Many people come to Spain and buy a property without giving a moments thought about where it is. We all know the mantra of agents worldwide – Location, Location, Location. So why do people leave their minds in the boots of their cars? What are the ramifications of taking this approach and why should you make sure you do not fall into this trap.
I have met people who have quite literally got in their car/caravan and drove to Spain, then stopped to buy a property as casually as they would newspaper. Once in their “dream" house reality sets in – that remote secluded spot is actually very remote and very secluded – especially in Winter time, the cute little side street where the townhouse sits is a nightmare to walk down because cars whiz past day and night. The lovely little beach town is actually a ghost town in winter where no-one lives.
Or the converse is true whereby you are shown a property in a quiet area – but by night is is a clubbers paradise.
Its all well and good rushing in and buying a house – but without too much thought you could be stuck with it for a very long time. So what are the pitfalls of NOT selecting the right area?
Firstly you may well have paid over the odds for it. By not researching your area well beforehand how would you know if you are getting a bargain – why do you think that property is cheap. And is it cheap by comparison to other property in the area?
Secondly reselling it – if you chose badly you will have to wait until someone else either likes the area or has given as little thought to it as you did. These days those kinds of people are fewer (though not as rare as you might think). If you did pay over the odds for it then chances are you will either lose out on it or wait a long time.
There is an area in Oliva for example – the Gypsy quarters – where property is very cheap. But no-one wants to live there because cars get damaged, the area is run down and there is animosity (because previously owners sold their properties to foreigners very cheap, they did them up and sold on at a large profit and now they cant afford to live in the areas they grew up in). However do you think the agents will tell you this. Of course not they want to sell you the house.
Many people now trying to sell their houses cannot do so because word has finally got around and people are more informed. Which means the prices will surely fall and they will lose money.
Thirdly there may be language barriers. You chose an area that is far away from the madding crowd – but do you really expect the locals to speak English. So unless you learn (and you believe you cannot) then life will be very lonely – even basic things like shopping can become a real burden and all of a sudden life is not the rosy retirement or lifestyle you had planned but a real menace
Finally if you came over here to work then you may find you are having difficulties plying your trade. You may be an IT person – but find your area is difficult if not impossible to get a phone line in (and if it hasn’t already got one in then I suggest you look at another house) – so how do you get online without a phone? Or you may be a builder – but the area doesn’t have many residents – one of the initial joys and delights of buiying the place has become a big negative factor.
Or you may want real Spain and end up in Torrevieja, Fuengerola, Benidorm or Malaga where it is difficult to even hear the Spanish Language spoken.
So how do you ensure you choose the right property in the right area?
o Also take into account such factors as do you need to be close to the hospitals, schools, town centre, and are you going to work there, in which case that fantastic Finca miles from anywhere can become a burden.
Double check everything you have been told – opinions are not necessarily fact so don’t believe everything you are told. In all make sure you find the area that suits you – and if not move on to the next town. Better to spend time researching and feeling the place and being happy ever after than moving on after a year disenchanted because life in Spain wasn’t what you envisioned.
Vince Barnes is the owner of http://www.SpanishProperty-Direct.co.uk – a website aimed at informing buyers about the process of buying in Spain and keeping up to date with news and regulations affecting the Spanish Property Market. He has also just published the book – “The Insiders Secret Guide To Buying A Property In Spain – The Book Estate Agents Don’t Want You To Read" – available at http://www.spanishproperty-direct.co.uk/book.htm .