Potential Property Purchaser – advice sought

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of katy katy 4 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #57077
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Hello,

    I’m interested in purchasing property near Marbella.

    I understand that there are those who feel any purchase in Spain would be ill advised, mainly because they feel property prices have yet to bottom out. That may well be true, I am currently waiting and watching to see what happens with the bail out (which I feel is inevitable), in the meantime I’m making enquiries.

    But price is not my real concern at this moment in time. What concerns me greatly is the legal status of properties in the area and I must confess that I’m somewhat confused.

    I’ve read about the thousands of properties (I think 18,000 or so) that have been declared illegal. My understanding is that several hundred of them will most likely be demolished whereas the others have been given the “OK” and will be legalised. In normal circumstances I would defer to a solicitor and quite happily pay them to sort out any conveyancing issues or such like. Now this is where it gets interesting, as all I seem to read about is the widespread corruption between solicitors (lawyers) and local officials.

    I have corresponded with a couple of estate agents in the area, mainly to ask them details about certain properties. I just feel that they’re skirting the issue and not really telling me the whole story. One pointed out the Land Registry, yet I’ve read that is unreliable (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/expatproperty/8822179/Criticism-for-property-service-run-by-Spanish-government.html), then I read a multitude of stories from a wide variety of sources that suggest the problem is still ongoing. This all concerns me greatly.

    Furthermore, one property I am interested in was constructed in 2004. From what I’ve read (and I could be wrong here), anything built in the last 10-15 years is potentially suspect, is this true?

    In a nutshell; I am concerned that I could buy a property and get screwed. Are there any lawyers out there that I should be talking to? Is there actually an answer to all this, or is the whole property market in such a mess that there is no clear answer?

    Many thanks

  • #112312
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    propertry market is in a mess from which ever angle you come.

  • #112315
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    I’d like to try a different line of attack if I may…

    If I said I was only looking at recently constructed properties, or bare land (and looking to build on it), would I have less legal problems? I ask this as I believe (really not sure!) that all the legal problems are largely centred around re-sale’s. Am I correct in saying that anything built very recently (say the last couple of years) would definetely be approved and totally legal? Likewise with bare land, if I made enquiries as to whether or not I could build on it, would I receive a firm response that I could trust?

  • #112316
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Is the land rustic or urban, are the titles clear, what % of land will be allowed to build upon & what type, can you trust the builder to build to spec & e.g will the foundation will be dug & prepared to support the building, quality & the right mix of material be used, will you be there to ensure that no theft takes place even if carried out the cousin of the builders, utilty connections, who will make the stage payments can you trust them the payment would actually equate to work that has been carried out,what taxes or other dues are on the land. most builders & owners fall out would you find another builder to finish it off, who will the blame lie where issues areise. Its not only the British who ruled the world on divide & rule etc,etc..

    There is no such thing as built in the last two years. As no construction or a very insignificant building had commenced in the last two years or so, hence a very large number of unfinished properties. The town halls Mayors etc been locked up so permission granted by them either for corruption or for political reasons have been withdrawn.

    Sorry. I love Spain but even though I dont know you I love your money & would like you to keep it.

  • #112317
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Well I appreciate your reply Shakeel. I hear what you say about builders and I have no doubt that such a process would be fraught with heartache. The main reason why I presented such an example is that I’m trying to determine what “property” (land, villas, apartments etc) would be safest to purchase. Judging from you reply, none is! ๐Ÿ™‚

    And I too would like to love Spain, but only if I could sleep at night! I worry that I’m missing something here, people do buy property there and I’m left wondering if I’m just being too pessimistic about the whole situation, or whether I’m right to be so hesitant. I appreciate your sentiments about my money and I thank you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • #112320
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    You are right to be hesitant….. ‘buy in haste repent at leisure’ could be said for many people with Spanish property.

    What do you want to buy? An apartment in a nice block would be great, but you have no control over who is next door. They might be a nice couple one day and than 5 ladies of the night the next….. A townhouse could be an option, ditto problems with neighbours. A detached villa will cost more but you’ll have your own space.

    When you view remember to go back and check out the place at midnight, 6am etc. It’s crazy how many people are shown places at 2.30pm when locals are quiet and eating their lunch….. if you went back at another time it wouldn’t be so quiet…. what about local kids and their motorbikes at 2am….. these things an agent won’t point out. You have to be like a private investigator now to be able to buy in Spain.

    How often have you been to Spain? Are you buying it as a holiday home, full time living in Spain to work there or for retirement? Can you go and rent for a few months, get a feel for the place, see what is happening, see private for sale ‘se vende’ signs and suss out what is best for you?

