Blanca Property Buyers Guide
By Colin Scriven
ARTICLE 1 - Locating a
Suitable Costa Blanca Property
I always point out to potential buyers that absolute
perfection doesn’t exist,
at any price,
and they would need to remember that whatever tick boxes they have, they
simply won’t be able to tick them all.
What they will have to take into consideration more than anything is what
the property has to offer in relation to the price.
Choosing the Area:
Before beginning your property search you will need to think long and hard
on where you would like to be.
Spain is a big country and narrowing your initial search down
to a particular area will save you a lot of time, money and energy.
It may mean that you will need to visit Spain a number of
times before you actually decide on where you would like to settle or even
stay in different areas for a while to ensure that is really where you want
Spain has much to offer from the normal sandy sunny beaches
of the Costa Blanca to the snow capped mountains of the interior where some
of the best ski resorts can be found.
Choosing the Property:
When choosing, make sure you do so carefully. With purchase taxes currently
standing at 7% it could be an expensive mistake if you suddenly decide that
the property you have purchased is not really where you wanted it to be or
even the type of property you wanted.
Choosing your Estate Agent:
It is also very important to choose your Estate Agent carefully. There are
many agents out to make a quick buck and this includes some of the big name
companies. If you are feeling pressured in to buying a property, stop!
Chances are you
are being pushed into something you don’t really want by a clever salesman
looking to close a deal so that he can collect his commission, so if they
sit you down and ask you to start signing, don’t do it unless you are 100%
certain in your own mind it is exactly what you are after and it is
the right price.
These include prices in the area but you will also need to consider the
- Where do you want to buy your home? Neighbour nationalities and factors
such as parents, friends and family should be taken into consideration.
- If you have children, are there any schools or nurseries nearby and are
the schools/nurseries suited to your children?
Do you need to rely upon public transport? If so this should be an important
factor when looking for your home.
Shops, Bars and
- Do you want these within easy walking distance?
You will need to work out exactly what you can afford to
spend when buying a property in Costa Blanca and you should bear in mind the
following extra costs:
New Costa Blanca Property:
IVA (V.A.T.) – 7% of property purchase price based on the developer’s
invoice plus 1% documentation tax.
Resale Costa Blanca Property:
6% Transfer Tax plus 1% documentation tax.
Additionally for both New and Resale Property:
Notary Fees –
Land Registry –
Legal Fees –
Generally, if you allow 10% of the purchase price for costs,
you should be covering all your expenses unless something out of the
ordinary crops up.
*Please note that the above costs are a guideline only and
you should check with you solicitor for exact costs prior to purchasing
The IVA on a new building is 7% but any additions, pool, garage, garden
walls etc. are taxed at 16%. Bearing in mind, that when these works are
written onto the escritura (Declaracion de Obra Nueva) there are more Notary
and Registry fees, it would make sense to get all of this done at the
beginning – if you can afford it.
Regarding the amount declared on the Title Deed:
It has been a practice in the past to under-declare in order to pay less
transfer tax (buyer) and less capital gains tax (seller). The taxman is
obviously not happy with this and things are changing.
Many resale properties do not have all of the new works
declared (Declaracion de Obra Nueva – Declaration of New Works) but
currently there is an “unofficial amnesty” on this in the respect that the
Town Hall cannot proceed, with fines or a demolition order for building
Consequently many of these problems are easily resolved with
an architects description of the full extent of the property certifying that
all of the works were carried out more than 4 years ago.
This in turn makes it possible to do the Declaration of New Works, without a
building license or invoice from the builder and payment of the 1% documents
tax only. The value declared on the title deed is raised and the capital
gains tax reduced for the seller.
Quite possibly this is just a temporary arrangement in order the regularise
the situation, the facility will eventually be removed and stricter rulers
will apply to the amount declared.
Now that you have decided on your location and your purchase
price, it is time to choose your property.
The next decision is on what type of property you are looking
for. Obviously the price you can afford will have a big bearing on property
type and style but here are some examples of property types you could be
looking at -
Apartments and "Pueblo-Style Properties" When
located in or close to the town centre, these are usually in a purpose built block and quite often
come with a communal pool and gardens.
Out of town there are a variety of configurations: low-rise blocks,
stepped down a hillside, terraced, semi-detached or even detached.
Sometimes they have a small private garden, some even have room for a
small private pool.
You will normally be required to pay
a community charge per annum for the upkeep of these and/or the maintenance of
Townhouses: These can vary in design and style. For instance, you can
choose between a typical Spanish Town House, usually quite old and in the
centre of town, or there are the new style of town house which are two or
three storey properties, often with their own small garden.
town houses quite often have a communal pool for which you will have to pay
a community charge.
Villas: A Villa can be detached or semi-detached with private garden
and most have a pool or room for a pool.
Villas can be located anywhere except
for city or town centres and can be found on urbanisations or in the
country, on the coast or inland.
Fincas: Think of a farm house in the U.K. and you will be thinking of
a Finca and they usually come with a good piece of land.
Usually found in
more rural areas so transport will be necessary, and you will need to check
that utilities are available prior to your purchase.
Once upon a time, many
of these needed restoration but over the years most of these have already
been restored to a high standard, especially around the coastal areas and
surrounding countryside so if you want something to renovate for yourselves
you may have to look inland a bit further.
Your choice will quite often depend on your own circumstances
of course and will involve decisions such as whether the property is an
investment (location and values will be important), holiday home (do you
want to be on the coast) or permanent relocation (do you have a young
family, will they need schools and do you need to be close to amenities?).
Whatever you do, make sure that you have a good list
of properties ready to view prior to coming to Spain. This will save a lot
of time and effort for you and your agent, and will mean that if you have a
full itinerary before you arrive, you will be able to view more properties
in the time you have allocated.
When viewing properties several questions need to be taken
into consideration. Don’t make any impulsive decisions or be pressured into
buying by your agent. Go back as often as you want until you are completely
happy with your choice, and then you’re ready to begin the process.
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 |