May 10, 2007 at 6:12 pm #52873
I took early retirement about 12 months ago and have been planning to buy a holiday home in Costa Blanca/Calida with a view eventually to moving to Spain permanently when my wife finishes work and the kids have finished school in a few years time.
I have watched the TV programmes and studied the glossy brochures and DVD’s from the big agents and have been very impressed with the apparent quality of the product and efficiency of the service.
I am now reading the forums, not just this one, and am thoroughly dismayed by the tales of woe that people report. It seems that no-one is to be trusted. Don’t trust the property agents, don’t trust the lawyers, don’t go on inspection trips, don’t buy off plan, don’t trust developers, don’t trust government officials, don’t trust the courts, don’t trust the telephone companies, don’t trust the air conditioning engineers. Do your own thing, go under your own steam, dont trust anyone?
Is it really as bad as that? I don’t want to do my own thing! I want to put my business in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing and who I can trust to act in my interests. Someone who will do what the Masa’s, Atlas’s, MRI”s, Iberians etc. say they will do. Am I expecting too much? Am I being too naive?
Apologies if this seems like a rant but reading these boards I am becoming more and more depressed and buying in Spain looks less and less like a good idea.
Thanks for reading.
May 10, 2007 at 9:02 pm #71972
Although it is not as easy as the media would have you believe not everyone has tales of woe.
There are many trustworthy builders,agents and lawyers here but
in the main it is those who bought off-plan with some of the promotors you have mentioned, with their glossy brochures , they are selling a dream…which can turn into a nightmare scenario.
Want to move to Spain then buy something that is already built , where the infrasture is already in place, and as in UK use a lawyer who is not affliated in anyway to the vendor.
May 10, 2007 at 9:30 pm #71973
What you have to bear in mind is that forums like this one is where one usually goes for one of two reasons
1. To get more information about living in Spain (which is actually quite a recent phenomenon)
2. To let off steam/Tell people of what has gone wrong/get advice how to correct what has gone wrong/Tell people about the bad things.
Thats not to say that everyone on here are doom and gloom merchants – they are not – people have been genuinely hurt by putting their trust into someone who has subsequently let them down. Use their experiences to make sure YOU don’t fall victim to the sharks
However not many people who have had a good experience take the time to post – why would they, they are busy enjoying their lives
So whilst I would take with a pinch of salt what agents and the glossy brochures etc tell you (which are meant to sell to you the dream of living in Spain), if you act as if you were buying a home in UK and use professionals that are recommended to you then you should be ok (but one caveat to that is make sure you check out the credentials of that professional)
There are probably 5 – 10 times as many (or more) success stories as there are bad luck stories. In the Valencia region we have the old LRAU/LUV land grab law. There are reckoned to be some 20,000 people taking action and probably 40,000 more who are directly affected and have just accepted it. A Lot by anyones standards
Equally though there are 100’s of 1000’s of property transactions per year in this region that go absolutely fine.
The same is the case with wrong doings (and I know I am probably going to be lambasted but hey ho such is life) but it is a small proportion (albeit too many) of people badly affected
My advice would be
1. Choose your area well. Take factors such as
a. do you speak the language or can you learn quickly -therefore the traditional spanish village is a good or bad thing.
b. Do you and your partner drive – if not dont live too far away from the town – the non driver will be driving you back to UK
c. Do you need to work – find an area that has a need for the skills you have
d. Do you need to be near hospitals and schools – if you have ailments will the local hospital be able to cope (you dont want to be travelling an hour to Valencia or Alicante for treatment every week do you)
e. Are the amenities locally sufficient to support the lifestyle you want?
2. Once you have your area laid out then make sure it will suit what YOU want
3. Locate an independent lawyer who will act on your behalf
4. Locate an agent who will help you (and ask to speak to satisfied customers) find your home. make sure he/she listens to what YOU want and doesn’t try and shoe horn you into a sale because its what they have. Most agents will collaborate with others so find one that will act on your behalf – even if they haven’t got the property you want the will help you find it.
