About Spanish Property Insight

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Mark Stucklin - head of Spanish Property Insight and author of the Spanish Property Doctor column in The Sunday Times

Mark Stucklin

Need To Know - Buying Property In Spain by Mark Stucklin

‘Need To Know – Buying Property In Spain’

Sunday Times Spanish Property Doctor column

Sunday Times Spanish Property Doctor


Spanish Property Insight is a property information website run by Mark Stücklin, author of the Spanish Property Doctor Column in The Sunday Times (2005-2008), and the book ‘Need to Know: Buying Property in Spain’ published by Collins. (Buy from Amazon)

This website offers you the latest Spanish property market news and analysis, plus a section of guides explaining the procedures and costs for buying and selling real estate in Spain.

There is a Q&A section on the subject of Spanish property, where many questions are answered. If you have a question for Spanish Property Insight, please ask it in this section.


Spanish Property Insight For House Hunters

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Buying a property in Spain can be an enriching affair, both financially and in terms of enhancing your happiness and quality of life, but only if you go in with eyes wide open, aware of the risks and costs, and get the purchase right.

Getting the purchase right means buying the right property for the right reasons, in the right way, and at the right time (for you at least). It means approaching your purchase in a structured and organised fashion whilst understanding the purchase process in Spain. It means understanding the risks involved in making one of the biggest investments of your life in a foreign country whilst dealing with people who don’t necessarily have your best interests at heart. Most of all, it means being well informed, as information is power, and the more you know, the harder it will be for others to take advantage of you. So this website is designed to arm you with information to help you take informed decisions and buy safely in Spain (or decide against buying as the case may be).

It follows that the purpose of this website is not to ‘sell the dream’ but to point out the risks and realities of pursuing the dream. This inevitably means focusing on the problems, risks, costs, and other negative issues that may make you wonder whether buying a property in Spain is such a good idea after all. That is certainly a question you should ask yourself, as for some people the answer will be ‘no’ and it is better to find this out before proceeding to buy. But for the rest, learn from these pages, but don’t let them dampen your enthusiasm if your dreams are realistic.


A Few Words Of Advice

If you buy badly in Spain you run the risk of losing a substantial amount of money, either through capital loss or avoidable costs, and you could end up with a property in Spain that is nothing but a burden to you. So if you only visit this website once never to return at the very least bear in mind the following points:

  • Always do your own research before you buy real estate in Spain. This means finding out how the conveyancing process works in Spain, and identifying the main risks. It also means researching market prices for a fair idea of property prices to guide you in your decision. Buyers who fail to research the market are likely to overpay for property and take unnecessary risks.
  • The dream of owning property in Spain needs to be balanced by practical considerations, so be honest with yourself when deciding what kind of property you need. Wishful thinking alone will lead to poor decisions.
  • Approach the purchase in a structured and organised way, and keep your wits about you at all times. Pursuing the dream of owning a property in Spain is no excuse for rash, risky decisions that you wouldn’t take at home.
  • Always start by creating a clear, written brief of your property requirements to guide you search. Make hiring an independent, competent Spanish lawyer one of your first tasks. It is essential to avoid lawyers with conflicts of interest so never ask anyone involved in selling you property to recommend you a lawyer, and never use the in-house lawyer of an estate agent or developer.
  • Try to deal with reputable companies. Investigate companies before dealing with them. Never sign a contract or pay a deposit before carrying out an appropriate due diligence and getting the all clear from your lawyer. Due diligence varies according to circumstances, but in general never buy a resale property unless it is accurately described in notarised title deeds and is free of debts and encumbrances. When buying off-plan always make sure that a building licence has been granted by the town hall, that your stage payments are guaranteed, and that the contract you sign is watertight. Never sign deeds for an off-plan property until the first occupancy licence (licencia de primera ocupación) has been granted.
  • Retain a healthy sense of scepticism about the claims people make whilst trying to sell you property. This is especially true of the claims being made about off-plan investments. Never invest in off-plan property unless you have the funds to cope with a worst-case scenario.
  • Never allow yourself to be pressurised into a decision.
  • Always make sure your financial position is clear before paying a deposit. Failure to do so could result in you losing your deposit.
  • Make sure you understand your fiscal obligations once you have purchased property in Spain. In particular, bear in mind the high transaction costs.
  • Ask yourself, do you really need to buy a property in Spain?

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