    Don’t also just use British agents…there are so many others so get the whole picture. Go to the town hall where you want to buy and ask them the status of the property. If you trust in ‘professionals’ you might get stung. Do the leg work yourself and don’t trust anyone.

    Good luck.

  • #112322
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    When some one spends a substancial amount of money in aquiring a property it is an investment and as the yanks say period.

    The purchase may be for life style, residency etc, etc. It is an investment by default. In order to make an investment, confidence is at the top of the list inm so far as due deligence is concerned.

    The confidence could be for the title of the property, infrastructure, legal, taxation etc. In the absense, there is no confidence and such you are taking a non calculated risk. This risk may be for an apartment, Villa, terranced house, land. They all have there pluses & minuses.
    I concor with ” its me”. The other issues with Villas is that it needs looking after like gardens, pool & airing this comes at a price and whilst you may be paying for it does not mean that it is being done. Besides it is exposed to robberies and the robbers will revisit once the items are replaced.

    I know a Villa where the owners had placed top quality sanitary & kitchen fittings. He had the Villa made for selling. The property has not been sold & his sanitary & other fittings hasd been taken.

  • #112323
    Profile photo of katy
    katy
    Spectator

    Marbella is probably one of the safest places to buy property right now as most have been legalised. The ones which haven’t are well known to Lawyers. Take care though. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • #112324
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    @itsme wrote:

    What do you want to buy? An apartment in a nice block would be great, but you have no control over who is next door. They might be a nice couple one day and than 5 ladies of the night the next….. A townhouse could be an option, ditto problems with neighbours. A detached villa will cost more but you’ll have your own space.

    I’m interested in a villa.

    @itsme wrote:

    When you view remember to go back and check out the place at midnight, 6am etc. It’s crazy how many people are shown places at 2.30pm when locals are quiet and eating their lunch….. if you went back at another time it wouldn’t be so quiet…. what about local kids and their motorbikes at 2am….. these things an agent won’t point out. You have to be like a private investigator now to be able to buy in Spain.

    Good advice, point taken.

    @itsme wrote:

    How often have you been to Spain? Are you buying it as a holiday home, full time living in Spain to work there or for retirement? Can you go and rent for a few months, get a feel for the place, see what is happening, see private for sale ‘se vende’ signs and suss out what is best for you?

    This is for full time living, for me and my family. Renting is something the wife and I have discussed, we’ve toyed with the idea of renting the house that we eventually choose, that is of course if the owner was amicable to the idea. I believe they call it rent-to-buy? I first saw it mentioned on this forum, I’d never heard of it before. Schools are important to us, we’d like to be close to 2-3 schools we’re interested in (Aloha, Swans and Laude), hence the location. I’ve only ever visited Spain on holiday, I live (and have lived for many years) in S.E. Asia.

    @itsme wrote:

    Don’t also just use British agents…there are so many others so get the whole picture. Go to the town hall where you want to buy and ask them the status of the property. If you trust in ‘professionals’ you might get stung. Do the leg work yourself and don’t trust anyone.

    Good luck.

    Rest assured, we haven’t set our heart on any particular property or any particular agent, I will confess that I’m not very fond of estate agents whatever their nationality. It’s disheartening to read about this mistrust in professionals in the legal field though. I will freely admit that it was my intention to adopt a stand off approach, in that once we had found a place and negotiated a price, before the deposit was paid, we would essentially hand it all over to a lawyer. It’s what I wanted to do and I would happily pay for that if I could obtain the security I want. Would it be a crazy idea to use a lawyer from outside Marbella? What if I went to Madrid for example? I understand that costs would most likely increase (travel springs to mind), but would you get a “proper” lawyer?

    @shakeel wrote:

    When some one spends a substancial amount of money in aquiring a property it is an investment and as the yanks say period.

    The purchase may be for life style, residency etc, etc. It is an investment by default. In order to make an investment, confidence is at the top of the list inm so far as due deligence is concerned.

    The confidence could be for the title of the property, infrastructure, legal, taxation etc. In the absense, there is no confidence and such you are taking a non calculated risk. This risk may be for an apartment, Villa, terranced house, land. They all have there pluses & minuses.

    Quite. My fear is that I find out at a later date that it’s illegally built, that’s my prime concern. I understand that debts can be levied against the property as well, or somebody else has a charge over the land etc., those issues also concern me, but to a lesser degree. I don’t know if the illegal buildings in the Marbella area have actually been designated as such, and if they have, is that information publicly available? Would it appear on a land registry search? And is there the danger of a future “retrospective” ruling that would end in tears? Political stabilty would seem to come into the equation as well.

