Admit it, you too have thought it. When reading the newspaper or when your tax bill arrives on the doormat. “Foert, that they all kiss my *censored*. I’m packing up and leaving for Spain.”
And why not? Buying real estate in Spain is undoubtedly a wiser investment than leaving your pennies on the train of inertia called “your savings account,” guaranteed to be the slowest way to never get rich.
And Spanish real estate is more than an investment. A first or second home also allows you to get to know the best of the country. We don’t have to tell you that Spain has a lot to offer.
But, of course, it remains easier said than done. You don’t buy a villa, house or apartment like a kilo of potatoes at the farmer’s market. We would like to help you realize your dream. Therefore, we have compiled the following list of golden tips.
1-The right location is vital
It’s an easy mistake to make: thinking that in Germany they drink big mugs of beer everywhere while chattering on their Lederhosen-clad thighs. But: Bavaria is not Germany.
Similarly, it would be a blunder to assume that all of Spain is hot and sunny and near a beach. You may be so deceived and will frequently curse – in Spanish or otherwise – as you search in vain for the thermostat of your little apartment in Galicia.
Therefore, it is crucial to decide in advance where you want to buy. List your wants and needs as precisely as possible. Consider climate, facilities, accessibility, neighbors and other things you care about.
Based on that wish list, you can choose one or more regions to consider. If you love the big city, don’t look for a house in the countryside. If you want to get to Belgium quickly, check neighboring airports and available flights.
Location is at least as important as region. No matter how beautiful a villa is, the neighborhood around it will define your life all the more. Analyze day and night, summer and winter conditions. Does the neighborhood have everything you need? In particular, the necessary stores, coffee houses, restaurants and bars are important to many.
Can that beautiful sea view ever be ruined by new flats in front? Don’t take anything for granted. If it is among your options, then it is a good idea to rent something nearby for a while. Matter of making sure you feel at home.
2-Make sure your budget is right
Unless your name is Marc Coucke, a residence in Spain is not a minute investment. Therefore, you should budget as precisely as possible. It is not only important to know how much Spanish real estate costs, but also how much extra cost you should count on. How much should you pay for the services of specialists? How much for registration fees, other legal fees, commissions and so on?
The cost of a residence depends largely on its location: a flat overlooking the sea is obviously more expensive than one in the deep interior of Spain. It is best to count 13 to 15 percent for additional administrative costs and all kinds of taxes.
Also consider maintenance costs, taxes on rental income, electricity, water, gas and additional community costs. The better you have your finances in order, the less likely you are to encounter unpleasant surprises.
Ask yourself the question: what is available for my budget?
Realism is a beautiful virtue in this. Of course, you dream of a villa with fifteen bedrooms, a living room so spacious you could play rugby in it and a driveway on which a Boeing could land. But again: unless you belong to the happy few – hello Marc! – it will have to be more modest.
To estimate how far you can aim within your budget, it is best to assess the situation on site. By visiting properties, you will get an idea of what is for sale for what amount. Of course, talking to people who have
have eaten cheese of Spanish real estate. See also item 5.
Don’t hurt yourself. It makes no sense to condemn yourself to choco sandwiches for life just to be able to afford a fancier apartment anyway. If only because it would be a shame to deprive yourself of the delights of Spanish cuisine. Fortunately, Spanish housing can be found for almost any budget these days.
3-Think about reletting and selling
Even if you plan to live out your old age with a view of the Mediterranean, it’s smart to buy with the intention of selling back. After all, you never know, chances are it will come to pass at some point. Therefore, you should consider the possible advantages and disadvantages of the pulp you have your eye on.
Unless there comes a time when humanity collectively stops sunbathing, there will always be a demand for an apartment on the Costa Blanca. While it is more likely to be a more difficult task to sell a house in a run-down village far inland Spain. Let alone make a firm profit on it.
Location is not the only factor in resale opportunities. Even if one bedroom is enough for you, most families aim for two or three. Even if you still walk briskly up the stairs, older buyers prefer an elevator. And you may still have a good intention to do all your travel by public transportation, but most potential buyers appreciate a parking space in front of the door.
We are not suggesting that these factors are all-important or that you should place other people’s wishes above your own. However, that when in doubt between two homes, it is best to choose the one that is easiest or most expensive to sell.
Almost all of the above also applies to buyers who plan to re-rent your residence periodically.
4-Take your time
Unless you feel like an ice cold wet suit and a
, going overnight is never a good idea. Do your research thoroughly, delve into the real estate market and the Spanish buying process. After all, quite a lot of money is involved.
Never be rushed by the seller. Whatever he claims: it is never “now or never. It is better to miss an opportunity than to buy a fiasco. Because that outside opportunity will come along again – especially in Spain, where the real estate market is rife with outside opportunities. But you are stuck with that fiasco.
We do understand – with real estate it is sometimes like with love. Sometimes you are so smitten that you lose perspective and start doing stupid things. Then it is difficult to distance oneself, it seems like he or she is the only one. But usually it is not.
That said, you must also recognize the right moment when it presents itself. If you are so fond of a property that you can’t get it out of your mind, then – again as in love – there is no other option: you have to go for it rock hard.
But preferably with the following point in mind:
5-Let specialists assist you
A Spanish proverb reads:
“Más ven cuatro ojos que dos.”
Literally translated: four eyes are better than two. And so it totally is. More so: six, eight or 10 see even more.
After all, buying in Spain is not the same as buying in Belgium. Despite the efforts of the government, malpractice still happens there and there are still organizations that pocket unwitting foreigners. They sell illegally built houses or residential property that is in debt. Or houses that require a lot of investment, for example, because there are hidden defects.
Therefore, it is extremely important that you partner with people you can trust, people who do their work with pride and who have your best interests at heart. First and foremost, a lawyer and a reliable real estate agent.
The importance of attorney and broker
Get an independent lawyer who speaks Dutch. And involve him early in the buying process. An attorney can figure out if the seller has the rights to sell the residence, if there are debts attached to the property and if the owner can produce the proper paperwork. If necessary, he makes the necessary inquiries with the local government.
Have all the paperwork translated and be sure you understand everything. Just because you can
can order on a terrace in Torremolinos that you also grasp the legal terms in the fine print of your purchase contract.
A good real estate agent can save you a lot of time and effort. Compare him to a wine merchant, a specialist you can hire to make a preselection based on your preferences. After that, when tasting, you should not let the entire wine cellar pass by, but only the wines that suit your taste. It’s the same with houses: a real estate agent knows the market and knows which homes fit your needs.
Ideally, you should choose a broker who specializes in your region of preference and has experience selling to Belgians. Of course, you can opt for a Spanish real estate agent, but in practice, communicating then does not always turn out to be simple. Not to mention certain cultural differences in terms of doing business, which sometimes lead to misunderstandings.
On that front, you are in the clear at Gold Estates. Is it starting to stink a little too hard here for your own praise? Contact us without obligation and give us a chance to prove ourselves.