Updated: Nov 28, 2018
Barcelona is a fantastic place to live and buying a property there is exciting, but you want to make absolutely sure that you don’t buy something that turns finding your dream home into your worst nightmare.
So, besides liking the property and having seen for yourself that it is good condition or at least the condition that you could reasonably expect, you want to make sure that everything else is in good order too, especially those things that you might not be able to see at first glance.
In Barcelona and elsewhere in Spain, it is common to make upfront payments at various times during the process, but there is no guarantee that you will get your money back in case some of the issues below come to light at a later moment in time. Better safe than sorry.
1. Details of encumbrances on the property: Legal burdens such as liens, mortgages, and easements can impact the usage or transfer of a property. You can obtain a “nota simple” from the local government, which will state the registered owner of the property and list its encumbrances. You should study this carefully to assess how they could impact your purchase and use of the property. Depending on what you find, it might require action or you might decide to step away from the property.
2. Owners’ association fee & Accounts: It is important to know what your monthly costs are going to be and if you are able to support these based on your income levels. The amount will strongly depend on the services included; does the building have an elevator, concierge services, parking, pool or communal gardens, etc. Also check if al the payments of all owners up to date concerning regular fees as well as any irregular payments for pending work? Is the association “healthy”? This is important to know as it may impact your and your neighbors’ finances.
3. Community rules and regulations: Not less important are some the community rules; are you allowed to keep domestic animals for example? Do the rules fit your lifestyle? Knowing this beforehand, will help you make the right decision.
4. Certificate of building inspection: buildings older than 45 years are obliged to pass the building inspection called ITE (Inspección Técnica de Edificios). This will guarantee that the building is in a good state, or otherwise highlight potential issues that need fixing and may imply costs for the owner or new owner.
5. Planned maintenance work on the building and/or communal areas: The seller should be able to provide information on any planned maintenance work. Think of the roof, façade, drains, pipes, renewing of elevators or repairs to pools. This is important to know, as you want to be informed about any cost that might come your way in the future and what part is already paid for by the current owner.
6. General state of the building/apartment: Ask specifically about the electricity and plumbing. Is the electric switchboard up to date? Can it handle your multiple electric appliances? Is the water pressure sufficient? Do a small test and turn on some of the taps in the house. Does the apartment have individual electric, gas and water meters or is there communal heating? Are the drains renewed and when? If some of these are out of date and should be replaced or updated, this will require time and money which you need to budget into your plans. In case of doubts it is worthwhile to organize a technical inspection to prevent any surprises or consult an architect if you are looking at major renovations.
7. Costs associated with the purchase of a property: When you see a listing online, the price does not include the costs of the transaction. Transaction costs for the notary, registry, mortgages and taxes can be as much as 10% -15% of the purchase price. (more about this in an additional blog post coming soon)
It is highly recommended that you keep the tips mentioned in this article in mind before signing for anything or making any payments If all of this seems overwhelming to you, a Real Estate Personal Shopper such as Radix can help you with these issues and make the process worry free for you or clear up any doubts you might have during the process.