Thinking of buying a Spanish property? Spain is back on Ernst & Young’s top ten list of countries for real estate investment and seeing record tourist arrivals, too.  With this trusty checklist you can shop for the best properties and purchase your dream house in Spain like a seasoned pro. 

This expert insight protects you from the blunders that many of the 600,000 British buyers made in the last decade. This is the best buyers’ market you may ever see, but prices are rising, making this an excellent time to book your property shopping trip in sensational, sunny Spain.

When Looking for Your Dream Property

The Five Foundations of Spanish Property:

Hire the very best conveyancing lawyer

Have agreements written and translated

Be certain land has infrastructure permission 

Don’t sign anything without your lawyer present

Don’t trust your estate agent

2 Key Tips to Know

Spanish property is either built on Urbanizo land, is Fully Urbanizo with all infrastructure permission or is Rural (agricultural) land. And do remember that your estate agent is getting up to 18% commission, so you can’t trust them for advice or inspections. Ideal properties tick these boxes:

Within two minutes of a village

Less than 15 minutes from a major town

Under an hour from an international airport

Not more than a 20-minute drive from the sea

Your best value property for re-sale and rental potential is close to a community, services and amenities.

Marbella: Spain’s Gold Standard Properties

Malaga’s Golden Mile and nearby areas steadily attract luxury buyers, proving resilient even during the six years of economic downturn. Home to the best golf courses and prime beachside luxury developments, you can expect a good return on investment in this prime region. 

Check out similar property at better prices in:

Sotogrande (cooler in winter than Marbella, it doesn’t enjoy the same micro-climate) 


The Costa Tropical between La Herradura and Salobreña.

Buy your holiday home as if it were a permanent one that will one day be sold at a profit. 

Ask yourself three questions: 

Will someone else want to live here in ten years?

If I have to sell quickly, can I make a profit based on the price?

Will it be in demand if market conditions change?

Don’t Waste Your Time with:

Busy roads

Steep hillside plots

Empty lots nearby where a new build could ruin the view

  (ignore assurances that it’s a green zone)

Lots of stairs

Fewer than three bedrooms

Too much noise from nearby tourist meccas

No sun in winter months

Lack of privacy

Too many foreigners (local and international buyers will be put off)

Mobile Masts or Electric Pylons spoiling views

Run from Rock Bottom Prices!

Although there are legitimate bargains, be highly skeptical of those at the very bottom of the price list. There are an estimated 600,000 unsold new properties built since 2008; a quarter of them are deemed unsellable, so these come very cheaply due to their locations as well as other issues that are best avoided. 

Consider the Advantages of Buying a Re-sale over a Newly Built Property:

Superior location

Lower price

Bigger property 

When You’ve Found your Dream Property

Mind the following important points as you proceed toward signing your contract.

Insist on a building surveyor, although few do: 

During the building boom many properties weren’t well inspected. Since the seller is responsible for putting the property right, be certain it is carefully inspected. 

Hire a UK qualified inspector with valid Spanish insurance coverage 

They should put your mind at ease regarding:

Land registered as Fully Urbanizo

Hidden structural faults

Mains water


Telephone lines

Would you believe it? Debts Transfer with Property in Spain!

Make certain your trusty lawyer has seen to it that no debts are attached to the property otherwise you’ll have the joy of paying someone else’s mortgage, unpaid property taxes and tenant’s association payments.

Other Important Bits:

If you’ll need a mortgage, put a clause in your preliminary contract that lets you opt out if you can’t get one. 

Sign the contract before a notary

Budget for fees of 8-15% of property value

Be sure to use a currency exchange company to transfer your funds into your Spanish account as they will save you a great deal of money over your bank. Their services protect you from currency fluctuation risks and they can set up regular payments for you, too.

Also Be Aware That: If the seller asks you to document a lower price lower than the actual one, it’s so they can avoid paying capital gains taxes- just say no thank you as it will make your own capital gains taxes higher in future when you sell your property for a profit.

Good Luck on your quest to find your beautiful new home in Spain

Your efforts will soon enough reward you with your dream property in the perfect location and you’ll have avoided the pitfalls by being well prepared. A list of Spanish lawyers is available to you here. And a useful guide to assist Britons living in Spain is here

Let us know how you’re getting on with your search, tell us what tips saved you from getting burned and share the lessons you learned while shopping for your dream property in Spain.