In recent years, Spain has been ranked as a top retirement spot by publications such as International Living and Business Insider

Sunny climates, a rich cultural heritage, reasonable cost of living, and high quality of life are all factors that contribute to this ranking. 

Foreign home buyers in Spain fall into various categories. Smart retirees who want to avoid exorbitant rates in coastal towns lead this segment; they are followed by real estate investors and by individuals who plan to relocate permanently.

Prospective buyers coming from North America will find the Spanish property acquisition process quite different than what they are used to; for this reason, it is crucial for them to become informed about what they may expect.

The first recommendation is related to due diligence. House hunters should not take anything for granted in Spain. The first point to research is the autonomous regions; life in Andalusia can be quite different from Catalonia because of intrinsic aspects such as language, property tax assessments, climate, and deed restrictions. 

If you plan on occupying the property, you need to make sure you want to live there. The second layer of research is at the district and neighborhood levels; needless to say, you should spend a few days in the general area to get a feel for it.

Second, real estate investors should strongly consider renovations because that is where the real money is. There is a market of European buyers with deep pockets who are not afraid to spend on remodeled properties with stylish curb appeal. If you want to maximize your potential profit by tens of thousands of euros, you should consider partnering with a firm like MBVB Arquitectos to complete a renovation project before selling.

The third recommendation is related to the team of professionals who will be helping you with the transaction. Since you are a foreign buyer, you will need an attorney in addition to a real estate broker. These two professionals need to be personally retained instead of engaging them on a contingency basis; in other words, you will have to pay them out of pocket to work for you instead of having them wait for commissions to be paid at the closing table. Make the real estate agent represent you instead of the seller.

The takeaway: Spain has a lot to offer not just to retirees but also to prospective real estate investors interested in trying something different.

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