The rise of online property portals, showcasing beautiful properties in fabulous sunshine, has changed the way that most people start purchasing a property in Spain.
In many ways, property portals have made life much easier with the option to explore the market from the comfort of your own home. However, it can also make your search feel overwhelming, with some properties listed on multiple portals by multiple agents with only slightly different descriptions and imagery. At the same time you’ll find many properties online which are not on the market anymore, but haven’t been taken offline.
The international portals are also less mature than for example Rightmove in the UK or Funda in the Netherlands, so they are often difficult to navigate and have limited functionality. So it’s easy to feel trapped or lose energy… which is where Open Door comes in.
In our last blog, we shared a list of six questions which we typically ask our clients to help them identify where they should focus their search. However, there are some other criteria which you should also consider when searching for the perfect property. At Open Door, we encourage all buyers to think about the following topics:
1. Location, location, location.
Given the size and diversity of Spain, choosing the right area is the single most important decision when buying a new property. In fact, it’s so important that we’ll be covering it in more detail in our next blog.
If you have friends or family that have bought property in Spain or you’ve watched Spanish property shows on TV, you probably already have an initial idea about what being a Spanish property owner will look and feel like.
However, the Spanish climate, laws, dialects and culture vary hugely across the country, so you need to think carefully about where to live. Many regions are completely different from a warm-weather beach town. Are you in pursuit of year-round sun? Or are you happy to embrace the seasons?
If you want to find out more about the importance of location, take a look at this video of Lea talking about the market of Alicante.
2. Think practically and plan ahead.
Buying a property is a long-term commitment so it’s important to think about how your personal situation could change over time.
• Facilities – where are the nearest shops and restaurants and how would you get there? If you’re planning to permanently relocate, what health facilities are within easy reach?
• Transport – for those planning on splitting their time between Spain and their home country, transport connections will be important. Where’s the nearest airport and how would you get there? Do flights operate all year round? Would it be easy for friends and family to visit?
• Resale – even a long-term property will need to be sold eventually, so think about the future of the location where you’re buying. Is there new development planned for the area? If so, is this a good thing? Will your rural purchase one day be surrounded by new-builds? Will your new-build home quickly become out-of-date based on planned building works nearby?
3. Visit in low season.
Even if you’ve visited an area many times during the summer, it could be significantly different in the off-season when it’s colder and quieter.
Many restaurants, bars and businesses close in winter; and the local streets and environment may feel markedly different to the town that you fell in love with during your holidays. This is particularly true of beach resorts – but cities and rural areas can also feel different throughout the year. So make sure that you visit in low season as well as high season, wherever possible.
It’s also good to consider how a place will feel at night. A beautiful, secluded spot can sometimes seem isolated and intimidating after sunset.
4. Seek expert input and advice.
Always consult a good agent or lawyer in advance of starting your property hunt. They should be able to advise you on areas which are a good fit for your personal needs, and for others like you.
With expert insights into a specific region, they have helped many people to relocate to Spain (at Open Door we’ve even experienced the whole relocation ourselves) and may be able to connect you with other expats who can share their own property-buying experiences.
Let us know what you think!