Buying a Property | The Buying Process
Ok so you have been thinking of moving to Spain either researching or holidaying there for a while and you are now intent on purchasing a property. The best way forward is to make a plan.
The first thing that you must do is ask yourself questions to establish your personal criteria. So start by thinking about and writing down the answers to the following questions. You need to discover what’s most important to you about your move to Spain, to make the very best of your valuable time when you come to view.
What are your buying options?
Are you seeking to relocate permanently?
Or will this be a dream holiday home?
Are you looking for an unbeatable investment?
It is best to know from the start. Although you may change your mind later.
Which are your preferred areas?
Where do you want to be?
Do you love the sea or the country?
Do you want to be in a town or a city?
Do you already have a preference?
Are you not sure?
We are happy to discuss with you the advantages and disadvantages of each area. Deciding where you want to be is probably the best place to start. We can provide you with detailed information on each area. We are happy to show you around different areas to help you decide on the best place to settle. Again when you arrive you may change your mind if you have not been here before this is normal procedure.
What property type will suit you best?
What type of property do you envisage yourself living or staying in?
Is it an apartment or contemporary new villa?
A country finca or village townhouse?
Or do you want to keep your options open?
A B&B or an equestrian facility?
We’re here to help with every request. We are happy to show a selection of each to discover which your preference is. Remember in reality the properties are normally slightly different to the pictures on the internet.
Have you decided on a budget?
Have you established a budget?
Is it flexible or set in stone?
Do you require finance?
We endeavour to provide you with properties that offer great value for money. We will negotiate the best price for you and arrange finance where necessary.
What are your needs and wishes?
What do you expect and desire from your new home?
What are your own individual requirements?
Is a pool a must?
Walking distance to bars and shops?
Stables for horses?
Do want to reform an old property?
Or do you want brand new or off plan?
Or is livable for now and do up gradually a consideration for you?
Do you require panoramic views?
We will take all of these expectations into account and choose properties to view with these requirements in mind.
Once you have a written guide to your personal criteria you are ready to start looking.
You will need to find a knowledgeable real estate agent to work with….
Of course, we would love to hope that you give us a try first as we will do all of the searches on your behalf once we have your criteria. We have access to all of the live properties available and can request paperwork to check the legalities and other important issues such as water and electric connections and check the registrations of the properties. Your lawyer will do all of these checks for you once you find a property that you would like to purchase but we can save you time and heartache by narrowing it down beforehand and providing you with suitable properties to view.
Other options are searching portals and other agent’s websites. You will find that you keep seeing the same properties where ever you are looking as all agents share properties that are on the market.
You will need to Source a reputable independent lawyer that is experienced in the type of property that you are purchasing.
You can look online or we can provide you with lists of reputable local lawyers in the areas that you are looking.
If you require a mortgage you will need to meet with a Spanish bank or finance company.
We recommend that you try https://www.fluentfinanceabroad.com
Before you send any money to Spain you will need to sign up with a currency transfer company.
There are many currency companies and it is best to look at which ones are giving the best rates at the time that you are about to purchase.
Your viewing schedule
If you live here in Spain we can normally arrange viewings for you with 24hours notice.
If you are coming from abroad then you need to set a date for when you are coming to investigate the areas and properties.
Are you all set and ready have you been researching and scouring the internet and now have a refined list of prospects to see?
Or would you prefer us to tailor a range of options and appointments to view based on our experience of your preferred areas and property types?
Get your flights booked and arrange accommodation. Let us know in advance so that we can set up all of the viewings for you on your favourite properties and introduce you to any service providers that you may need.
We can help with flights and accommodation bookings in our area if need be. Call Victoria Monkhouse on 01268 941 086
Customer service is important to us, after sales advice and care, we are always available today, tomorrow and long after you have moved into your new home.
Property Management and general services
Seeking holiday rental income?
Want help with your cleaning?
Is it a gardener or pool maintenance you need?
Wish to consult an Architect?
Want to talk to a Builder?
Need a Landscape Gardener or Interior Decorator?
