Buying a Spanish home is no longer the domain of the rich or criminal fraternity. The popularity and proliferation of programmes and magazines extolling the virtues of Spanish lifestyle, coupled with the UK property boom in the early 2000’s and cheaper Spanish property prices means many people now have the means to buy a second home – something which, only a few years ago, was inconceivable.
Traditionally the older generation came to Spain to retire or live during the winter months. Now, though, the sands have shifted and many younger families are making a permanent move here, realising the great benefits to living in Spain, warmer climate, healthier living, better for bringing up children to name but a few.
Buying a property in your own Country is a complex and sometimes frustrating undertaking and, second to going through a divorce, is reckoned to be the most stressful thing you can go through. Add to that a different culture, language and process and what you have is a recipe for disaster.
Buying a home in Spain is no more risky than buying one in your own Country. Your investment is secure, there is likely to be a long term growing market and the process is straightforward, if not a little long winded. However there are some pitfalls which can cost you lots of money if you are not careful.
It is quite incredible but many people coming to Spain leave common sense behind, get carried away by the thrill of buying a new home in a new country and forget basics that they wouldn’t dream of at home. Such things as
1. using a solicitor
2. carrying out due diligence before buying a property
3. researching the area they are looking to live in, or the zone they are going to buy in
4. accepting what someone tells you as gospel
They then wonder why there are problems later or why the house they bought that was so idyllic and cheap is not acceptable because it is miles away from anywhere.
So how do you reduce the chances of mistakes and make the process as seamless as possible?
It is really very simple. Most of the things that can and do go wrong – do so because a lack of attention to detail or lack of knowledge on behalf of one of the parties. So the basic answer to Spanish Magazine this is two fold:
1. Arm yourself with knowledge.
Ask yourself this question. If you had EUR100,000 to invest in stocks and shares and a salesman told you that he had a sure fire winner – would you invest without a further thought – or would you find out a bit more about the company from independent sources? Incredibly people give more thought to the selection of their car than they do to buying their home in Spain.
Understanding how the process works is a fundamental step in any situation in life – so why should it be any different when buying a property in a foreign country. By knowing what you should be doing, even if someone else is doing it for you, you can easily spot when things start to go wrong and ensure they quickly get back on track. If nothing else there is a certain comfort in knowing what is going on instead of being at the behest of others. More importantly you don’t leave yourself wide open to being taken for a ride by unscrupulous people who prey on the lack of knowledge of foreigners (usually other foreigners I hasten to add)
2. Find someone to help you through the process
Someone with local knowledge and an understanding of the processes involved. Someone who can speak the language – it is surprising how many Estate Agents in Spain don’t bother to learn even the most rudimentary of Spanish. Most important of all make sure that person is acting on YOUR behalf.