Buying Property In Gran Canaria
So you have made the decision to live in Gran Canaria. You have prepared for the move and are looking for a house to buy. First, consider the different areas of Gran Canaria and whether or not renting a property in your chosen area might not be a better idea. This way you can get a real feel for the area and property prices. You may even decide to look around further afield before committing yourself to a purchase that you may later regret.
Buying a property should be in Gran Canaria should be easy enough, but the laws are different to the UK. Buying and selling taxes are different. One lawyer works for both the seller and the purchaser. Annual charges after your purchase are different to the UK. Every single time you need a piece of paper a signature from a professional person it will cost you money. We will try to explain all of this to you so you don´t get lost in the maze, and more importantly, so that you can work out your budget and not not find you have a shortfall on the day of transfer of ownership. Another issue to consider, is the time it takes to complete a sale. Where as in the UK it can take months, in Spain and Gran Canaria it is possible for it all to be done in a matter of 2 to 3 weeks.
Whether you want to buy a property in Gran Canaria to live in or as an investment there is one sad fact that you need to remember. You are a foreigner, and if you don´t speak Spanish you will definitely be seen as "fair game". Don´t let unscrupulous private sellers or agents turn your dream into a nightmare. It is neither our desire or intention to point out good and bad agents, just be mindful of the old adage "Buyer Beware".
Research the Area Well.
This is a must and really obvious but we still need to say it. Buying a house just because you like it may not be reason enough. Research the area of the prospective purchase thoroughly. Include access links (really important if you are considering buying a rural property), schools, businesses, shops, entertainment, make absolutely certain that the area has enough to offer you. If you are looking to rent the property after you have completed the purchase, then you should take a look at the average rent prices in the area to make sure it is going to be a worthwhile investment.
Fix Your Budget.
Do your sums well. Add to the price of your chosen property around 20% of it´s value. This should cover all the costs you will be expected to pay during the course of the sale. Stick to it. Take into consideration that if you need a mortgage to complete the purchase, you have to be able to keep up the repayments.
Schedule appointments with the owners where possible.
Some properties on the market are viewable only with an agent, bevause the owner does not live in the property, but where possible schedule viewing with the owners present so that you can ask questions. For example:
- How old is the property?
- How long the seller has owned it?
- What are the reasons the house is up for sale?
- Ask if there are any community fees, and if so, how much they are and what is the average annual increase. These will need to be factored into your monthly expense budget, after the sale has been completed.
- Ask for a copy of the statutes and laws of the home owner’s community (if applicable), and have them checked out by a bilingual lawyer (if you don´t speak enough Spanish) to make sure you are not buying into a potential nightmare.
- Ask the current owner about the location of and distance to nearby services and access links, such as major roads and motorways.
- Ask for evidence of planning permission for any alterations/extensions, etc. Make sure you also ask about any planned developments in the surrounding areas, that may cause some disruption to you.
- Find out what is included in the sale of the house (though remember you are buying a house, so don’t be swayed by fancy extras).
If you are buying for the first time in Gran Canaria and are not planning on importing much of the furniture you owned in the UK, or if, you have been renting and don´t own anything personally, this may be the time for some serious negotiation. This will help in the immediate future because it will save you the need to rush out and start buying furniture.