According to Lake Oswego real-estate insider Mike Hall, online property searches are up 30% from this time last year. While a year ago location was one of the most important features of a property, the coronavirus pandemic has led people to reconsider what “home” truly means to them. Many people are working from home, and so proximity to the office is no longer a consideration; instead people are looking for property with plenty of space where they and their family can co-exist peacefully.
Some people may even be thinking of using this new found freedom to emigrate to a sunnier climate, or at the very least to purchase a holiday home abroad. With its glorious weather and beautiful beaches, Spain is an obvious choice of location. If this sounds like an option you would like to consider, there are a few points that you should be aware of before making your move.
The cost of living in Spain is generally lower than in the US, as are house prices. It has been suggested that following the coronavirus pandemic, in the short- and medium term there is likely to be a drop of anything from 9% to 20% in Spanish house prices. Chances are that this drop will not be permanent, and therefore investing in Spanish property could be a good option, because you might actually make money when the market recovers. Of course, this is only speculation. Nobody truly knows what will happen in the world after coronavirus, so if you were thinking of buying as an investment, then it is a risk.
If, however, you have always dreamed of living in Spain and you have the income to support this, then now could be a great time to take advantage of the lower house prices and go for it! There’s also the added bonus that if you buy a property in Spain, then you will gain a Spanish visa, which allows you to live there.
According to expatica.com the Spanish authorities have been putting in place legislation to prevent artificially high rental prices for short-term lets. If you are looking to rent a property for a short time yourself, then this is great news. However, if you were planning on buying a Spanish property with a view to renting it out to holidaymakers, then this is a point that you should consider within your plans. It may not be as lucrative an idea as you first thought.
There have been a number of issues with people buying properties in Spain through unscrupulous dealers and ending up losing both the property and their money. For example, some people have bought homes that didn’t have planning permission and ended up getting torn down. An even bigger risk is buying properties that are still in the process of being built, and the property never actually materializing. You should avoid purchasing properties that are not yet built if possible.
It’s also worth engaging with a legal team who have experience of Spanish property law in order to help you to navigate these sorts of issues, and prevent you from losing money. For example, Scudamore Law specialize in Spanish property law and they can help you with your purchase to ensure that you are getting everything you bargained for, and not getting anything that you didn’t expect!
One of the main differences with the Spanish property market is that the mortgage is attached to the property, and not to the person. This creates two potential issues that you will need to look out for:
- When buying a property, ensure that there is no outstanding mortgage on it. If you buy a property with a mortgage attached, you become liable for it.
- Mortgage providers in Spain will not issue the mortgage until the sale is confirmed. Therefore, it’s very important that you make sure there is a clause in the sales contract that allows you to exit the sale if you cannot secure a mortgage; otherwise you may be left with a house that you are unable to pay for.