Ask the majority of people looking to buy a property in Spain where they want to buy and they’ll have a relatively good idea. They may have a specific region or town in mind, or they might simply be convinced that they’ll be happiest in a bustling metropolis, an expat community or a backwater town where the population is predominantly native Spanish.
The truth is that people often have a romanticised view of the area – and indeed the country – they’re looking to buy in. They may well have learned more from books, films and travel guides than they have from reality.
And in our experience, they’re usually willing to be persuaded that there’s something better out there for them than the picture they have in their minds. All it takes is an agent who can help them push their boundaries, without making them feel that they’re being forced into something they don’t want.
The realities of living in the remote countryside
“Getting away from it all” is a common reason people cite for moving abroad. If you’ve spent years in a busy city job in your own country, for example, the idea of moving to somewhere a bit different, perhaps with a slower way of life, is naturally appealing.
And yet a rural setting might not be quite what your prospective buyers think it will be. Yes, there’s the peace and quiet. Possibly the rustic atmosphere and authentic way of life. But that might prove less attractive when they find that they need to get in their car every time they want a loaf of bread, or the non-mains electricity dies again and they’re left trying to get about by candlelight.
Considerations of work and family life
For those who are planning to move to Spain rather than buy a holiday home, there are some practical considerations to take into account – including work, schools, healthcare and so on. All the panoramic vistas or easily accessible beaches in the world won’t help if your kids are struggling at school or there isn’t a chiropractor for miles around.
As an agent, if you’re visited by a couple with children – or a retired couple with health concerns – who are dead set on a particular location, make sure to gently question whether they’ve thought of these things.
For the couple, do their children speak Spanish? Will they want to send them to a local or an international school? For the retirees, what kind of healthcare provision do they need and with what frequency?
The answers to these questions will have a big impact on where they eventually settle. As a local expert, you can provide huge value by guiding them towards the places that will best serve their needs, as well as their dreams.
Holiday resorts – in and out of season
It’s not uncommon for people to visit Spain on holiday and fall in love with the setting of their blissful break from reality. The problem is that if they’ve been staying in a popular holiday resort, there’s a good chance it will look very different outside of peak times.
When the holiday season is over and the tourists go home, many resort towns become much less lively. This is something your prospective buyer might not have thought of. Try to help them understand what life will be like during each season – especially if they’re planning to live there all year round – so that they don’t end up disappointed.
Of course, the same may be true the other way. A quiet idyll can be heaving during July and August as the tourists flood in, increasing the local population as much as tenfold. If your buyers are looking for peace and quiet, they might need to consider whether that will be possible during peak season – especially if they’re irregular visitors who will only be able to come out during these times.
Renting: a sensible starting point
It’s tempting to go for the sale straight away, but a better idea might be to point your prospective buyers in the direction of a rental property to start with. If they’re not very familiar with the area they appear to be interested in, renting will allow them to really get to know the locale.
By doing this, they’ll be better prepared to decide where to purchase a place of their own. With that kind of certainty, they may well be willing and able to invest more – after all, a dream home in a dream location is worth a lot more than a gamble on a new life in a place you don’t really know.
We’ve always said that understanding your buyers is the key to making more sales. In this case, understanding what they want – or rather what they think they want – can help you add value in the form of local knowledge that will stop them from making a big mistake.
Some real life Kyero examples
If you’re still not convinced that many buyers will have set location criteria – or that these criteria can be flexible if you ask the right questions – check out two of our podcast participants.
Jasmine and Bart, for example, Belgium parents with three young children, had their hearts set on moving to Italy until Bart saw an advert for a house in the Costa Tropical. After a holiday to the area with their daughters, the couple were convinced it was the place for them.
Likewise in the case of German-born Sieglinde and her Scottish husband, travelling and renting different apartments allowed them to get a feel for different areas, so that they could make the right choices for themselves – both now and in the future.
Your prospective buyers might have an idea of what they want. But your job is to use that as a starting point. And then add your local knowledge and expertise to help them make a decision that’s even better than the one they might have reached by themselves.
Listening is an important tool for any estate agent and we’re not suggesting that you dismiss the criteria your prospective buyers bring to you. But the real art of selling is understanding the needs of your clients beyond what they even know themselves.
By asking the right questions – about family, about goals, about expectations and assumptions – you can start to get a feel for whether the places these potential buyers are looking at are right for them.
If they’re not right then, with tact and empathy, your job as an agent is to help them think outside the box so that eventually they find not only the property of their dreams, but one that works for them in reality too.