AS Brits return home after a summer break on the Costa del Sol, the grey skies and memories of G&Ts on the beach make buying a property in Spain ever more tempting.
In fact in the last five weeks, as the bulk of holidaymakers returned, Britons searching for a home on the Costa increased by 44%.
Meanwhile the most popular search terms for properties abroad included ‘pool’, ‘beach’ and ‘sea view’.
But if you really are serious about buying abroad, there are things you MUST make sure of.
First and foremost, ensure the property you are interested in has been built legally.
Some have been built in areas that are set aside for green belt or agriculture land, or fall foul of the ‘Lei de Costas’ ie., too close to the coast. As anyone who has lived in Spain for a while can attest to, environmental authorities have been known to demolish homes built too near the shoreline or on unregistered rural land.
Of course, part of the mortgage process does involve the requirement to arrange a full and comprehensive valuation and, although this isn’t always an exact science, it does provide a guide, partly because the report will provide information on comparable properties in the area as well as identify any legal or licensing issues.
No matter how glossy it looks in a brochure, it’s essential you visit the property before signing anything. Be sure to see it during the day and at night to get a more rounded understanding of what it is like – and to make sure it’s not next to a motorway or landfill site.
And when you do eventually sign, make sure you know what you are signing. Any reputable lawyer will be able to guide you in this respect.
If you want to be sure you are not agreeing to extra charges or conditions, the safest thing to do is check with an independent lawyer, in addition to your broker who can verify the numbers.
Buying a property overseas can be one of the best decisions you ever make, but if the correct steps aren’t taken, it could end up being the worst.
Having a reliable agent, mortgage broker and lawyer is vital and will ensure a long and happy experience.