Spanish property prices have been falling dramatically for some time now, so there’s never been a better opportunity for you to make your Mediterranean dreams come true. Since 2007, property prices have fallen by around 30% – 35% which is a drastic drop that compares to property valuations last recorded back in 2004. There are plenty of bargains to be had throughout the Spanish property market at the moment, so it might help to get a few useful tips regarding buying property in Spain onboard early on.

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Whether you’re interested in a luxury villa, a cosy bungalow, stunning beachside apartments or commercial properties that meet your business requirements, there’s plenty of potential across the entire property sector at the moment. The reason for this is because sellers are struggling to find buyers who are willing to meet their asking price. Not only will you get hold of a property that has the potential to be a handy long term investment, you’ve also got a plethora of stunning properties to choose from that are likely to be a pleasure to live in!

So what is there to put you off such an enticing proposition? Unfortunately, many reports have surfaced amongst the Spanish press surrounding “land grab” scenarios where foreign property investors are getting hold of illegal properties. With this in mind there’s certainly reason to reconsider an investment. However, it is possible to safely purchase a property in Spain if you take crucial guidelines onboard. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Never Sign Anything Without Proper Authority and Understanding

If you’re given a document to sign during the investment procedure at any time, whether it’s in front of an estate agent or emailed to you, always make sure it’s provided with proper authorisation and translated into your preferred language so that you can understand exactly what it is you are agreeing to. Most importantly of all, make sure that the document you are given is approved by your lawyer. It’s essential that you don’t rush into the investment process and make a very easy mistake such as this at the first hurdle. Due to such a dramatic fall in property prices, some people out there are willing to make profit by tricking you, so be prepared to remain vigilant at all times.

  • Look Out for Illegal Properties and Potential Liabilities

There are plenty of illegal properties in Spain that you must be aware of, as well as many other properties that have potential liabilities that could cost you a fortune if you don’t carry out the necessary research prior to the investment. Many of these problematic liabilities are related to state infrastructure projects which often lead to the new investors having to cover the costs. Infrastructure projects are hugely problematic and can haunt you for years once the investment is complete, to the point where you may even lose a portion of the land you bought originally.

  • Find a Conveyancing Lawyer You Can Trust

Before you put any effort into actually finding a property to buy or invest in, make sure you get hold of a conveyance lawyer that you can trust. Conveyancing is a job that needs to be undertaken by experienced personnel, so having a conveyance lawyer onboard with all the necessary knowledge and experience of the local area is essential. There are a few characteristics you can look out for to ensure your conveyance lawyers i genuine, such as making sure they are completely independent, fluent in your language, trained specialists and qualified with high public liability insurance.

  • Always use a Building Surveyor

Building Surveyors are an essential part of the property buying process in Spain and you’ll need their expertise at hand prior to paying anything. Once again, it’s important to make sure your building surveyor is a trustworthy source who speaks your language fluently, is fully independent and is fully qualified and insured. You need to make sure that your building surveyor provides you with a detailed report of a property you’re interested in regularly, with details surrounding the state of the property, planning permission constraints and so on. Building licenses have to be valid as well, so make sure your building surveyor goes over these in detail.

  • Don’t Rely Solely on Information Provided by the Estate Agent

Estate agents might seem like friends at the early stages of an investment plan but they are really looking to get as much sales commission as possible. Whilst they may pose as a colleague throughout the procedure, they are likely to provide you with biased information that could give them the opportunity to make more form the sale. Therefore, try and do your own private research on the property and go over anything your estate agent says to you in detail. Sales commission in Spain is very high, with some sales equalling as much as the average national salary.

Mike James has many years experience in the real estate industry in Spain and has invested in Spanish property himself. As a result he has first-hand knowledge to share about how to purchase property in Spain and writes about these for Panorama Properties, a Marbella based real estate agency.