The Balearic Islands; Minorca, Majorca and Ibiza; are amongst the most popular holiday destinations in the whole of Europe and their excellent climate, beaches and natural beauty attracts visitors and investors form around the world. Property in Majorca is attractive to investors as Majorca is the largest and most commercial of the island. Since 1952, when package holidays were first available on the island, it has been a well liked holiday destination. Many return for holidays each year and so have invested in property in Majorca. Buying a property in Majorca will always be a good investment as property in the Balearics remains highly rentable. Apartments in Majorca and villas in Majorca will rent to both families and young holidaymakers when you are not using the Majorca property yourself and be a fantastic retreat when you do want to get away. Though it has a reputation for being a party island, Ibiza also has a quieter side and attracts families and couples to its white sands and clear waters, away from the revellers and busy club resorts. And property in Ibiza is some of the loveliest property in the Balearics. Apartments in Ibiza and villas in Ibiza are rentable throughout the year thanks to the islands 300 days of sunshine; so purchasing property in Ibiza whether for investment purposes or personal use will guarantee you returns on your Ibiza property.
Buying a property and living in Spain is straightforward if you are a national from another EEC (European Economic Community) country. If however, your nationality falls outside the Euro zone you may be able to buy a property but there might be time restrictions as to how long you can stay in the country. Furthermore, there are certain guidelines as to work permits for non EEC nationals. You can find out information pertinent to you by accessing the Spanish Embassy website or through a variety of internet websites. There are also specialist emigration organisations that will often do a free consultation letting you know your options.
In Spain purchase costs could be 10%+ over and above the purchase price and when considering the dramatic changes in currency exchange rates, this percentage could climb much higher. So, if your property price is £100,000 it could cost £110,000 (or more) by the time you complete and take possession of the property. It’s important from the start that you clearly understand how much a property will cost you as this will determine what price range you can look at.
While researching the Internet, attending property trade shows and emailing estate agents, start to investigate what is included in the property price versus what gets added on. In Spain the purchase price includes the estate agency fee (usually 5%, but nowadays maybe 3%). For all property and land, 10% of the purchase price is paid as a transfer tax that goes to the Spanish Treasury. In addition, there are notary fees and a land/property registration fee, which varies according to the purchase price of the property. Also consider solicitors and mortgage fees. Solicitors usually charge 1% of the purchase price + VAT at 21%.
Based on news stories about property buyers in Spain having their property demolished, I think it’s safe to say that buyers now realise that it’s not only imperative to get a solicitor, but it’s absolutely necessary to get a good solicitor.
Stating that, I suggest that you contact a solicitor before setting off to view properties in Spain otherwise if you do decide to buy you will be rushed for time and may be pushed into using a solicitor who may not act in your best interests. In the UK there are many legal firms that specialise in Spanish Law and house purchase. They can act as an intermediary between you and a local solicitor.
Another vital factor is that you need to find a solicitor who is independent from the estate agent, developer or company showing you the properties, so that you know the solicitor is working for you and not the property professional. Some solicitors may draw up a contract of sale which is in favour of the estate agent (or end seller), and the reason behind this is quite disingenuous. By safeguarding the agent the solicitors will be assured of retaining their valuable business. Compare your one transaction to the many the solicitor stands to gain from the agent or developer and you will understand the clear conflict of interest here.
Make sure that you have done your homework and that you are using a reliable and trustworthy solicitor. This may include asking for personal referrals – and these must not include your developer or agent – or using specialised Spanish websites. If the solicitor does not fully comprehend English or you have any reservations at all – move on and find someone else. You may find an English speaking solicitor in Spain is neither English nor Spanish, they might be German or Dutch for example, but they will be competent to deal with your purchase. Solicitors must be registered to practice in Spain and are usually found in the popular coastal areas or larger towns.
Your solicitor will review the sale agreement, verify titles, and carry out other checks to ensure that you’re protected. They, or a notary, may be responsible for paying any taxes and registering the property with the land registry if this is required. Charges vary for legal and notary services but can cost around 1% to 2% of the sale value of the property. In Spain the cost is determined by the government.
You need to bear in mind that the legal system in Spain may not work in your favour if trouble strikes, so it is of paramount importance that you hire qualified people who can ensure that you do not have to take legal action. Don’t put yourself in the position of needing legal redress. You may have the law on your side but the legal system abroad can keep you tied up for years and cost a fortune. Make sure you – and your solicitor – get it right from the start and the purchase will move forward easily, most purchases in Spain do, you only hear about those that don’t.