A Home in the Alpujarras

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How to do it, if mad you're mad enough

As I said in the introduction we began thinking that we'd like to own a second home in Spain when we visited my in-laws 12 years ago for the first time and we tasted spanish life in a traditional setting in a place called Competa. But it was only in September 2010 that we actually doubled the size of our mortgage in England and approached a spanish lender to apply for a mortgage. 

1. You are told to buy in Spain you should allow 10% for all you're fees. NOT if you need a mortgage and want the services of a good solicitor. Our total expenses came to 16% of the purchase price. So be under no illusion it's going to cost you more than you think.

Having got a spanish mortgage agreed in principle it was time to find a property that we liked. The first property that we saw and fell in love with was not to be.

2. Since the spanish lenders got their fingers burnt they have tightened up their lending criteria, not a foreigners thing but to Spaniards too. So initial enquries on property one revealed that the property was built on RUSTICO. There are two types of land in Spain. URBANA (Urban) land where houses are built and most buildings in and immediately around a village,town or city will almost certainly be on Urbana. RUSTICO (agricultural) land is for farming and apart from Naves, Almacens and other farm buildings, nothing else should be built on Rustico. The consequences are if a house is built on Rustico look long and hard as to wether it is legal and if you want a mortgage forget it ! Because lenders will not lend on such a building. 

Having learned from this we began looking at property that would be allowed by the lender.

3. If you use an estate agent in Spain the usual fee is 3% of purchase price. Some although not all agents regard it as perfectly common place for this to be paid by the buyer and not the seller as in England. So make sure you check first. Some agents will have property on their books that they know to be illegal and built without permission and it is only if you ask the right things will they volunteer this information. After all it is not illegal to sell it and you will only find out when they serve a notice on you to pull it down.

So we found eventually the house in Yegen (or rather 2 houses as it is). It was built on Urbana so we should be OK. But NO