s the way that we try and capture our leads because we advertise not only new developments, but we also advertise what we call prolific resale developments. So places that have already been established and built and people know them. They may have holidayed there already or they’ve got friends who’ve bought there. So I think that’s mainly because of the marketing that we do. But I’d like to see the figures across the board from a number of agents, because it would be very interesting, and you are right what you say about steering people in certain directions. I mean, when I first arrived on the coast 20 years ago, there used to be, it was almost like a, not a timeshare philosophy, that’s the wrong word, but there was a pattern that we were trained, which was show ’em a few, you know, show a client a few dodgy resales with dodgy kitchens and bathrooms.

Sean: Put offs. Show them the put offs.

Mark: Yeah. And then you take ’em to the new development down the road with the amazing show home and then you sell ’em a bit of fresh air and that’s what you go for, because it looks amazing, it feels amazing, it tastes amazing. Okay, you’ve gotta wait a little bit, but wow, it’s better than those grotty things that you saw half an hour earlier. So those days have gone, predominantly gone, because I think clients now have far more researched than they were 20 years ago. They kind of know where they wanna be, what they wanna do, how much they wanna spend. And they’re often telling us, you know, they’ll say, “What about that development Dominion Beach down the road? I’ve heard about that”. We’re like, “Oh, hang on a minute”. So I think things have moved on and you can’t, well I say you can’t, but I think some agents still do hoodwink clients and sell new stock even though it’s pretty poor.

Sean: Not the right, it’s not the best choice for the client, particular client.

Mark: Yeah. I mean, you know, we have developments for instance, it might be 300,000 for a two bed apartment and it’s not great. It’s in an area like a little bit of wilderness, but five minutes up the road, for the same price, you can buy a fantastic resale apartment on a beautiful development and move in tomorrow. So yeah, you gotta be careful.

Sean: Is there a price difference? I mean, if you were to buy the resale to new, assuming you’ve got new product, which is key in hand, ready to move into, and a similar product that is five years old and has been used, is being sold by a prior owner. I read, I remember a few years ago, seeing some people talking about this unjustifiable premium for new and that you could, I can’t remember exactly what it was, but it was a significant price that you could buy, the resale of course you have to, in many cases, you do some painting or some sort of cosmetic.

Mark: Yeah.

Sean: Because just for preferences, or not. But most of the time there’s this sort of feeling that you have to do something to improve their condition.

Mark: Yeah, it does. I mean there certainly is a new build premium, I think that’s accepted around the world. And normally I would estimate it’s between five and 10% of an identical unit that’s five or 10 years old, which of course is very hard to find an identical unit because a lot of these new developments, they are built for today’s clients. So they tend to have a few more things, like a few more amenities on site. They might have a heated pool, they might have 24-hour security, they might have a co-working space, which adds value to the buying proposition. So although you’re buying the same square meters as the resale in the development next door, you’re actually buying more things that the community can offer. But yeah, I think there’s always a premium for new build. The interesting thing is that if you can secure a property in a new development that’s offered on say, day one, and the prices are genuine, almost like pre-launch prices with a discount, then you can do quite well out of it. I know that Taylor Wimpey, for instance, which is a very well-known UK based house builder, that’s what they do, and they’re very open about it. They’ll say, “Look, we’re gonna be releasing this new development tomorrow. The prices are starting at 300,000 and we’re gonna put the prices up in three months and then again in six months and nine months”. And they do, and so you’ll find, I wish, it was during the pandemic, no it wasn’t, it was during the recession, the 2008 thing, and they had a building a development in San Pedro Alcantara, next to Puerto Banus and they were selling three bed apartments for, I think, 295,000 euros. And now secondhand ones there are selling for 500,000. So they’ve almost doubled in price in 10, 12 years. So, but they’re very open about that. And we say to clients, “Look, if you invest on day one, you’re gonna get the best price”.

Sean: In conclusion, in the Costa del Sol, the new development market, it’s just ticking on, it’s neither going, it sounds like it’s characterized at the moment, if anything, by a certain shortage.

