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Buying a house: frequently asked questions
A quick guide to what you need to know.
Through these recommendations, we want to help you find your perfect property, by distinguishing between the additional benefits and what is really important, so that you make the right decision.
- Orientation. We can change the layout and contents, or even completely transform our homes, but we will never be able to change the sun.
- Size. If the house has a big enough floor space, sometimes it’s just a question of redistributing it. It’s common to see 3-bedroom houses converted into 4, just as it is to see 5-bedroom homes reformed to leave 3 bedrooms. The important thing is to calculate the cost of the work and add it on to our price.
- Dampness. Thoroughly inspecting all corners of the house, moving items of furniture, looking at the back of wardrobes and behind curtains are all common practices. If you find any damp patches, don’t be alarmed, but you should consult a technician to have the type of damp and what potential problems it could cause you explained before signing the purchase agreement.
- Condition. Take a good look at the age of the house and how it’s been looked after (carpentry, flooring, walls, structural cracking, plumbing, bathrooms, kitchen, fixtures and fittings, etc.) and, based on its current condition, work out how much it would cost you to change it to how you’d like it to look and then add that on to your asking price.
- Residents’ association. Ask your agent for the latest minutes from the residents’ association meetings. That way, you’ll have a very good idea of the situation on the complex (for example if there are any extraordinary additional community payments or if there is a high percentage of owners defaulting on their payments). It’s also worth chatting to the gardeners, as they always offer some interesting observations about the neighbours.
- Charges. Before taking the step to sign the purchase agreement, check that there are no outstanding charges, debts or encumbrances that cannot be cancelled due to the sum of the charges being higher than the sales price.
This word is used a lot, but it doesn’t mean the same thing for everyone. A bargain could be described as a property whose sale price is between 10% and 40% lower than its true market price.
- The key is to have a comprehensive knowledge of the areas, residential complexes and properties - and above all the prices they are selling for - so that when we’re offered a listing, we’ll be able to identify it as a bargain or not.
- Having an agent you can trust and who knows the market like the back of their hand will help you stay up to date at all times. This is why it is important for your agent to understand your needs perfectly. What do you want to buy? How much do you want to spend? What terms should you insist on? And in what timeframe? Knowing all of these things will allow your agent to get to work faster when it comes to looking for bargains.
- Astuteness in deciding when to buy. Even in times of crisis there are investors interested in bagging a bargain. Many investors decide to put their money in real estate, especially in economic downturns, because they trust that the market will eventually recover.
- Speed in completing the sale. It’s often the owner who decides for the client how fast the sale can be completed.
At HHomes, we have access to all properties for sale on the Costa del Sol: new builds, resales, luxury or beachfront. The important thing is that you can choose the one that’s right for you.
WE KNOW THE MARKET
Our service enables you to choose between properties so that you make the right decision. We are a local agency made up of professionals from the area with more than 16 years’ experience. Over the years, we have helped thousands of people find the house of their dreams.
Forget speaking to dozens of estate agencies, receiving hundreds of emails and not knowing who is who. We do everything for you and we don’t charge you anything.
We make life easier for you. Forget speaking to dozens of estate agencies, receiving hundreds of emails and not knowing who is who. We do everything for you and we don’t charge you anything.
At HHomes, we believe that who we are is as important as what we do. Therefore, our core principles guide the way we do things.
- 1 The client always comes first.
- 2 We get to work straight away.
- 3 We always look for solutions.
- 4 Passion in everything we do.
- 5 We do the right thing for our clients at all time.
- 6 Innovators: we love being at the forefront.
- Wanting to find a house without having done your research on the different areas.
- Not placing importance upon finding an agent you can trust, who can help you find your dream house, advise as to whether you should buy, obtain the best possible price and save you a lot of precious time that you would otherwise spend doing the things that really make you happy.
- Contacting dozens of agencies via real estate portals without thinking about the hundreds of calls and emails you’ll receive from each of them, without knowing who is who.
- Negotiating without having a strategy in mind.
- Inaccurately calculating the buying costs.
- Leaving your visit to the bank until the very end.
- Finding out what procedures you need to undergo once you’ve bought your new house.
The net result of these errors, in the vast majority of cases, is a lot of stress and a very negative buying experience.
Frankly, there’s no single answer to this question.
- The most important thing is that the house makes you feel good and that it ticks the boxes for your life plans and/or short- and long-term investment.
- Speak to your HHomes agent. Your agent lives and breathes the local property market 24/7 and is in an excellent position to provide you with the information you need.
- Research property market data. Statistics can be found in the public domain on the Fomento, INE and Registradores websites. Or, if you prefer, you can ask your HHomes agent to share them with you.
- There are 2 useful formulas (although not always applicable) for working out a good sales price. If you know the long-term rental price, the following formula will help you calculate an approximate sales price: monthly rent x 12 x 25 = sales price. You can also do this calculation in reverse: sales price x 0.04 / 12 = monthly rent.
Making an offer to buy a house is not a trivial matter, so you must do it properly.
- You have to be prepared for a YES response, which means an agreement (usually informal, at this stage) and establishing how soon you can sign the purchase agreement.
- Alongside the agent you trust, plan your most effective negotiation strategy in order to achieve the best purchase price for your house and don’t forget to include the terms of your offer.
- Show the owner you’re serious about your offer. This is normally done through a written offer, which contains the price, the timeframe for the purchase and your terms, along with a deposit. With the offer down on paper, the owner will see that you are genuinely interested and that, if he/she decides to accept, he/she will have sold the house. This is the most effective formula for obtaining the best possible price.
Speak to different banks to find the best deal and basically ask “what can you offer me?” in the conversations you have. It is important to have all your paperwork in order so you can easily send it off to the different banks and that it is they who come back to you offering the best mortgage. Don’t forget that banks sell money; some cheaper than others. You can save a lot of money on the opening fee, interest and various types of insurance.
The documentation you’ll be asked for by the bank will depend on the lender and your situation, but in general the following should be sufficient:
- DNI (National ID Document), NIE (Foreigners’ ID Document) or passport.
- Reservation document or deposit agreement, if it has already been signed.
- Annual tax return from the previous year.
- If you own other properties, title deeds for each one.
- If you’re currently renting, your rental agreement and proof of payment for the last few months’ rent. Working history report.
- Vida laboral actualizada.
- Recent bank statements.
- Proof of payment of any loans you’re currently repaying.
If you are an employee.
- Work contract.
- Payslips from the last 3 or 6 months.
- Proof of payment of any loans you’re currently repaying.
Documentation required from self-employed workers
- Annual tax return and VAT returns from the last few quarters.
- Annual tax return and personal income tax returns from the last few quarters.
- Proof of payment of recent Social Security payments.
Documentation required from companies
- Last year’s corporation tax declaration, if you’ve submitted it.
- Tax declarations in respect of the current year - VAT and corporation tax installments.
- An up-to-date balance sheet showing the company’s financial position.
- Prenuptial agreement deed.
- Legal separation and regulating agreement.