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Buying holiday property in Spain
Buying a holiday property in Spain, like buying a property in England, is most likely to be one of the biggest purchases we make in our life. Therefore, it is never advisable to be in too much of a hurry and rush into a deal without full consideration. It is well worth taking the time to look around your chosen area and make sure you have a clear picture of the relative prices and types of property available.
The Costa del Sol is a very popular region of Spain and life can be very different depending on which town you choose to live in. It is also well worth considering spending some time visiting the town of choice to see what amenities, nightlife and places of interest are available. Out of season, holiday resorts can appear very different with few people in the streets, deserted beaches, cold nights and occasional rain. Visiting at this time of year will help you to decide whether this is your ideal holiday destination. With Torrox and Nerja being voted as having the best climate in Europe, the weather is probably the one thing not to put you off living in Spain.
OFF-PLAN & RESALE PROPERTIES
Off-plan involves buying a property yet to be build either from an Estate Agent, or directly from a developer and is typically cheaper than purchasing a resale property. Another advantage of off-plan is that you usually have a say in some of the specifications, fittings, and possibly even the furnishings of the completed property. It is advisable to get a good Spanish lawyer to draw up a cast-iron contract and ensure the developer has obtained all the required licences, owns the land and there are no outstanding mortgages or loans on the property. This is especially important as all loans are taken out on the property itself rather than the owner of the property.
PROPERTY PURCHASE COSTS
The costs associated with a property purchase in Spain are around 10% of the property purchase price. If property values increase at an average of 3% per year, then it will take 3 years to recover the costs associated with buying. There are many fashionable areas in Spain whose properties have greatly benefited from the huge increase in foreign investors over the past 5 years pushing up prices considerably, but there are still bargains to be found.
Typical loans that are available are 60% for non-residents and 80% for residents of the declared property value. Original documents must be shown when obtaining a mortgage that usually includes passport, driving licence, last 3 months pay slips and P60 for British people buying abroad.
INMOBILIARIAS (ESTATE AGENTS)
There are many Inmobiliarias in Spain that typically have many different types of property to view including apartments, villas, townhouses, fincas and rural properties. Commissions vary considerably and a typical value of 6% is not uncommon. It is a good idea to ensure that the Estate Agent you choose to buy a property from has a good reputation, is officially registered and holds a licence.
When buying a property in Spain, it is important to check with the local Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) for debts, charges, mortgages and court orders as these are registered against the property and not the owner. If you purchase a property with outstanding debt, then this will be transferred to yourself. Within two months of signing the Escritura (Property Deeds), ownership must be registered with the local Town Hall within 2 months.
Wealth Tax is charged annually at 0.2% for residents and 0.7% for non-residents of the value of the property. Residents also have the added benefit of the first 108,000 euros being exempt. Capital Gains Tax is charged on any profit you have made when you decide to sell your property. Residents are charged at the lower price of 20% as compared to 35% for non-residents. A further concession for residents is total exemption from Capital Gains Tax if aged over 65 and have lived in the property for at least 3 years.
Above all, when purchasing a property in Spain ensure you get yourself a good Spanish Lawyer who is fluent in your language, and who knows the complexities of the Spanish buying process. The nearest UK Consular Office will supply a list of local Lawyers. Legal fees are typically 1-1.5% of the purchase price, but do agree on a price beforehand. The Lawyer should be able to warn of any potential problems, draw up an initial pre-sale contract, handle the customary 10% deposit and accompany you to see the Notary for final exchange of contracts.
A good Lawyer will ensure you end up with a property that is legally yours and free from financial debt. There are pitfalls with buying a property in any country, but by taking your time and doing a little local research, you should end up with your ideal place in the sun.
About the Author: Steve Greenwood has lived on the Costa del Sol in Spain for 3 years. You are invited to visit Holiday apartments for rent in Spain for property rentals, tourist attractions and holiday activities on the Costa del Sol. Ideal Rentals For You (www.idealrentals4u.com) offers holiday information on all the regions of Spain including the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.