Mark: I think there’s a slight shortage of supply. We thought, and just to go back to what we said last month, we noticed a drop-off in Quarter 4 and I expected that to continue into Quarter 1, but oh no, I’ve been completely surprised. Quarter 1 has started like the first half of last year. We have seen increasing numbers of inquiries. We’ve seen increasing numbers of visits and also sales. So far, we’re just over halfway through the month of January, we’ve had our best January on record in terms of sales numbers and revenue and all, and as I say, normally it’s a 50-50 split, but this month it’s all been new. It’s all been new stock and we’ve sold stuff over the phone, via Zoom and I think what it is, is it’s people who maybe got spooked Quarter 3, Quarter 4, with all the headwinds that were coming our way with the inflation, the cost of living crisis, interest rates. I think people now have kind of got over that shock of those things. And I think the messages from a lot of governments is that, “It’s okay, things are calming down”, and certainly inflation seems to be coming down, interest rates are forecasted to come down. So I think people now are going, “Okay, yeah. We understand, we’re gonna go again”. And that’s what we’re seeing and noticing here on the ground.

Sean: Very good. Well, that’s encouraging.

Mark: Hmm.

Sean: And let’s see, well, it’s early days in this year. Let’s see what happens.

Mark: Yeah.

Sean: But like I said at the beginning, I think that the overall sales figures are trending down.

Mark: Yeah.

Sean: But only trending down in year-on-year terms.

Mark: Yeah.

Sean: They’re still quite near record highs.

Mark: Still high.

Sean: Let’s see where they go. So I was sent a question, which I’ll read to you and see what you say. “If there are more than two interested parties in a property, what happens?” I’m paraphrasing. “I’ve been in the situation once. It seems there’s no mechanism in place to allow a bidding war to take place or even allow any offer above the asking price to try and secure the property. Are there any legal issues or rules to prevent offers over asking price being placed? Or is it simply that agencies want to close the deal to get the commission at the ceiling prices that has already been established?” And a follow-up second part of the question is, “If two buyers both place an offer at the asking price or at a similar price, then what criteria is used to choose who gets the property without discrimination?” And this is specifically in Catalonia, but it has to be the same, there’s no regional Catalan laws that decide, though you can’t offer more than the asking price. It’s free, right? You can offer exactly. You can offer as much as you want.

Mark: You can offer exactly what you want. And we’ve had, we don’t get it often, but we’ve had a couple, three examples of properties that have gone for above asking price, because we had a little bit of an auction situation emerge, which is something as a buyer you don’t wanna get involved in because then you’re gonna be paying, well, you’re gonna be paying a higher price than the asking price. Whether it’s the right price or not is another matter. But if you really want the property and you’ve got the money to do it, then we would always say, “Look, it’s your choice”, and we will always give you a guide on what the property is truly worth, and of course, you know, greed can get in the way, if you’ve got two or three buyers after the same thing. It’s like any auction, isn’t it? If you really want something and you are prepared to pay over the odds, then, yeah, you’ll pay over the odds.

Sean: Well, you’re not paying over the odds. If the vendor is in the happy position of having a queue of people, several people want to buy, then let them fight it out on price.

Mark: Yeah. Because I mean, you can put a deposit down so you can agree. So say for instance, I wanted to buy your house and we agreed a price, I would pay you a reservation deposit normally, and that would fix the deal, give us a little bit of time to look at the legals and all those sorts of things. But if you had a better offer from somebody else, there’s nothing really stopping you from taking that offer. You might, in the contract that we have initially, it might be that, “Hang on a minute, if you sell it from under my nose, then you might have to give me a little penalty”. But if it’s only a few thousand and somebody else is offering you 20,000 more, you’d be absolutely right to take that other offer.

Sean: It might be worth your while taking it.

Mark: Yeah.

Sean: So there’s no legal reason why you can’t offer more than the asking price?

Mark: No.

Sean: That’s the first part of the question.

Mark: No, absolutely.

Sean: And the second part, so what if you get two equal offers, two buyers.

Mark: Yeah.

Sean: Prepared to pay the same amount.

Mark: Yeah.

Sean: And could you be in any position to be accused of discrimination or anything if you go for one rather than the other? If they’re both offering exactly the same amount of money, and I presume sometimes actually you would go for the buyer that looks like the safer option to complete.

Mark: Yes. That’s what normally happens. So I don’t think there’s any bias involved other than which buyer is in the best position and that’s the one I would go with. So I would speak to each agent and say, “Okay, your buyer and your buyer, tell me the situation. Tell me, do they need a mortgage? How long do they want to complete, blah blah, blah, blah, blah”. And the one that sounds like less hassle is the one that I would say, “Yep, it’s yours”.

