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SPANISH PROPERTY MAGAZINE END OF YEAR SPECIAL

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SPANISH PROPERTY MAGAZINE (SPM) END OF YEAR SPECIAL


Welcome to the compilation of the 2014 Spanish Property Magazine. This extensive magazine running to over 200 pages takes the best articles from this year’s SPM and puts them into one easy to reference compendium for you to look at. Every issue is prefaced by its cover so you can see what you will be reading in the following pages, so if you want to know more about residency, prices, laws, taxes, property or more just look through the titles. The following page has the contents so you can also click through to the page you want if you want to read something specific. Apart from this we hope you will just leaf through the 200 plus pages and enjoy.

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If you have any questions then contact us of course on info@spanish-property.net and we will get back to you or simply go to www.spanish-property.net and sign up for our newsletters and information.

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So let’s start with the first issue of the year in January 2014, read on…


CONTENTS • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

INTRODUCING THE SPANISH PROPERTY NETWORK SPANISH PROPERTY MARKET OVERVIEW 2013 LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT GANDIA THE OLD AND NEW SPANISH VISA PROCESS EXPLAINED 10 GREAT THINGS ABOUT LIVING IN SPAIN HOW DO YOU FIND THE BEST PROPERTY IN SPAIN SPAIN - GET USED TO IT FOREIGN BUYERS OF SPANISH PROPERTY THE NEW PODCAST ON SOUNDCLOUD BARCELONA - SANT MARTI 10 THINGS YOU SHOULD BE DOING EVERY DAY IN SPAIN GOING IT ALONE, ESTATE AGENTS OR USING A PROPERTY FINDER RENTAL WITH AN OPTION TO BUY ARE THE GOOD OLD DAYS BACK FOR SPANISH PROPERTY BUYERS? WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE SPANISH PROPERTY BARGAINS DRY UP? 10 WAYS TO SAVE MONEY WHEN BUYING YOUR SPANISH PROPERTY THE 17 WORST THINGS ABOUT LIVING IN SPAIN WORKING WITH THE TV COMPANIES - MOVING TO MALAGA FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED NEW PROPERTY TAXES CAN I BUY THAT WRECK? AN UNCOMMON GUIDE TO PROPERTIES NEEDING WORK WHAT CAN A BARCELONA PROPERTY FINDER DO FOR YOU? 10 MAD REASONS FOR NOT BUYING A PROPERTY IN SPAIN

CLICK ON THE TITLES TO GO TO THAT PAGE

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HOW EXCHANGE RATES AFFECT YOUR SPANISH PROPERTY PURCHASE WHAT’S IT LIKE TO LIVE IN SPAIN BY THOSE WHO ALREADY DO TOP TEN FAMILY TRAVEL GAMES MOVING TO SPAIN WITH CHILDREN VALENCIA’S BEACH AREA - THE CABANYAL, MALVARROSA AND PATACONA SPANISH PROPERTY BUYERS MOVING INTO THE CITY THE TOP TEN MOST EXPENSIVE PLACES TO LIVE IN SPAIN CONVEYANCING AND MORE IN SPAIN, WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN BUYING WHAT IS SPANISH FAST FOOD? WHERE DO YOU GO ON HOLIDAY IN SPAIN WHEN YOU LIVE HERE? THE ENDURING ATTRACTION OF SPANISH BEACHES THE TOP TEN BEST CITIES TO LIVE IN SPAIN WHICH NATIONALITIES ARE BUYING SPANISH PROPERTY? HOW IS THE SPANISH PROPERTY MARKET DOING? WHAT SOUNDS REMIND YOU THAT YOU ARE IN SPAIN? HOW TO FIND YOUR IDEAL SPANISH PROPERTY - THE RESOURCES YOU NEED WHY WOULD YOU BUY A PROPERTY IN SPAIN? THE LATEST SPANISH PROPERTY TAX NEWS AND REPORTS A CLOSER LOOK AT MIJAS IN MALAGA WORK LIFE BALANCE IN SPAIN DEVELOPING PROPERTY IN SPAIN A SHORT GUIDE


SPANISH PROPERTY MAGAZINE ISSUE 17

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SPANISH PROPERTY MAGAZINE (SPM) Issue 17

2013 Market Overview

Introducing The Spanish Property Network

The #WABAS12 Video Project

Launching the Spanish Property Network 100 Video Tips for Moving To Spain: Barcelona: Malaga: Valencia: Alicante 100 Reasons To Live In Spain Learn More About Spain


INTRODUCING THE SPANISH PROPERTY NETWORK GRAHAM HUNT

NICK SNELLING

LISA SADLEIR

DAVID LEIGH

SIMON HARRIS


INTRODUCING THE SPANISH PROPERTY NETWORK If you are looking to move to Spain then you will realise that the road to finding your perfect home is full of potential pitfalls; agents that don’t respond to your enquiries, lawyers who have an uneasy relationship with the developer you wish to buy off and photos that overstate the beauty of a property compared with the reality when you have flown half way across the world to see it. ! The Spanish Property Network aims to rid you of these worries by having a highly motivated and qualified team of professionals all over Spain bringing you the most mouthwatering deals for living in, renting out or investing in. We have fantastic deals all over the country sourced by our property professionals choosing from all of the properties on offer in the market. If a property is overpriced, badly built, shoddily finished or whatever we dismiss it. We do your legwork for you. ! For more information about our network, experience, knowledge and professionalism take a look at our About Us page on Spanish Property Net as it develops or read on below. You can put a face and a personality to the person you are talking to, all of those featured on the previous page and more and that expert will be your guide in whichever area of Spain you are looking to relocate to or buy in. We look forward to hearing from you and getting to know what you want in Spain. ! This entry was written by Graham Hunt, one of the founders of the SPN, publisher of this magazine for iPad and specialist in the Valencia region. You can find me everywhere on social media.


INTRODUCING THE SPANISH PROPERTY NETWORK

I would just like to take this opportunity to introduce you to some of our team. We will start with the two instigators of the project and then move on to our other local experts.

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The two projects of The Spanish Property Network and the Spanish Residency Project are a collaboration between myself, Graham Hunt, of Valprop Ltd with 15 years of experience in the Spanish Property sector and Lisa Sadleir of Costa Consulting Bureau (Part of Family in Spain SL) another veteran of the Spanish Relocation sector. We have gathered together a series of experts around the whole of Spain who collaborate with us to offer a fully integrated relocation and property purchase service to foreign nationals wishing to relocate to Spain.

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I cover the area in and around Valencia. The third city of Spain, Valencia offers the attractions of a big city, so many things going on and so much to do with the pleasure of living among rolling orange and olive groves within easy reach of the city at a price well below the other major metropolitan areas in Spain. City flats, townhouses and villas with their own grounds are all offered within half an hour of the city and international airport.


INTRODUCING THE SPANISH PROPERTY NETWORK Lisa covers the Costa Del Sol from her base in Mijas. Obviously this encompasses the well known exclusive areas of Marbella, Estepona and Sotogrande but it also includes the beautiful city of Malaga itself, the inland area around Alhaurin and Mijas Pueblo and so much more. From sweet town houses to ultra high end millionaire pads, the Costa del Sol continues to attract so many different people.

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Our Team

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In Barcelona we have Mr Barcelona himself Simon Harris. Having lived and worked in the city for over 25 years Simon knows everything that there is to know about the city and is not only knowledgeable but hugely enthusiastic about both the city and the lifestyle in Catalonia. Ask anything about Barcelona and it unlikely that Simon will not be able to answer it.

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Just North of Barcelona our area coordinator is David Leigh. David is another who has lived and worked in Spain for many years and he is currently based in Girona. David’s area comprises the beautiful Costa Brava from the French border down to Barcelona. It encompasses some of the best known towns and villages on the Costa Brava including Estartit, Rosas, Escala and the inland towns of the Empordá.

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South of Valencia

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In Gandia we have Nick Snelling, author of the definitive book on buying Spanish Property, “How to Move Safely to Spain”. Nick is another veteran of the Spanish Property Market having been involved in it for the last ten years. Nick lives an works around the Gandia area in La Safor and knows the area intimately. Also if you like climbing Nick can tell you the best areas for this sport, Nick chose the area himself because of the excellent climbing routes.

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On the Northern Costa Blanca in Javea we have Anthony Pugh who has recently joined his father in the family business in the area and immediately expanded the business due to the growing demand. Anthony will be your guide to the extremely popular area of Javea and Denia among others in the surrounding towns and will find you that elusive ideal property in the area while listening to your requirements and desires to match them to the property.


INTRODUCING THE SPANISH PROPERTY NETWORK Moving slightly down the coast we have Alex Childs in Moraira who manages a company providing high quality bespoke new build properties and an excellent selection of villas and fincas around this beautiful location. Alex and his team will provide you with an excellent service whether you are looking to buy an already built property or would like to embark on a project to build your dream home in Moraira.

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Covering the area to the west of Moraira and based in and around Altea we have Barry McCormack who provides us with excellent property not only in Altea but through to the ever popular Benidorm and up into the Jalon valley. Barry has been living and working in Altea and the surrounding area for years and knows everything there is to know about both the town itself and property in the area.

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Moving further south west towards Gibraltar we have Chris Gamble as our area coordinator. Chris covers the Rock itself and the area around in the Campo de Gibraltar. Specialising in relocation and property rehab and modernisation Chris provides a bridge for those possibly living in Spain and working in Gibraltar.

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These are our main areas of course but we also cover the capital Madrid, the Northern Spanish areas of Asturias, Galicia, Cantabria and the Basque Country and really if anybody for whatever reason wanted to move to Albacete we could help you out there too.

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From you first contact with us we will put you in touch with our local experts who will guide you through any questions you may have and they will put together an itinerary for you for when you visit so you get the best possible choice of property and also relocation services that you may need.


SPANISH PROPERTY MARKET OVERVIEW 2013


SPANISH PROPERTY MARKET OVERVIEW 2013 As we are into a New Year I thought it was time to let you know about how the Spanish Property Market has gone in 2013. Obviously this is biased towards the Valencia region with my main catchment area being there through Valencia Property but also with the new project The Spanish Property Network we also have trends and tendencies from the rest of Spain to look at.

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The Internal Market

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You can read lots of doom and gloom in various places about the internal Spanish market and in general you would be right. The lack of finance from the effectively bankrupt banks means that although people want to buy property at the new lower prices there are no mortgages available for them to do so and the Spanish in general depended on mortgages for purchases. Therefore a lot of the bargains that are out there are going to foreign buyers who generally come to Spain without the need for mortgage finance.

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However there are interesting trends. The banks are reporting that the properties on their books that are being sold, and they need to sell a lot more, are being sold in the internal market to cash buyers in the majority of cases. In other words there are Spanish buyers with cash. The banks themselves have been selling properties off to investment funds in blocks but this will obviously leave them with the rump of useless, badly located properties that even the investment funds will not pick up needing to be even more heavily discounted (Or even demolished) to move them.

The External Market

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Sales to foreign buyers have increased to a rate that is the highest since 2004. Levels of investment are also rising towards those levels. However there is a difference in the buyers these days. Previously the majority of the buyers were from the UK, Germany, Holland and the Nordic countries. They are still buying but as a lower proportion as new buyers from Eastern Europe including Russia and the Ukraine, China


SPANISH PROPERTY MARKET OVERVIEW 2013 Canada and the United States come in.

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The new Golden Visa Regulations for purchases over 500,000 Euros is starting to have an effect at the higher end of the market (Read more about it here) especially in the Costa Del Sol/Malaga area and on the Balearic Islands. The main interest in the Valencia region is from investors looking to buy various units to have a portfolio over 500k rather than a single property. This will bring them a return on their investment and allow them to actually earn money while living here. (You can see the whole list of requirements for the Spanish Residency Visa for non residents at the link)

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Therefore the new Spanish Residency Visa is expected to have an effect at the top end of the market and the bottom end but it may not effect mid priced properties, 200-300k Euros, as they do not provide a high enough return in many places on money spent for investors.

