Having thought hard about your requirements, done some research into the market, and worked out your budget range, you can now draw up a written brief that describes the characteristics of the property you want to buy. Obviously your brief has to be realistic in terms of your financial resources. It’s no good preparing a brief that describes a property you can’t afford to buy or maintain.
Drawing up a written brief has several advantages. The act of writing down a brief helps you clarify your thoughts and articulate your priorities. It also provides you with a useful document on which to base your search and communicate your requirements to estate agents and other professionals. Many people complain of wasting time with agents who show them clearly inappropriate properties. Sometimes this is done intentionally by estate agents who use unattractive properties to make the properties they want to sell look more appealing (this is known in the trade as showing the client ‘put offs’). More common, though, are estate agents who simply ignore the client’s requirements and focus instead on what they want to sell. A written brief makes this more difficult for agents to do. And of course even good agents will find it a challenge to help you without a clear idea of what it is you are looking for. A written brief helps them to understand your requirements, assess how realistic they are and provide you with useful feedback from the start. Despite the advantages of preparing a written brief it seems that only a minority of people actually do so.
Though it helps enormously to have a written brief before you start contacting estate agents one has to assume that this brief will not be set in stone. Searching for property in Spain is a learning process and you will probably find it necessary to update your brief in the light of experience. Your brief will evolve to adapt to the reality of the market and the process of updating your brief helps you to manage your search.
The following template covers most of the issues you will need to describe in a written brief.
|Budget range||Your budget for the property alone, not including conveyancing costs and taxes.|
|Property type||Apartment, Semi-detached, Townhouse, Villa, rural cottage, Masia.|
|Architectural style preferences||Modern, rustic, classical, traditional Spanish|
|Status & Condition||Off plan, Under construction, Just built, extent of reforms that you will consider|
|Bedrooms||Number & size|
|Bathrooms||Number & size|
|Size of property||Built area and plot in m2|
|Interiors, Kitchens, bathrooms||open plan, modern, cosy, rustic, basic, elegant, preferred colours, no preference|
|Garden & Pool||Size, communal / private, importance|
|Parking||Garage (number of cars), carport, on street|
|Views||Rural, Golf, Sea|
|Other issues||Broadband connection, security on doors and windows, security and fire alarms|
|Ideal surroundings||City, town, village, rural, quiet residential, urbanisation, middle of lively area|
|Proximity to restaurants and shops||Walking, driving|
|Proximity to the beach||Walking, driving|
|Access||Drive time to an international airport|
|Community||Spanish, international, mainly your nationality, secluded, open to interaction|
|Required date of availability||Immediate occupancy, longer.|
|Main purpose of property||Summer holidays, off season holidays, short regular breaks, 6 months per annum, mainly to rent, primary home, etc.|
|Used by||Just you and partner, kids, family & friends, rental|
|Rental potential||What, if any, rental performance is required|
When giving a written brief to estate agents it helps to provide pictures of properties that appeal to you. Magazines are a good source of inspiration and ideas when looking for example pictures. Cut out pictures of the properties that serve as a guide to what you have in mind and attach them to your brief.
With a clear brief in hand you can now contact estate agents or developers with a view to arranging property visits. However before doing this we need to look at another series of tasks that need to be put in hand at this stage and before you have found a property you want to buy. These tasks revolve around getting ready to buy and are dealt with next.