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Steps to take while buying your Spanish dreamhouse

Looking before you leap? Read no further and fall into at least one of most popular traps set out for the newly aspiring Spanish home owner. After all you've been around a while and have done pretty well relying on your wits.

Why would you buy a house in Spain

Is it because it's the place of your dreams, is it just about holidays or do you want to settle there permanently one day. If it's because you had a great three week holiday there you might want to think again. This could be the wrong motivation to buy a house or a piece of land.

Everything is different when your on holidays! The sun shines, the sangria taste excellent, your cooking is being done for you, your bed's made and everyone seems friendly. But when you actually live in Spain there'll be rules to keep, just as in England.
You'll be picking up the utilities bill from the doormat each month and you'll have to do shopping regularly, people will only do things for you if you pay them to do so.

Awareness therefore, is rule number one

The region or town

Make sure the climate is suitable all year around and ditto if there are people all year around. In Gerona (half an hour away from the well known seaside town of Rosas) temperatures drop below zero each winter!
Many holiday resorts (including Lloret de Mar) suffer from surplus downpour during the winter months, heavy seas can make beaches virtually disappear. So don't expect sunshine and roses all year around.

The south can be bloody hot, without a drop of rain for three months and extreme temperatures the rule rather then the exception.

Do you have children? Make sure there's a school nearby where Spanish is taught besides English and make sure they don't have to learn some regional dialect like Basque or Catalan.
Proximity to an airport is also important. If you travel by car and you stay in Spain for longer periods of time than it's not really a problem but if you frequently have to make use of a plane it could be helpful if your near an airport.


30% of your total budget should come out of your own means. Mortgage constructions in Spain have not evolved much lately and are for us foreigners, who don't always understand the King's Spanish, not that easy to understand. Make sure you get proper advice and guidance. HipoteCasa can assist you in this but there are plenty good advisors beside us as well. Ask around, don't just jump into the deep with anyone.

Scanning the web looking for that "right" location

A photo can paint a pretty picture, but you cannot assume that that's what you get to see when you go there in person. The pool for instance can look perfectly blue on the picture but filthy in reality because the pump is broken.
What would you do if you tried to sell something through the Internet? You photograph the best spots, making sure you miss the cracks and holes. Look for estate agents and websites where people advertise their homes themselves.

Mail the estate agents, and don't let them fool you, they'll always try to put pressure on you by telling you you're not the only one interested. You could tell them you've seen the property for sale for some time now, if they don't say anything to that in response you can start trying to bring down the price, if they respond with indignation you'll know that you're one of the first people to have spotted the property.

Always look over at least three houses and do this preferably twice. The first time what will impress you most will be the outside and the surroundings, the second time the inside. The same goes for the downsides of the property. They're also easily overlooked in a single visit.

Looking the place over with your own advisor

We briefly touched on this before. The photo is only a starting point. There's a well proven technique used in Spain I run into from time to time. Youíre being picked up by the estate agent in an uncomfortably small car that is to leave you with the impression that's he is not all about money.
This company car is part of the standard toolkit of many estate agents. Next he'll drive you around a bit. You feel uncomfortable because it's hot in the vehicle and it has no airco or it happens to be broken.

Once you're at the house you're glad to get out, you feel partly numb. The lady accompanying the estate agent is about 25, speaks good English and is extremely charming to the husband.

A purchase broker can setup meetings for you (usually with different estate agents) and accompany you when you're looking places over. You'll only see the houses you chose, the purchase broker has no interest in playing tricks or which house you will buy. He's being paid anyway.


Well, if you found something and decide you want it, you'll have to bid. Always ask (hipotecasa for instance) beforehand what the local price per square meter of land is. Also check at realtors if they have a lot of property to offer or if they're screaming for lots.

You'll be well prepared.

Your advisor can do the negotiations for you, he knows the local customs but be careful. The opposition does not appreciate anyone interfering with the price who does not need to buy the house himself. They'll always find a way to address you personally. Even though you're mad about the place make sure you don't show this, the emotional Spaniard will sniff this out, after all that's what they're like themselves.

Reservation, the option

When you've agreed upon a price you're expected to pay a few thousand euros of down payment to the sellerís agent. This will give you the time to do some research. You also need to arrange the financing, taxation and consider aspects like local town planning and the general state of the house.
This down payment is not refundable in case you won't or can't take the place. That in itself is not unreasonable as the seller has had no opportunity to attract other buyers, he may even have had to turn others away.

The contract

In general the contract will be drawn up within three weeks of the reservation, it will contain a complete list of every obligation required by both parties. At the signing of the contract a sum of 10% of the purchase price is to be paid to the old owner.
Next the legal representative or agent of the seller shall together with your agent determine which outstanding debts and possible legal claims rest on the property.

The deed

Regarding already existing houses the transfer will take place within three months, where after the deed will be entered into the register by a notary. If a mortgage has been taken out a representative of the bank will also be present, quite often this is the estate agent acting on behalf of the bank. During this procedure you'll also get to know who gets the commission from your mortgage.

When all parties are in agreement and there are no further obstacles the transfer could of course take place much earlier. Another thing that could happen is that you're offered 20 of 30.000 euro in cash in order to leave the transfer of the deed to a much later date, like in the following new year for instance.

On the other hand when it comes to a new house delivery could take a lot longer, up to two years is no exception in projects where the soil has yet to be prepared. The ground needs to be made level, they may have to dig in stone as water gas and electricity lines have to be laid, a driveway has to be installed a garage site prepared.
You're expected to make a down payment of 25 to 50%, depending on how far the building process is along. Remember that your not the only one who has to present a bank guarantee, the builders have to do this as well. If they happen to go bankrupt you do have the assurance that your house will be finished.

The actual transfer

On the day of the actual transfer of the property it's wise to walk through the house and ask if all existing keys are present. That's not always foremost on the sellers mind and he might tell you he'll bring any remaining by later.
It's not unusual for an aunt or a child to have a remaining set and that's not what you want. See if everything works. Are the gas bottles still there and is everything else you expect to be present actually there. Once you've signed it's pretty much over and really difficult to get what you want as the seller already has his money.

Always take into account that you're a foreigner buying from a Spaniard. Not everyone is the same, when you make use of a gestor, lawyer estate agent you'll limit the risks but avoid having to say afterwards: "if only I knew".

Find a professional, it's more than worth the investment and on the purchase price of real estate in Spain it's a 100% worth it.

Never say in hind view: "I just didn't know!"

HipoteCasa will enable you to look before you leap and save you from expensive mishaps!

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