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Housing Stock

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Spain has anything from 700,000 to 2.3 million properties on the market, the discrepancy explained by the lack of control of building in the past and the lack of a central database capturing all of the information. Also many properties are marketed at different prices by different agents meaning the same property may well be on the market by a huge number of agents skewing the figures.

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The majority of the new build stock is badly situated, often badly built and often overpriced as the developer dreams of solving

However around 10-30% of them depending on your criteria can be considered a good buy if the price is right because the location is adequate to good. A very few are very good.

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Older property varies wildly in style, quality and price. Bargains like the Marbella townhouse pictured above exist in most areas of Spain and you would be well advised to keep an eye out and be ready to move as bargain properties tend to move quickly in the current market. many Spanish sellers are forced to keep their prices high as they have large mortgages on them. This means you may find situations where similar properties are advertised at wildly differing prices just because of how much money is owed to the bank. (See below for an explanation of prices)


SPANISH PROPERTY MARKET OVERVIEW 2013 Sales

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In the Valencia region the same thing happened this year as in 2012, sales to foreigners were extremely strong in the first half of the year and weaker in the second half. This is easily explained this year, the regional government (In an absolutely ridiculously idiotic move {Yes I am sitting on the fence}) decided to raise property purchase tax to 10% from a previously already overpriced 8%. This had an immediate effect on buyers who compared the market with other regions where the property purchase tax was lower and decided to buy elsewhere. (Madrid for example is reducing purchase tax to 6% from January 2014 which has virtually stopped sales in the last quarter of 2013 in the city. There will be a huge increase in sales the Madrid area in January 2014 as a result)

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The rest of Spain followed a more stable trend with sales to foreign buyers increasing while sales to Spanish buyers kept falling due to the lack of finance. Expect this trend to continue in the next year as many countries’ economies are recovering and people are able to sell their properties in their country of origin to bring their money here to buy.

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Exchange Rates

Exchange rates for the Euro have been falling in general. The year has fluctuated from 1.06 to the pound up to 1.21 Euros to the pound. (Similar fluctuations happened with the US Dollar, Japanese Yen, and other currencies)

The tendency is the strengthening of other currencies against the Euro (Although slow and volatile) as the Eurozone struggles with very low interest rates and a lack of economic growth. This again has attracted foreign buyers because as house prices have been falling and the Euro has been falling properties effectively become a lot cheaper for buyers from outside the Eurozone.


SPANISH PROPERTY MARKET OVERVIEW 2013 As there is volatility in the market it is best if you fix your exchange rate by making a forward order through a currency broker. This means that even if there is volatility your rate is assured. On a purchase of around 200k, a 1% fluctuation in the exchange rate between putting down a deposit and completion can make a major difference in how much money you have to transfer. Get in touch with a currency broker here.

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Prices

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Prices of Spanish Property have continued to fall across the board in general. However there are exceptions. Well located properties are selling at asking price very quickly because the general view is that prices will not fall any more. Prices in general are now 35-40% below peak although many bargains are to be found at 50% below peak or with even deeper discounts.

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In certain areas now prices are starting to rise slightly due to a lack of supply (This is definitely not the case in areas such as Castell贸n where up to 25% of property remains unsold) but in areas where the property boom was not so pronounced such as Navarra in the Basque Country, Madrid, Extremadura and the Balearic Islands prices are rising slightly. Expect this tendency to happen in more areas (although not all) as prices bottom out.


SPANISH PROPERTY MARKET OVERVIEW 2013 Finance Options

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Mortgages continue to be scarce in the Spanish Market. Banks only tend to finance on their own property and even then they make you jump through a lot of hoops in order to purchase with a mortgage and the mortgage rates are not very attractive as banks struggle to get the finance themselves in order to lend. On their own properties banks are offering mortgages around Euribor plus 2.5%. This may seem attractive with Euribor at historic lows but as the rate is revised every year, as soon as Euribor rises the interest rate on the mortgage could rise enormously. In 2008 the Euribor reached 6%. At current terms that would mean you are paying 8.5% which would stretch even the most elastic pockets. On properties they do not own you will be lucky to be offered a mortgage by most Spanish banks.

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Banks also continue to insert illegal contract terms such as collars whereby the rate will not drop below a certain interest rate. Be very careful if getting Spanish banks’ mortgage finance.

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International banks however are financing Spanish Property Purchase now. To find out more about both Spanish and International banking options get in touch with a mortgage broker such as Mortgage Direct. After an initial consultation they charge a fee for finding your Spanish Mortgage but they will definitely find you the best deal available.


SPANISH PROPERTY MARKET OVERVIEW 2013 Types Of Buyers

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The traditional buyer of Spanish Property was somebody retiring or taking early retirement looking to buy a coastal property. Over the years this profile of buyer has changed radically although the traditional buyer still exists.

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This year our sales have largely been to people looking for places to live and work from as they can work from anywhere as long as they have broadband internet connection, to those working in the oil industry who spend a month on and a month offshore for example meaning they want to spend their time off in a warm and welcoming place, and people living and working in Spain already who are now ready to purchase after spending some time here as well as the traditional buyers. We also have had people coming over to set up businesses here and looking to take advantage of a different lifestyle to that they experience at home and of course investors looking to get a return on their investments, whether that be in buying and renting out or buying to modernise and sell on.

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Conclusion

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The Spanish Property Market continues to struggle at an internal level. However international demand is growing and prices are attractive for the foreign buyer looking to buy or invest in Spanish Property as long as they ignore the badly located properties that have no base price.

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This will lead to a two tier market, already existent to tell the truth, where places that are attractive to foreign buyers have stabilised in price and will start to see price rises eventually, although not short term. Places that rely on internal Spanish demand: commuter belt towns around cities, inland traditionally Spanish areas or Spanish targetted beach areas for example will continue to fall until some liquidity comes into the mortgage market. That may still be some time away.

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If you require any more information or wish to discuss these trends and tendencies with me and for press enquiries get in touch via Twitter @grahunt. We can then set up a Skype call.

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If you are looking for property sale sale in Spain then take a look at the new Spanish Property Network which you can see introduced on the following pages and for Valencia Property click this link.


SPANISH PROPERTY MAGAZINE ISSUE 18

SPAIN *

SPANISH PROPERTY MAGAZINE (SPM) Issue 18

BARCELONA

VALENCIA

MALAGA

a personal costa brava history of valencia spain gandia - mijas

the old and new spanish visa processes

10 great things about living in spain

MORE #WABAS12 VIDEOS


LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT GANDIA

You may not have heard of Gandia as it is generally off the radar for foreigners, there are as few as 80 British people registered on the census for example. However, Gandia is a huge draw for people from Spain with huge swathes of whiteish sands, excellent yachting facilities and an excellent climate without the tourist hordes that you may find in other areas and with a hint of Spanishness about everything. Let Nick Snelling tell you more about the place he calls home.

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Gandia – the last secret of Mediterranean Spain

Do you know Gandia? Almost certainly not – because Gandia is extraordinary for being a Mediterranean coastal town that has remained truly ‘Spanish’, to the point at which it is almost totally unknown outside of Spain. This is remarkable, not least because Gandia has the finest, Blue Flag beaches in Spain and a surrounding countryside that is notable for its breath-taking beauty. Verdant and with dramatic mountains that rise up almost immediately beyond the coastline, the Gandia area has long been the chosen holiday destination of the Spanish themselves.


LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT GANDIA In fact, one of the reasons why the Gandia area is so little known is that Gandia has never had to market itself to the international community. The Spanish themselves have recognised why it is so special and have powered the local economy. This has been a blessing, as the area has not been internationalised and still retains the charm of a community that has not been overrun by foreigners (either mass tourism or expatriates). So, if you want somewhere that is special, that is truly unspoilt and that is not heaving with newly built estates (with identical properties, on tiny plots) then why not come to Gandia – and experience a part of Spain that is truly enchanting? Where is Gandia? Well, Gandia is just 70 km south of Valencia City, on the eastern coast of Spain, and is almost opposite the Balearic Islands. It is easy to access, as the arterial A7 motorway runs past the town and there is a direct rail link from Valencia City to Gandia (the last stop south!). Meanwhile, Valencia international airport is serviced by cheap flights and has a metro (20 minutes ride) straight from inside the airport to the middle of the city and its main train station.

BORGIAS' PALACE

GANDIA MARINA

Of course, Gandia (which has a population of 80,000) has all the amenities that you could ever desire. It has fine restaurants, a university campus, schools and a shopping area - well known throughout Spain for its high quality boutiques. On the beach there are clubs, casinos and hotels and, around the town, estates with a wide variety of properties. Most of these estates have grown up organically over many years and have a mixed population of mainly Spaniards with some expatriates.


LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT GANDIA Properties around the Gandia area are notable for their individuality and generous sized plots – together with their easy communications into Gandia and all the amenities (including the beach) that you could possibly need. This makes them ideal for full time living (whilst being perfect as holiday homes!).

! Needless to say, there is a wide selection of properties for sale around Gandia and these extend from holiday flats (right on the beach!) through to town houses of all sizes, villas and fincas. There are also some delightful luxury homes…

! If Gandia is an area that interests you (how can it not!) then do contact us for more information and meet our dedicated agent for the area, Nick Snelling (author of three books on Spain and expert for A Place in the Sun.

NICK SNELLING


THE OLD AND NEW

SPANISH VISA PROCESS EXPLAINED


If you are thinking of buying property in Spain and you are from outside the European Union you now have the choice to buy a property or properties to the value of 500,000 Euros or more and it is granted automatically, see the requirements here. However that does not mean that people who spend less than 500,000 Euros but want to get a visa and the right to live here can no longer do it. They can and the rules remain the same as they were prior to the new automatic visa coming in.

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Here is the process for getting a visa by spending less than 500,000 Euros. One thing though, you have to be aware that even when you follow all of the steps correctly and do everything you are supposed to do then the granting of the visa is not automatic, you may be refused. We have had some twenty clients from China in the last year or so and all but one of them have been granted the visa. The problem is that the Spanish consulate in Shanghai doesn’t let you know why you may be refused although it is almost always to do with not having enough money in a bank account and proving it is yours. So no guarantees but all probabilities.

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The process is slightly different if you are inside or outside the country when you start but let us assume you make a visit to look for properties as a first step to start off with.


1) You make a visit on a temporary visa to look for a property. Whilst here you give power of attorney to a lawyer to apply for your NIE number and you open a bank account to receive your money. With the POA the lawyer/trustee can apply for the NIE number and avoid you having to queue for what possibly could be a very long time.

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2) Once you find a suitable property you place a deposit (Once the lawyer has checked out that it is all legal and above board with no debts or encumbrances on the property) and then you have a contract. This contract has a time period on it. That can be anything from one month up to and including a year. The usual is one to three months and if you get a longer period you will usually be required to place a higher deposit.

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3) Within the stipulated time period you transfer funds to your account in Spain for the purchase and cost of taxes, notary, registry etc‌ and your POA purchases the property for you. The deeds of the property and the keys are then sent to you in your country.


4) Get your POA to purchase a medical insurance for you in Spain or buy one in your own country that covers medical services in Spain.

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5) You must also make sure that you can prove you have means to support yourself when you come to Spain so your bank account in your home country must show that there is money available to live on when you come to Spain. This amount is not stated but in our experience anything over 50,000 Euros equivalent in the local currency is usually accepted. (One client of our lawyer was refused because even though they had 100,000 Euros in their account it had only been transferred into the account two days before providing details to the embassy and it came from their father. This was too obviously not the client’s money but was given by a third party and despite that third party being a family member their residency application was refused as a result)

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6) You also have to prove that you have no criminal record. This is true for all non EU nationals even if they have previously been living in another member state of the EU for a period of over a year. If this is the case then you have to prove that you have no criminal record in the member state during your time period there.

