Buying a property on the Costa del Sol is a considerable decision. If you are a first-time buyer in Spain, it can be a rather bewildering process. Many prospective buyers may find it difficult to be taken seriously, and on occasion, they can even feel ignored by real estate agents.
The real estate industry here is far from what you know it in the UK. The biggest difference is that on the Costa del Sol, there is usually no exclusivity agreement in place and therefore a property can be listed for sale with many realtors at different prices. This means that you can often find the same product advertised on specialised portals such as idealista.com, pisos.com or fotocasa.com with different pictures, prices and even location.
Culture and language
Another factor that can complicate the process is of course the language barrier and the different culture codes. If you do not have any deep knowledge about the Costa del Sol, i.e. you only visited the area a few times on a holiday, you will have to face the fact that you are now about 2000 miles away from the UK, in a country with a different language and a completely different culture. This entails a wide array of differences and the sooner you accept that you cannot change certain things that are not like back home, the better!
Most British nationals prefer to use fellow expatriate British real estate agents to help them buy a home, which is understandable enough. The Spanish culture often makes it difficult to use a local broker and many feel more comfortable speaking English to help them through the buying process. However, there is no shortage of real estate agents and you can easily find lots of professional help in both Fuengirola and Marbella.
Real estate agents on the Costa del Sol
As I said, there is a healthy amount of real estate agents on the Costa del Sol, some would argue too many. One of the main differences here with the rest of Europe is that pretty much anyone can call themselves a real estate agent. Real estate agents in Spain are not required to undergo any formal training, hold a license nor are they bound to any professional code of ethics. This is something you will notice right away in terms of lack of customer care. Therefore, it is important you find the right real estate agent, above all, one that you can trust.
I have met many potential buyers who were for instance quite surprised by the lack of the communication from their agent. So do spend some time “doing your homework” to find the right agent, read reviews about the broker you intend to use, and in general terms, be cautious. The purchase or resale of a property is very much about trust. I must mention that my overall idea of British real estate agents on Costa del Sol is of a positive nature; if you feel most comfortable doing business in English, I would recommend using a British real estate agent. If language is not a problem for you, then there are plenty of other options available.
Large brand name agency or small local broker
As mentioned earlier, there are many real estate agents on the Costa del Sol. Oftentimes, you will run into large known brand names due their extensive advertising capacity. But there are also many small realtors who are perfectly capable of finding the right home for you and at the desired price. If you are completely clear on what you want and you are looking for a unique product, then it could be beneficial to use a “property finder”. These experts work with a large network of professionals which allow them to find the right home for you; not only that, but they are often able to help you with both interior design or refurbishing projects. Do keep in mind that they make commissions on referring you to third party professionals. I have unfortunately witnessed on a few occasions some unfortunate experiences when it comes to these partner referrals. So once again, always be alert.
New construction on the Costa del Sol
Before COVID-19 made its appearance in our daily lives, the Costa del Sol was buzzing with optimism and lots of new constructions were underway, with many more on the drawing board. Since 2015, new projects have increased by 249%, representing the largest increase in all of Spain. Many of these new projects are often destined to be sold to foreign investors. So depending on what you are looking for, you can pretty much find what you want from Malaga to Estepona. Some of the current major attractive projects are: Malaga Picasso Towers close to Malaga city centre, Reserva del Higueron between Benalmadena and Fuengirola and The Edge by Kronos in Estepona.
If you stick to luxurious projects like the ones above, you should not experience any problem in terms of quality and service; unfortunately, there is still some fraudulent activity on the Costa del Sol so it is important to always be careful, dot the i’s and cross the t’s, and choose the right developer.
Major property price drop on Costa del Sol
The current situation in the world has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic which has led experts to predict a price drop of up to 30% in some areas. The current crisis sent shock waves throughout the real estate industry on the coast so now may just be the right time buying property on the Costa del sol.