Spain Explained

Overcoming the property slump

Although ‘off-plan’ is definitely down in the doldrums, the Spanish re-sale market has a little more buoyancy. Those who bought before 2005 should be able to market their property at a realistic price without losing out. The UK market is very slow but demand is still there where the price is right. A life in the sun is still the ambition of many UK homeowners, especially on retirement. Some people are choosing to re-mortgage their properties in the UK if they are finding them difficult to sell.

Not all markets are as slow. We have a lot of interest in property from Holland, Belgium and Scandinavian countries. Russian interest in the top end of the market is very strong. A reputable international estate agent should help you promote your property further afield.

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Making sure your property is reasonably priced and ready to move in to, can help make it more attractive to those sought-after buyers. There are some other options you might want to consider to push your property forward in this competitive market.

Rent-to-buy in Spain

For example, you might have heard of the rent-to-buy option. An increasing number of people in Spain are offering their property not just for sale but for rent as well with the option of buying at a later date. This can be a really good opportunity for the potential buyer. They get to try out the property before committing themselves to a sale. The sale price is usually fixed beforehand as part of the original agreement and often the amount given in rent is deducted from the final price. The potential buyer really knows what they’re getting.

For the seller it is a far better alternative than having your house stood empty for months. You at least have a potential buyer and are getting rent in the meantime. If you are desperate to move it does give you the option of renting something somewhere else.

Or perhaps you could just swap.

House swaps

People have been swapping holiday homes and even cars for many years. But what about swapping your house on a permanent basis? This is an option that shouldn’t be discounted. With a little bit of luck and an open-mind it has worked for some people and there are advantages.

For example, if you are swapping properties in Spain of similar value then you will buffer yourself against the variations of boom and bomb. You are less likely to drop out of the purchase if the sale of your own property is tied in too and there is far less likelihood of gazumping. In theory, completion day should be tidier as there is no one else in the chain and you also cut down on solicitors’ fees as you are buying and selling simultaneously.

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However, you do not cut down on the other costs. Although you might be able to manage without estate agents’ fees you still need to go through all the other mandatory searches. There’s capital gains to pay and transfer tax, after all you are still buying a property even if it’s not money that’s changing hands.

People will always need to move – no matter how long the recession. These are two alternatives that might just get the ball rolling.

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