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7) With the NIE number, the medical insurance, criminal record check, passport and the property deeds in hand you make an application in your home country at the Spanish embassy/consulate for a visa. Because you have already made the purchase, have set up your bank account and got your NIE number the embassy sees you have the intention to live in the country and they issue the visa for a period of one year.

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8) At the end of the first year you will be required to renew the visa which will be granted for another two years then after two years the same will happen again. At the end of this initial period of five years a permanent visa will be granted. (This is usually granted automatically as long as conditions of the original application have not changed). Finally the applicant can apply for Spanish citizenship at the end of ten years.

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Once the visa is granted then there are a series of actions you need to take to get yourself registered. We will cover those in a further post.

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If your circumstances are different, if you have any questions, want to know any more or want to start the process yourself do not hesitate to get in touch with us on info@spanish-property.net


10 GREAT THINGS ABOUT LIVING IN SPAIN


I wrote a very well received article recently about ten things that people miss when they do not live in Spain. Little things they may be but they can also convey part of the meaning of living in Spain and why people do it. Take a look and see what you think.

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Sometimes we don’t know what we are missing until we are not living in a place and we get as the Spanish say “Nostalgia” otherwise known as Homesickness. However here are some of the things you can look forward to when you are coming to live in Spain or just buying a holiday home over here.

! 1) Jamón – Spanish Ham is one of the great joys of living in Spain. It is a part of the daily ritual, the most common tapa or bocadillo, and part of the fiestas (You have not arrived in Spain until your boss, company or a member of the family gets you a Jamón at Xmas along with the Cava.

! 2) Persianas – Argh the beauty of sleep! You may have noticed it gets very sunny and bright in Spain and at times that can mean it getting light early in the morning when you desperately need some sleep after a night on the tiles. Persianas were born for this, blinds for the uninitiated. Not for the Spanish the slight inconvenience of the sun coming up, if you want total blackout conditions so that you wake up at 2 in the afternoon and you think it is still early morning then the persianas on the windows are the best thing ever invented. Especially useful for students and shift workers who would otherwise never be able to sleep.


3) Not Having To Drive – I have said it before and I will say it again, if the average Spaniard could they would live above their work and have a fireman’s pole to their desk, they would have a bar, a tobacconists and a supermarket on their block and they would never leave that block except in cases of dire emergency. This means that Spanish cities have been built up and are therefore very compact. Valencia, a city of 1 million people can be crossed on foot in about an hour and bikes, the bus and metro system and the local trains mean that if you live in the city you do not need a car. And really that is a good job because finding a parking place can be like the proverbial needle in a haystack and buying or renting a parking space can considerably increase your debt levels.

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4) Coffee – I have never understood the existence of Starbucks in Spain. Go to any greasy spoon cafe in any one horse town in Spain and you will get a better cup of coffee at a third of the price of the sugar and cream fest masquerading as coffee in that horrible place (OK they have free wifi I know) However you have it, cortado, Americano or even a relaxing cup of cafe con leche in the Plaza Mayor in Madrid it is infinitely better than in Starbucks (Just be careful of the Torrefacto muck)

! 5) Pipas – When I first came to Spain I couldn’t find a Mars Bar anywhere and I was distraught. I just saw people everywhere eating birdseed. How wrong I was. Sunflower seeds in their shell are not only sustenance but also a Spanish way of life. Go to any football match and instead of nails being bitten there are thousands of fans around you sitting eating their Pipas and spitting the husks onto the floor. As I once said the difference between a park bench in the UK and Spain are the piles of Pipa shells on the floor in Spain.


6) Timings – Getting up later, eating lunch in mid afternoon, waiting until bedtime before even venturing out for an evening meal and making sure to fit a siesta in at some stage during the day and finding all of the shops closed for three hours during the day before going to bed at some indeterminent stage in the wee small hours, that is the Spanish timing of life and if we add into this the lack of timekeeping, if you arrange to meet at one you best tell the other person to be there at 12.30 if you want them to arrive before 2, then you will understand that Spain is different.

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7) Being Outside – Sitting on a terrace bar having a coffee, a vermut, a pincho, a clara or a GinTonic is the most normal thing on Earth. Why use the six coffee machines you have at home when you can support the local economy by going to your local bar and have a shouting match with a friend or six over the noise of a “maquina Tragaperras” in the corner (Fruit machine for the uninitiated)?

! 8) Where’s the Ñ on my computer? – Once you are outside of Spain the Ñ disappears from everywhere. You sort of miss it because it embodies España of course. Well let me give you a tip, on the iPhone and iPad you just press and hold the N to get the option and I believe it is “Alt-164ʺ″ or something like that on a PC.

! 9) Light – You can wear shades all day without looking affected in Spain, in fact it is a necessity if you don’t want to spend all day squinting and increasing your wrinkle count when you get a bit older. And of course the light means less depression, no seasonal affective disorder in most of Spain, more “Alegría” and more of an outdoor lifestyle.


10) La Sobremesa – The period after a meal when you don’t just get up and go if out or get up and do the dishes if at home, the sobremesa is when you discuss, business, school with the kids, holidays, plans, gossip and more and it can go on for hours… and you know the best thing it usually includes wine, brandy, coffees, chocolates, cakes and a whole host of other wondrous things, in fact it can often last into the next meal if done correctly.

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So there are our ten. What other things would you include in your things that you would miss about Spain if you weren’t here? Or if you are not here what is it about the Spanish lifestyle you are looking forward to?


SPANISH PROPERTY MAGAZINE ISSUE 19

SPAIN *

SPANISH PROPERTY MAGAZINE (SPM) Issue 19

INTRODUCING ASTURIAS PROPERTY

THE SPN PODCAST SERIES ON SOUNDCLOUD

FINDING THE BEST SPANISH PROPERTY DEALS

GETTING INTO THE HEART OF BARCELONA


FINDING THE BEST SPANISH PROPERTY DEALS


HOW DO YOU FIND THE BEST PROPERTY? If you are searching for Spanish property on the internet you will quickly realise that, looking through your search engine of choice may lead you down a wormhole, into a pit of despair and SEO based claptrap, that doesn’t help you find the perfect property but does waste hours of your time.

! Without doubt, you will find some stunning looking properties and apparently incredible deals, but very quickly you also realise that in many cases the reality differs radically from the presentation.

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Of course this is one of the reasons we set up the Spanish Property Network. Working hand in hand, directly with buyers, eliminating the time wasting, the cons, the properties that will never sell, the dodgy agents, the extra commissions layered onto the price without you knowing and a whole host of other little annoyances. Ensuring your Spanish Property search becomes a pleasure and an adventure as we guide you from point A to your destination, the perfect property for you. In an efficient and stress free manner. Without hassles, irritations and heartaches.


HOW DO YOU FIND THE BEST PROPERTIES?

Obviously, we cannot guarantee that the property you should have your eye on will not be sold before your visit or that the owner will be totally inflexible on negotiating the price or conditions but we will do everything within our power to make sure that you get the best choice, the best value, the best advice and the best result with your Spanish Property purchase.

GRAHAM HUNT

! However, we do ask something of you: We want your trust.

LISA SADLEIR

! We want you to put your search in our hands, to guide you. We want you to allow us to represent you with individual owners, sellers and agents to eliminate things that would obviously not suit you. We want to have a set of properties ready for you to see when you visit. Properties that will all tick the boxes and that work within your parameters. To do this the more information you can give us the better. To this end, we initially want to know more about you. We have included a quite detailed form on our website. This is the first step on our path towards understanding your personal requirements and starting to head towards what you want. Write as little or as much as you want but please make sure to give us as much information as you think we need in order to help you.

We will assign you your own personal assistant in Spain. Not some sales agent based in an office that talks the talk but someone on the ground in the area you are interested in. This person is linked in to the local community and property market and has access to everything that is happening there. They will sort the wheat from the chaff and set you off on the right path towards finding you the perfect property in Spain.


MEET SOME OF THE TEAM OF THE SPN Meet some of the team members of the Spanish Property Network. These are the people who will work with you through every step of you property search and purchase.

! W h a t e v e r part o f S pain y o u are considering, you will receive the invaluable assistance of our carefully selected SPN expert who will assist you through every stage of a successful property search and purchase.

! These people are the key to your new property in Spain.

! ! ! ! SIMON HARRIS Mr Barcelona. Everything you need to know about Barcelona is what you get from Barcelona. Simon edits the extensive online Barcelona Travel Guide and knows everything about every little part of the Catalan Capital.

! When you have a request for a property in Barcelona Simon will search it out with his extensive contact network and find you the perfect place. You can find Simon on Twitter @simonharris

NICK SNELLING

! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Nick is our expert around Gandia and La Safor, a little known area to the south of Va l e n c i a . N i c k w r o t e t h e definitive book about buying Spanish property “How To Buy Spanish Property and Move To Spain Safely�

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Nick can be regularly seen helping the British Consulate on Roadshows to give people more information regarding their potential property purchase in Spain.

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Nick knows the La Safor area like the back of his hand as he has seen most of it from an elevated position while rock climbing in the area and looking very closely at where the back of his hand is holding on.


SPAIN GET USED TO IT


WHAT DO YOU NEED TO GET USED TO? When you are looking to come and live in Spain and maybe to buy a house for sale in Spain you are going to a different country (Obvious huh?) with different customs and different ways of doing things. Therefore there are some things that you will need to get used to. Spain will not change in the near future but you need to do so if you want to fit comfortably into your new home (the house and the area).

! So with my tongue firmly in my cheek what do you need to get used to?

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1) You will not be able to sort things out over the phone in English. Therefore sort out a representative to arrange things for you over the phone and make sure that the representative speaks Spanish fluently. If you think that shouting in English will work, don’t believe it. Get used to it.

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2) You will need to get used to sleeping in the dark. One of the great boons of Spain is the “Persiana” When the blinds are down your room will be totally dark. Get used to it and don’t be expecting the morning sun to wake you up.


WHAT DO YOU NEED TO GET USED TO? 3) You will have to queue and it will be done in a slightly different way. You just lounge around remembering who you are behind. Get used to the idea that you will queue and you will waste a long time in the queue before finally finding that you were queueing in the wrong place and you should be lounging around somewhere else waiting for your turn.

! 4) Just because it was done that way last week doesn’t mean that it will be done that way this week. Just because the civil servant who served you did it one way the last time you were here doesn’t mean that a different civil servant will do it in the same way this time. Get used to it.

! I find it best to cultivate a Zenlike attitude when dealing with a lot of these things. Take it as a Zen challenge and see if you can keep calm and carry on. The ability to smile though the travails and resist the urge to go all Michael Douglas in “Falling Down” should help you.

! 5) Don’t be surprised when your direct debit fails or reverts to the original owner of your house or their bank account and you get an irate phone call about it or even your electric cut off. Don’t blame the messenger it’s the computer’s fault believe me I know! Get used to it.

6) Expect to cultivate selective ignorance. Once you find out that it doesn’t matter what is happening in Corrie, Eastenders and the X Factor your life will improve immeasurably. Other people here don’t care to discuss it either. Get used to it.

! 7) You cannot eat out in a restaurant before two o clock for lunch and trying to eat your evening meal before 8.30pm is impossible. Stop trying to keep to Northern European times. It isn’t going to happen. Get used to it.


WHAT DO YOU NEED TO GET USED TO? 8) Relearn to drive and stop expecting manners and speed cameras meaning everyone crawls everywhere. Cultivate a more aggressive yet restrained style of driving in order to get anywhere. However if you are involved in a crash expect manners and facts as you fill in the forms required whilst standing in the middle of the road disrupting all of the traffic. If you are expecting something different just get used to it.

! 9) Expect pathetic fines from the police. Over the last few months I have heard of police fining people for leaning forward to talk in the car while sitting in the back seat, a fine on wearing bikinis off the beach in Mallorca, a fine for producing your own electricity with your own solar panels, a cyclist fined for eating a croissant and a potential fine for watering a town hall inspector underneath a balcony. Get used to it and be careful out there.

