Finding your Spanish property
Finding Your Spanish Property
You’ve probably begun your research into finding your Spanish property in the Costa Blanca by browsing internet websites and portals, reading magazines and emailing estate agents, or perhaps you’ve even made a trip out to Spain. You will soon be ready to visit properties, which calls for an important piece of advice: only view and buy property on the Costa Blanca through a reputable English speaking estate agent, one with excellent local knowledge and a proven record of customer service. Why? Because you are a foreign buyer in Spain, which means you’re unlikely to completely understand the property buying process, let alone the language, and you could be exposed to malpractice.
A Good Estate Agent
A good estate agent understands the specific needs of British, Irish and other non-Spanish buyers, so should offer you as much or little assistance as you personally require, not only during the purchase process, but also after you’ve completed on your property. Don’t forget, you should always employ an English-speaking Spanish lawyer when finding your Spanish property to be extra sure your personal interests are protected during a Spanish property purchase.
So how do you identify a good estate agent on the Costa Blanca? Start by personal recommendations from people you trust, such as friends and family. If you’re choosing an estate agent from scratch, look for signs of permanency, such as their own premises or shop front in popular resorts, such as Moraira, La Zenia or Villamartin, fixed land-lines and even Spanish number plates on their car. Check how long their business has been registered (the longer the better), how long they themselves have lived on the Costa Blanca, how many staff the firm employs and for further reassurance, request testimonials from other non-Spanish buyers.
Definitely avoid ‘floating’ estate agents who arrange to meet you in the local bar, have no fixed address and can only be contacted via a mobile number or email. They can become invisible very quickly when it suits them. Plus, never fall for bar chat about the “deal of the century” or “clever ways to avoid taxes” as they invariably lead to disaster.
Although estate agents’ commission in Spain is typically a percentage of a property’s purchase price and paid by the vendor, your agent should still be completely transparent about who receives what and confirm whether another local agent is due a cut of commission, something that is quite normal and acceptable in Spain.
Aftersales service is what really makes an estate agent stand out from the crowd. As a foreign buyer on the Costa Blanca, you’ll either be purchasing a second home or relocating there. In both cases it’s likely you’ll need more support than if you were buying in your native country, such as the UK, whether it’s key-holding or helping you to integrate into the local community. The types of situations you might need help with once you’ve bought a villa, townhouse or apartment on the Costa Blanca could include difficulties connecting to utilities, dealing with a burst water pipe, sorting out council tax payments or buying and registering a Spanish car. The best estate agents will go all out to assist with these and any other similar situations. It follows that a dedicated after sales department is a good sign an estate agency offers a quality after sales service.
NOTE: In Spain there is no equivalent of the UK’s National Association of Estate Agents and while there are local trade bodies that estate agents can join, being a member should not be taken as a guaranteed sign of good business practice. Alas, too often membership is bought and not earned.
When viewing and finding your Spanish property, stick with estate agents who are helpful without putting you under any pressure to buy.
The best estate agents won’t try to control your movements during your stay, will answer questions honestly, won’t show you properties that don’t match your wish list, unless specifically requested to do so, and won’t pressure you into making a decision or paying a deposit before you’re ready to do so.
As a final and arguably the most important piece of advice when searching for property on the Costa Blanca: start by finding a reliable estate agent not a property.
HomeEspaña is one of the Costa Blanca’s most established English speaking estate agencies, with offices throughout the Costa Blanca and surrounding regions and over 16 years’ experience helping non-residents buy Spanish property safely.