We know where to turn. We can recommend reputable service professionals.
By the end of your viewing trip ideally, we will of have found you your dream property. So if you are in a position to go ahead then the buying process begins.
The Buying Process
So let us start from the beginning… Just so you are aware of the basic buying process before you go any further. I will be helping you with your search for a property as explained above.
Once you have found a property that you like and decided that you want to go ahead and make an offer on a property I will forward the offer on your behalf. You can offer whatever you feel is comfortable for you and your personal circumstances but I will advise you based on feedback that I already have from the vendors. Be aware that Spanish vendors are not normally as open to offers as other nationalities. Some vendors may have mortgages on the properties and will need to cover their costs.
Due to the crisis from 2007 onwards, many vendors will already have reduced their asking prices by up to 50% of the price that they may have paid.
A general rule of consensus is to offer between 5-10% less than the asking price. Though every case is different. Some vendors will only accept the asking price.
At this point, it is normal to state any requirements as to what is to be included in the purchase such as furniture etc.
After negotiations and on the agreement of a figure for the purchase between yourselves and the vendor it is normal in Andalucia to sign a reservation and deposit contract that is first checked by your lawyer and to then to place a reservation deposit of either € 3000 or € 6000 depending on the price agreed and the requirements of the agents involved.
In most cases, this money is transferred or paid to the lawyer acting on your behalf. It will then be held in an escrow account or passed on to the agent or developer when your lawyer is satisfied that the paperwork is correct. Once the vendor has signed this contract they are obliged to remove the property from the market. Some contracts have penalties in place others do not you will need to check with your lawyer.
You can request that the contract is subject to certain conditions such as: subject to a mortgage approval or subject to a survey etc.
When the property is reserved for you then your lawyer will start all the searches and check the documents to make sure that the property is owned by the said vendor, is duly registered and legal. That there are no debts or charges on the property, the catastral value and the services that are in place.
It is often helpful for you to provide the lawyer with as much information about the property as possible such as information from the agent and photos.
An inventory of what is included in the sale can be drawn up at this point and added to the contract.
In many circumstances, little things come to light at this stage that can in most cases be rectified between the lawers. It is important to use a reputable lawyer that is experienced in the type of property that you are purchasing.
This process takes about 2 weeks in general. If a mortgage offer is necessary it can take up to 6 weeks as a bank valuation will be required.
Once the lawyer is satisfied with all the correct paperwork he will prepare a private purchase contract to be signed at the notary. This is the binding contract in which both parties agree to the sale/purchase of the property. Both parties agree on a date of completion – which can be anywhere between 1 to 4 months in general. At this point, the purchaser pays the vendor 10% of the agreed purchase price minus the reservation deposit.
Finally, on the agreed date for completion, the new title deed is signed upon completion in front of the Public Notary and the keys are handed over. If you have applied for a mortgage the mortgage title deed will also be signed in front of the Public Notary upon completion.
Your lawyer will then ensure all of the following:
Register both title deeds with the Land Registry
Pay the Public Notary fee
Pay the Public Land Registry fee
Pay the legal taxes at Malaga Tax Office
Set up all necessary direct debits and standing orders from your new bank account in Spain
Set up utility contracts, local taxes, rubbish in your name
For an extra fee, you can request a Spanish will but discuss this with your lawyer.
The above information is just a general idea of what happens from my experience. For full legal advice, you will be able to have a consultation free of charge in most cases with the lawyer of your choice before you make any commitments or sign anything.
The type of contract for a new build or off plan property is slightly different:
Once you choose the new home you want to buy, the first thing the developer will ask you is to leave a deposit, usually € 6,000 – € 10,000 which will be taken off the final purchase price. The agreement should be subject to preliminary legal checks, mortgage loan availability on the property and a building survey, the deposit should be returned if there are problems. Check with your lawyer before reserving a unit.
New build payment schedules
Reservation Deposit: € 6,000 – € 10,000
Down Payment: Usually 30%
Balance in instalments or upon building completion