! 10) You will wake up invariably in the sun (As long as you open the persianas) Don’t complain that it is bright in the mornings with the sun being low, just enjoy the fact that your windscreen wipers on the car are rotting through lack of use and mistreatment by the heat. Get used to it, after all this is one of the 100 reasons you choose to come and live in Spain.

So there you go, leave your complaining head at home and just enjoy the ride. Spain is still different and sometimes it is very, very different indeed. Get used to it.


FOREIGN BUYERS OF SPANISH PROPERTY


WHO IS BUYING PROPERTY IN SPAIN NOWADAYS? Are we serious?

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Some people think that we cannot be serious when we tell everyone how busy we are. They are surprised when we tell them to book early to make sure we can give you the best individualised service: whether with myself in Valencia; Lisa in Malaga; Simon in Barcelona; Nick in Gandia; David on the Costa Brava, or any of our other members of the Spanish Property Network.

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However, it’s true. Look at the data following page.

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The first table is an informative one from Mark at Spanish Property Insight about the number of foreign buyers of property in Spain. Look at the trend. There is very little red, and even that one is a big surprise, fewer Chinese in 2013 than in 2012! But look at the numbers and percentages of all other nationalities: 200% more Belgian buyers; 120% more Russian buyers; 150% more Swedish buyers and even 15% more British buyers allowing the Brits to maintain their lead on buying in Spain. Most tellingly, there was even an increase of 50% in the last year of people from “other nationalities” buying property in Spain.


WHO IS BUYING PROPERTY IN SPAIN NOWADAYS? More people buying, meaning there are more people visiting, meaning we are very busy!

! The local market however continues to fall precipitously (As there is no finance available for local buyers and most require mortgages to buy)

We will leave you to digest that one. In three years, there has been an increase of almost 100% in the number of foreign buyers in the market. That is not only a good trend it is also hugely statistically significant. And, in the last two months ,the numbers of visits are increasing radically too. Through last year there was an average of 11.01% of sales made to foreign buyers. However the last quarter figures were 14.8%. Interestingly in the areas where the Spanish Property Network works the figures were considerably higher (Only to be expected in areas encompassing the Costa Del Sol, the Costa Blanca and the Islands of Spain which have all traditionally sold a far higher percentage of properties to foreign buyers than Spanish nationals


WHO IS BUYING PROPERTY IN SPAIN NOWADAYS? So now look at this pie chart of where people are buying‌

The question that this raises is also interesting. Do you see why the Spanish Property Network started its activities in Valencia and Malaga? ! Over 60% of all Spanish Property Sales to foreigners are concentrated in those two areas. Obviously, Valencia includes CastellĂłn and Alicante and Andalucia is a huge chunk of Spain but we are trying to give you what you want as a foreign buyer in Spain.


WHO IS BUYING PROPERTY IN SPAIN NOWADAYS? Very soon we are expanding into Murcia and both the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands, meaning that we will be covering virtually everywhere that people buy in large numbers. Murcia can wait a bit though! ;-)

! However, we are also looking to serve niche markets and those niche markets are not actually that niche at times. We have huge demand for Barcelona, especially from American clients (Many of those other nationalities are Americans and Canadians, buying in Barcelona itself).

! We have excellent demand from the nordic countries for Northern Spain, including Asturias, so we have expanded there with new collaborations in the area. And finally, we have a lot of relocation clients looking to move into Madrid. This is less for purchase and more for rental but we are looking at the top end of the rental market in Madrid.

! What do you think of these figures? Do you take them at face value or do you think there is more of a story behind them? Get in touch and tell us.


THE NEW PODCAST ON

SOUNDCLOUD LISTEN TO OUR BLOG POSTS


Some of us like reading, some of us like watching video and some of us prefer listening. Some people want to read blog posts, some people prefer to be entertained in the form of a video and others go out jogging and listen to Podcasts.

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Now you already know that we produce videos, in fact if you are one of those people reading this issue of the magazine on an iPad you can actually see an extra section with videos in (A whole different magazine to tell the truth.)

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However in the last month we have started a new Podcast on Soundcloud. You can follow our podcast there but we thought we could put a collection of Podcasts into the magazine for you to look at. So sit back and take a listen to each of the podcasts below. Just click on the play buttons or go to the link and listen to it there.

https://soundcloud.com/graham-hunt-3/avoiding-nasty-tax-surprises

https://soundcloud.com/graham-hunt-3/where-is-the-spanish-property

https://soundcloud.com/graham-hunt-3/what-illegalities-to-look-out

https://soundcloud.com/graham-hunt-3/the-spanish-golden-visa-and


BARCELONA


BARCELONA Sant marti !

Barcelona's Upcoming Areas (Part 1)

Most foreigners, whether they are buying as an investment or coming to live and work in Barcelona, are normally interested in apartments in the areas that they visited when they were here on holiday so properties in the atmospheric Ciutat Vella, the modernista Eixample or groovy Gràcia are always in high demand. However, whilst certainly not knocking these areas - I lived in El Born for four years and currently live in the Dreta de l'Eixample, myself - I always encourage potential buyers to consider areas that are a little way off the well-tramped tourist trail. Apart from anything else, the effect of foreign buyers has meant that the price drops caused by the economic crisis have been less pronounced in Ciutat Vella and L'Eixample and furthermore, there is a lot to be said for living or staying in an area where you have a greater chance of blending in with the local community. So the area I'd like you to consider today is the District of Sant Martí, which spreads out to the north of both Ciutat Vella and L'Eixample, and is home to around 220,000 people. Sant Martí is an enormous district and most of it was once under the jurisdiction of Sant Martí de Provençals, which was a separate municipality from the City of Barcelona until 1897, but today in can be broadly divided into two areas.The dividing line is Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, conveniently known as Gran Via for short, which splits the district into neighbourhoods that look more towards Barcelona City Centre and those that tend to look out to sea.


BARCELONA Sant marti The beach neighbourhoods of the Vila Olímpica, el Poblenou, Diagonal Mar and El Besòs i el Maresme are the part of Barcelona that benefited most from the urban development that took place before and after the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. When I arrived in the city in 1988 most of coastline was still occupied by disused factories and slums but now the city boasts some of the best urban beaches on the Mediterranean, which means these neighbourhoods are perfect places to buy a holiday apartment. Furthermore, as they are relatively modern, the kind of properties available are much more varied than in the overpriced Barceloneta in Ciutat Vella, which as it was built in the 18th century is limited to small flats that are not really sufficient for most families. Just to give you an idea of the variety of properties available in Sant Martí, let's take a closer look at these seafront neighbourhoods. La Vila Olímpica was the athletes' Olympic Village in 1992 so offers modern apartments and not only boasts a beach but also the Olympic Port, the nearby Parc de la Ciutadella and the fact that you are within walking distance of the city centre is obviously a big bonus. Property prices in Vila Olímpica are just under €4,000 but there are always bargains to be found and you'll find even higher prices in the select Diagonal Mar, which is actually Barcelona's newest neighbourhood and was only completed a few years ago.


BARCELONA Sant marti As far as good returns on long-term property investment is concerned, however, it is the other two seafront neighbourhoods in Sant Martí that are of most interest. The old working-class barri of Poblenou with its marvelous Rambla and buzzing local life is in my opinion one of Barcelona's most charming and authentic neighbourhoods and the fact that it is home to a real community has meant that it has been hit quite hard by the economic crisis, which in turn has led to a drop in property prices. The great thing about the area is that the buildings are mainly late 19th and early 20th century so you really get the sense of being in the real urban Barcelona with the advantage of having a golden sandy beach at the end of the street. I have to admit that my advice on the last of Sant Martí's seafront neighbourhoods - El Besòs i El Maresme - is a little more speculative. Until the Forum area was built about 10 years ago, El Besòs i El Maresme was one of the most rundown areas in Barcelona and although much improved, its reputation lives on meaning very low property prices. However, with the Parc del Forum and the Bathing Area close by, El Besòs has a lot going for it and the fact that the Barcelona International Conference Centre is located here means that gentrification is already starting and there are plans to build Barcelona's new Marine Zoo here too. All this makes the area a great investment as you can buy cheaply now and the value of your property will rise quite significantly in the coming decade.


BARCELONA Sant marti Moving on to the inner city neighbourhoods of Sant Martí, these are less attractive from a beach tourism point of view but as they are so convenient for the city centre they are great places to live. Furthermore, from an investment angle, this area is particularly interesting as El Parc i La Llacuna, Provençals de Poblenou, Sant Martí de Provençals and El Clot are all part of the 22@ Innovation Area, which is bringing service and technology small businesses into the district. Similarly, the reurbanisation of Plaça de les Glòries that has just started aims to turn this corner of Barcelona into an alternative city centre and the plans for the square and its surrounding park look incredible. Confidence in the project is so high that Hiyatt Hotels have just spent €150 million on the nearby Torre Agbar building and plan to spend another €35 million more on turning it into Barcelona's prime hotel. So if you are thinking of buying property in Barcelona, you could do worse than follow Hiyatt's lead and consider investing in the often overlooked District of Sant Martí.


SPANISH PROPERTY MAGAZINE ISSUE 20

SPAIN *

SPANISH PROPERTY MAGAZINE (SPM) Issue 20

10 THINGS YOU SHOULD BE DOING EVERY DAY IN SPAIN

GOING IT ALONE ESTATE AGENTS OR PROPERTY FINDERS?

OPTION CONTRACTS? NO THANKS, NOT USUALLY

THE GOOD OLD DAYS FOR FOREIGN BUYERS IN SPAIN?


10 THINGS YOU SHOULD BE DOING EVERY DAY IN SPAIN


10 THINGS YOU SHOULD BE DOING EVERY DAY IN SPAIN

YOU COME TO SPAIN FOR A LIFESTYLE CHANGE IN GENERAL BUT THEN A LOT OF PEOPLE LAPSE INTO THEIR OLD HABITS FROM BACK HOME, WATCHING TOO MUCH TV, NOT GOING OUT AND NOT BEING OPEN TO NEW EXPERIENCES. HOWEVER FOR THOSE WHO INTEGRATE INTO THE COUNTRY THERE ARE THINGS THAT THEY DO MOST EVERY DAY AND HERE IS A LIST OF TEN OF THEM THAT WILL MAKE YOU FEEL MUCH MORE LIKE YOU ARE LIVING IN SPAIN AND BEING A PART OF SPAIN.

Siesta Video

1) Have a siesta without feeling guilty. I have said before in my 100 Reasons to Move to Spain series on YouTube that siestas are one of the great reasons to live in Spain. If you look on twitter it is the main reason people give when they say they are moving to Spain. However most people get to Spain and their conditioning doesn’t allow them to have a siesta without feeling extremely guilty. Don’t go there! The siesta is a fantastic thing to do and it doesn’t necessarily need to be after a long lunch (See number 3) If you feel tired then just chill out, lay down and spend twenty minutes getting forty winks. And just one tip don’t have a two hour siesta or longer. I used to do it and it just kills you for the rest of the day and then you won’t be able to sleep very well later on because you won’t be tired. Siestas rule but anything over 45 minutes isn’t a siesta really, it´s just going back to bed.


10 THINGS YOU SHOULD BE DOING EVERY DAY IN SPAIN 2: Go into your local bar and have a conversation. There is one thing that you must do in Spain, get out of your comfort zone. If you are willing to take this step there are two possibilities, firstly everyone thinks you are the local nutter and secondly you actually start to speak in another language and get used to speaking it outside of the classes you are taking (You WILL be taking classes won’t you?) The more you get out of your comfort zone every day the better your language skills will be and bear in mind one more thing, you might actually become friends with the other regulars in the bar. !

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3: Aim to take at least two hours for eating lunch out and make sure you have some wine with it. Not every day of course on this one because even though eating out is cheap in Spain it is much cheaper to eat at home. However you should always try to have a weekly meet up with friends, go for a menu of the day and talk for a long time afterwards while finishing off the wine and maybe ordering a cognac or two (and maybe even continuing the “sobremesa” into the evening).!

