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5 tips to consider when buying property in Spain for foreigners 🖐🏠

Buying a property in Spain for foreigners: 5 tips to find the right house 🇪🇸

Searching for the perfect home can be a stressful process. Whether you are looking for your first home or moving to a new city or country, there are many things to keep in mind. In this article, we provide you five tips to help if are a foreigner and non-resident in Spain to find the right home.

How to look for a house in Spain for foreigners?

Buying a home is a big decision, and you have a lot to consider before making it. If you are thinking of buying a property in Spain for foreigners, here are five steps to help you get started.

More than just technical criteria, these tips are guidelines; they are, in short, assessment criteria so that if you are interested, you know how to proceed.

Think about the Location 📍

Location is very important when choosing your home.  If you are not familiar with the cities in Spain, get advice from an expert.

Where to buy a house in Spain if you are a foreigner? 🤔

Do you want to live in a big city or in a more rural environment? Are you thinking about the city center or do you prefer to be a bit further away? Do you need to be close to shops or public transport? 

Weigh up and consider what might be the best location for your home. For example, if you have children, what schools are nearby? Below is a list of criteria that may influence you in choosing the location that best suits your needs. Ideally, you should be able to have all these services within a ten-minute walk of your home:

  • Supermarkets
  • Schools
  • Pharmacies
  • Parking spaces
  • Public transport
  • Health centres
  • Hospitals
  • Bars and restaurants
  • Local shops or shopping centres
  • Gyms and sports centres
  • Parks

First, think about this before making your final decision.

Shop around 🏙

Don’t just look in one place. You may have predetermined the neighborhood where you want to live, but perhaps because of the characteristics of the property or your budget, you can’t afford it.

Get professional advice 🤝

Look for a good real estate agent or lawyer who speaks your language to advise you during the buying and selling process. It is important to have someone who knows the local market and can advise you on the best locations for buying a property in Spain for foreigners.

In this sense, we recommend that you let yourself be advised by a personal shopper.  They are the ones who know the city best and will be able to guide you according to what you are looking for, which areas are recommendable and which are not. In addition, personal shoppers or real estate brokers act in your best interests and not in the interests of the seller. We invite you to visit where you can find personal assistance services for property searches.

2. Define your needs 💡

Once you have defined the location, think about the characteristics of the property. Make a list of everything you need and want your new home to have. Before you start looking, you must know what you need. 

Decide what kind of property you want. 🤷‍♂️

Do you want a flat or a house, do you need a lot of space or do you prefer something more compact? Make a list of your needs and then search accordingly.

In Spain, there are many different types of properties, from flats in buildings to large detached villas. Some of the most common property types found in Spain:

  • Flats: these are the most common properties in Spain. They are independent units within a building with several floors, usually sharing stairs and common spaces such as the garage and swimming pool.
  • Unifamiliar properties: these are similar to flats but are generally larger and better finished. They also tend to be in better locations, so they tend to be more expensive.
  • Semi-detached houses: these are single-family houses that are built together, forming a row or block. Each house has its own.
  • Premises convertible to housing: Nowadays it is very fashionable to look for premises convertible to housing in big cities. This is motivated by the closure of small businesses, the decreasing demand for commercial premises, and the lower price of these, as they are located on the ground floor and are cheaper.

Having a clear idea of what you need will help you to limit your search and avoid wasting time looking at properties that do not suit your needs

Here is a list of questions or criteria to take into account that can help you or guide you in your search for a property in Spain for foreigners: 

  • Do you need a lot of space? 
  • How many rooms do you want?
  • Do all rooms have to be exterior?
  • What sanitation system does the property have? Is the heating central (the whole building) or is it individualized?
  • Does it have air conditioning? Can it be installed?
  • Do you want cross ventilation?
  • Does the property have to have a terrace?
  • Would you like to have a garden? 
  • Is there enough storage space?
  • Does it have a storage room?
  • Buy a house now or wait? If you are buying in a big city and you intend to use the property as a first residence, don’t wait. Real estate is a cyclical market, so if you think you’ve bought too much, don’t worry. The logical thing is that in 10 or 20 years your house will be worth more than it is now.
  • What documents do I need when buying a property in Spain for foreigners? Do I need different documents if it is a used house than if it is a new house?
  • Can I buy it with my passport or do I need a Spanish document, such as a NIE? Find out more here!
  • What kind of neighbors are there, are there any bad or nuisance neighbors?

3. Define your budget 💸

Before you start looking, you should know how much money you are willing to spend! Set a limit and don’t overdo it.

Consider what the costs are when buying a property as a non-resident. 

If the property is being sold through an estate agent, you will need to take into account the estate agent’s commission. You can also look for a house that is sold directly by the owner. This way, you save the broker’s commission as you buy the house directly from the owner.

If you buy a house in Spain from a private individual, you can pay cash. There is no limit, but you have to prove that the funds are legitimate. Even if you are a foreigner, you can pay in cash, without limit. However, bear in mind that if you bring cash from abroad you can only bring in 9,999 euros. 

What is the maximum the bank can lend you? 🏦

If you are going to need financing, check with a financial entity about the viability of granting a mortgage. 

As a non-resident foreigner in Spain, it is normal for banks to grant you a loan of between 60% -70% as a maximum; although if it is for your primary residence, they can grant you a mortgage under the same conditions as a resident, up to 80%. 

If you are not sure you can afford to buy, ask yourself whether it is better to rent or buy a house. To do this, find out about rental prices in the area where you want to live and check the interest rate that the financial entity will offer you if you ask for a mortgage. Ask them to do a viability study of your mortgage and ask yourself what house you can afford with your salary or how much money you need to buy.

With all these criteria you will be able to decide whether it is worth buying or renting a home.

Also, ask yourself if the house will be temporary or if you will live there in the long term. Another criterion that the financial entity takes into account when granting the mortgage is your age. The older you are, the shorter the loan repayment period. But don’t worry, the average age in Spain to buy a house is 41 years old. 

4. Take your time to find the perfect house 🧘‍♀️

Don’t rush and don’t buy the first house you see. visit different properties and compare them before making any decisions. Think about the long term and not just what you need now.

 If you rush, you could end up in a situation you don’t like. Think about how long you are going to spend in the house. 

There are many homes on the market that can suit what you are looking for.

5. Examine the characteristics of the house 🕵️‍♀️

Make sure that the house is well-built and has all the necessary amenities (water, electricity, etc.).  It is recommended that you take an architect with you to make a visual inspection and assessment:

In the property

  • General condition
  • Enclosures
  • Floors and walls
  • Plumbing and taps
  • Electrical appliances
  • Furniture
  • Boiler
  • Electrical panel
  • Windows – doors

State of the building

  • Structure – foundation
  • External walls – outer coatings
  • Roofs – cornices
  • Beams-pilars
  • Balconies
  • Downpipes
  • Damp proof
Interior coatings
  • Dampness
  • Leaks
External areas
  • Outbuildings – garage – garden room
  • Pool 
  • Accesses to the property
Building services
  • Electricity
  • Water
  • Drainage
  • Hot water
  • Gas installation – central heating
  • Air conditioning

Take out insurance 📑

It is important to take out home insurance to protect your new property against possible contingencies. In Spain, it is not compulsory to take out home insurance (fire insurance is only compulsory if you buy with a mortgage).

We hope you find this post useful!

👉 If you have any questions or need to talk to experts on buying a property in Spain for foreigners, feel free to leave us a comment or contact us. 💌

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