within a community of owners
I cover this topic in some depth in my ebook, "A
Warts and All Guide to Buying Property in Spain", because it's
a popular choice with many foreigners but it can be fraught
with problems (I know I don't surprise you by saying that!).
There are many advantages in buying into a community development.
You'll have a ready-made community of neighbours around you,
probably including many of your own nationality. Many communities
have superb facilities including swimming pools, landscaped
gardens, bars, restaurants, even shops.
You pay an annual fee for the maintenance of the communal
areas so you don't have to worry about cleaning the pool, trimming
back the hedges and mowing the lawn. Even the exterior painting
of the properties is done on behalf of the owners on a regular
basis in many community developments.
Great, I hear you say! What could possibly go wrong? Well,
nothing much if it's a well run community, with a good committee
which is truly representative of the majority of owners.
All community developments are governed by certain rules and
regulations laid down under a national Spanish law.
But each community has its own local by-laws, drawn up by
the governing committee and this is where you can come a cropper
if you don't know exactly what you're getting into (remember
my advice about hiring a good lawyer?!).
The committee may decree that your property can only be painted
a certain colour, and even a particular shade of that colour.
It may decide to ban all pets, ball games and lilos in the
swimming pool. That's fine if you agree with all the rules
- just make sure you know what they are before you buy.
Ask for some back copies of the community's last few annual
general meetings to see if there are any local disputes or
controversies you ought to know about.
And talk to some of the other owners before you commit yourself
to a purchase - they're the Best ones to advise you as to whether
or not this is a peaceful, well-run community (or a Spanish
version of the Gaza Strip).
Friends of mine have vowed never to live in an ex-pat community
development again after finding themselves in the midst of
committee power struggles and fierce disputes between neighbours
which, amongst other problems, meant that no-one was prepared
to fix and pay for the terminally ill communal pool.
These friends are now happily ensconced in a very Spanish
pueblo without another ex-pat in sight.
That's not to say that community life won't work for you.
It particularly suits people who plan to spend only part of
the year in their Spanish property. But do some thorough research
before buying and go in with your eyes open.
You'll find more advice on this particular subject and many
more topics, including several real life case studies, in my
9. Costs of buying a Spanish Property
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