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4: Take Some Time Out To Daydream and Look Up. The number of people these days who walk around with their eyes constantly on their Smartphone never looking around or looking up is amazing. (Yes Guilty as charged here too at times) Looking up is important when living in Spain because there is beautiful scenery in so many places and the cities are visually stunning at times. Equally, daydreaming is welcome as Spain needs some ideas and you imagining what you can do in this wonderful country to help make it better is needed. One small thing though, if you are walking round in the city make sure to look down every now and again to avoid potential traps in the form of little presents left by our canine friends and not cleaned up by their owners, a constant menace.


10 THINGS YOU SHOULD BE DOING EVERY DAY IN SPAIN 5: Go Into Local Shops and Ask For Things Rather Than Shopping in Supermarkets. It is easy to go to a supermarket and never actually say a word to anyone while buying 100 Euros of produce. It is not so easy to go into the butchers to buy your meat, go to the bakers for bread and cakes and then to the fruit and veg chip for everything else. This small change in your habits will be not only more beneficial for your language skills but also it will help you to get used to using the type of language that you use everyday in Spain and get to know the names of everything. So vocab improved, pronunciation improved and getting to know the people who live and work around you, what’s not to like?!

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6: Walk Around Smiling and Saying Hola To People. Again in Northern Europe people walk with their heads down, on non rainy days because as previously mentioned they are buried in their Smartphones and usually, when it is raining, because you are grimacing against the wind and rain as it lashes into you. However don’t make the mistake that the father of a friend of mine made years ago. He was walking around doing this but saying “Hello” to everyone. My friend asked him to please just try to say “Hola” if he could. However next day when he went out the first person he walked past got a resounding “Aloha!”!

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7: Make time every day for a coffee with friends. Chatting and talking about life the universe and everything is an important part of life in Spain and this is best done in the company of friends in a greasy spoon corner cafe. Make sure you do this often because firstly, you get to meet up with others and laugh and secondly, you get to have great coffee. One caveat, NOT IN STARBUCKS!


10 THINGS YOU SHOULD BE DOING EVERY DAY IN SPAIN 8: Be Grateful For The Weather And Climate. I woke up last week with the rain hammering down on the air conditioning unit outside and my thoughts were immediately, “Cool! It’s raining”. With 320 days of sunshine every day in the vast majority of the Spanish mainland (We will exclude Northern Spain and the Green Coast for obvious reasons) days of rain are welcomed rather than feared and when they come they are generally a welcome change. So when you are shading yourself from the sun don’t say “Jeez it’s hot” Just say “Nice innit!”!

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9: Do Some Promotion of the Country. Spain needs help. If you are here and enjoying it let everybody know. Tell them on Facebook, share pictures on Instagram, make people jealous on Twitter, mail people regularly and phone people you know. Everyone can complain and most people only like to tell everyone else when something has gone wrong. Make sure that people know that your life in Spain is not as bad as the media paints it to be where only the negatives appear on a regular basis. Rejoice in the diversity, the rituals, the differences and the general weirdness. Enjoy it. !

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10: Relax, slow down, chill out and enjoy. I know it may seem a bit much to try enjoying your life in Spain ;-) but slow down and take advantage of a more relaxed way of life and a general calmness. If you can do this then you never know you may find that everything becomes a bit better. !

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So there you go, a guideline for a better life in Spain. 10 things you should try to do daily, (or at least weekly in a couple of cases). What else would you suggest? Let us know on SpanishPropertyMagazine@gmail.com


GOING IT ALONE, ESTATE AGENTS OR USING A PROPERTY FINDER


GOING IT ALONE, ESTATE AGENTS OR USING A PROPERTY FINDER When you are looking to buy Spanish Property there are many approaches available. You can do it yourself, you can go through agents or you can use a property finder. In this article we are going to look at the pros and cons of each approach and then of course we are going to recommend you use our services as Property Finders for your Spanish Property Search.

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1) Going it Alone!

There is nothing wrong with doing this, after all many people do it successfully. However there are some limitations for the majority of people when they take this approach. The advantages are obvious; there are no commissions involved, you get to deal directly with owners of properties and it is somehow more exciting.!

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However there are major drawbacks too. Firstly you generally get less of a selection because the majority of sales in Spain are still done through agents or intermediaries. Secondly how are your language skills? If you do not speak fluent Spanish then you will most likely not be able to communicate with the owner as it is unlikely that they will speak your language. Thirdly, there is no background check of the property done and although you will use a lawyer to do the conveyancing (You WILL be using a lawyer right?) buying property on the promise of the owner who says everything is hunky dory is a little risky.


GOING IT ALONE, ESTATE AGENTS OR USING A PROPERTY FINDER !

2) Using Estate Agents!

Estate agents (I am one, Graham speaking here) are good, bad and indifferent in all parts of Spain. During the boom years everyone and his dog had an estate agency and the quality of them was debatable in most cases. The bust came and up to 80% of estate agents in Spain closed their offices. The ones that remained tended to be the better ones and the worst ones. Why? Well the worst ones had ripped off so many people for so much money they were able to survive the slump. The better ones lived on referrals and their reputations until the market came back (Which for foreign buyers it has now. See the stats here)!

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When searching using an estate agent, obviously you can start on the property portals, you can narrow your search down to one area and visit the websites of all of the agents in that area until you find properties that you like then make your own appointments. You can choose an area, find the agents in that area and visit them. However in many cases in effect you are flying blind. You don’t know if the agent is reputable, you don’t know if they are only showing you properties that make them the biggest commissions and you rarely get a good background of the area.!

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The advantages are that an estate agent with an established reputation in an area may get offered the best properties and the better deals from the local people who know them. They act as the key holders for many owners who do not want to receive hundreds of calls from other agents, curious neighbourhood gossips and potential buyers. Therefore if you go down the “Going it Alone” route you may not get a chance to see these properties.


GOING IT ALONE, ESTATE AGENTS OR USING A PROPERTY FINDER !

3) Property Finders in Spain!

At the Spanish Property Network we are property finders in Spain and we believe this gives you a level of service, choice and variety that you would otherwise not get. A property finder in Spain works with agents, private sales and portals to find the best deals for you, the client, based on your criteria, requirements and likes. The Spanish property finder establishes a relationship with the buyer and works hand in hand with them to check out properties before a visit to narrow down the field of properties to simply ones that will interest the client. Interestingly we also establish a good relationship with the sellers and agents as they know we will bring them quality clients looking to buy rather than just “tyre kickers”. Therefore they try their best to get us the best places to look at.!

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The advantages are manifold but the most obvious are the time and trust factors. Because the property finder works for the buyer there is no conflict of interest, property viewings are targetted towards what the buyer wants. Time is saved because you do not need to spend hours and hours poring over property portals and agents websites and visiting properties that, while they may look good on the agency website, are totally unsuitable because they back onto a nuclear power plant for example, conveniently missed out from the photos, or there is a huge damp problem that has not been addressed.!

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At the SPN we have a track record of success in guiding our clients to find exactly what they are looking for and we also have an excellent working relationship with agents in the areas where we operate while at the same time knowing exactly where to look on property portals, other websites and even people’s balconies to find those important “Se Vende” signs to find the best opportunities based on the requirements of our clients. In certain areas such as Valencia we also have our own listings to increase even further the scope of properties available for your search.!

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So get in touch with us on info@spanish-property.net and tell us what you are looking for and let us start working towards a common goal of finding you the right Spanish Property for you this year. Life is too short. Don’t let it wait when the bargains are out there now.


option contracts? NOT USUALLY THANKS


RENTAL WITH AN OPTION TO BUY? NO THANKS, NOT USUALLY When you are moving to Spain you have three options really for your accommodation (or four if you bring a tent);!

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1) Purchase a property! 2) Rent a property! 3) Rent a property with a purchase option The first option is fine, the second suits a lot of people too but the third presents problems peculiar to this type of contract and make coming to an agreement that suits both parties rather difficult at times. Let’s look at the issues that can come up:!

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a) The Contract: The rent to buy contract is more complicated than a simple rental contract as it has more conditions and includes clauses that need to be adhered to by both parties in the transaction that penalise one party and benefit the other. Some of these clauses are the length of the option, the upfront payment to guarantee the option, the amount payable per month, fluctuations in the market, clauses about responsibility for damage and insurance and the amount set aside against eventual price. There also need to be clauses in case of non payment of any current mortgage, against debts incurred on the property during the rental period, clauses about utility bills and services and responsibility towards any community. As you can see there is a lot to consider.!

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Within these potential issues let’s take a look at some of the major problems:!

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The Length of the Option – There are various reasons to have a rental with an option to buy contract, One of them involves the current lack of funding in Spain for purchase through mortgages. It is unknown how long this lack of funding may take to resolve itself and for mortgages to become more freely available. Therefore setting a fixed time period for a client who wants to get a mortgage is fraught with danger for the buyer who may easily lose their deposit and part payments made if they are unable to secure funding further down the line. An open time period means there may well be no escape from an indefinite situation for the seller. Finding a mutually convenient time period to exercise the option can therefore be difficult.


RENTAL WITH AN OPTION TO BUY? NO THANKS, NOT USUALLY The Upfront Payment – Both parties need to be tied into an option contract for it to have any effect. It used to be that an option contract would always have an upfront payment that offsets the eventual price of the property, i.e, if the cost of the property is 200,000 Euros then the upfront payment may be 20,000 Euros and then there are monthly payments of 1000 Euros. If the property is then bought after a year then the final payment is 200,000 – 20,000 – any agreed discount from the monthly payment (More on that later) If both parties are not tied in through an upfront payment, which is becoming more normal these days, then there is little likelihood of completing a successful sale through the rent to buy contract because of the reasons given below in the Experience section. As a buyer it is in your interest to have a contract that benefits you without having to shell out an upfront payment on an option contract.!

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The Amount Payable Per Month – Oftentimes the monthly payments are discounted in their entirety from the full cost. However there are cases of the monthly payments only partially offsetting the cost. This is typical where there is a mortgage for example and part of the payment goes to cover the mortgage repayments or interest during the life of the option contract to guarantee no actions are taken from any bank to repossess a property and the payments are thus used for the right reasons. The actual terms and conditions of this clause are subject to detailed negotiation between the buyer and seller and cause no end of friction and arguments normally.!

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Fluctuations in the Market – If a contract time period is a couple of years or even longer there is a good chance that there will be movements in the market meaning that the set price is either too high (In a falling market) or too low in a rising market. Obviously whichever way the market moves benefits one party and penalises the other. This may cause a lack of goodwill in one of the parties making the eventual purchase more difficult to bring to a successful and happy conclusion.!

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b) The Cost: Rental usually costs more on an option contract because the contract means you are partially buying into the property and also the tenant may want to offset the final amount to a greater extent. A property that can be rented for 1000 Euros may well cost 1500 Euros per month on an option contract so that the final amount is reduced by offsetting. If you are happy to overpay for a rental then fine. However it cannot be recommended as a great way to spend your money.


RENTAL WITH AN OPTION TO BUY? NO THANKS, NOT USUALLY c) The Experience: One of the things that can be guaranteed when somebody is renting with an option to buy is that they will find out about any hidden problems that the house may have or that problems will come up during the life of the rental. This will almost always scupper the option contract and the tenant will buy another property rather than the one they are living in (They never get to find out about the issues that the other property has, it just looks perfect). It is therefore quite pointless having a rental with option contract for the tenant because they will then lose the upfront payment if they do not complete and any part of the money that has been used for the rental cost during the time they spent there.!

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The tenant may also do work on the property during their occupation of the house and this work may be for the benefit of the property or not (It all depends on taste) A botched attempt to change the kitchen for example may knock thousands off the value of the property and this all becomes a problem if the option isn’t taken up. There need to be clauses in the contract about the ability to perform modernisations or work on the property while at the same time making sure that basic essential maintenance is always done.


