The lure of a place in the sun has long appealed to people from the UK. After the Covid-19 lockdowns, many people have brought forward plans of a new life soaking up the sun and culture of a place abroad. And Spain is always at the top of people’s holiday home away from home – even post Brexit.
But as with any move, there are some general things to consider before you take the plunge and start living la vida loca.
Sell first – When you’re looking online, it can seem like there are properties that have been sat on the market for several years. You can be lulled into thinking this is the case for all properties. In fact, all you’re seeing is those that are left over. Like the UK, there are many properties that will never make it online. To ensure you don’t miss out, don’t go viewing without being in a position to buy.
Private sellers – ‘For sale by owner’ is something that happens quite infrequently in the UK. However, in Spain, it can be a more common practice. The downside of this is that there isn’t a third party involved to give you facts without emotion. There are plenty of horror stories about promises made and not kept. It’s more often better to go through an established agent.
Unregulated industry – Like the UK, estate agents aren’t regulated in Spain. The difference is that in the UK, estate agents have to be members of the Ombudsman Scheme to ensure the customer is protected. There’s nothing like that in Spain. Unfortunately, this can make it difficult to identify who to trust.
It’s a good sign if the agent has useful, valuable content on their website and social media. Even better if they respond to your enquiries quickly and helpfully. Steer clear of agents who have faded, out-of-date paper posters in the office window or who are slow or unresponsive to your enquiry.
Gestors and lawyers – Unlike the UK, you don’t have to use a solicitor or conveyancer to buy a property. A gestor (pronounced ‘hestor’) is more like an accountant, but they can do the paperwork. They’re a lot cheaper but that’s because they’re not legally trained. It can be appropriate to use a gestor for a straightforward purchase. Lawyers can be more expensive but are the sensible option if your purchase is more complicated.
However, not all lawyers are made equally. Make sure you seek out plenty of local opinions. And make sure you never sign anything that you haven’t seen in English, or your first language.
It can go well – It’s not all doom, gloom, and property pitfalls. Many people successfully move to Spain and avoid falling foul of sun-soaked shysters. It’s just safer to know about the risks before you start the process.
If you’re looking to move abroad, now is a great time to get your property on the market. If you’d like a no obligation chat about your options, give us a call on 01664 566210