buying an apartment in spain

buying an apartment in spain

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Jag_NE

Original Poster:

2,706 posts

77 months

Friday 5th January 2018
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evening all. i am considering buying an apartment in spain to be used as a family bolt hole. we have 2 young kids and my wife is a teacher so we have the potential to use it a fair bit (well, they do!). im not in a position to buy outright so will need to borrow money but have a bit of cash as a deposit. does anyone have any advice in terms of property selection, legals, approx total costs as a % of sale and local support for a non spanish speaking individual? many thanks in advance.

Stephanie Plum

2,694 posts

188 months

Friday 5th January 2018
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Where in Spain?

Yipper

5,964 posts

67 months

Friday 5th January 2018
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Best to wait untill after Brexit.

Jag_NE

Original Poster:

2,706 posts

77 months

Friday 5th January 2018
quotequote all
Stephanie Plum said:
Where in Spain?
south, somewhere with cheap flight connections from the UK. Does region affect matters?

Jag_NE

Original Poster:

2,706 posts

77 months

Friday 5th January 2018
quotequote all
Yipper said:
Best to wait untill after Brexit.
I was going to query your input. Then I saw it was you.

Stephanie Plum

2,694 posts

188 months

Friday 5th January 2018
quotequote all
Jag_NE said:
Stephanie Plum said:
Where in Spain?
south, somewhere with cheap flight connections from the UK. Does region affect matters?
It affects quite a lot really. You must have an idea where you'd rather be?

Jag_NE

Original Poster:

2,706 posts

77 months

Friday 5th January 2018
quotequote all
Stephanie Plum said:
It affects quite a lot really. You must have an idea where you'd rather be?
how, other than price?

Stephanie Plum

2,694 posts

188 months

Friday 5th January 2018
quotequote all
Jag_NE said:
Stephanie Plum said:
It affects quite a lot really. You must have an idea where you'd rather be?
how, other than price?
The local support? Some areas are still a bit dodgy re planning permission.

Have you been to Spain?

Jag_NE

Original Poster:

2,706 posts

77 months

Friday 5th January 2018
quotequote all
Stephanie Plum said:
The local support? Some areas are still a bit dodgy re planning permission.

Have you been to Spain?
im not looking to buy a new one. yes, several times.

nickfrog

16,764 posts

194 months

Saturday 6th January 2018
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Jag_NE said:
Yipper said:
Best to wait untill after Brexit.
I was going to query your input. Then I saw it was you.
laugh

tigerkoi

2,927 posts

175 months

Saturday 6th January 2018
quotequote all
Jag_NE said:
evening all. i am considering buying an apartment in spain to be used as a family bolt hole. we have 2 young kids and my wife is a teacher so we have the potential to use it a fair bit (well, they do!). im not in a position to buy outright so will need to borrow money but have a bit of cash as a deposit. does anyone have any advice in terms of property selection, legals, approx total costs as a % of sale and local support for a non spanish speaking individual? many thanks in advance.
Based on your criteria you’ve outlined in later posts....

Think of the Malaga region. Malaga airport is the second busiest in Spain and carries regular flights from many airports in the UK. If you’re SE-based, you’ve got the choice of flying from Gatwick, Stansted, Heathrow, Luton and City, through all seasons and with many operators.

You have Malaga the region, of which there is the city proper, and between it and Marbella, there are a number of ‘urbanizacions’ in between, all served wonderfully by the AP-7 or A-7 trunk roads. Malaga is a great city, slighter less population than Marbella, but culturally greater (imo). There’s Fuengirola, Torremolinos, etc etc. The slightly smaller towns like Mijas and Calahonda are generally quieter, with a wide range of housing stock, suiting most price ranges and sliding from the beach to the rising mountainsides. Golf courses everywhere, sun in late November even, served by a large airport, you can see why it’s a great pick.

In terms of the mechanics of a deal, I tend to see two sensible ways of going about it. One, get in touch with someone like Taylor Wimpey Spain. They, and companies like them are constantly developing new plots, and a phone call to an agent will quickly lend itself to them organising an itinerary around when you want to visit and what you want to see. Someone will pick you up from a hotel and drive you to the various sites and look after you. But this is new build.

I’d wanted us to acquire another property in the States to jolly off too whenever we felt like it, but was (happily, wisely) overruled by my wife. She wanted something that she could leave Docklands with a small bag, hit LCY Thursday evening and be in another home in around 3 hours (incl. picking up a car from the airport etc, door to door). She chose Malaga. I tagged along.