RENTAL WITH AN OPTION TO BUY? NO THANKS, NOT USUALLY d) The Relationship: A medium or long term rental will almost always cause friction between landlord and tenant. A rent to buy contract may increase those problems ten fold because both parties believe the house to be theirs, in the case of the landlord rightly as the final payment hasn’t been made and in the case of the tenant (wrongly) because they do not hold the deeds through having signed at a notary. However you will always find that they have bought into the property both monetarily and emotionally. Relationship issues will cause disagreements at the contract and completion level even if the contract is watertight.!

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e) What Happens if…?: There will come a point in the life of the rent with an option to buy contract that the tenant decides they do not want to go through with the purchase. At that point they may still be living in the property of course but be actively searching for another property to buy. Access for the landlord to show the property to other potential parties is essential at this stage and that may well interfere with the tenants’ daily lifestyle. At this stage you will most certainly find that the relationship between the two parties is at its most stretched because the landlord will be disappointed that the contract and sale will not be completed and may well be desperate to get the property really back on the market.!

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For all of these reasons and a whole host more I really cannot recommend a rental with an option to buy contract. As a buyer if you really think you want a place but cannot afford it at the moment for whatever reason then do everything you can to convince the owner to do you a rental or find a way to finance the purchase. It will probably save a lot of problems going forward.!

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As a buyer if you have no other option than to do a rent to buy option then make sure the upfront payment is minimal and you have the right to purchase the property at the stipulated price at any time during the contract. Also make sure that there are no other penalties if you do not complete apart from the loss of monthly payments made or any upfront payment that you may have made. Make sure that the contract is equivalent to an “Arras” contract not a “Compraventa” contract where you can be obliged to purchase the property.!

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And finally don’t worry too much. If there is pressure to do a rental with an option to buy contract then just walk away. There are plenty of properties available both for rent and purchase which would present you with fewer complications. And life in Spain is meant to be a lot simpler not fraught with complications and problems. Tranquilo!


ARE THE GOOD OLD DAYS BACK FOR FOREIGN BUYERS OF SPANISH PROPERTY?


ARE THE GOOD OLD DAYS BACK FOR FOREIGN BUYERS OF SPANISH PROPERTY? Here at the Spanish Property Network we like Marbella, we have lots of properties there so why wouldn’t we? But it has been a good month for Marbella property and the town in general. Firstly, in the Daily Telegraph Zoe Dare Hall, an excellent commentator on the Spanish Property Market, talks about the ultra high end of the Spanish Property market where sales are being driven by the demand, especially from China, for the Spanish Golden Visa for residency on property purchases over 500,000 Euros. It seems that many nations have taken the possibility of the Golden Visa as a signal to start investing in Spain. You can see more about the Spanish Golden Visa and our Spanish residency project on our blog. We are seeing excellent results for this opportunity among American buyers, especially in Barcelona.!

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Secondly Sur reports that Marbella is the place where sales grew the most in the whole of Spain last year as a percentage. The figures show a 23% increase last year and sales volumes are now approaching pre crisis levels. This compares very favourably of course with the 17.4% drop overall in Spain in the number of property transactions. However this increase is not just visible in Marbella. Estepona with a 9% rise, Mijas with a 4% rise and even Benalmadena with a very small rise had more property sales last year bucking the trend of Malaga province (Where eastern Malaga fared badly) and Spain as a whole. Strangely enough the beautiful city of Malaga also had a reduced number of sales, this time for a third year in a row. !

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Look at the table below for transaction figures for 2013. Malaga is in Andalucia of course in the second column. Almost as many sales as in 2007. Read on for more analysis.


ARE THE GOOD OLD DAYS BACK FOR FOREIGN BUYERS OF SPANISH PROPERTY? The Spanish Property Market as a Whole!

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What these figures mask though is the huge increase in almost all provinces of the number of foreign buyers over the last few years. As mortgages and any form of credit remains scarce in Spain apart from for the banks’ own properties, internal, national demand continues to fall. This is offset by the increase in the number of buyers from other countries.!

! From the table we can see that sales of Spanish Property to foreign buyers have increased markedly in the last five years and they are now back to pre crisis levels in many areas. The biggest market for foreign buyers is the Valencian Community. No surprise there as that encompasses Alicante too. Sales have increased in the last five years by just over 100% in total with a total of 17908 transactions last year comparing favourably with 2007 figures. One of our other major areas, Andalucia which includes Malaga of course has also recovered massively in the last four years with transactions up 62% over the period and they are only slightly below the numbers registered in 2007. The figures for Catalunya are even better as sales volumes are up around 150% over the last five years on 2008 (which was a huge slump year).!

! Expect these trends to continue in the next year as the economic recovery in Northern Europe combined with the Golden Visa programme and continued low prices in Spain allied to a weak Euro makes Spanish property attractive for buyers.!

! So the big question is when will you be joining the large numbers of foreign buyers moving into the bargain Spanish Property market? Take a look at what we can offer you whether you are a non EU resident looking for a portfolio opportunity, a retiree looking to relax and enjoy our enviable lifestyle and climate or just somebody able and wanting to work from anywhere with broadband. For everyone there are opportunities in Spain right now.


WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE SPANISH PROPERTY BARGAINS DRY UP?


WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE SPANISH PROPERTY BARGAINS DRY UP? Spain is particularly attractive for investors in property at the moment, as deals are available on the ground for individuals. Large hedge funds are starting to really pile into the country with both George Soros and John Paulson investing in the Hispania Real Estate Fund which is linked to the bad bank Sareb. They foresee returns on their investment.!

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Obviously, the big funds get bigger discounts. If you are putting in 127 million Euros to a bank then you expect a decent discount, compared with your average Joe looking for a holiday home or bolthole at the bottom end of the market. However, there are discounts and bargains available at the top and bottom end of the market, for the quick buyer.

What do we mean by the “quick buyer”? Well that is someone who is ready to buy now, has funds in place and is ready to go when the perfect property that suits their needs comes up. That perfect property might well come up today… or tomorrow… or next month but it won’t be around forever.!

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Why not?!

We have said it before and we say it again here: if you think something is too good to be true and a bargain then somebody else will too.!

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Recently, we had a client who overlooked a purchase because they thought there must be a catch, surely it was too cheap? The property sold the next week to the next viewer and, as a result, we have one very very happy client getting their perfect property in Spain and one annoyed client for not acting on their instinct nor our advice.!

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Going back to the title of this piece, why are we asking about the Spanish Property bargains drying up? Surely, with over 1 million properties on the market in Spain, there will continue to be bargains on the market for some time to come which people can take advantage of?!

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Yes, maybe and maybe not!!

The general consensus is that well located property has hit its base price now and has nowhere lower to go. Things that are well priced and located sell very quickly. Only last week we had a great deal come up on a flat in Valencia and it was sold even before we had a chance to get pictures on our website for you. There are hundreds and thousands of properties that are badly located, badly built and overpriced, so they will continue to fall in price (See our blog post about it here)


WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE SPANISH PROPERTY BARGAINS DRY UP? However, experience in real estate markets all over the World suggests one thing. When the true base of a market is hit then bargains dry up because people are more ready to wait to sell as they realise prices are not going to fall more.!

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There will be individual exceptions to this rule: the four horsemen of the apocalypse of death, divorce, disease and debt. Situations which force people to sell and maybe take a hit on price. But, in general, the market will be starved of underpriced bargains because everything that comes up that could be classed as such is immediately snapped up.!

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There is another factor that will stimulate demand in the medium to long term. New confidence and liquidity in the mortgage market and maybe even new forms of financing property purchases as peer to peer lending platforms become more prevalent (There may be some regulatory issues on these especially in Spain but if loopholes can be found they will be!)!

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So, what will eventually happen?!

Well, prices will start to rise as demand grows and supply is dried up: Now don’t get us wrong. We are not calling a Spanish property price boom, that would be stupid, irresponsible and just plain wrong. What we are saying is that if you see a property for sale where you can get a 10% return on your money just by buying it and renting it out at market value, or even slightly below to guarantee a good tenant, then it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that money floods into the market to take up those opportunities (Inward investment in Spain was up from 320 million Euros to 850 million Euros last year for example).!

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Now, when you consider that clients from some nationalities will take up any investments that pay anything above 3% because in their own countries they are looking at returns of 1% or less, on real estate, due to inflated prices and bubbles, then you have a scenario for competition and therefore eventual price rises.


WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE SPANISH PROPERTY BARGAINS DRY UP? !

Portfolio Building!

When you add into this the Spanish Residency visa being offered to non EU citizens for an investment of 500,000 Euros or more, it looks a very good time to be investing in Spanish Property and putting together a portfolio that not only pays a decent return but at the same time allows you to obtain permanent Spanish residency.!

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The return may be good but, the potential for capital gain on selling is also excellent because the holding period is a long term one to retain Spanish Residency status and long term prices will rise from their current lows.!

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Read about our Portfolio service HERE ! So, What Happens When The Bargains Dry Up?!

When the bargains dry up, our current clients start rubbing their hands with glee. That’s what happens because they have made an excellent decision to purchase in Spain.!

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Do you want to join them? Tell us more in the form ON THIS PAGE.


SPANISH PROPERTY MAGAZINE ISSUE 21

SPAIN *

SPANISH PROPERTY MAGAZINE (SPM) Issue 21

10 WAYS TO SAVE MONEY WHEN BUYING YOUR SPANISH PROPERTY

ESCAPE TO MALAGA: WORKING WITH TV COMPANIES

FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED: VALENCIA AND TAX

THE 17 WORST THINGS ABOUT LIVING IN SPAIN: SARCASM FONT ON


10 WAYS TO SAVE MONEY WHEN BUYING YOUR SPANISH PROPERTY


10 WAYS TO SAVE MONEY WHEN BUYING YOUR SPANISH PROPERTY !

Or 10 ways for getting the best value possible when buying Spanish Property.

When you are going to be buying Spanish property you obviously want to get the best value for money. However that does not only mean finding a property and negotiating a price that suits you and then sitting back and congratulating yourself on a job well done. There are so many other ways to save money on your purchase that if you do not do them then your costs for the purchase could be thousands of Euros higher than they otherwise would be. Take a look at ten of the ways in which you can save money when buying your Spanish property.

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1) Use a property finder. As we have mentioned in our blog post here on our sister site at the Spanish Property Network, you have a choice when looking for property in Spain, you can go it alone, use an estate agent or use a property finder. In order to ferret out the best deals for you we recommend using a property finder. They sort the wheat from the chaff, try to get inside of your head and find out exactly what you want rather than trying to sell you what they have and will give impartial advice regarding the things you get shown. Well worth the investment as you are likely to save thousands.


10 WAYS TO SAVE MONEY WHEN BUYING YOUR SPANISH PROPERTY 2) Use a currency firm. If you are transferring money from one currency to another do not use your bank directly as they will mercilessly rip you off. Use a currency firm. We work with many to get you the best deal. Typically they will save you a couple of thousand Euros compared with your bank on every 100k transferred. The competition is greatest in the UK market so the best deals are often when you transfer either to or from the UK market. Click the image below for example to see one of our partners.

3) Use a Recommended Removal Company. When you are transporting furniture or personal items the range of companies offering to do it is huge and the prices you will get quoted are also hugely varied. It is not usually the case that the more expensive the better they are either. Use a recommended company, we have a few depending on where you are coming from, and ask about their full insurance as a little money spent on insurance can save a lot of time and hassle further down the line.

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4) Buy a Furnished Property. Listen, I know you have furniture you like at home and you want to bring it here and use it but just think, it costs you to get it here, it was bought for another house in another country in another style and it may be too big, small or the wrong style.

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10 WAYS TO SAVE MONEY WHEN BUYING YOUR SPANISH PROPERTY Consider buying a property that comes fully furnished even if you do not like the furniture in the house that you are buying. Furniture is not too expensive in Spain and bit by bit you can replace the bits you don’t like with an eclectic mix of things that may suit you and the property much better.

