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The BIG Question when Buying a Spanish Property

When buying a property in Spain one of the first big questions is whether to use an agent or not?
There are many agents in Spain who advertise their expertise and qualities, but how do you know which agents are the most trustworthy and helpful? Do you need to use an agent to help you buy a property? or is it worth going on your own?
The right agent can be of great assistance, if they know their area they should be able to help you narrow down your search to a few specific properties. Ideally they should spend time with you to discover your property requirements before visiting any properties. This time is spent listening as well as asking questions to gain a fuller picture of you and your family. It is far more complex than just asking you how many bedrooms you want or if you want access to a pool or not. For example you may see your dream house in a photo, and the agent takes you to view it, but after talking to you he/she discovers that one of you doesn't drive. The house may be perfect, but the area is miles from anywhere. Clearly then going to see such a property would be a waste of your time. By talking and listening with you, these are the kinds of details that are important to your property search and can ensure that you avoid pointless treks to see properties that are completely inappropriate.
Unfortunately a high number of agents, say 8 / 10 would take you to see this house.  The reason for this is that they are only interested in selling properties and making commissions, it is just a job to them. The sad fact is that most agents aren't really concerned about your needs, only whether you buy a property from them or not, so you may end up being shown many houses that really don't fit the bill. Experiences like this will leave you feeling frustrated, dejected and wondering whether your perfect dream property is really out there.  
But do YOU really want to be trekking around such properties and wasting your time and efforts?
Also some agents may try to put pressure on you to buy. Don't ever be pressurised by anyone. If you don't feel comfortable with a viewing for any reason - politely say so and exit. It is your time, money and your dreams that are most important.
I once asked to see an apartment, specifically not a high rise, with gardens and not on a main road, no more than 100M from the beach. I was taken to a high rise concrete building 20 storeys high, where you had to cross a six lane motorway to get to the beach. I refused to get out of the car and waste my time. When I asked why we had come to see it, I was told that it was a lovely apartment with beach views. No doubt it was but it wasn't what I asked for. That was the end of my property search with this agent.
                                   SO, how do you find a good agent?
Finding bad agents is easy. So how do you select a good agent? The easiest way is to ask questions. Many people solely rely on only using agents who have API membership - this is the Spanish Estate Agents association (or one of them).
However, take care as not all API registered agents are still registered. Equally, not all non registered agents are bad. So how do you know?
Prepare a list of questions to ask them - the following is a sample list and is by no means an exhaustive list:
 * How long have they been in business?* How many clients have they dealt with? * What services do they offer their clients both during and after the sale? * What commissions do they charge? * Do they speak good Spanish? (if not how can they possibly operate in Spain) * Do they translate all documents into English? * Can you speak to some previous clients? etc
Also, ask people in the local Spanish bars who they would recommend - the Spanish don't necessarily like estate agents and so will only give you recommendations that they believe are good.
A good agent on the other hand, is worth his (or her) weight in gold. They will help you through every step of the way and guide you through the minefield and ensure you get the best property to suit your needs. At the very least they will try and understand you as a person/family and try to ensure that they match you with an ideal property. It shouldn't stop there though. A good agent will also help you long after the buying process has been completed- on hand to help you with your new life by helping you locate schools, buying furniture, finding tradesmen, arranging for your gas electricity to be connected etc
What about going it alone?
If you decide you don't want to use an agent, how do you find a property yourself?
In the Costa Blanca and the Costa del Sol you will find many articles in “CB News, Inland Trader, Costa Del Sol News, Sur in English”. However, these are English Language papers and so you will be mostly dealing with English owners, some have overinflated ideas as to the values of their property. Be careful as a lot of agents advertise in the local papers in the lineage ads. Why? Because it is cheaper to do so and a lot of people just go straight past the main display ads for agents.
The internet is obviously a good source with sites such as - but these tend to be mainly agents advertising. In fact most of the properties advertised on the internet are agents.
Consult the local Spanish Papers (in the Valencia region a great source is “Levante” These have adverts by Spanish People for property. You will find these comparatively cheaper than similar properties in the English Speaking Press.
You could also drive out to the areas you would like to live in look for “Se Vende” Signs (for Sale), ask at bars, in streets, obviously you do need a good level of Spanish and confidence to do this, but you would be surprised by how many properties are up for sale but are not advertised. Word of mouth in Spain is very much alive and part of the property business as anywhere else in the world.
Finally, you could locate a “Buyers agent” who would only act on your behalf. Be careful, as many so called Buyers agents are really just estate agents who use the term to lead the buyer into thinking they are working for them. If it is a true Buyers agent, you should be paying their commission, not the seller or their agents.
Whichever route you decide to take, ensure you do your homework - locate your area first then locate your property. If you find the right agent, they can make the process so much easier. There are a few good ones. Good luck with your search and always ask questions, never make a rushed decision and take your time.


For more information about the property for sale in Spain please complete our property criteria report..


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10 secrets every spanish property buyer should know
10 Secrets Every Spanish Property Buyer Should Know
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