1. Choosing the right location
You know the famous saying about the three most important
things when it comes to buying a property - location, location
and location! Yes, we all know it but it's extraordinary how
many foreigners buying in Spain miss this fundamental point.
Carried away on a wave of sun, sangria and a pushy sales pitch
from a local estate agent, too many people rush in to buying
their "dream home" only to find it's in a completely
inappropriate location for their needs.
The golden rule is: DON'T make an offer after your first viewing
of a property. Make copious notes, take photographs if possible,
then go away and think about it with a cool head (after that
initial flush of excitement has worn off!).
However much you want the property, think hard about whether
there are any drawbacks. Will you be able to have a phone line
installed (don't take the agent's word for it!) Is it near
to shops, bars, restaurants and other facilities you may regard
as essential? Does it have letting potential? What's the area
like out of season?
Jot down all the questions which come to mind and go back
to visit the property. Put your questions to the estate agent,
the owner and preferably someone completely independent. Find
a friendly local bar where some of the regulars might be able
to give you a better picture of what it's like to live in the
Ideally you should make two or three visits to your chosen
area at different times of the year. Some Spanish "urbanizaciones",
where large numbers of foreigners have their holiday homes,
become virtual ghost towns in the winter months. If you're
planning to live there all year, you may find yourself feeling
a bit isolated from October to April.
A friend of mine, who runs a highly successful holiday letting
company on the Costa del Sol, owns and manages several villas.
She swears by visiting each villa no less than five times before
making a purchase!
That may sound excessive - but when you're buying in a foreign
country, where the culture and laws are very different to those
of most north European countries, it's much easier to come
a cropper. Remember: only fools rush in!
2. Buying as an investment
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