The second option revolved around us taking tentative looks on things like Zoopla, then booking a flight out after we got in touch with estate agents in the region from the contacts listed. They (an English lady who’d lived in the region for 15 years) picked us up from our hotel and over three days was driven around 15+ properties that she had sent details on prior. She then watered and fed us at coffee and restaurants along the way, teasing out more on our feelings on the various properties, red lines etc. We were going to have lunch at Nikki Beach one day but I had a headache and didn’t fancy all the loud music.

During the visit, she then helped us understand the rest of it: she gave us recommendations for lawyers based in Malaga who regularly handled foreign buyers. We chose one and they all mainly do the same thing. They, via power of attorney - to save you flying back and forth - get all the relevant documentation in place for you to buy. You need a police record (NIE), and other bits and bobs. Through email, painlessly as my wife found out, they handled everything. They spoke multiple languages so painless. They asked a few questions, required certain documents and just got on with it. They do all the land checks, ownership confirmation etc etc. You can’t buy a Jesus Gil dud if you let the pros do it properly.

Whether you need mortgage funding or not, as I understand you’ll need a Spanish bank account. Once again our agent gave us names of key contacts for whichever bank we preferred. Sabadell, Santander, the various caixas. We sat down for a brief interview with a senior manager (who also dropped us off in her car to meet our agent for more site visits) and handed over documents that we had been prepped in advance to bring over. Your bank account will be required to pay local taxes and utility bills etc. That’s how it works. Of course if you want a mortgage you’ll have the conversation there and then. For non-resident foreign buyers I hear it’s something like 30% that you need to find for deposit. Think with fees etc you’ll be looking at another 5-10%.

All in, we flew over once, saw stacks of properties in a short timeframe, got ferried around, had a network of contacts behind the scenes who knew each other, and worked together (but not linked formally to each other’s business) so kinks ironed out, hit the beach and restaurants to relax, and flew back. Everything was sorted for us and my wife flew over when the keys were at the lawyers and everything signed, done and dusted.

Honestly it was way easier than I expected, but we went with reputable and creditable names. My real participation was transferring cash as told to by my wife. She looked up the best and most cost effective money transfer sites that saved us a lot.

There’s a third way I suppose. Go there by yourself, look in some estate agent windows and piece together the whole process yourself and probably bugger the whole thing up introducing a lot of tedium into your life.

About Brexit. I ignore comments like that. If you have the funds and can afford it then go for it. Prices seem to be stable and actually moving up in some areas simply because British, especially in the classier areas aren’t the big buyers. From across Europe you are more likely to have Belgium, Dutch, German etc buyers contending.They aren’t bothered and they’re hoovering up. And if you’re looking for something in the €500k-1m range then Russians and middle eastern buyers are also starting to contend.

The area is chock full of eating, sports, shopping options. For instance just outside Fuengirola you’ve got enormous shopping malls like Miramar with Decathlon, Carrefour and the like, so you can buy your favourite jamon, Rioja, Patek Philippe or ride-on lawnmower - whatever you need. It’s like being at home. But if you want the monk-like solitary experience, then the region has lots of choice to take you away from the busier areas.

I still want to pick up something in the US. My wife is dead set against Florida as she thinks it’s coast to coast full of alligators. I quite like Arizona but flights from the UK tend to be harder. Tucson for instance is a real ball ache. I once flew to Houston from LHR, then had to go to Denver to connect back down to Tucson. I ended travelling for 24hrs all in. But it’s a beautiful place when you get there. Once again my wife thinks it’s all Sicario issues there, so California is the next project and least political between us. I just want a nice climate so owning a classic car won’t get rusty.

Buying abroad, buying in Spain, is relatively straightforward if a) your affairs are straightforward, b)funds either in hand or to be secured via mortgage is no issue due to your financial situation and c) you use people who can walk you through the process, join the dots and can trust because they work for credible outfits.

Go for it. The knowledge I can bowl over at nearly anytime with little more than my iPad, passport, keys and wallet to a place in the sun in an evening and get away from the grey skies, toxic daily news, roads full of crazy kids in Audi S3s and everything else that weighs a good citizen down, is extremely refreshing. And before you plonk yourself down on the sofa and switch on the TV with a finger of Talisker, you pull the sliding doors open and either hear the sea, crickets chirping or the water sprinklers in the distance, and other pressures just melt away.

Money well spent.

Happy to answer any other questions.


RATATTAK

7,405 posts

166 months

Sunday 7th January 2018
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tigerkoi said:
Stuff
Wow, what a post ... many thanks from a casual observer

Jag_NE

Original Poster:

2,706 posts

77 months

Sunday 7th January 2018
quotequote all
thank you tiger!

i would need a mortgage, in answer to your question. id be looking at the bottom end of the market im afraid, something cheep and cheerful, 2 bed rooms, a small terrace and access to a shared pool.