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5) Use a Lawyer and Get a Power Of Attorney. Using a lawyer may seem counter intuitive when looking at saving money on your Spanish property purchase as they cost money and especially if you are buying at the lower end of the market it adds a considerable cost to the purchase. However not using a lawyer can be hideously expensive as many people have found over the years after trusting the developer/agent/builder and their lawyers (Usually a brother in law or other family member just looking after their interests).

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Regarding giving the lawyer a power of attorney, this means they can sign for you saving you the expense of another trip for signing for the property and they can also do anything for you in future when it comes up rather than you having to fly out at short notice to sort out a problem.

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6) Get A Survey Done. Hold on Graham! You said save money not pay money out! However again here a survey on a property whether it be a walk through survey or a full survey may bring up problems that you have overlooked when visiting a property and can save you from making the mistake of buying what may well be a moneypit in the future or give you an idea of how much any potential problems will cost to remedy. This may allows you better negotiating terms with the owner.


10 WAYS TO SAVE MONEY WHEN BUYING YOUR SPANISH PROPERTY

7) Buy from a Horseman. What? Somebody selling a property who falls into one of the four D categories of Death, Disease, Divorce or Debt (See our post about the Four Horsemen of the Spanish Property Apocalypse here) will give you a better deal than somebody who doesn’t need to sell and is just testing the market with their pricing. Where there is pain on the selling side there is often a mutually beneficial solution that helps the buyer to get a good deal.

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8) Have a Plan B. Don’t put all of your eggs into one basket. Be prepared to walk away from a deal if the owner puts too many stipulations, inconveniences or traps in your way. Do not just set your heart on one property. remember a property is just bricks and mortar. When you come to Spain to buy from abroad in many cases you are buying the lifestyle. Obviously the property is important but it is not the be all and end all of the move. There are lots of properties for sale.

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9) Don’t be Afraid Not To Buy. When you buy you pay 10% tax (Or maybe more see our post here) you pay commissions, you pay notary, registry and gestor fees and probably for a lawyer too. You may have already paid up front for a survey and the lawyer may have checked the property out and therefore charged you. Consider those upfront costs as a good investment in education if you decide not to buy. You will have to pay them again on your next property but if there are red flags heed them. It’s the gut feeling too, is this the right property for you? If it is and there are no red flags go for it. However if there is that little niggling feeling in the background and the lawyer says “no way”, then listen. Don’t feel the pressure to buy.

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10) Ask Awkward Questions. Don’t be afraid to be obtuse. Ask awkward questions to the lawyer, the estate agent, the relocation agent, the property owner, the owner’s dog, any neighbours etc… Remember it is a large investment to buy a property even at a bargain price so make sure you get the full information about the property before going ahead with it. Lots of people don’t like to impose, don’t like to embarrass people. However knowing the full facts is important so ask those questions. Your wallet will thank you.

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So there you go, ten ways to save money, in some cases a lot of money, when buying property in Spain. You can always get the best value in Spanish property by following these simple steps. You will save thousands if you do them all even if some of them require an upfront cost. Don’t skimp on them and make sure to do them and your Spanish Property purchase should go through without a hitch.

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Of course the other option is to use our services wherever you are buying in Spain. Get in touch and we will guide you and help you to save thousands on your purchase while getting you something that suits you perfectly.


THE 17 WORST THINGS ABOUT LIVING IN SPAIN


THE 17 WORST THINGS ABOUT LIVING IN SPAIN

It’s time to put on the sarcasm font and start “complaining” about living in Spain. Lots of people complain about living in Spain, just look at any online forum, but let’s give them a platform for their complaints here should we as only forum owners and their invented six alter egos read forums these days. So for all of you out there who over the years have complained loudly, repeatedly and in the echoey chamber that is an internet forum let’s give you a voice. The 17 worst things about living in Spain:

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Number 1: The Zenlike challenge that is bureaucracy. Not too sarcastic here it should be treated as such because otherwise you might just go on a “spree”.

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Number 2: Having to put up with all of these holidays. You just cannot get into the groove of working here because there are too many opportunities to have barbecues with friends, go out for something to eat and stay out late because there is no work tomorrow.

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Number 3: That you may have to enjoy the rain because it might be the last time that you see you for quite a long time. I want to be able to complain about the weather. It’s not fair.


THE 17 WORST THINGS ABOUT LIVING IN SPAIN Number 4: Having too much fruit and veg in your garden at various times of the year when you get a windfall. Oranges, plums, apples or whatever you are growing because things grow so easily here. Make it a challenge mother nature please.

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Number 5: Having to put up with children and families in restaurants because they are allowed in and welcomed with open arms. It’s really annoying when it should be more like a Catholic Mass with whispering and reverence for the food and having to put up with disapproving looks when you make a sound over 5 decibels. Number 6: Having to put up with people coming and visiting and absolutely loving it and envying you for a living in Spain. Why can’t they just leave us alone in our misery as described every day in the Daily Mail?

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Number 7: Not getting the opportunity to buy loads of coats, raincoats, umbrellas and hats to keep out the cold and wet. Please climate, come on, give us a chance of being fashionable with rainwear.

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Number 8: Not being able to get awful food in fast food stores everywhere and having to put up with that home-cooked rubbish that takes forever to cook that they do in the majority of bars and restaurants when you want a menu of the day. Can they just not do quick tasteless food?

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Number 9: Not being able to spend enough on a bottle of wine to impress people when you visit their houses. They always know they only cost you a few euros for whatever you bring round.


THE 17 WORST THINGS ABOUT LIVING IN SPAIN

Number 10: Getting woken up every day by bells from a church or fireworks as another pointless Catholic Fiesta goes ahead in your neighbourhood. We want peace and quiet not happiness and celebrations!

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Number 11: Having to put up with those endlessly long straight motorways with no other traffic on them and driving your car through cities with little congestion. We want road rage please. It’s what keeps us edgy and alive.

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Number 12: Having to put up with coffee that isn’t from Starbucks or Costa Coffee and only costs between 1 Euro and €1.50. When will the Spanish learn they can make much more money by overcharging for a huge polystyrene cup of froth and sugar rather than sticking to actual coffee?

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Number 13: Cities are just too small. There is no huge sprawling city like Mexico DF, Shanghai or Calcutta where you can get lost. This in turn means that you are never far from nature. Nature yuck! We have spent years trying to get away from it in the rest of the world with sprawling cities and now we have to be near to it again.


THE 17 WORST THINGS ABOUT LIVING IN SPAIN Number 14: You have to start drinking later because the pubs open much too late and where is the 11 o’clock bell meaning you have to leave so you can get ready for work the next day? They just carry on forever… and they do lock ins!

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Number 15: And speaking of alcohol why is it so cheap here for Pete’s sake. You would think they wanted us to get drunk every now and again or something.

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Number 16: The roast chicken shops. Why should we have to put up with the gorgeous delicious smell of roast chicken as we walk down the street in every Spanish town? Thoughtless for foreign vegetarians… (There aren’t any Spanish vegetarians are there?)

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Number 17: Having to put up with your family. In other countries we don’t have to put up with our family why should it be so in Spain? Family picnics, family days out, family reunions and more. We want more solitude.

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So as a favour to you all I suffer it. I put up with all of this rubbish just so you don’t have to. Am I not soooo kind?

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So what would you add? What are more of the worst things about living in Spain?


WORKING WITH THE TV COMPANIES ESCAPE TO MALAGA


WORKING WITH THE TV COMPANIES: ESCAPE TO MALAGA A few months ago I was contacted via a TV production company. They were planning to shoot an episode of Escape to the Continent, in Spain, for the BBC. Their destination was inland Malaga.

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Like most of these programmes, they were planning to visit in the Axarquia region of East Malaga. This is where property prices are notably lower that on the western Costa del Sol and where people considering inland malaga often start their search. The inland Costa del Sol region is not as well known.

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Although time was tight and filming was imminent, I managed to source them a local location assistant and also to change the planned focus area. (Yep, I was happy with that result!)

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When I initially suggested the inland Costa de Sol area of Malaga, Lizzie, the researcher, seemed reluctant. The Costa del Sol is not known for its interior. Most programmes advertise the glitz and glamour of Marbella and the high rise coastal resorts with their huge proportion of foreign residents and visitors. Nevertheless, I was determined to show them a slice of life that maybe they were missing out on, something not as well known and quite special.


WORKING WITH THE TV COMPANIES: ESCAPE TO MALAGA Once I sent links and photographs of the area, the plan was soon changed.

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Obviously, I was hoping to feature Mijas pueblo, our beautiful whitewashed village, set on the hillside with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean, the village that I call home, as I think it is a wonderful place to live. However, despite the purchasers having a “reasonable” budget for this area, I advised them that they would not find what they were looking for in Mijas itself.

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I suggested looking at the areas of Monda and Alhaurin el Grande. I was confident that they would find some great options there. I also supplied them with names and contact details of our colleagues who have a deep and detailed knowledge of the area.

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Despite being asked many times to appear on the show, I politely declined. I wasn’t quite ready for my TV debut …

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I was very happy to see that Mijas Pueblo was heavily featured throughout the programme, even though they did not look at property there. Really, how can you avoid showing it off, it is eye candy for the TV viewer and more or less exactly what the discerning northern European buyer is often looking for, in this part of Spain.

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All in all, I think the programme portrayed the area pretty well. It is stunning and you need to visit to appreciate it. I’m lucky, I see it every day and the TV show was lucky to be able to see it through the prism of somebody who knows and loves the area, rather than just an agent trying to sell what is on their books. At Spanish Property Network, that’s how we work!

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Just one thing though, please ignore the advice given re healthcare and vehicles by the lovely guys from the chocolate factory! They are, let’s be nice about it, mistaken ;-)

To watch the programme go to this link http://spanish-property.net/E2C


FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED THE NEW VALENCIA PROPERTY TAXES YOU MAY GET STUNG BY


FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED In October last year the Valencian government in its infinite wisdom (ie none) decided to raise purchase taxes on second hand property from 8% to 10%, immediately putting themselves at a disadvantage with other communities in Spain (Madrid dropped theirs to 6% in January for example). Let’s not even mention internationally. It was a stupid move that I described in depth on this blog post

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Now my “head banging against a wall” has reached new levels. There is another new law, formulated on 8th of March but with effect from 1st of January 2014 (Go figure), again just for the Valencian Community (Valencia, Alicante, Castellón) which means that 10% might well not be the amount you pay when buying a property.

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How does 27% grab you? ! The new law is based on the Catastral Value of the Property. You “may” now pay tax on the Catastral Value multiplied by the coefficient for the area where you are buying (Every town has it’s own coefficient because the catastral values have not been revised in many places since the 1990ʹ′s.). What this means is that you either pay 10% tax (If that is the higher amount of the two) or you may have to pay a higher amount if the Catastral Value multiplied by the coefficient is higher and if the tax office then requests you pay the difference between the 10% you pay on the day and this amount. (There are exceptions so we “always” suggest not paying the higher amount initially to see if your house can be considered an exception)


FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED

I think a couple of examples will suffice to show you how it works. A client of ours found a great value flat near the beach in Valencia. The price paid was 40k so he had to pay 4,000 Euros in tax at 10%. However according to the Catastral Value the minimum declared price for the property would be 49,000 Euros, this despite the fact that the property was sold for the actual price of 40k. Therefore it is possible that the new owner will receive a complementary tax bill of 900 Euros to increase his tax to 4,900 Euros, a rate of 12.25%.

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Not high enough for you?

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How about this one then? A friend of mine bought a place for 95,000 Euros from a bank. Therefore he paid 9,500 Euros. However he got a total and utter bargain. The minimum price that the tax office consider real for this property is 267,000 Euros. And in this case he has actually received a demand from the tax office for the extra 17,200 Euros, an effective tax rate of 27%! He has appealed against the payment.

