May 29, 2005 at 1:50 am #51108
Last year I went to Sotogrande with money burning a hole in my pocket. I was determined to buy a marina property.
I had already lined up my Lawyer, an established english speaker in the commercial area in the port. I spent weeks exchanging emails with her and several agents/developers before arrival. I did my homework.
Spent the week viewing property – not a holiday trip, a business trip.
Finally chose a penthouse apartment off plans in a building called Guadalmarina.
Took the details over to my lawyer and she called the developer to sort out the details. The developer said he wanted a 5% deposit in his own bank account right away or he wouldn’t release the contracts to the lawyer. She informed me that the normal practice in Sotogrande is for the 5% to be held in escrow by the lawyer until the contract has been approved by her, after which it is paid over. This guy didn’t accept that and said if I didn’t pay him the 5% by Friday (this was Wednesday afternoon) the price of the apartment was going up 5%.
When I heard this I smelled a rat. I told him to stick it.
I later found out he didn’t yet have permission for building.
i’ve since bought a lovely apartment in Antibes on the French Cote D’Azur, and I’m much happier. Spain is buggered, too many cowboys, too many lager louts, too much over development and no residual evidence of an indigenous culture.
The French retain their culture, which is superb food and wine and a sense of national pride and identity.
Glad I made that decision.
May 29, 2005 at 4:04 pm #58295
Let’s hope that developer goes to the wall fast. When a developer asks 5% of the purchase price just to allow your lawyer to see the contract you are expected to sign you know that mischief is afoot.
Congratulations on your purchase in France – it’s a lovely part of the world. However I think you are wrong about Spain’s future. Misguided development will be brought under control in most areas (by market forces as much as anything), though I agree that it has been badly handled to date. There are more British lager louts in Spain than in France because Spain is more popular, cheaper and more tolerant than France. Anyway those types tend to stick to specific areas, which you can easily avoid in a lifetime in Spain. And that Gallic pride, some say hubris, infuriates as many people as it attracts.
Spain has and will continue to get the lion’s share of the market. There’s more and more capital in our economies chasing fewer and fewer investment opportunities. Lifestyle investments like golf resorts in Spain are bound to attract an increasing number of investors in the future. What else will your average punter invest in? Chinese banks? Complex financial derivatives? Or give their hard-earned cash to some dozy fund manager who skims off enormous fees whatever the results? Nope – people are going to invest in what they understand. I think money will gush into Spanish lifestyle resort projects, though there may be a correction in the short-term due to the misselling to amateur off-plan investors. Once SIPPs are better understood they will also ramp up the amount of money flowing into Spanish property. The problem to date has been a lack of intelligent investment advice on the subject of Spanish property. Estate agents are the last people you should turn to for this.
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