Blanca Property Buyers Guide
By Colin Scriven
4 - After the Purchase of your Costa Blanca Property
At this point you will need to change all utilities into your
own name. If you have no or little experience dealing with utility companies
in Spain, we would firmly suggest you ask your lawyer to carry this out on
your behalf to avoid any unwanted frustration and stress.
You should also
check your bank account to make sure the amounts are being deducted and that
you are receiving the bills for the relevant utilities. If not, ask your
lawyer to call them and ensure that everything has been changed correctly.
You won’t be the first and you certainly won’t be the last person where the
utility companies, which are notorious for bad customer service, have not
carried out the job correctly.
Spain has an abundance of banks and those in areas with large
populations of foreign residents will generally have English-speaking staff.
There are also several English banks in the coastal resort
areas, including the likes of Barclays and HSBC, all with English speaking
Service tills are located at most banks and when using a
credit card will usually ask which language you would like to use. Be
careful, though, because they do charge and this will vary from bank to
bank, so it may be worth going into the bank to find out what charges will
be incurred prior to making withdrawals.
Many Spanish banks now also offer internet banking in English
which could save you a lot of headache and worry, as most of these sites
will offer you transfer services online for
and town hall charges.
Buying property abroad is often the realisation of a personal
dream and probably represents one of the greatest expenses of your life.
As part of the purchase process, you will inevitably need to
transfer a Sterling sum into Euros in order to pay for your property. This
vital element of the purchase process – one that is often overlooked and one
that can make a huge difference to the price in Sterling that you will have
to pay for your dream home.
Exchange rates change constantly and 10% fluctuations in a
relatively short space of time are not uncommon. This could effectively
increase, by 10% or more, the Sterling amount that you will have to pay.
Not only could you save a large sum of money by using a
commercial foreign exchange company when buying your property but also these
companies can go even further.
You can even set up a regular payment plan if you are making
regular currency transfers. Such payments might include overseas mortgage
payments, pension payment transfers, or any other regular currency payments.
This removes the worry caused by exchange rate fluctuations
when making currency payments over a period of time.
Once you have purchased your home you will need to insure
both the buildings and contents. There are many Insurance companies in Spain
that can offer you this service but for peace of mind we would suggest you
contact a company that has English speaking staff with policies written in
English so that you are certain what is and isn’t covered on the policy. At
least, that is, until you are able to understand the language a bit better.
Several companies have set up shop in Spain dealing mainly
with the British ex-pat market so you can still shop around for a
Most provide a reliable, personal, face to face service through their multilingual
Insurance Brokers and Intermediaries, a 24 hour emergency helpline for all
policyholders, and with their English speaking support team based in Spain
they can provide a fast, efficient service to all of their customers.They
not only offer home insurance but can also offer other insurance services to
the ex-pat in Spain.
This subject is not particularly a pleasant one but we feel
it is essential to inform you of the inheritance tax laws here in Spain and
how to deal with them.
Firstly, the same old boring answer is - get a lawyer and
draw up a will. This is a step that should be high on your agenda once you
have purchased a property in Spain.
We will try to explain the basics of inheritance tax in this
section but for full and accurate advice, please speak to your lawyer at the
If you are a
resident in Spain and you are paying tax you will be liable to pay Spanish
Inheritance tax regardless of which country the inheritance will be in. If
you are a non-resident, you are only liable to pay inheritance tax on assets
in Spain. Please remember that there is absolutely no exemption on Spanish
There are four categories of inheritors. These vary on your
relationship with the deceased and your age. The younger and closer you are
to the deceased, the less you pay.
The amounts to pay will vary as the government of the day
decides to decrease or increase them, so we won’t add them here as they are
likely to fluctuate, but your lawyer will be able to advise you on these
There are also ways to avoid paying inheritance tax, and once
again, a chat with your legal representative will help discover what you
will need to do, if anything, to avoid your next of kin paying taxes.
We have only given you a brief and very rough guide on
inheritance tax as it is a very complicated matter, but one that is a must
for you to explore prior to purchasing a property in Spain. A good website
to visit for a more in depth look at inheritance tax is
credit crunch and falling property values, meaning that more and more long
term visitors are deciding to rent because they cannot buy, holiday and long
term renting is looking good.
It should be understood that
Spanish tourism has not
increased in the past 10 years – yes, that’s right, not one single iota, in
spite of what you might read! It is a fact hat tourist entries across
Spanish frontiers have actually increased by 50% during the last decade. On
the other hand the current trend is for shorter holidays in smaller groups
and the number of properties available for renting has increased.
it is not at all bad news! Obviously when times are hard every household has
to cut back but holidays are the last thing to go, in fact they become more
important than ever. Recent poor summer climate in the UK has probably
helped and self-catering holiday companies & direct-booking Internet sites
are receiving an unprecedented number of enquiries.
advice for new and existing renters of holiday properties – Obviously it is
vital to “get on sale” as early as possible. Clued-up holidaymakers know to
book low fare airlines as soon as they go on sale and that means October to
important is to keep all options open and increase advertising, if possible
without spending a fortune.
Internet Advertising Sites: Currently the Internet produces around 80%
of all self-catering reservations and advertising sites are “coming out of
the woodwork”. Advertising this way is not expensive, £90 to £150 for a
year. Some sites are absolutely enormous, with 100,000’s of properties
advertised but take care, as business can be very localised.
your chosen site features well with search engines (Especially
Google.co.uk). Test first! The way to do this is to search the area with
the right keywords e.g. “villas moraira” “holiday rental moraira”. If the
site is not on page 1 (better 1st 5) they simply won’t produce many
You Own Website: This is vital because you would want to direct
clients there from your advertising and most won’t wait to receive a
leaflet through the post. If you are not a complete “Computer Dum-dum”
then Google provide a small website complete free.
lots local advertising site provide inexpensive mini-webs.
NOTE: There is absolutely no mileage in going to the expense of
setting up your own domain name these days because, unless you also pay
for expensive SEO (optimisation), the site will never be seen.
Write about you Holiday Property: An easy way to do this is to join a
holiday or local forum (like this one). Lots of them allow you to place
live links in your signature directing clients to your mini-web or even in
the text of your forum posts.
surprising how much business this produces – and it is FREE!
Register with a Local Rental Agency: They probably won’t pay you what
you could earn directly but the important thing is to fill as many weeks
service offered is “meet and greet” and they should do this for your
clients as well. Can you imagine how off-putting it could seem if clients
are sent a key through the post or have to resort to those awful
Also important is that they have an online booking service so that you can
see all bookings in your property and make reservations for your own
clients without having to phone continually.
follow this advice you should have online enquiries coming from 4
directions. You could add to this with a classified in your local paper.
Only a few lines are necessary because you can direct enquiries to your
mini-web where they can see your property in glorious colour.
Colin Scriven has worked as an estate
agent for 17 years, the past 5½ years of which have been in Spain. Currently
he is the General Manager of Hamiltons of London SL with 4 offices covering
the Costa Blanca North area, from Benidorm to Gandia (Costa de Azahar), with
headquarters in Jalon.
Colin lives near Denia and has two young children who attend local Spanish
Buying or selling Costa Blanca property? –
Consult Hamiltons of London, the Costa Blanca estate agents, with over 2,000
properties listed, and offices & affiliates in all Costa Blanca areas.
Hamiltons Homepage for
Properties for Sales in Costa Blanca or
the Costa Blanca area offices for -
Albir Properties |
Calpe Properties |
Gandia Properties |
Jalon Properties |