Spain Guide



Property for sale in Spain

There are many different ways of finding property for sale in Spain. The particular method you choose will depend on the amount of time you're willing or able to devote to the hunt for your dream place in the sun. The obvious method is to use an estate agent and this is what the majority of people do. But just bear in mind that there are other ways of finding a Spanish property and if you can avoid the middlemen you could save yourself a fortune.

Obviously the cheapest way to secure a resale property is to buy it directly from the owner and avoid agents' fees altogether. It's possible to do this but it's going to take some time and effort on your part to track down the properties which are being advertised in places other than estate agents' windows and brochures. Some owners place their own adverts on the Internet either on their own private web sites or on dedicated property sale sites (which charge them an advertising fee but no agent's commission is involved). You may have to do quite a bit of searching on the Internet to track down these sites because they tend to get lost amid the hundreds of thousands of villa sale sites which are operated by the big commercial agents. These property giants have more money to spend on Internet promotion so they tend to dominate the top search engine results.

Try scouring the print media national and regional newspapers and property magazines all carry adverts from owners trying to sell their Spanish homes on a private basis. Take out a subscription to one of the English language daily newspapers printed in Spain (or if you have friends already living in Spain ask them to keep an eye on the classified ads for you). The Costa Blanca News, Costa Blanca Post, the Entertainer and Sur (covering the Costa del Sol) all carry property sale ads from owners anxious to avoid paying high agents' commissions.

One of the best ways to track down private sales (if you have the time) is to jump on a plane to your preferred area and spend at least a couple of weeks hunting around for "se vende" (for sale) signs on the walls and gate posts of properties. There are plenty of them around and they normally give you a phone number so you can make direct contact with the owner. You'll also see private property adverts plastering the notice boards of supermarkets, bars and clubs in and around the popular coastal areas where most ex pats buy (Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca).

If you can speak Spanish (or you're prepared to hire a Spanish speaker to act on your behalf) you can find out whether there are any repossessed properties being auctioned off in the area of your choice. You can sometimes pick up a repossessed property for less than half its true market value. These properties are occasionally advertised in newspapers but you'll face less competition if you can get the details directly from the local court or banks. Those "in the know" simply walk into a few banks and ask for the papers on repossessed properties.

An important point to bear in mind is that even if you manage to by pass the agents, don't even think about securing your purchase without the services of a good lawyer.