Many international property agents are saying that the British buyer is back this year in Spain, and could be looking at anything from a modern golf villa in Sotogrande to a small sporting estate.
But buying a property in what isn’t your native tongue can often lead to misunderstandings or disappointments. So what are the potential pitfalls of buying in Spain to watch out for, if you are thinking about buying a holiday home there?
Property consultancy Strategic & Buy, which specialises in taking the hassle out of buying property in the country by assisting with the purchase of top-end properties in Spain, has put together a list of ‘Need to Know’ facts that most often overlooked by potential investors.
* In Spain, debts are attached to the property, not the person, so it is essential to ensure that your lawyer obtains proof that the vendor has paid all the relevant dues. These include the mortgage, all utilities and taxes and community fees if the property is located on a residential development.
* Be sure to employ an independent lawyer. Whilst your estate agent may make recommendations, be aware that only an independent lawyer will be sure to serve solely your interests rather than both yours and the seller’s.
* When purchasing a property you should allow for extra costs. VAT is around 10% on new build and you pay around 10% for Inheritance Tax and Stamp Duty on second-hand properties. Added to this you have to pay notary fees and Land Registry fees. In total you should allow for approximately 12% in costs on top of the purchase price.
* Every local town hall will charge IBI which is an annual real estate tax, based on the rateable value of the property. This is charged at between 0.3 and 0.5% and the preceding owner is obliged to give you copies of previous bills.
* From 2014, home owners are required to classify their rentable income as taxable if they want to rent out their property. This applies to specific regions such as Catalonia where you will require a license to rent out your property. Also in Andalucía there is a requirement for a license for the leasing of rural homes. It is advisable to check what the requirements are in each region.
* Aesthetic style restrictions may apply depending on the property e.g. in historic centres where building alterations may be controlled.
You will need to visit the Town Hall – they will be able to provide you with the following
1. A copy of the Town Planning Certificate, cédula urbanística or certificado urbanistico, which specifies the planning zone, use, building space and building type for any plot of land
2. They will also advise on local building regulations which will help determine if you will get permission to make alterations to your property if needed
3. The town hall will also detail potential future developments/services in the area, however, it is advisable to seek professional help for this due to the institutional bureaucracy in Spain.
Experts at pre-empting the various pitfalls and legal intricacies that buyers often come across when purchasing in Spain, Strategic & Buy offers a personal property finding service that assumes responsibility and guides purchasers through the entire process to assure them of the validity and security of their purchase options.
Set up by Sheena Campbell-Royle, Strategic & Buy is discrete, bespoke and refined and offers a new, hassle-free way to buy, refurbish or create residences in one of the most popular second home destinations in Europe.
* Follow Country Life magazine on Twitter