With house prices offering good value for money and a thriving expat community it’s not surprising that Spain is still one of the most popular choices for Brits when purchasing properties abroad. Read our guide below to see all the stages involved and handy tips to consider when buying a property in Spain.
Costa del Sol – Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) is one of the most well know regions in Spain thanks to 100 miles of stunning coastline and around 300 days of sunshine a year.
Costa del Sol is home to Malaga and Marbella.
Malaga has an international airport, making the region easy to access. The Costa del Sol is full of culture, quaint villages and good food. Prices are not cheap in this region due to its popularity.
View properties for sale in Costa del Sol
Costa Blanca – Costa Blanca extends along Spain’s eastern coastline with over 125 miles of stunning coastline and marvelous weather.
The northern part is less developed and more expensive and is home to towns such as Benidorm, which has been popular with British property buyers for holiday houses and permanent homes since the 1950s.
The southern part is more resort based and has the highest proportion of British expats in Spain. Due to this, properties are more affordable in this area.
Costa Brava – This rocky and relatively unspoiled coastline with stunning sandy coves is situated to the north of Barcelona, Spain’s second largest city.
With close proximity to France, it is easy to access from the UK.
This region is popular with foreign buyers and can be expensive.
The Balearics – The Balearics consist of the islands of Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera.
The islands all have a mix of beautiful beaches, sunshine, and charming old towns. They are a popular holiday destination and there are properties to cater for any budget.
View properties for sale in Balearic Islands
The Canary Islands – The Canary Islands are a group of 7 inhabited volcanic islands off the coast of North West Africa.
Providing winter sun the most popular of the islands are Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote.
Property prices can be quite reasonable, depending on where you look, but the demand is high.
Murcia/Costa Calida – The hottest and driest corner of Spain.
Murica, also known as the Garden of Spain’ it is is more affordable and less developed than the Costa del Sol.
The region has many golf resorts and is popular with the British market.
View properties for sale in Murcia
Almeria – Almeria is not as well-known or as developed as the Costa del Sol, but has more of a Spanish charm due to the number of farmhouses and villages present in this region.
The region has a central airport, quiet hillside villages and lively beaches making it an ideal holiday destination for families and couples.
Costa de la Luz – This region is famous for its white sandy beaches and clear blue skies, making it a popular tourist area.
However, due to the lack of marketing to British buyers, the area is not as developed as some of the other popular regions.
+Search online for your propertyStarting a property search is normally an exciting time, as you get to know a new area and see what sort of properties are available. But it can quickly turn to frustration if you if you are using a number of local estate agents’ websites to co-ordinate your search.
Property portals are a fantastic way to search a particular region or area using specific criteria to get a full overview of what is available on the market – all in one place. Most real estate agents have both their own website as well as listing on large property portals so you won’t miss out.
Property portals have thousands of listings from estate agents, developers and private sellers, giving you a wide range of properties and sellers to choose from. By using the search features to narrow down your search and help you find properties that you are interested in, This will give you a selection which meets your desired property requirements, ensuring that your time isn’t wasted with properties that don’t match your criteria.
Foremost Property Group is a property portal with over 75,000 listings worldwide from credible estate agents, developers and private sellers. Established in 2007 to help estate agents find buyers for their properties by giving their properties exposure to buyers on a larger scale. Year upon year the number of properties on our website is increasing as more local estate agents use our portal.
This benefits you as the buyer, as you have a greater range to search through and choose from.
+Do your research
There is so much you need to consider when purchasing a property abroad. A good starting point is to consider the following three questions.
- Where do you want to buy?
- What are you looking for in a property?
- What is your budget?
To decide where you want to buy it is highly advisable that you visit the property during the peak and off-peak season. Not only will you see how busy it gets during the peak season you will also be able to experience what the weather is like year-round.
Once you have narrowed down your search to a specific area you will need to decide on the things that you must have in a property, things that you would like to have, and things that you do not want to have in a property. As well as visiting the property during the day it is also worth going past it in the evening to see if there are any local bars or nightclubs that produce noise that would put you off buying the property.
In terms of setting a budget, as a guide the costs associated with purchasing in Spain are 10-15% of the purchase price. Also consider ongoing costs such as property maintenance and community charges when purchasing property in a residential development.
+Don’t be pressured into a quick purchaseSpain is notorious for unscrupulous estate agents who can put an intense amount of pressure on prospective buyers to make an offer immediately after a viewing. Many estate agents offer ‘inspection trips’ with freebies such as reimbursing the cost of flights or a free night in a resort if you agree to buy. Some agents try and prey on the politeness and properness of many Brits who don’t like to say no and get pressured into such an important decision. While these viewing trips may be a good way to initially see a property, you shouldn’t feel that you are letting down an estate agent if you don’t make an offer. It may be one of the biggest decisions of your life and it is well within your rights to either delay the decision or to let the agent know that you are not interested in their properties. Stay strong and only make an offer on a property once you have all the facts and you feel well informed to make a decision.
+Speak to expatsThere’s no better way of finding out about living in a foreign country then speaking to someone who has been there and done that. Expats are a fantastic source of knowledge and can tell you both the highlights and pitfalls of purchasing in the part of Spain that you are considering. Although you can get a good overview of a location by visiting it, or even renting there, it is often the detailed purchasing advice and recommendations from expats that is the most valuable.