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You can see the law here if you want to check it out. You will notice that there are certain exceptions. Those exceptions are important. One of the main exceptions is for houses on their own plot as opposed to houses on shared plots or apartments.

What Are We Doing About It? ! As the title says, forewarned is forearmed. In order to know exactly how much tax you may have to pay on your purchase in the Valencian community we will be informing you of this on visits to any property you are interested in. When the Catastral Value multiplied by the Coefficient is above the simple 10% tax we will let you know. You may think, “I would never buy a property with over 10% tax�. However, bear in mind one thing, in the majority of the properties where this is the case it is because the properties are at bargain basement prices. As long as you are not hoping to buy and then flip the property for a profit quickly then these properties should still be considered. If you are looking to live in the property or rent it out you just need to know your total outlay to work out if it is worth your while or whether the percentage rental return justifies the investment.


FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED From our point of view the law is ridiculous. When a country desperately needs people from abroad to purchase property and come and live in Spain it is totally bonkers. This is especially true considering the huge exodus from the country reported recently with a large drop in the population (Take those figures with a large grain of salt). You would think that, like in Madrid, the regional government would be doing everything possible to encourage inward investment, not driving it away which is what this law will inevitably do. However we have a plan in place for you and it is totally transparent as we always are.

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1) We will tell you in the case of every property if you may be charged more than 10% on the property you are interested in. (I can guarantee you that most other agents will not do this and most will not even be aware of this new law)

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2) We will suggest alternatives if you think that any property with this issue may not suit you.

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3) We can also find you property in other communities that do not have this retrograde law eg Catalunya, Andalucia, Murcia etc‌ that suit your requirements at our national site, The Spanish Property Network.

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4) We will help you to find a lawyer to appeal any potential extra tax if applicable.

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5) We will find properties where it is not an issue. Simples!

If you want to know any more about the new law or want some reassurance about any purchase that you may be doing at the moment or have done since the start of 2014 just get in touch.


CAN I BUY THAT WRECK?


CAN I BUY THAT WRECK?

One of the things that people often want to do when they are looking to buy a property in Spain is take on a renovation project, referred to in the rest of this article as “a wreck”. A “wreck” can take on many forms, from updating a tired apartment to rebuilding an old farmhouse on its original footprint to adding a floor or two onto a house that is just too small. However they all have one thing in common in Spain, bureaucracy.

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Obviously you cannot just turn up, decide this is the one for you and start building or renovating your wreck. (What do you mean you know loads of people that did? Actually so do I.) You will need to cross that piranha infested river known as the “getting official permission to do what you want to do” first. And unfortunately for you this will have a cost whether it be in your time or your paying of an architect to present papers and projects in the town hall.

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Anyway let’s start with something simple and move up to something more onerous. Building work permits are generally divided into two sections, the “Obra Menor” and the “Obra Mayor”. For clarification and simplicity purposes let’s call the “Obra Menor” internal remodelling and the “Obra Mayor” adding bits on.


CAN I BUY THAT WRECK?

The permit for an “Obra Menor” is generally more speedily granted by the town hall as it doesn’t tend to alter the structural integrity of the building. The only possible exceptions to this are in protected older buildings. An Obra Menor might be anything from opening out a 70m2 apartment with three bedrooms into a loft type space to putting in a new kitchen and bathroom. Most people doing this type of work do not get a permit for the Obra Menor and just get on with the work.

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Here’s the secret though to avoid a fine and perhaps having the work stopped. If the work involves getting a skip because you are knocking walls down or replacing a bathroom for example then get a permit. You need a licence to place the skip for the debris on town or city streets and when you ask for one you will also be asked what it is for. If there is a skip outside your house or apartment building this is like a red flag to a local policeman to pop around and check out your building licence. If you haven’t got one then expect a fine. I know of hundreds of cases where people have done work without an Obra Menor licence and I only know of a couple of cases where the work has been stopped or people have been fined. However you may want to be discreet these days as the town halls are looking for any reason to levy fines and increase their meagre incomes a little.

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An Obra Mayor is a different beast, consider it like painting the sistine chapel roof as opposed to your kitchen wall, it would require scaffolding, time and manpower. However as stated earlier most Obra Mayor licences are granted for work requiring structural changes like adding an extension.

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Will you get the licence?


CAN I BUY THAT WRECK?

The big question before applying is whether your architect’s plan conforms to the requirements of the building laws in that area. For example if you want to add an extension to your villa you need to know whether it takes the size of the villa over the maximum footprint size for the plot, whether the height is correct and whether the walls would lie too close to the boundary wall. These are all rules that run at a local level and are different in every urbanizable zone. Typically a footprint out of town on urban land can be no more than 30% of the plot size, the height a maximum of 7m and the boundary wall must be three metres away from the construction. (These are also things to bear in mind when looking to buy a property not just extend it, has the extension been done legally?)

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This is a major reason to use a local architect because they know the rules, know the limitations and also in many cases know the town architect and what they may be comfortable with approving. A good architect will not only be able to help you with the plans and presentation of them in the town hall but may also be able to help you with contracting good building firms and to be able to oversee the work once it starts, which is extremely useful for you especially if you are away during the time of the renovation.

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So now you know of the types of permits needed we can move back to the original question, can I buy that wreck? Well, “maybe” has to be the answer.


CAN I BUY THAT WRECK?

You may have heard of companies like Urban Splash in the UK that take old industrial units and renovate them to make chic city flats. They did around half of Manchester’s canal district for example. In Spain it is not as easy as that.

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Buildings in Spain have a usage that is very difficult to change. If a building is registered as being for tertiary use for example (Schools, Hospitals, Offices, Hotels etc…) then it is very difficult to get a “Change of Use” certificate from the town hall. Urban Splash would have spent most of their lives banging their heads against the brick walls constructed by the civil servants to make sure nothing so heretical as common sense of changing old industrial buildings into residential use could happen. Even if you get the change of use certificate (Yes every blue moon one may be given out) then getting the first licence occupation certificate (required for the connection of utilities for example) is often as difficult as working out Focault’s Last Theorem. Again I know of many people who have just gone ahead and done the work because the ground floor shopfront had electricity and water and so therefore didn’t require a first occupation licence in order to get utilities installed. However they will have a problem in the future if they ever get the electric cut off for whatever reason whether that be for non payment of bills or a mistake by the electricity board.

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And this is where we answer the main question more fully, should I buy that wreck? If you buy a wreck in the countryside and decide to do it up then there are various things you need to consider:

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1) Is the original building protected at all? If it is forget getting any permits even if it for renovation.

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2) Is the plot large enough? On rustic land you require 10000m2 to build with a maximum footprint of 2%. Your building may already occupy that space or even more if you have the 10000m2 but if you have less then there is no chance of getting a building permit and you will have to do the work illegally and risk a fine or even a demolition order on your pristine new building extension if you decide to go ahead and do it.

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3) Is the property connected to mains services? If it isn’t already connected then building on rustic land (or even urbanizable land in some cases) will mean you cannot get electricity, water or gas connected up. You would need to go self sufficient which might well be fine for you but it could also place limitations on what you could plan.

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4) Are you willing to go through the process of getting permits before starting the work? The natural inclination is to start work and to hell with the consequences. This is not recommended although we know of many people who have done it. However you need to allow yourself a good few months or maybe up to a year to get all of the required permits without any guarantees as to them being granted. If you want to take the risk then fine but be aware that it is a risk.

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So to answer the original question Can I buy that wreck? Of course you can. The secondary question has to be, is it worth me buying that wreck? The answer may well be very different. However it would be an adventure :-)


BARCELONA


WHAT A BARCELONA PROPERTY FINDER CAN DO FOR YOU In this issue of Spanish Property Magazine, I thought I would give you an idea of the kind of thing I do in my work as a Property Finder in Barcelona. Although every client is different, the one I'm currently working with will give you a good idea of what I can do for you should you decide to contract my services.

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Anyway, one of my current clients is a Saudi Arabian businessman, who has decided that now is a good idea to invest in property in Barcelona and given that the value of real estate in the city has dropped 37% since 2007, I can't help but agree.

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He approached me about a month ago and after exchanging emails discussing the pros and cons of different areas of the city, he decided that he wanted to go with advice he'd received in Saudi that the neighbourhoods Barri Gòtic and El Born in the medieval city centre were the areas that would most appreciate in value.

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Once we had decided Where?, the next thing to agree on was What? The only thing he was sure of was that he had between 500 and 700 thousand euro to invest so I needed to fill him in on local taxes and the legal costs involved in buying properties in Barcelona.


WHAT A BARCELONA PROPERTY FINDER CAN DO FOR YOU This meant he had maximum of â‚Ź600,000 to spend plus costs and after browsing a few of the main Spanish Property Portals to see what was available in our chosen areas, we decided that we would look for either one large apartment or two smaller ones costing anywhere between 200 and 400 thousand each. It was important to the client that the building had a lift but apart from that the brief was just to find a good investment.

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I've searched for properties in this part of Barcelona before but previously it had been with a clearer aim of someone who was looking to live or spend their holidays there and rent out the rest of the year. Just looking for a good investment is a lot more abstract so the first thing I needed to do was to get a sense of what was available within the price range so I set the Search Filters to 'Apartment with Lift. Min: 200,000. Max: 600,00'.

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I sent off my contact information for 20 or so apartments pretty much at random and by later on that day, I had fifteen or so viewings programmed covering a very broad range of apartment types. There were apartments with terraces or balconies. There were big apartments that need renovating and small ones that had just been renovated. There were furnished and unfurnished properties and apartments that would be good for tourist rentals.

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By the end of that first week, I'd seen a lot of properties and met with a lot of agents, who eager to sell had taken me other apartments they thought might fit. I always just take the information in trying to be as positive as possible so as to keep them happy but without ever committing myself so as not to give them false hopes.


WHAT A BARCELONA PROPERTY FINDER CAN DO FOR YOU I take notes and photos when they let me and then I go back and compare with the descriptions on the webpages, where there are often major differences. I then wrote a short report for the client considering rental possibilities, whether I thought the property would appreciate in value or not in the future and whether it was overpriced or not.

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There's an inevitable element of trying to put yourself in the client's shoes and I have to admit that I got him completely wrong. I imagined that he would want somewhere that had some of the medieval features on the outside but was renovated and modern on the inside. Completely wrong. He's a numbers man looking for value for money.

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Fortunately, the reports and the email conversation put me back on track and by the end of the first week we had come to some conclusions. Renovated properties and very large apartments were out. We were now looking for two properties priced ideally between 250 and 350 thousand euro adding up to a total of 600 thousand. They could be in reasonable condition so that they could be rented out long-term immediately or in need of renovation so that once the work was done they would appreciate in value considerably.

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An excellent location was of utmost importance and features such as terraces, balconies, original beams and traditional tiled floors were definitely worth bearing in mind. However, the main consideration was price per square metre and good value for money.

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I spent last week doing more visits concentrating particularly on whether the price seemed fair or not and this weekend I've been going back through the Internet listings to see how long the property has been on the market and whether it was listed with more than one agency. These are both good indicators that the owner is keen to sell and will accept a lower offer.

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I've got two more weeks of viewing to go before the client comes to see what we've got and make a decision. He'll be here for a week and by the time he arrives, I should have at least ten very strong candidates, which we will view together on Wednesday and Thursday. Any second visits can be made on Friday so that the offers will be in before the weekend.

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This means he'll be able to enjoy Barcelona and mull the decision over before all the necessary paperwork gets done on Monday and Tuesday. I'm starting to feel quite confident because I know the terrain now and am sure I can nail a deal that will more than justify my fee.

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At the end of the day, the savings you make on the asking price are all about how much research, so if you are interested in buying property in Barcelona and need someone to search and research and research, don't hesitate to get in touch with us on info@spanish-property.net.

Spanish Property Magazine 2014 Compilation Part One  

The Spanish Property Magazine 2014 Compilation part one brings you the best writing about Spanish Property from the first half of the year....

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