1) Prepare before you buy – what is your vision of your Southern lifestyle?
You will benefit from finding out where you really want to live and what you intend to use your new second home for. Is it only for three weeks of vacation a year, or do you want to take advantage of the sunny climate all year round?
Your decision on which second home to choose will be much better if you first go around and see the areas and find your lifestyle in the mountains or along the beach and decide on the facilities that suit your vision of a great lifestyle in the South.
For example, you can rent a home for a few weeks and thereby avoid an impulsive purchase decision where you buy a second home that does not cover your real needs.
Consider the following specific questions:
Should you have your own private pool or does a shared pool fulfil your needs?
How much does proximity to the beach really mean to you? Are you going to be there every single day because you love the beach life, or are you looking for the tranquility and the views from the mountains?
Should the location be close to the town or can you accept 5-10 minutes drive to restaurants, shopping and other amenities? Note that you are most often better off with a car no matter you live on the coast. There will always be things you want to do where you have to move a bit to get there. Of course if you live on the paseo (the beach promenade) you could get away with having a bicycle, if you mainly wish to stay central and then occasionally catch the bus.
Should the terrace be south-facing and have sun all day, or do you appreciate a bit of shadow as well? Many people from the North tend to think: Sun, sun, sun… but after some time South, you will soon learn that you almost always have sun and therefore also need shadow. 300 to 320 days of sun is considerably more than up North.
If you want an apartment should it be a penthouse, middle or ground floor where you have a small garden for your children or your dog?
Do you buy a second home as an investment, for the different and refreshing Southern lifestyle or both?
Should your second home be rented out some of the year? We can help – many do rent out, as own consumption and bank loans can be paid off from rental income due to the high demand.
As a rule of thumb, the short term rental price price level is approximately 4 times higher than the long-term rental level, i.e. if you pay a rent of 3,000 EUR per month (on a long term contract) that would costs around 3,000 EUR per week to rent on a short term contract in the high season (July and August) where everything is rented out and the owners make the same income as the rest of the year.
M21 specialises in matching exactly your personal lifestyle and your specific needs with the best second home on the market. Knowing all the areas in detail and having lived the lifestyle for many years makes it easy for us to guide our clients in the right direction based on a minimal level of information.
2) Get the right advisors engaged from the start – the sooner the better
It is alfa omega to have a local lawyer who takes the rules in Spain and your home country into account, especially tax and inheritance laws. A lot can be saved by involving a good legal advisor from the start.
Find a second home agent that you can trust, i.e. let the personal relationship and the ability of professional purchase guidance be the rule your choice. Keep in mind that an agent receives a sales fee from the seller – you therefore have the liberty to choose the one you trust most without having to pay for this very significant and often time-consuming service. It must feel right. A lot of agents want to sell something specific as their commission depends on selling specific houses.
This can be a bit of a trap as most Northern Europeans tend to think that it is necessarily a plus that an agent has a home directly and exclusively from the seller (as is always the case in Denmark). In fact, it is not – it may even be the opposite, as that specific home could often be favoured over others, which could quite often be better suited to your needs. In other words it challenged the neutral and professional position of the agent. Many agents – especially the bigger ones – only promote what their agency have on their own books in terms of second home options. This means you will only see a small part of the market reflected in their service.
M21 focuses exclusively on helping our clients to find the right home in the market – we work exclusively with those who those us – so rather than allowing the size of a commission or a specific commercial preference to influence our advice, it is the lifestyle of our clients and the quality of the second home, the special location etc. which is the central focus for M21.
Some agents – even the bigger ones – will have second homes for sale that M21 discourages its clients to buy if we have information about anything which is not to the advantage of the client, such as missing building or occupancy license and these cases still happen, although it was more normal “in the old market”. Without first occupancy license the house could – in principal – be demolished tomorrow and that actually happens.
Many people bought the wrong thing due to inadequate or misleading advice. Therefore, you still see empty homes and apartment complexes driving around Costa del Sol. The owners of several of the beautiful complexes that have problems can never sell their apartment but only rent them out if they are lucky enough to be allowed to keep their property.
3) Choose the cheapest but also the most adequate financing option both on short and long term
You must choose between a Spanish loan or a loan in your home country and take into account the following facts:
The interest rate in Spain is approx. 2% higher than the one you can get in for example a Danish or Northern European bank.
Fees and taxes are higher when taking a Spanish loan.
It often takes more time to get a Spanish loan – this is due to an often more rigid information management – although the Spanish banks would actually like to have foreign clients.
However, there could be certain factors related to tax and inheritance law that would encourage you to apply for a Spanish loan.
We recommend that you speak with one of our finance partners depending on your specific needs. They will also estimate how much you can buy for.
The Spanish bank that M21 cooperates with is top professional and has Danish and other foreign employees to ease the loan application process for foreign clients – therefore, the loan approval goes significantly faster than usual, which may be up to 3 months. We have examples of clients receiving a loan in less than 4 weeks.
When buying a second home in Spain, you must always put approx. 10% in taxes and fees on top of the purchase price. This will always be reviewed by your attorney, but it is very important to know that you have to look for a home that costs approx. 10% less than the amount you can buy for, so your enthusiasm and work to find the right home will not be lost because you can not buy exactly what you have put into your mind. There are many examples of this.
4) Are you buying new-built?
If we are talking about existing homes, the selection is huge, the locations are amazing and there is great potential for making a good deal but in most cases some refurbishment is necessary to achieve a good result.
If you find something old with a good location that requires refurbishment, we work with the most competent people on the Costa del Sol both in terms of price and results. Together with them, we help with the execution of your ideas and create both large and smaller total solutions – from a new kitchen to A-Z solutions.
It can be a very good future investment to buy and renovate something existing as the lifestyle “Nordic Living” and open-plan concept, which we love in the north, is highly sought after and rare in the Marbella.
In relation to new-built M21 has direct access to the most important developments in and around Marbella and we can guide you in terms of location, quality and price.
5) The Spanish system and culture is very different from Northern European standards but with the right guidance you will no have any issues
Be a little patient in general – the Spanish system is completely different from the Danish or any Northern European system. Therefore you be a bit patient and open to learn another way of doing things. Of course, you should not be too patient as it is when you or your advisors put pressure and insist on solutions that things get done and the goal is achieved.
Cooperation and communication is always the best way forward. Even as a tourist, you often need to coordinate with a local, eg. a taxi driver or a police officer. These service persons will normally be quite helpful but do not necessarily speak good English.
Andalucia is one of the most rural areas in Spain, and in many areas you are 20-30 years back in time, compared to the Nothern European countries but that is actually a big part of most people´s fascination with the Southern lifstyle, especially when you combine the authenticity with the international culture and vibe, the charm becomes unique.
In general Spanish people show great interest and kindness towards children as the family plays an important role in Southern culture. Generally speaking, you treat families with respect as it is the family that shapes the core of the Spanish community and way of life. That aspect is one of the most sympathetic aspects of Spanish and Andalusian lifestyle.
The service is usually good and recently Spain was actually chosen as the world’s best country for tourists. However, in some situations you will experience poor service but the thing is that the tourists and the second home residents will come anyway because of the climate and the country.
Of course, it is a good idea to learn Spanish but it is actually not necessary in Marbella, as it is the most international place in Spain and perhaps the most international village in the world – with over 50% foreigners, depending on the season.
Based on our expert knowledge, our experience and network, we are happy to assist you in your navigation in Marbella – do not hesitate to contact us on email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +45 31 31 00 10 for Denmark and +34 639 251 177 for Spain.
– M21 / Jackie Phillip / Martin Juncher