Insight: top tips for selling your Spanish property and buyers’ Brexit rush

5 October 2020 | Investment

Advice has been offered to both those thinking about selling their Spanish property and those looking to buy in the country before the Brexit transition period ends.

For those thinking about selling their Spanish property, there are a few things they need to get right in order to maximise the value of their investment, according to Spanish real estate expert and author Sean Woolley.

He has been working in the Spanish property market for more than 20 years, as well as buying and selling over 10 properties himself – and says he’s never lost any money on his property investments.

Below, he lists the three top tips sellers should follow to maximise the money they can make from selling their property.

Tip 1 – always care for your property and prepare it properly for sale  

“A lot of owners become very lazy when it comes to prepping their properties for sale. Sometimes, a property just needs a little investment to make a buyer see the potential and get them to put in an offer,” Woolley states.

“We’re not talking about much – a lick of paint, a declutter of personal things, an upgrade on some of the furniture. That can be all it takes! Failing to do this reduces the pool of potential buyers for your property, as many buyers lack vision and want to be able to immediately imagine living there or spending their holidays there. The fewer potential buyers, the less chance you have of getting that asking price offer you are looking for.”

Tip 2 – keep an eye on the market and try and get your timing right

Capital growth depends upon timing, Woolley advises. “Who could have foreseen the banking crisis of 2008 or the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020? Due to general market sentiment and every one of us thinking the world is about to end, chances are in times like these there will be more supply than demand for properties, so it’s probably not the best time to sell if you want to achieve the best price possible,” he says.

“To truly take advantage of economic market conditions, we should really look to buy when everyone is selling and look to sell when everyone is wanting to buy. So keep an eye on the market, but don’t listen to everything in the media, or assume that the market is in distress and so property prices will decrease.”

Price corrections are minor in the market at the moment, Woolley believes, as demand has held up fairly well and there hasn’t been an oversupply of new properties coming onto the market.

“Properties are still selling and the price corrections we’re seeing come from properties which were previously overvalued. Quality properties in desirable areas are holding their value well, so don’t assume that now isn’t a good time to sell in highly regarded areas,” he adds.

“Speak to the true experts who can tell you what´s happening with regards to supply and demand. Ask agents about enquiry levels, appointment stats and sales volumes to understand the latent demand, intent and the transactional reality.”

Woolley adds that sellers should be patient if maximising the selling price matters and consider renting the property out long-term to generate income while they wait.

Tip 3 – make your property stand out from the crowd with professional photography and a great description

“So many people start browsing for properties online, so your property needs to be featured in the right places and the photos of your property need to be top quality,” Woolley says.

“Investing in a selection of professional images that give a buyer a true picture of your property is the single most important investment in marketing you will ever make. In addition, make sure you provide a concise description of your property. Don’t make it too long-winded, but make sure to describe the best features and benefits of your property. Think of the description as a tick-list.”

The more items you can tick, the more popular your property will be, Woolley continues.

“Does it have air conditioning, private parking, balcony, swimming pool? Does it appeal to holiday rental clients? All of these things are important.”

If the property is walking distance to amenities or the beach, make sure to mention it, Woolley says.

“The key is to make your photos and description the best they possibly can be, so your listing attracts the eye and clearly spells out why it’s such a good choice, so you get as many enquiries as possible online. The more people who contact you or your agent, the better your chance of selling at the right price.

Sean Woolley is the founder and director of real estate agency Cloud Nine Spain. During lockdown, he wrote the book From the Ground Up – The Insider’s Guide to Buying Spanish Property, sharing his years of experience, real life stories and tips and tricks when it comes to investing in Spanish real estate.

Rush for Spanish homes before Brexit

Property companies in Spain are reporting a high level of sales to Brits eager to purchase before the UK leaves the EU at the end of the year, from which point residency in European countries becomes more complicated for UK citizens.

In order to apply for residency in Spain, France, Portugal or Italy, British citizens must secure a permanent address, open a local bank account and show sufficient funds and healthcare cover (although over-65s can apply for free state healthcare).

The rush is on as quarantine measures (on return from Spain) and the country’s rising levels of coronavirus cases are hampering the ability of people to travel to Spain to look at property before the looming deadline.

AEDAS Homes, one of Spain’s leading home builders, reports strong sales to Brits at present. In fact, it found that 2020 is the year in which British buyers, for the first time, occupy the top spot in its foreign buyers list.

In 2020, the company has seen a change in terms of British buyers’ reason for purchasing, with 20% of Brits buying a new home as a primary residence, whereas 60% are buying a second home. This contrasts with 2019, when no buyers indicated that they were buying a primary residence.

The findings also show that British buyers have purchased homes exclusively in coastal areas, with Costa del Sol sales (Estepona, Fuengirola, Marbella) accounting for half of all sales to British buyers this year, followed by Denia, near Alicante (30%), Valencia (10%) and Vilanova, near Barcelona (10%).

AEDAS Homes sold 134 homes in August, 47% more than the 91 homes sold in August 2019. The company also captured 7,142 qualified leads in July and 7,342 in August, which represents an increase of 53% and 76%, respectively, compared to 2019.

Like property markets across the world, remote solutions are playing an increasingly important role in the buying and selling process in Spain. Virtual viewings have played a vital part for AEDAS, with several high-level sales completed without the property being seen, through the company’s LIVE virtual tours.

Pablo Rodríguez-Losada, director of sales and marketing of AEDAS Homes, said: “This year the British have topped the list of foreign buyers that have purchased a property from AEDAS Homes, and what has been interesting is that we had more British looking to purchase a primary residence in Spain, which is a shift from the regular second home buyers.”

He added: “With the UK due to leave the EU by the end of the year, buyers have been keen to gain residency ahead of the deadline to benefit from healthcare and other rights covered by the Withdrawal Agreement. There is also an aspect of British buyers re-evaluating their lives during the pandemic and bringing forward plans to move to Spain. The amazing lifestyle, cost of living, good health service and sunshine are all reasons that continually attract the British and other nationalities to our country.”

This post has originally been featured in Property Investor Today.