Sean: Regardless of their race or sex or preferences. I mean, you know, it makes sense. The vendor just wants to get, if you’re selling, that’s the only issue is.

Mark: Yeah.

Sean: Who’s more reliable?

Mark: Yeah. It shouldn’t come into any other matter. The only thing that I would say, and I’m being really honest, is obviously in the current climate, if it’s money coming from Russia, there’s a chance that it might never get out because of the sanctions and various things. So that’s the only thing to really kind of bear in mind. And we’ve had people saying, “Yeah, my client’s Russian, but he’s got money in Dubai” or wherever, still you need to get a lawyer just to check that the money is available for purchase. Otherwise, you could be waiting a long time for that money to be released. So you gotta act a bit smart. But just one little story to tell you before we sign off. I had a lovely client who I’d been working with about two years, no, it was about 18 months, trying to find a really good place and we found somewhere. It was actually in Los Flamingos Golf Resort, lovely place, which I knew really well, I was living there at the time. And I took him to look at this villa and I think it was priced at 1.3 million, I think it was, which wasn’t a bad, sounds a lot of money, it is a lot of money, but it wasn’t a bad price for, in fact it was a very good price for that area. And my client thought, “Yeah”. He took a look at it on a Saturday morning. He said, “I can make this work. This is really good. I really want it” And I said to him, I said, “Well, look, they’ve just had another viewing”. In fact, as we walked in, the other people were coming out, and I said, “I think they’re gonna make an offer”. And we ended up making the same offer on the property as the other clients. And the agent who was listing the property, said, “Look, we don’t want to get into a bunfight here”. The first person to pay 10%”, which is the sum that you would normally pay to sign a private purchase contract, the first person to do that, “And sign contracts, gets the house”. So we transferred over the phone, I think it was 1.2, or sorry, 120,000 into the lawyer’s bank account. Got the lawyer to work on a Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning to get the contract signed. So our client signed the contract, paid 120,000 as a 10% deposit on the final agreed price and flew home thinking, “Great, I’ve just got a really good deal. I’ve paid 10% and I’ve got somebody else out of the way, another buyer who was also after the property”. We get a phone call, the client goes back Sunday night, we get a phone call Monday morning from the lawyer saying, “I’m really sorry, but the other buyer has come back with an offer of 1.4 million and has completely blown everybody out of the water and the owner is minded to accept”. So we’re like, “Well, hang on a minute, because if the owner accepts that other offer, okay, they’re getting another 200,000 euros, but they’ve gotta pay our money back”. Anyway, actually it was more than that. I think they offered 1.5 or 1.6, just blew us out of the water. But what it meant was that the vendor had to return our 120,000 euros and pay us 120,000 euros penalty. And they did. And they did. So my client, for coming to Marbella for a weekend, made 120,000 euros, and he said to me, he said, “Can we do this again next weekend?” But he made 120 grand.

Sean: Yeah.

Mark: For doing nothing, for transferring a bit of money.

Sean: And well, it’s not. It was a lucky break.

Mark: That doesn’t happen.

Sean: It was a lucky break. It doesn’t happen often. And, you know, he wasn’t that in love with the house that it caused him any emotional pain. But it was funny, you know, “Can I come and do this every weekend?” So like, “Yeah, you can if you want”.

Sean: Very good. Well, I hope that answer’s clear. You know, there’s no reason for bidding more and there’s no risk of discrimination because it’s in the vendor’s interest, “We’ll just go with the best looking offer and whoever signs the reservation and pays the deposits the quickest”.

Mark: Yep, absolutely.

Sean: Okay.

Sean: I think it’s also good to remind people who are listening, if you do have any questions to let us know. Our email addresses will be at the foot of this video. So let us know.

Mark: Or put them in the comments.

Sean: Yeah, just let us know if there’s any questions and we can cover them next time as we go through. So yeah, unless there’s anything else, Mark, we should?

Mark: Nope.

Sean: Only five minutes over time.

Mark: We’re getting better.

Sean: So you enjoy yourself and we’ll catch up next month.

Mark: Speak next month, yes.

Sean: Many thanks Mark.

Mark: Thanks then. Bye.

Sean: Cheers. Bye-bye.

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