NEWS UPDATE: The main problem with using the internet to seek out property bargains in Spain is that the 3-bed villa with private pool, a few yards from the lapping waters of the Mediterranean priced at EUR 80,000 that heads the search results… does not exist.
It’s a ghost house, a phantom that has been left floating in cyberspace for a decade or more or else it might be a lure to tempt unsuspecting buyers fishing in the murky waters of the online property market. Likewise with 1,000s of apartments that can be trawled-up from the depths of the internet. They might have already been sold in a recessional dash for cash, removed from the market as they were eventually repossessed by a bank or just plain forgotten about as the owner took on a juicy rental.
That’s misinformation and an occupational hazard of the internet. More dangerous is the deliberate “lure property” listed online by unscrupulous estate agents or sales leads dealers to hook bargain hunter buyers. It is made to look like the bargain of the century and tempts large numbers of people to make an inquiry. Their details as “buyers” are then circulated to scores of hard pressed Spanish estate agents in the hope that one of them will sell something that will earn a share of the commission.
The unsuspecting buyers finds themselves dealing with a score or more estate agents none of whom has the original bargain property, but can offer “another that is similar and around the same price”. In Costa Blanca alone, the regional estate agents professional body reports 100,000 of them have gone out of business in the recessional years. The remainder are now struggling to cash in on the market revival as a result of the Great Bank Sell-off 2013 and every potential buyer can be pestered to view the latest bargain. It’s confusing, time wasting and messy and not the cool, analytical environment necessary for, probably, the second most important lifetime purchase.
Benchmark essential matching criteria
Spanish property broker, Ben Walker admits the internet is a useful tool, but claims many users are “gullible and naive because they believe what they see”. He says buyers spend too long on the internet and eventually become confused on properties and even who they dealing with.
“That’s not conducive to a safe purchase. Buyers should have a strict brief of their requirements and keep a clear head as they evaluate and benchmark the essential matching criteria. With all their paperwork in place before they travel, they can concentrate on inspecting properties without distraction. Have an independent Spanish lawyer arranged before signing anything.”
He added: “Forget what you may have seen on the internet. Inspect pre-selected properties, but always extend your internet shortlist when in Spain, as extensive benchmarking is the best way to a genuine bargain that fulfils the essential location, price and amenities criteria.”
Walker Property Spain operate the Fly to Buy service for Spanish banks and a network of affiliate offices in all second home areas of mainland Spain and the Balearic Islands of Mallorca and Ibiza. The service includes advance paperwork for bank accounts and pre-approval mortgages.
Author: Kevin Barnett, Walker Property News