30-40% deposit plus another chunk for fees could be prohibitive for me in the short term however. I have a family member who is a very long term spain resident, maybe 30 years or so, lived there most of his working life. to get around the high deposit scenario is it feasible for him to buy it using my cash and gift the property to me at a later date? i appreciate that this would require a high level of trust!

pincher

7,224 posts

194 months

Sunday 7th January 2018
quotequote all
RATATTAK said:
tigerkoi said:
Stuff
Wow, what a post ... many thanks from a casual observer
Yes, very informative beer

Certainly gives me some food for thought scratchchin

tigerkoi

2,927 posts

175 months

Sunday 7th January 2018
quotequote all
RATATTAK & Jag, it’s a pleasure. It was actually good for me to do a bit of a total recall on the journey of our purchase and in retrospect how relatively enjoyable it was.

Jag, I’ll try and answer your question as best I can. In effect a resident of Spain will only have to look for 20% deposit, plus fees. See below link for a good explanation of how things work there:
https://transferwise.com/gb/blog/getting-a-mortgag...

However, regarding the ins and outs of a relative front-running the purchase, I’m sure there’s a way but this is where the notary/lawyer will come in as they’ll draw up the relevant deeds and ownership details. Any purchase has to be transacted through lawyers so agreement would have to be watertight and set in writing. You could also have a ‘light’ conversation - together - with your representative at BankInter or Sabadell or whoever to see what they think. All banks across Europe care about the origin of money and whilst I’ve found banks in Portugal and Spain to be lighter touch than say banks in the US or the U.K., if you were thinking of your relative taking the mortgage initially, then you assuming it at a later date, to get around the resident/non-resident tax difference then they might struggle with that logic, naturally.

The easiest thing I’d imagine is using your relative to secure the property through their resident status, they also assume the mortgage of which you pay them back per month/annum etc but lawyers draft terms that state you provided the deposit and on any later sale that money is returned to you etc etc. I.E. you’ll never actually own it, but will have some sort of lien. But this is all trust between family of which you are the best judge.

In terms of what is affordable, in the Malaga region you have an enormous range. There are many, many estates in a secured compound where a two bed apartment with a terrace, overlooking a communal pool, with often underground parking is fairly commonplace. With that criteria depending on town, age of property and proximity to the goodies, you can be looking at anywhere from €75k to €250+k.

A number of the banks also own some stock and sell at distressed prices. There was over supply in the mid 2000s, people also defaulted or builders went bust, and therefore the banks gained a sizeable stock. There are numerous websites detailing these properties, but I’ve seen properties in lovely locations, overlooking golf courses, huge communal pools, freshly painted outbuildings, full marble interior, brand new bathrooms and kitchens which were originally on the market for say €230k being sold off for €140k. There are bargains to be had through the banks for sure. The catch might be the mortgage terms they will inevitably set unless it’s a full cash deal.

Another thing to think of is that negotiation is obviously prevalent, like in any market. Like I say there are lots of European buyers and have been for years, and as the British market share is said to be shrinking, other nationalities are buying in. Now it’s always the case, but if the seller is foreign, then their incentive to negotiate for a speedy sale tends to be higher. After all, especially with a flat, every month they don’t sell they have to pay utility and estate fees. So do some digging as to who’s on the other end of the deal.

But just to further wet appetites have a look at this website and this example:

https://dpc-costadelsol.com/property/?ref=R2018141

For €185k it’s a new build, 3 bed, two bath, internally facing into the communal grounds and pools - which as you can see will be constantly maintained by the gardeners and facility guys - a couple of terraces in the sun and very close to the sea. It’s gated so only residents have access, and won’t be near the hoi polloi noisy bars. Judging by the look of it, it looks like the original show home of the estate, and you could easily gain all the furniture and furnishings as part of the deal. If it’s brand new, and never used, then why buy something new from the hyper market?

So that’s in that range. If you go down further in price, and you look further east towards Estepona, then check this out for a little over €100k:

https://dpc-costadelsol.com/property/?ref=R2985095

Estapona has a cracking reputation and is a lovely town. It’s said that the mayor there runs the place very well and was determined to make the town really desirable, and you see it in little things like well cut and beautifully manicured public gardens everywhere as soon as you drive into the vicinity. My only - personal - challenge with Estepona is that it’s much further down the coast from Malaga airport, not prohibitive but it’s a journey in the hire car, and Gibraltar airport is likely easier to fly too. And with Gib airport, my concern is that with relations between Spain and the U.K. over Gib then at some point flying there, to simply go into Spain and to your property may become tedious if the border guards start to play up. I could be overstating this, but in comparison Malaga airport is truly international and simple to get in and out of. Gib, you are technically manuovering between countries when you land and it is what it is.

