Frank and Diane have own to Spain. They know what they want: a villa on the Costa Blanca. They know their budget: £100,000, which with their forward currency arrangement is guaranteed to buy them €138,000. Out of this they must pay as much as 13% extra for buying costs and tax, and 2% more if they are going to get a mortgage, which is made up of the following:

  • Taxes (VAT/ITP): 10%
  • Notary fees: 1%
  • Registration of property: 1%
  • Stamp duty: 1%

And in case they need a mortgage, they will have an extra cost:

  • Other fees (gestoria, Registry, property valuation, notary): 0.8%
  • Mortgage stamp duty: 1%
  • Bank mortgage commission: 0.25%

The most signigicant of these is tax, which is subject to change depending on the political or economic circumstances. Frank and Diane decide to look at property of up to €140,000 and hope to negotiate the price down to a more comfortable €120,000.

They are staying in a hotel and have checked that they have access to their phone and the internet so they can contact their lawyer quickly. When they need it, they can easily and cheaply send money for a deposit, or to pay a local surveyor. They have arranged as many viewings as possible, but with plenty of time for relaxing and discussing what they have seen. They have borne in mind the distances and local terrain when considering how many houses they can comfortably view in the time. They have instructed the estate agents not to show them any property outside their price range. They have a reliable camera so they can take plenty of photos and possibly a video (on which they could record their own verbal rst impressions too), a notebook to write down any extra information the estate agents give them, or questions they will need answering. Lastly, they have a checklist of information requirements.

BUYING TIP Frank has created his own scoring system for each property. This has the advantage of listing those criteria that he has judged most important. All of this information will be organised into a le to reread at the hotel. Now, let’s see some houses!

What to look for?

Frank and Diane know that whatever is stated on a later contract, the seller must provide what is listed on the initial sales information, including all services and facilities. So when conducting a viewing, they check that the property matches what is listed on the details in terms of quality of materials, state of repair, views, the local neighbourhood, noise, access to transportation, etc. They bring any issues to the attention of the seller or agent showing them the house and, if they are not convinced by the agent’s explanations, they may return accompanied by a professional architect or surveyor to inspect it and get a valuation to correct it.

Any company selling or promoting housing should make the following information available to the public:

  1. The trade name, company name, address.
  2. Where appropriate, the details of the seller/owner entered in the Companies Registry. (Or just ask for the simple note, “Nota Simple”, of the property – which contains all the information).
  3. A map showing the location of the property and ideally a floor plan.
  4. A property description, showing its gross overall area and ideally its internal usable area (see box, right) and, where appropriate, a general description of the building in which it is located, the common areas and ancillary services.
  5. Energy performance certificate (CEE), listing materials used in construction including acoustic and thermal insulation, building and common areas, and ancillary services. Make sure that it is stamped as being registered with the Regional Authority as only then will it be accepted by the Registrar. The certificate is valid for up to ten years. It has to be provided by the vendor and it is normally attached to the title deed (escritura).
  6. Instructions on the use and maintenanceof any facilities that require special knowledge, and the evacuation of the building in an emergency. A so-called Book of the Building (Libro del Edificio) must be given by the builder to the agent, with all this information, to be passed on by every seller to a new owner. In some regions the book must be at the disposal of any new owner, in possession of a notary, or in the Land Registry in whose jurisdiction the property is located.
  7. Identification details of the registration of the property in the Land Registry, or a statement of not being enrolled in it.

The surface areas of property may be listed in several ways:

  • Gross floor area/constructed area (superficie construida). This specifies the outer area of the building and defines all the enclosed space, including all built spaces, partitions, walls and facilities.
  • Useful area (superficie útil). This also specifies the outer area, but only the built spaces that may be used by the inhabitants. It does not include the partitions, structure and facilities.
  • If the dwelling is part of a condominium, there is a third concept of surface: Gross floor area including common elements (superficie construida con repercusión de elementos comunes). This is the gross floor area of each at of the condominium, plus the proportionate part of the gross floor area of all public areas of the same building. These are calculated according to shares set by the statutes of the home-owners. It includes all the spaces of the apartment plus a part of the common areas (entrance hall, staircase, broom closet and machine room, elevator shaft, etc.) of the building in which it is located.

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Source; AIPP / RICS / RDE