Personal Expert

Homebase Spain

Personal Expert Advice To Those Who Dream Of A Home In The Sun

Buying a house in Spain is quite different from doing so in Sweden and can feel daunting and risky. But this does not mean that you shouldn’t follow through with it. Quite the opposite. However, it is important to be aware of the differences and to seek qualified help in areas where you feel stuck or unsure.

The pitfalls are many, regardless if you’re a native or a foreign buyer. Becoming a real estate agent is largely an unregulated field in many parts of Spain, and many agents are uneducated, not registered, uninsured in terms of liability, and not associated with any organization. Because of this, the work ethics can vary greatly. The responsibility falls on the buyer, so do not hesitate to ask questions.

Remember that transaction fees are added to the price.

When making a budget it’s important to remember the transaction cost associated with real estate purchases and which normally falls on the buyer. In Catalonia, you can expect to pay 11.5% in taxes on top of the price (the number is valid for Catalonia in 2018). An additional fee is added to this (around €600-875), as well as a fee to the real estate registrar and notary (€400-650) and around 1% of the loan sum to formalize the loan with the registrar.

An object is often listed at multiple real estate agencies, sometimes at different prices. This is because the seller has given a right to sell to multiple agents and agencies, and either doesn’t have any control of the listed price or does not inform all agents about changes to the price and in some cases, they don’t even inform the agents when the object has been sold. Sometimes the real estate agent takes matters into their own hands and lowers the asking price without first seeking approval from the seller. It can be quite an odd situation.

The asking price is not always grounded by the market price and is more based on what the owner feels the house is worth.

Sometimes owners list houses at a high price with no real interest in selling, and if an interested buyer shows up it’s a bit like winning the lottery.

A common issue that is discovered when a sale is about to happen is that the actual m2 doesn’t match that of various official registrars. This creates a problem when the contract is to be set up and results in an extra fee and time spent, assuming the issue can be resolved.

In some cases, the entire building or parts of it lacks a building permit, or that it isn’t approved as a residential home. Not having an approval as a home is a particularly tricky situation when it comes to apartments. It can be hard or impossible to get this approval since it’s dependent on whether the quota for a residential area is met or if there’s sufficient space left.

 Unfortunately, sometimes someone will try to sell a villa or an apartment without being the sole owner and without the approval of the other owners. For this reason, it is important that potential buyers obtain insurance of the ownership and that the seller actually has a right to sell.

You should also be sure to find out if there are any tenants in the villa or apartment as getting rid of one may prove tricky even if the rental agreement has been terminated.

When buying a villa, it is important to investigate if there are any remaining debts to the municipality for the construction of roads, sidewalks, street lights and sewage systems outside of the estate.

In Spain, the estate owner covers this cost and in some urbanized areas there may be remaining debts for many years back. Some homeowners have been thinking ahead and saved up for this, but others have postponed the problem. It may occur sums around 10 000-30 000 euro, on average.

Building techniques are a whole chapter of their own. They differ from those in northern Europe and many homes were built before any regulations were in place. For this reason, it’s not possible to simply assume that the construction is in accordance with laws and regulations.

Ensure professional help through your own representative.

If you feel that you lack the language skills or time/will to learn everything you need to know about the laws and bureaucracy necessary to navigate your way to a successful deal you don’t need to give up on your dream. By utilizing professional, qualified help from your very own representative (an Exclusive Buyers Agent) throughout the purchase process you can save a great deal of money (for the many trips you won’t have to do, for the lower negotiated price, and by avoiding costly mistakes), as well as a great deal of time.

We, Homebase Spain, are aware of the problems and ensure that they won’t affect you. We work for you, just as eagerly as you would yourself, and in the same way we would if it was for ourselves. For your safety we’re registered in the real estate registrar of Catalonia, members of the Spanish real estate association, liability ensured, follow the ethics code of the association and are members of the international real estate and developer federation FIABCI (partner/advisor to the UN). But above all, we put a high personal commitment into our work for you. We look out for your best interests.