Properties for sale or to rent on the Costa Blanca
As a general rule of thumb, newly built properties on the Costa Blanca are generally cheaper than existing or re-sale properties - cheaper still if you buy ‘off plan’ (before the house has been started). Property prices have rocketed here over the last five - ten years and many fortunate people have found that their properties have grown in value enormously even before they had moved in! Even though the market is now leveling out, a property in Spain is still an extremely good investment. Visit www.villa-angels.com for the latest properties on offer all over the Costa Blanca from Mar Menor to Valencia.
If you prefer a more traditional Spanish style country house called a ‘finca', or one of the quaint village houses, the first thing you need to do is check the wiring. Spain has the highest percentage of unsafe wiring in Europe with over 78% of all installations over ten years old in a near lethal state of repair. There are good electricians to be found - as well as some bad ones. Ask to see their qualifications and check to see if they have the appropriate testing equipment. You may have to pay a little extra, but better that than the alternative.
Not many houses are built to include a damp proof course and people often find that after the first winter - and we do have winters here - the paintwork starts peeling and bubbling along the bottom of internal walls. Check with the builder that it is included and if not ask that it be included as an extra. Older houses will not have one, so you may have problems that need to be rectified by a competent builder.
There is no such thing on the Costa Blanca as mains gas. You will need to set up a contract with the local Butane gas company to have it delivered to you. A lorry will then pass by your house once or twice a week to bring you full bottles and collect the empties to be re-filled. You will need to supply the company with a copy of your escritura (deeds) or rental contract plus a copy of your N. I. E. certificate.
Obviously, it should go without saying, when buying a property DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING BEFORE YOU FIRST CHECK IT WITH A LAWYER. So many people have been fleeced by sharks acting as ‘estate agents’ who have demanded a deposit on a property that either was never for sale in the first place or has so many debts outstanding on it to make it worthless. In Spain all credit is guaranteed against property so if the debt is not paid, a charge is put against the property not the owner. In other words, the owner can disappear with your money and leave all the debts waiting to be settled by the you as the new owner of the property. Ask to see a copy of the ‘nota simple', this will tell you if there any large debts lodged against the property as well as the legal size of the dwelling if any illegal extensions have been made to it. It's also a good idea to visit the local town hall (ayuntamiento) to ask if there are any taxes outstanding on the property.
Almost half of all business in Spain is conducted ‘under the table’ so don't be surprised to find that the amount you are paying for a property is not the amount written in the escritura (title deeds). This is nothing to be concerned about as it is done to save you and the seller significant tax bills. Duty on property sales currently stands at 7% which can add a large chunk to your investment, so it makes sense to declare a smaller amount on all the legal paperwork. Everyone does it and the authorities turn a blind eye as they would rather have some money than none at all if the whole deal were done in cash.
In any case, you need to budget for 10% above the property price to cover you for taxes, legal fees and paperwork.
If you would like more information on this topic or any other related to the Costa Blanca visit Costa Blanca World.
Karen Milacic is a graphic and web designer living as a British expat on the Costa Blanca for the past five years. Visit her other web sites at: http://www.villa-angels.com ; http://www.thedesignbusiness.co.uk ; http://www.costablanca-webhosting.com