How can a serious, well respected Sunday Newspaper rely on the information of a single, possibly resentful employee to suggest that the whole of the Estate Agents industry on the Costa del Sol and the Costa Blanca are deceitful? Anyway, quoting one estate agency can hardly be considered sufficient evidence to condemn everyone for the sake of selling a few extra papers!
We are not saying that estate agents are all saints; their reputation in the U.K. is well renowned, so much that the British Government, for what they consider the protection of the public at large, has even introduced legislation to ensure conformity within certain ethical guidelines. There is no such a deterrent in Spain.
The public are well aware of this so why are some so brainless? They are even prepared to come over to Spain and believe the first thing that appeals to their sense of greed.
Greed is a weakness that can have the better over common sense, unfortunately those few that are blinded by greed and suffer through their own fault, tend to squeal very loudly and make it sound like thousands.
Many more who have bought properties in Spain are extremely happy, but you do not hear about them because they are not news.
"If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is", as long as there are people prepared to buy "foolÂ’s gold" there will always be someone very willing to oblige and that is anywhere, not just in Spain.
However it does not mean that everyone is the same, not every estate agency on the Costa del Sol or Costa Blanca is "as painted". There are many small Estate Agents that are actually providing a very useful and honest service despite the unfair competition and the false glitter of gold offered by companies, often looking very wealthy and large.
Buying on the Costa for the right reasons is still a good proposition; but certainly not for making quick money, if that was the case, how come we are not all millionaires?
It is certain that there has been an overindulgence of building created to supply a false level of demand fuelled by the gullibility and greed of some people. Economically, such foolishness could not last, and the slow down of new buildings is apparent, as is apparent the ready availability of properties for sale and rent.
This should mean that prices will stabilize at their present level with the possibility of a small drop, all ready to resume again once the available stocks diminish, just as it was seen last time in the late 90's.
Meanwhile, yes do come to the Costa del Sol. What they tell you about the weather, the quality of life, the golf, the mountains, the sea, the nice houses, and so on is all perfectly true.These are all good reasons for buying on the Costas and these reasons have not changed, whether you are looking for a holiday home or a new residence or a medium/long term investment, but do not look for an overnight gain that only exists in comic books.
We have published guidelines before, even online, it is a real pity that those who are complaining now have not taken any notice, but then whose fault is it?
There are two ways of finding a house. If you have plenty of time to spare, you can physically look for yourself driving around from area to area visiting the sales offices of the various constructions that are clearly visible and/or walk around villages asking questions at the bars to identify who is selling a house. You certainly need to speak Spanish to do so. Most of the listings in newspaper columns are by estate agents.
Or, you can ask an estate agent to show you some houses for sale. There are plenty of small, agencies that can give you an excellent service for the right reasons. Because it is small, you would be dealing with the owner or with a small company whose owner is very accessible and is not some invisible person hiding behind some minions that will do his bid.
Just because the company is small, it is not a definite sign of integrity therefore deal with a company that you feel comfortable with but do employ an independent lawyer, meaning one that you find yourself and that is not recommended by the estate agent (or viceversa).
Applying for a mortgage is not quite the same as in the U.K. and you might be pleasantly surprised if you just walk into one or two banks (for comparison), yes even if they sound Spanish, and find out how easy it really is. If you want to use a broker, then find one that is not recommended to you by the estate agent.
At this point you should also remember that it works both ways and one should not attempt to "have one over" on the estate agent as that could also lead to some unpleasant surprises for the buyer.
Next month we propose to define a little more clearly the process of buying a property.
In the mean time, should you be looking to rent a home,
it has come to our attention that some companies, supposedly "letting agents", are applying terms that are not readily acceptable.
The standard conditions are that you pay one month rent in advance and one month rent as a deposit, which is refundable when you leave after it has been established that you have paid all your service bills (electricity, telephoneÂ…) and that you have caused no damage to the property. One particular company, in addition to the normal is requiring a Â€ 500 finder's fee and one extra month for the end of the contract, just in case you may need to repair or service items in the property, stating that this is THE LAW IN SPAIN.
Beware! There is NO SUCH LAW in Spain. Agents collect a commission from the monthly rent, it is not usual to charge a finder's fee just as it is most unusual to charge an extra month for services to be rendered. If you need to service a washing machine you may want to choose where and if it breaks down for wear and tear or through no fault of yours you would want the landlord to replace it immediately and not be expected to pay for it.