5. Buy off plan if that floats your boat – BUT make sure you have everything you need for that (I wrote a post giving advice about when to buy off plan on this forum recently which gives some pointers you should at least consider)
6. Trust only one person with YOUR money – YOU. Do not hand over glibly to anyone your hard earned cash – remember the maxim that possession is 9/10ths of the law – once it is with the other person then you have to fight to get it back. So any deposits you hand over – put them into escrow with YOUR solicitor.
7. It is a buyers market and you have the upper hand – use it to your advantage. Negotiate hard. Find at least 3 properties that take your fancy and offer low on all of them. Use the fact that you have other opportunities to drive a bargain for you.
8. Do not listen to agents who say that when you are deliberating other people are interested. Call their bluff and tell them no problem – let the others have it. In 99 times out of 100 it is pure and utter BS from the agent. They will soon backtrack and that gives you the opportunity to offer lower.
9. Not all agents are sharks. Most actually do have the interests of the buyer at heart and many foreign agents only real fault is that they don’t actually know much about Spanish property law – so that can get you in the doodah as much as someone trying to rip you off. Make sure you ask your solicitor (in writing of course) to ask the right questions for you.
Come on in the waters lovely.
Just like buying in the UK if you use your noggin and choose the people around you well then you should be ok. Just make sure you take time ut to find the right business people.
Yes I am an agent but I like to think I deal in honesty first – sales second. And there are many around who are similar and have the same sort of ethics.
Finally I would just like to tell you that living here permanently is for me anyway – a dream. I love it here, have lots of Spanish friends, live in a fantastic little town, and wouldn’t want to willingly go back to the UK. But others may disagree.
Best of luck and if you need any advice drop me a line
May 10, 2007 at 10:12 pm #71974
a quickie from someone who bought back in 2003, and got very badly burnt.
Would I buy again? A most definite ‘yes’, when the time is right. Our experience, although bad, has not put us off what for us is a beautiful country with a unique ‘flavour’ in all aspects.
In reading forums such as these, through the knowledge you can gain, you are already halfway there in being able to make a successful purchase – and both Melosine’s and Vince’s posts above are full of wise words.
From my own experience, for me now the most important step would be to find that good, honest, independent lawyer. Everything else then should fall into place with him/her protecting your interests every step of the way. Ensuring all documents are legal and in place and not allowing you to sign anything until he/she is sure everything is in order including an unbiased contract – this is where a lot of us fell at the first hurdle!
As Vince says, most of us joined this forum for very specific reasons – I definitely come under the number 2. part of his opening paragraph. That doesn’t mean to say I believe ALL connected with the property scene are corrupt, and that certainly doesn’t mean I would discount ever having another attempt at buying into the Spanish dream oneday.
Don’t get depressed Paul, keep researching, take things slowly, it’s a buyers’ market out there – with the right knowledge you are holding all the cards. And remember, we only have one life, this is not a rehearsal – if this move to Spain is firmly in your heart – go for it.
I wish you well.
May 11, 2007 at 7:02 am #71977
i think all the advice on this thread is smack on, i would like to add though, from my experience, buying in Spain IS very different to the UK from a regulation point of view. I think most of us in the UK assume we can trust a lawyer we chose by the nature of their profession, and if the developer/builder makes a error, we can rely on a building inspector to check it out and make sure it’s put right before going any further, and we are not expected to part with any money until we are satisfied, and we assume a court will come out in favour of person in the right, if a buyer has obviously been ‘ripped off’ by one of the above. As has been said though, with great care and lots of homework, many people come out OK, but if you do come unstuck, i feel it’s a whole lot harder and longer to get justice than it is in the UK. Buyer beware has never been more apt!
Just my opinion of course, based on buying several residential and one commercial property in the UK, and just the one apartment in Spain.
Good luck anyway, i would still love a place their one day.
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