And then if you go up towards the €250k mark....

https://dpc-costadelsol.com/property/?ref=R2703221

Mijas is a gorgeous town and I personally think it’s the pick of the locations between Malaga and Marbella. Classy restaurants, stunning views and very accessible. You might be looking at these three plucked options in their price ranges and be thinking what’s the main difference, why do some go for more than others? Well from what I can determine, it’s in the little details. A brand new, ultra clean underground car parking option is to be expected the higher up you go. Additional storage facilities on the compound for toys, bikes etc can add into a premium. The quality of the marble and fittings obviously makes a difference. Location too. Terrace size. Some terraces will be in the shade at 3pm and not really big enough for family table to have a nice evening meal - for many that detracts. Bigger or even multiple swimming pools can raise prices. And it goes on.

You can certainly find property as low as €75k and you can easily spend €750k. It’s a huge range, and generally in the €100-200k bracket the bargains can be enormous with great build quality, super views and well located and sometimes it’s had to understand the wide variance.

Enjoy!


Ultuous

2,199 posts

168 months

Sunday 7th January 2018
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That's been really useful for me too: I have a relative who's been thinking of buying around Malaga for years; this might be just the guidance they need to kick-start the action! smile

tigerkoi

2,927 posts

175 months

Sunday 7th January 2018
quotequote all
Pincher & Ultuous - an absolute pleasure!

All this talk though and I’m starting to get itchy and looking for the easiest flight to get me back out to our place ASAP.

It’s a lovely part of the world. 320+ days of sunshine a year, I can easily pop over to Malaga FC and try to catch Barcelona or Real Madrid if in town; lots of different towns and regions which have variety; the beach side resorts along the Golden Mile have some superb restaurants and other pleasures; we can jump in the car and two hours later be skiing in the Sierra Nevada with its 30 lifts and 100km of runs; the high speed trains from Malaga centre to Madrid or other cities are so clean, fast, efficient and the scenery is stunning....so much to do and so close to home.

I’m glad I listened to my wife!

Gareth1974

3,080 posts

116 months

Sunday 7th January 2018
quotequote all
tigerkoi said:
Estapona has a cracking reputation and is a lovely town. It’s said that the mayor there runs the place very well and was determined to make the town really desirable, and you see it in little things like well cut and beautifully manicured public gardens everywhere as soon as you drive into the vicinity. My only - personal - challenge with Estepona is that it’s much further down the coast from Malaga airport, not prohibitive but it’s a journey in the hire car, and Gibraltar airport is likely easier to fly too. And with Gib airport, my concern is that with relations between Spain and the U.K. over Gib then at some point flying there, to simply go into Spain and to your property may become tedious if the border guards start to play up. I could be overstating this, but in comparison Malaga airport is truly international and simple to get in and out of. Gib, you are technically manuovering between countries when you land and it is what it is.
We use a friend's apartment in Puerto de la Duquesa (possibly worth a look) each year, and tend to go to Estapona a lot for shopping, I'd agree with this recommendation. It doesn't feel overtly like a tourist town, more an authentic Spanish town that happens to be next to a beach.

Another place in this area I like, is Sotogrande, clearly a purpose built resort, but it has a nice vibe. Pricey though.

As mentioned, the issue with this area is the distance from Malaga airport. In the past we've always flown to Gibraltar, but with Monarch's collapse, there are no flights to/from the midlands at the moment.

pincher

7,224 posts

194 months

Sunday 7th January 2018
quotequote all
tigerkoi said:
Pincher & Ultuous - an absolute pleasure!

All this talk though and I’m starting to get itchy and looking for the easiest flight to get me back out to our place ASAP.

It’s a lovely part of the world. 320+ days of sunshine a year, I can easily pop over to Malaga FC and try to catch Barcelona or Real Madrid if in town; lots of different towns and regions which have variety; the beach side resorts along the Golden Mile have some superb restaurants and other pleasures; we can jump in the car and two hours later be skiing in the Sierra Nevada with its 30 lifts and 100km of runs; the high speed trains from Malaga centre to Madrid or other cities are so clean, fast, efficient and the scenery is stunning....so much to do and so close to home.

I’m glad I listened to my wife!
Our neighbours have a villa on the Golden Mile that we sometimes go to for a few days - 5 mins from the beach and about 15 mins walk to the port where the catamaran depart for Banus. Love talking a walk round Orange Square and having a beer and a churro while watching the world go past.
Can stomach Puerto Banus for a couple of hours but that’s about it.

Can’t beat an evening stroll along the prom smile


Thankyou4calling

10,051 posts

150 months

Sunday 7th January 2018
quotequote all
What an excellent post from TK.

It reminds me of how PH used to be, a huge variety of quality opinions where you could gain some really useful info.

Now, largely populated by argumentative types or idiots.