The combination of the Spanish property market reaching its lowest prices, the strength of the Sterling against the Euro, and the desire to escape the British weather has seen a real surge in the number of Britons looking to buy their dream home in Spain. In this two part article series Keystone’s Spanish lawyer, Susana Lajusticia, shares her top tips for purchasing a property in the popular holiday hotspot.
Making the decision to buy a home in Spain is not one that you’re likely to make often. Whilst buying property abroad can be one of the most exciting experiences, it can also be daunting. Therefore, it is important that you take the right steps in the lead-up to signing on that dotted line. Without feeling pressurised!
The most useful tip to remember is to take your time and do your homework before you embark on your Spanish journey. But there are also a number of other pointers to consider.
1. Decide the area where you want to purchase: mainland Spain or a coastal location?
Spain is a huge country with traditions and offerings in each area. It is therefore important that you consider the area where you wish to look for Spanish properties. As well as the sun, Spain offers many cultural traditions, sports, country life, beach life, and city life. And you definitely want to consider all these offerings.
2. Would you like to buy in a British ex-pat area or mix with the natives?
Another very important point to consider is whether you want to mix with the Spanish natives, adopt their traditions and lifestyle or whether you would rather look for British nationals’ areas where you can make friends and socialise as you would do back in the UK.
3. Consider off-plan properties or new properties from a developer and second-hand properties
This is a very important point to consider. Not as many off-plan properties are being currently built in Spain as they have been in the past. The stock of new properties already built that have not yet been sold by developers is considerable and, according to various market studies, the second-hand property market seems to be the one offering low prices and real opportunities. It is a very personal choice; however, do consider all the options as you might have a nice surprise!
4. Explore the area and different towns nearby
You might fall in love with an area, and once you do it is worth exploring nearby towns as they might have lots to offer and you may find that a town that was not originally in your mind could indeed be the one that you finally go for.
5. Check for amenities/services and visit the area at different times of the year
This is very important. A town may look very vibrant in the summer months but could be deserted during the autumn and winter months! It would very much depend on your plans and the use that you intend to get out of your Spanish property. If you want to spend more than the summer months there, you might want to make sure that you do not feel isolated, although others might indeed like that idea!
6. Allow approximately an additional 10–12% to cover costs related to the purchase and taxes
New properties are taxed differently to second-hand properties. A property that is sold by a developer will attract Spanish VAT and stamp duties, whilst an existing property that is sold by its existing owner (second-hand) will only attract Spanish transfer tax. Additional costs will be notarial and land registry fees in Spain plus those of your independent Spanish lawyer, survey fees, NIEs, etc.
7. Seek independent legal advice from a Spanish lawyer
This is a very important point. The purchase of your Spanish property will be one of your life’s most important investments. So, naturally, you want to get this right. The Spanish system is very different to the UK system and you will need to appoint and engage the services of a Spanish lawyer who can advise you independently throughout the transaction. You may be recommended a lawyer, but it’s imperative that you choose one who is independent and not tied to any agent, developer or other party involved in the transaction.
Another important consideration is whether you want to appoint a lawyer who works for a Spanish firm or whether you want to appoint a Spanish lawyer who works for a UK firm. Many clients will decide to appoint a UK firm of solicitors as this gives them peace of mind. They know the service that they can expect from a UK firm of solicitors and they also know that their lawyer will not only be qualified in Spain but also in the UK, which widens the spectrum of the advice that they can receive. Also, the lawyer will be familiar with the UK system, which avoids unnecessary gaps or that ‘lost in translation’ feeling.
To read part 2 of this series, please click here.
Contact our Spanish lawyer, Susana Lajusticia, for an initial free consultation and see how we might be of assistance on:
Tel: 07400 914 407 or 020 7152 6550
This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. Please note that the law may have changed since the date of this article.