The first hand advice from someone who has successfully made the transition can be found not just through face to face meetings, but also via a number of expat forums, blogs and publications that are filled with information and the experiences of others.
+Prepare to apply for a mortgageBefore you apply for a mortgage it is highly advisable that you open a bank account in Spain as soon as possible so that you can cover your deposit when you sign the first contract. You will also need it later on to pay bills and taxes.
There are fees and costs associated with taking out a mortgage in Spain such as the bank arrangement fee which ranges from 1-2% of the loan amount. A property valuation is also required by the lender before they approve the loan and the cost is paid for by the buyer.
Mortgages are available from all major Spanish banks for both Spanish residents and non-residents. There are also a number of foreign banks operating in Spain that offer mortgages. In general these take up to 6 weeks to arrange. Make sure that whoever you use to provide a loan in Spain, they are authorised with the Bank of Spain.
The other option is that you remortgage your UK property to get a sterling mortgage.
When choosing between a euro loan and a sterling loan, be sure to take into account all costs, fees, interest rates and possible currency fluctuations. Whatever option you chose Foremost Currency Group can work with you to see how you can reduce any exchange-rate risks.
+Buy from a trustworthy estate agentWith no real estate qualifications required and barriers to entry low, there are many dishonest real estate agents operating in Spain with little experience of the local area and the local market.
Don’t be afraid to ask a number of questions when you first contact an estate agent about both the properties you have found but also about themselves. These could include questions such as ‘how long have you have been operating for in Spain?’ and ‘how long have you lived in the area for?’.
‘What are your commission levels?’ or ‘how is your commission structured?’ are questions that an estate agent may not wish to answer as some agents charge commissions at levels as high as 35%.
Before you even view a property make a call on whether the estate agent that it representing it is going to be reliable, honest, enthusiastic and helpful.
The estate agents that advertise on Foremost Property Group meet our agency criteria and are viewed as credible estate agents to use. If you find that this is not the case please contact us and we will investigate them on your behalf.
+Get yourself a good lawyerAlthough you don’t need to understand Spanish to buy a property in Spain it is highly advisable that you get yourself an English speaking lawyer who specialises in property law and conveyancing to guide you through the process. The role of the lawyer is to ensure that all due diligence is conducted, that they highlight any concerns and in many cases to hold your hand from the time of the offer to the signing of the title deed.
Many estate agents will recommend lawyers to you, but is advisable to hire a lawyer who is independent from your estate agent or property developer to ensure that there is no underhandedness. Your lawyer is there to protect your interests at all times.
The local British Embassy or consulate will have a list of English speaking lawyers Lawyers as does the UK Foreign Office. All lawyers are regulated by the Ilustre Colegio de Abogados.
Make sure that any advice the lawyer gives to you is put in writing – this could serve to protect you in the future.
+Learn the languageThere are many parts of Spain where it is not essential to be fluent in Spanish, but if you want to impress the locals then at least learn the basics such as standard greetings, numbers, days and months and standard words and phrases.
However in some areas of Spain such as inland or less touristy areas you will need to be more fluent if you want to live life to the full. It’s also a great way to integrate into the local community and engage with people in all parts of everyday life such as at the bank or when engaging tradesmen.
Intercambio Spain is a language exchange organisation dedicated to pairing English speakers with Spanish speakers so that they can share and practice each other’s language. It is also a good way of meeting locals that you would otherwise not have met.
There are also language courses, books and online language resources that you can start to use before you leave for Spain or once you get there. The BBC offer an excellent free online resource. Often learning a few words or phrases a day can do wonders for your vocabulary!
+Ensure there’s good accessibility from the UKWhen the Spanish construction bubble burst in 2009 not only did house prices tumble overnight but so did passenger numbers at a number of airports across Spain. These airports were built as a symbol of Spain’s success but a few years on and now many of them have closed after only a few years of opening. These closures meant the transport links for many Brits who had purchased Spanish property were heavily disrupted. They had bought properties knowing that they had quick, cheap and easy access from the UK to their new home, which heavily influenced their decision. Overnight the value of their properties decreased.
It is extremely important to ensure that in the location you decide to search in has a reliable airport operating nearby. Check that passenger numbers are high year upon year and that the airport offers a variety of carriers and flight routes. This will not only be convenient to you in the short term but will also help in the resale of your property in the future.
+Get expert currency market informationUse a specialised currency broker to keep you informed on currency market movements and give you personalised guidance on the best currency exchange options to suit your needs. Whether you are exchanging money for your house deposit, the balance of the house, mortgage payments or for renovation work after purchasing your property you will want to ensure you make the most of your currency. Foremost Currency Group, our sister organisation, have been providing specialised currency guidance to thousands of property buyers for over 10 years. You will be assigned a dedicated broker who will become your point of contact for all your currency transactions and they will use their market knowledge of the euro to assist you in transferring money abroad and help you to understand live rates. Security is of paramount importance when exchanging your currency and Foremost Currency Group are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for the issuing of electronic money under the Electronic Money Regulations. Offering exchange rates of up to 5% higher than high street banks and with no fees or commission Foremost Currency Group is a safe option when moving your funds to Portugal.
This guide is provided for general information purposes only and none of the information represents formal advice. Foremost Property Group cannot be held responsible for the consequences of decisions or actions you take throughout the process of buying or selling a property. We strongly recommend you seek independent advice at all stages of your property sale or purchase.