Brits looking to buy property abroad are today (29 April) being firmly advised to make sure they do their research and homework before they part with their money.
The warning comes as new figures show that sales to Brits of homes in Spain soared in 2015, rising by nearly 50% to 9700 properties compared with 6700 the year before. The most popular regions were Andalucia and Valencia, both with more than 3000 British buyers, followed by the Canary Islands with more than 1200 Brit purchases. The Balearics and Murcia were also popular.
Cheap prices and the enduring appeal of Spain mean it is the number one choice”, says Will Middleton, Europe consular director for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).
But property law and purchase procedures can be very different abroad, so – wherever you are looking – don’t let the sun go to your head.
We strongly urge buyers to get all the independent advice and local authority checks that you would at home. Avoid rushing into a dream buy, or it might turn out to be a nightmare.
The advice from the FCO comes ahead of next week´s ‘A Place In the Sun’ overseas property fair at London Olympia from 6 to 8 May, where developers and agents will be marketing homes across southern Europe - including in Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Malta, Cyprus and Greece. Visitors can get independent buying advice from the FCO on stand B74.
More than a quarter of a million Brits are resident in Spain and the vast majority of home owners live happily. But the British Embassy in Madrid estimates that more than 10,000 British-owned homes are affected by some kind of legal problem. In total there are an estimated 300,000 illegal homes in Andalucia.
Wherever you fancy a home in the sun, be thorough and careful”, adds Mr Middleton. “Get good, independent legal advice, make sure you see all the relevant papers, use a translator if you need to, and work through a detailed purchaser’s checklist.