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Property Search

Spain - Property Search

Searching for a property in Spain is fairly straightforward. There are large numbers of estate agents that speak English and plenty of property magazines to point you in the right direction. The way in which properties are bought and sold is regulated. It is worth noting that if a property is listed on the Spanish land registry (registro de la Propiedad), it can be mortgaged.

If you go to a Spanish real estate agent it is worth asking if they belong to one of the professional associations, which can be seen if they have the letters ‘API’ or ‘GIPE’ in their company description. It is not always the case that they are officially registered but it is possible to check their credentials. This registration will usually provide indemnity cover, but the status of this should also be checked. It is considered that this accreditation does not make them any better or worse than any other estate agent and the best way to determine the quality of an agent’s service is to get a personal recommendation from someone who has already used them.

Most Spanish estate agents will simply cover their local area and those that do not speak English themselves often have a member of staff that does, particularly in areas which are popular with expats. There is a tendency in agencies which are owned and run by expats to focus on selling to other expats from their home country as the expat market is still considered to be a lucrative one by sellers in Spain.

There has been a deregulation of the way in which estate agents work in Spain. There are few barriers to a person simply setting themselves up in business as an estate agent. The profession is attractive due to the high commissions that are available, in addition to the relatively small outlay to establish the business. There are networks of estate agents which join forces to share clients, list properties and share commissions. Agencies working together are often able to move properties much more quickly. In some towns there are more than 70 estate agents, many of them independent agencies.

There are areas of Spain in which estate agents are not as popular and most people will still use a ‘corredore’. This is a broker who is familiar with the local area and will know when someone is getting ready to sell their property. Most corredores will not speak English but they can often be the best way to find the right property, particularly if you are searching off the beaten track. It is an informal arrangement and there is no regulation of this system either but they do tend to have a much lower rate of commission. The downside is that the corredores tend not to have offices so to find one you will need to ask around. This is probably the Spanish equivalent of a buyer’s agent. There are no qualifications or registrations required to do this job.

It is not uncommon for some buyers to avoid using agents altogether. This can save a great deal of money in commission, which is usually much higher in Spain than in the UK, with some agents in sought-after areas charging as much as 35%, and commission is paid by both the seller and the buyer. As many sellers are choosing to sell houses privately it is simply a case of looking around for the ‘se vende’ (for sale) signs.

There are several English language newspapers which list properties that are being sold without an estate agent. The New Entertainer is a newspaper which covers both the Costa Blanca and the Almeria areas and Sur covers the region around the Costa del Sol. Some owners will even post notices in shops and bars. It is the high commissions which are putting people off using agents.

There are no organisations for expats who wish to purchase property in Spain although there are plenty of places to begin looking for a property, no matter which method you choose to use. With so many estate agents and other avenues for searching there is no real need for a buyer’s agent.

Useful Resources

Sur Magazine

The Barcelona Reporter

Costa Blanca News

Read more about this country

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

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