For the 45th episode of our Spanish Property Podcasts series, we interviewed Jonathan who purchased the property in Oliva. We were inspired by his advice to create a list of of questions to ask yourself at different stages of the property search. Using his hindsight and our professional insight here is a 10-point checklist for your own property search.
1. What do you want to do?
Are you retiring? Or buying a holiday home for a big family? Do you need to find work? And if so will you commute or work from home? Jonathan knew he needed a good internet connection, what facilities do you need to make your life as good as it should be?
2. How will you use your space?
This isn’t just about the number of bedrooms you need or whether you want a garage. Extend your thinking to your social life and community. Will you want an alfresco dining area? Are you likely to have guests with mobility issues? Do you want the rooms to feel cosy, or bright and airy?
3. What are your travel needs?
If you’ve still only got a general desire to live somewhere warmer with a Mediterranean diet, then take some time to get to know what Spain can offer you. Jonathan started by thinking he needed to be somewhere in the south of Spain. Afterwards, he whittled it down to the islands. But then he realised he wanted to be able to drive to his home in Germany, so he reduced his search area to port towns on the mainland with access by ferry to the Balearic Islands.
4. What kind of weather do you like?
Yes, Spain is hot, but some regions have tropical climates, others are like deserts and others boast a cool breeze. If the blazing hot sun is your thing, are you willing to give up lush green scenery? You might think you’ll love year-round sunshine but if you need to work and be productive then you’ll probably need an air-con unit.
5. What kind of community would you like to live in?
Some areas in Spain are more traditional, giving you the chance to integrate into Spanish culture. Other areas have a more international feel and Spanish may not be the first language spoken. Think about what you’d be most comfortable with. Also, some areas are excruciatingly busy during the summer and deathly quiet in low season. Do you crave the hustle and bustle of international travellers or do you want to be off the beaten track?
6. What is the property market like in your area?
When you have an idea about your location and the type of space and facilities you want you can begin learning the property market for that region. Get to know the value range in the area you’ve chosen. Watching the market will enable you to detect what sells fast and what lingers around.
7. Have you seen it for yourself?
Jonathan honed in on the Oliva region and flew over to look at “everything under the sun.” In doing so he changed his mind completely about the kind of property he wanted. Seeing Spain in the flesh gives you the opportunity to feel your instinctive gut reactions. This sensory input will help you get beyond mere imagining and into the nitty-gritty of what real life will be like.
8. Is your agent helpful?
So many of our podcast guests mention how important it was to their property search to have a good agent. An agent should be able to see beyond your own checklist and help you develop it, add to it or completely change it! They should ask you questions about your positive and negative experiences of viewings and try to know you inside out so that you’re happy with their service and find a property you want.
9. Are you, your admin, and your finances ready yet?
If nothing feels right straightaway it could be down to three different issues. Either you’ve got cold feet, you’ve not quite honed in on what you want, or the property you need just isn’t on the market. Go back home and chew over your decision, keep an eye on the market and get yourself in a position to make an offer, especially if you’re just waiting for the perfect property to pop up.
If you’re relocating to Spain then you can start the application process for your NIE number, open a Spanish bank account and begin looking for an appropriate lawyer.
10. Is this ‘The One’?
On Jonathan’s second visit to Oliva he found the perfect property almost straight away. This was because he was hyper-specific and knew exactly what he wanted. All the time he spent turning these questions over and over in his mind came to fruition. He is now happily settled in a Spanish townhouse apartment.
Explore more areas of Spain with our Guides to living in Spain.