Practical tips for buying in Spain
1. Are you are eligible to buy a property in Spain?
Are you a UK buyer in Spain? While Spain has long been a popular country for overseas property hunting Brits, the UK’s decision to leave the EU has created a slight degree of uncertainty over whether the process will be as straightforward in the near future. Many non-Europeans do currently buy property in Spain, and there are no barriers to non-European property investment – although they are often seen as higher risk. It is certainly unlikely that the Spanish authorities are going to want to lose British property buyers, who have long provided such an economic shot in the arm for the country.
2. Why do you want to buy a property?
Are you looking for a holiday home? A property with investment potential? An abode to live in at a later date? Your own individual reason for your property purchase should play a huge part in your investment decision. If you’re looking for a property with investment potential, research which areas have property markets that have performed consistently well in previous years.
Check out whether there are any events happening that could lead to increased demand for property, such as major sporting tournaments.
Likewise, if you are seeking a holiday home, take a look at the average climate for the area in which you wish to buy. Research the weather closely and look for any surprising changes that can occur throughout the year. Try to find out exactly how busy your desired location is during both peak and off-peak season. Speak to family, friends and your contacts in the area as well as using relevant websites.
3. Can you live legally in Spain?
If you are looking for a permanent home in Spain, you will need to check that you are allowed to stay in the country. EU residents from any member state have the automatic right to reside in the country. However, with the UK set to leave the EU in March 2019, there is no guarantee that British citizens will be allowed to stay in Spain indefinitely under the Freedom of Movement Act – as is currently the case. British property buyers in Spain may conceivably need to apply for a visa to remain and a Blue Card to work in Spain. Preference to EU citizens in terms of job opportunities may also be exercised, so much is likely to depend on the outcome of the exit negotiations as to how British people will find themselves placed for staying in Spain for the foreseeable future.
It’s worth noting that Spain operates a Golden Visa scheme, whereby non-EU nationals who purchase a home worth more than 500,000 Euros are automatically granted a residency visa.
4. Can you check out the area first?
While the internet is undoubtedly an invaluable tool for research, there is nothing quite like checking out an area for yourself. A fact-finding trip is almost essential prior to purchasing a home. You can see for yourself what the neighbourhood is actually like; get a feel for the place; check out how close it is to the local amenities and public transport.
Also think about what you would look for in a property from checking out who your neighbours might be to assessing noise levels and pollution.
It’s important to remember that just because a real estate agency may say that the house is located minutes away from the beach, doesn’t mean it definitely will be. It’s the agency’s job to make the property look good.
5. How much can you afford?
It’s important to have an idea in your mind of how much your property will cost – in total – and how you will be paying for it. A clear idea of budget helps you set specific goals and will mean you can make the most of any funds you have available to you to find the right property. It’s important to remember that buying property in Spain could mean you will have to exchange your currency to Euros, which – given the weakness of the Pound since 2016’s Brexit announcement and the market uncertainty as Brexit negotiations continue – is something you will need to keep an eye on. Currency markets move all the time and are very sensitive to political and economic events – something that seems to be making the headlines constantly these days. As exchange rates move so quickly, it’s important to understand the impact this can have on the price of your property and to protect any currency exchanges you make while currency markets are in flux. With this in mind, it is worth speaking to currency specialists such as Halo Financial, to find you the best available rates and monitor the currency markets for you.
6. Have you thought about the additional costs?
Beware additional charges when purchasing a property in Spain. You should generally allow around 10-15 per cent of the purchase price to cover all taxes and fees. Never buy a property in Spain without seeking legal advice first.