With the summer holidays in full swing the attraction of a life spent drinking sangria in the Spanish sun can seem all too alluring. And if the recent jaw-dropping prices are to be believed, it is now easier than ever to snap up a bargain. However, as I have shared with you before – owning a holiday home is not as easy and idyllic as it may seem from the glossy magazines.
Before you part with your hard earned cash you need to do your homework and ask the right questions.
But what should you consider before you buy?
I decided to do some research and call Lucas Fox who are experts in the Spanish property market and ask them: What should people consider before buying a property in Spain?
Here are the top ten tips:
1. Like the UK, location is everything. If you buy a built property in an established mature area you will know what is around you and the local area will not suddenly change. In off-plan developments it can be a gamble what the area will be like when complete. Moreover, compromising on a cheap location in a mass-built area can make it more difficult to sell in the long run. Remember you can always improve a property but you cannot move it.
2. Front line and beach view properties have retained much of their value despite the credit crunch. These type of properties rarely go out of fashion due to their location and views. Top locations are always in high demand which means they suffer less in a downturn.
3. Investment off-plan properties are rarely a good investment. Most off-plan projects are sold to investors who have the same idea as you so when the project completes the market gets flooded with re-sales. This means the only way to compete is by selling at a lower price than your neighbours.
4. Check the developer has a licence for the building. You should always employ a good lawyer to check these things for you and avoid buying a property which does not have a licence. There are still quite a few of these buildings around which are in various stages of completion.
5. Research the credentials of any estate agent as not all are registered and have offices which means there will be no comeback if things go wrong. Make sure you do your homework on your estate agent and don’t fall for fast talking, charming salesmen who offer the world.
6. If buying an apartment, make sure the building is solid and the community is in a good financial state. Community charges vary per complex, but well-managed and looked-after communities maintain the value of your property.
7. Think about how and when you are going to use the property – is it mainly a winter sun home or for a holiday rental? A holiday rental will need to be central and within walking distance to the facilities. If it’s a winter sun home, check the changes in the local area between the seasons as in winter the area may be closed up and dead.
8. More time is spent outside of a property in Spain than in the UK so you need to think about the outside area much more, such as access to a pool and gardens and proximity to local facilities. The further you move from the facilities and the coast the cheaper property gets.
9. Factor in the running costs of a holiday home. This can sometimes cost as much as your primary residence even if you don’t stay there as much. Community bills will need to be paid regularly and the villa will still require maintenance works to ensure it remains of a good standard.
10. To make a success of living in Spain you need to spend time learning and getting involved – that means learning to speak Spanish and making an effort to mix with Spanish people.