Attention first time home buyer in Spain!

3 things you should carefully consider

In today's blog post I offer three pieces of advice that any first time home buyer in Spain should definitely take on board, regardless of whether they are already on the property ladder elsewhere in the world.

I have chosen these three facets of home buying because they are slightly different to back home – wherever that may be – and there is no substitute for being totally clued-up when you enter into your maiden Spanish home purchase. It is also worth noting that not heeding their warning could lead to annoyance and wasted money, time and effort (which is not an ideal place to start), so getting these three things right should make for plain sailing when buying a home for the first time in Spain.

I’ll start with the (seemingly) obvious to kick us off…

1. Where to buy? Do your research thoroughly

…and ask your agent for advice

If you holiday in Spain quite frequently, you’ll probably have a fair idea of where you would like to buy your holiday home or lay down your roots permanently either now, in the future or for retirement. In this case, the “where” part is a piece of cake.

Or is it?

Even if you visit the same island or stretch of coastline year after year, or you tune into A Place in The Sun religiously and feel you have a solid idea of where you will find your dream Spanish property, you should always seek advice about where to purchase your first property in Spain from an experienced estate agent.

It is your real estate expert’s job to have all the local knowledge necessary to advise on which areas most suit your profile – whatever type of first time home buyer you are (remember, no two buying clients are the same). He or she will be able to shed light on factors you potentially hadn’t considered, especially if you visit infrequently and are not looking to live year-round. For example…

Which areas have well-established amenities? Which towns are up-and-coming? Where are most new developments to be found? What’s the international community like? Will the area be suited for an elderly couple? Where can I get a good value apartment but be as close to the beach as possible? Are there any traffic spots near me? What’s planning permission like in certain municipalities? Where are community fees the most reasonable? Which areas hold their property value the best? Where could I earn great rental income? The list goes on.

If you’ve fallen in love with Andalucía and southern Spain’s inimitable charm, your first step should be to contact us and simply let us know your budget, preferred areas and the type of property you’re looking for and we’ll work closely with you to find a perfect match for your dream sunshine home!

2. The buying process is different

We're with you every step of the way, though!

Perhaps the hardest part to get your head around as a first time home buyer in Spain are the processes involved in every sale. I’ll start with the fundamentals…

Although an exact percentage is hard to come by, the vast majority of all property transactions are made through a real estate agency in Spain. That is to say, private sales are very few and far between and do not come with the same assurances as purchasing a home through a reputable agent.

This means that, despite potentially being a different framework to the one you are used to in your country, the agent guides you through all phases of the buyer journey. At VIVA, we are proud to say that we'll stay by your side until the key to your new Costa del Sol home is handed over; a fact that is much appreciated by first time home buyers.

After all, buying a home for the first time anywhere can be daunting, let alone in a different country. For a more detailed breakdown of the steps involved in the property purchasing process, I wrote a handy guide on the subject back in June:

3. Get a clear idea of market price

Agents will know this like the back of their hand

If you remember, I mentioned in my recent blog about the best timing for selling a home that I would unravel the idea of "market price" a little more. 

Simply put, market price is "the price of a commodity when sold in a given market". When said market is the real estate sector, the market price for a particular property is the most accurate valuation of that home's worth, taking into account its quality and appeal to buyers in and of itself as well as other variable factors.

When I say "quality", I'm talking about variables largely within the owner's control. A home's valuation will be higher if it is reformed, has a light and contemporary aesthetic, has no structural or architectural faults and is in a good overall state.

Other inherent features like large terraces, private gardens, sea views, location near the beach, a golf course or town centre and amenities (if applicable) all contribute to what I call "appeal to buyers" above.

Variable, or external, factors include the fluctuations of the local and national market at the time (ie. are prices increasing, decreasing or staying put?) or whether there are big changes to the local area which might affect a valuation. Alternatively, consideration is given to the desirability of an area or residential complex over time (has it become "cool", "posh" or has it seen better days?), whether there are more people moving in than out or vice versa, and demand in general for a particular type of property.


At the risk of stating the obvious, establishing this value is crucial for both sellers and buyers. The former need a realistic idea of what their asset is worth in the marketplace to give it the best chance of selling - hence why it is essential for an experienced vendor services representative to value a property at its rightful and objective market price - while, the latter appreciate the consistency of pricing. That is to say, having a clear idea of what they can get for their money in any given area.

For a first time home buyer in Spain, taking the real estate agent's advice on market price is preferable to chancing your arm. Making a property fit your budget is not best practice. Having a real estate professional handpick a selection of properties in accordance with your real budget and organising a dedicated viewing schedule, on the other hand, most definitely is.

On the Costa del Sol, VIVA’s clients can take advantage of the unique 10 benefits of choosing us over anyone else, above and beyond our transparency and professionalism. Whether you're a first time home buyer or you live on the Costa del Sol and are looking to re-locate, get in touch with us today and put us to the test!