    @shakeel wrote:

    I concor with ” its me”. The other issues with Villas is that it needs looking after like gardens, pool & airing this comes at a price and whilst you may be paying for it does not mean that it is being done. Besides it is exposed to robberies and the robbers will revisit once the items are replaced.

    Funny you should talk about crime. I did try and look for some information regarding crime in the area but came up with very little, is there a definitive source that anyone knows about? A scan of (english) local newspapers talked mostly about the tourist areas, not the residential ones. Also, as an aside, I did see one or two properties that mentioned they were in a “gated community”. The concept is somehwat new to me as I’ve never lived in one, are they actually safer? I recall reading a blog from an American in Florida who was convinced there was more crime inside gated communties than outside in his particular area! ๐Ÿ˜†

    @shakeel wrote:

    I know a Villa where the owners had placed top quality sanitary & kitchen fittings. He had the Villa made for selling. The property has not been sold & his sanitary & other fittings hasd been taken.

    We would be living there full time, bar holidays, but I take your point.

    @katy wrote:

    Marbella is probably one of the safest places to buy property right now as most have been legalised. The ones which haven’t are well known to Lawyers. Take care though. ๐Ÿ™‚

    That goes someway to answering a point I made above. When you say “Marbella” katy, would that just include the main town (old part) of would it extend as far west as Estepona? I’m really not sure what the city limits are of Marbella. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

    I do appreciate all your replies, thank you. 8)

  • #112340
    Profile photo of Chopera
    Chopera
    Participant

    Potex,

    I’m not very familiar with Marbella but to add to what “itsme” posted, I’d say that you need to look at potential areas at various times of the year as well as various times of the day. I guess the Marbella coastline is pretty busy and warm throughout the year, but if you choose to go inland then suddenly you might find that things get kinda quiet in winter, or that pretty stream trickling past the bottom of the garden suddenly flash floods, or that picturesque mountain leaves your villa in permanent shadow during winter. There will always be things that can only be found out and taken into account by spending time there before you make your purchase. If you are in a position to rent for a year or so first, then it will only put you at an advantage when it come to buying a property that is right for you. When you consider that it costs over 10% to buy the place and possibly a lot more than that to sell it, it’s something that you really need to get right first time. It’s not like the UK where you can buy or sell every few years or so.

  • #112341
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Try before you buy…. rent first.

  • #112345
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    @chopera wrote:

    Potex,

    I’m not very familiar with Marbella but to add to what “itsme” posted, I’d say that you need to look at potential areas at various times of the year as well as various times of the day. I guess the Marbella coastline is pretty busy and warm throughout the year, but if you choose to go inland then suddenly you might find that things get kinda quiet in winter, or that pretty stream trickling past the bottom of the garden suddenly flash floods, or that picturesque mountain leaves your villa in permanent shadow during winter. There will always be things that can only be found out and taken into account by spending time there before you make your purchase.

    That makes perfect sense Chopera and I agree with you.

    Interestingly, I found something that could scupper my plans for a peaceful area:- http://www.theolivepress.es/spain-news/2012/05/04/thousands-affected-by-new-costa-del-sol-train-route/ That certainly warrants further investigation!

    @chopera wrote:

    If you are in a position to rent for a year or so first, then it will only put you at an advantage when it come to buying a property that is right for you. When you consider that it costs over 10% to buy the place and possibly a lot more than that to sell it, it’s something that you really need to get right first time. It’s not like the UK where you can buy or sell every few years or so.

    @itsme wrote:

    Try before you buy…. rent first.

    I’m reaching a similar conclusion myself. It would also give us more time to familiarise ourselves with the legal process concerning the purchase of property.

  • #112347
    Profile photo of Chopera
    Chopera
    Participant

    @Potex wrote:


    Interestingly, I found something that could scupper my plans for a peaceful area:- http://www.theolivepress.es/spain-news/2012/05/04/thousands-affected-by-new-costa-del-sol-train-route/ That certainly warrants further investigation!

    Yes I’m afraid Spain is full of these types of proposal (new train lines, AVE lines, motorways, by-passes, theme parks, airports, etc) mainly driven by construction consortiums desperate to get hold of government money rather than any market led demand. Most of them come to nothing, but they are always there in the background.

  • #112348
    Profile photo of katy
    katy
    Spectator

    Wouldn’t worry too much about that. The story crops up seasonally ๐Ÿ˜€ I have been reading about it since around 1998! They even got as far as distributing the plans with the stations indicated. Most of the Marbella route was underground and the planned station in the centre is now a 6 storey apartment block. ๐Ÿ˜†

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