Researching Spanish Property Purchase
If you would like to consider buying a property in Spain then researching Spanish property purchase in advance is a very good idea. The benefit of Spain is that it’s normally pretty easy to get to and the flights are short. It has also had a monster property crash, so prices are now a lot more attractive than they were a decade ago. If you are going to buy a property in Spain for lifestyle reasons then I strongly recommend going to your desired location off-season to see what it is like. Spend a good bit of time there, rent out a property for a few weeks. If it still seems like an attractive option a few weeks after you’ve come home then it may still be worth considering.
The one problem for anybody buying abroad is ‘where do you get independent advice?’. I do provide some of it, but I can’t give a personalised guide for everybody buying a property abroad. You do just have to do some of the legwork yourself.
Where do you Start?
When you start out researching Spanish property purchase in can be a bit daunting. If you happen to be Irish (or just English speaking) and are visiting Spain, particularly the coastal regions, then you’ll find plenty of information gathered together all in one place – the ubiquitous Irish pub. The Irish love their sport, booze and property. Where better to engage in all three than in whatever happens to be the local boozer. Just be careful, the Irish pub can be a great place to get your hands on some connections to guide you in the right direction and an awful place to get direct advice. You’ll have to have a filter of some description because the advice of drunken patrons of an overseas watering hole is not always high quality.
You also need to filter any advice you receive based on the financial reward available to the person giving that advice. A lot of estate agents hang out in Irish pubs because they are a magnet for property investors. Be prepared for information overload if you make it common knowledge that you’re in the market for a property. The information will be of varying degrees of quality, you need to sift through it all and discern what is of use to you and what is most definitely not. But as a starting point in your information gathering process it is as good a place as any to start.
The Phenomenon of the Irish Pub
It is considered odd by some that the Irish, once they set foot abroad, often go in search of the closest Irish pub. The phenomenon was easily justified by one patron I spoke with: “We love Ireland, just hate the bloody weather. This place is like a home away from home.” From a journalism point of view they are pure gold, so you really have to pay a visit to at least one.
There is also no doubt that Irish bars the world over serve as amazing informal hubs for information and commerce. The Irish love to network and socialise, often doing both together. The quality of the information found in an Irish bar may often be questioned, but not the quantity. During a brief conversation recently I asked the barman at Marbella’s Claddagh Bar if there was much discussion of property. “Ah Jaysus”, he professed; “if I ever lose the job here I could start me own real estate business.” He continued: “The Irish lads coming in here, all they talk about is sport and property. Between you and me, they talk a lot of sh**te as well.” In Marbella it tends to be well heeled, upmarket sh**te. The pub is full of well fed and watered golfing types who exude the air of confidence that is engendered by being well to do.
You should also not doubt the role of the Irish pub when it comes to commercial transactions. I sat briefly outside one such establishment looking at a fairly expensive looking low slung black Mercedes car with a ‘Se Vende’ sign on the window. Over a period of no more than 20 minutes at least half a dozen passers’ by phoned the number and another ten or so took photos of the car with their phones. Done Deal Marbella style.
In any case. Once you’ve got a few connections you will need to visit the area in question and ask some questions locally. There really isn’t any substitute for spending time in an area in which you may like to buy. If the attraction hasn’t worn thin after a few visits then maybe you’ll be in a position to go about locating a property with more confidence.