Buying a property in Spain as a foreign person can be very rewarding, obviously, but it can also become a daunting experience if it is not carried out with knowledge and rigor. Fortunately, there is a wealth of knowledge and professionals who can help interested parties along the way.

The following is a compilation of what are considered to be the most important steps to take when carrying out an operation of this type in Spain.

Mediterranean Houses. Alicante, Spain. Photo: Unsplash

First step: research and priorities

Doing your own research is important because it allows you to ask the questions you are looking for, even if others do not consider them important. Let's say it is, at the same time, a way of setting priorities.

For example, some of the most common questions are the following:

  • ¿Why should I buy a property in Spain?
  • How will I finance my purchase?
  • What steps should a lawyer take?
  • What are the costs of money flowing in and out of the country?
  • How can I make my move permanent?
  • ¿Quiero generar ingresos adicionales por alquiler?

Second step: understanding the purchasing process

Another extremely important point is to understand how the purchasing process works in the country where you are buying, in this case Spain. Having a basic knowledge of the legal and tax implications of the country is crucial, and avoids complications later on.

In this sense, there are many companies that offer free buying guides with specific information on the Spanish case. On an individual level, in addition to searching the Internet — which, as we all know, can be as beneficial as it is dangerous due to the excess of information and the lack of truthfulness of much of what can be found —, there are other methods that are just as beneficial, if not more so: for example, attending trade fairs where experts in the sector offer the most up-to-date information.

Third step: visit the area

It seems obvious, but it is not: 7% of people buy real estate without ever having visited the area. And yes, of course, many of them will do so through trusted intermediaries, but that doesn't mean that visiting the area where they are going to invest a large amount of money is not crucial.

You never know. What in photos, videos and words of others, what in theory may seem like a spectacular place, may not be so to you.

Fourth step: institutional support

Before carrying out the purchase, it is always necessary to take into account the institutional support that the Spanish country can offer. This can be very important, always depending on the origin of the investor. And be careful: the amount of information provided by the issuing country can also be important.

For example, for UK citizens, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has an extensive information section on its website with the specific intention of helping anyone considering living abroad. In this way, they support British citizens around the world through modern, efficient, and well-recognized consular services. Such information ranges from travel advice to claiming a pension abroad, or bringing a pet to the country of destination.

Fifth step: reflection

Perhaps the most important step is not to get carried away, under any circumstances. Getting carried away by something as tempting as a property in Spain is easy, but those same basic rules that apply to the purchase or investment of any asset — not to make hasty decisions, not to get carried away by hunches, to think and rethink any decision — should be taken into account in this case.

The usual advice for anyone who is about to make such an important economic decision as this one: think about it, consult with those closest to you and the experts, sleep on it, and then make a decision that is as balanced as possible.

Conclusion

In short: research, study, physical visit, search for institutional help and, in the end, the necessary reflection are the key elements when buying a home. Anywhere in the world. Although if it is in Spain, of course, all the better.

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