Torcal Estates Fincas and Country property - Málaga, Spain

Fincas and Country property - Málaga Property

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News & Views

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News - April 2009

More than 70% of estate agents have bitten the dust in Spain

According to the website Spanish Property Insight ( a recent report into the demise of estate agents in Spain by La Vanguardia (a Spanish daily newspaper) has resulted in the closure of 70% of estate agents across the country.

Of 80,000 registered agents in Spain in 2006 now just 25,000 survive.

As has been commented in the past, the demise of estate agents normally creates a smile on the faces of most people however, this news together with the failure of developers and house builders across the country means that we all face a new era in relation to property sales in Spain.

The closure of small estate agents may not be a big issue but if that estate agent is the only one based in a small village or town, how do people expect to sell the property in the future? The problems have been highlighted close to home – the closure of estate agents in Casabermeja, Almogia, Villanueva del Trabuco have all affected the way the local residents can expect to sell.

Thankfully, the closure of so many agents does bring some good news – the likelihood is that the ones that are still open and ready for business will be those that have the most professionalism! Please be careful though, we do know that some who are still operating don’t have the same ethical standards and approach to professional conduct as some…

Public awareness is growing on the value and importance of the Catastro and Property Register

A recent article in the Olive Press highlights the importance of ensuring that your property is properly registered and legal.

Whilst many buyers and sellers feel that the most important document relating to their property is the escritura (the title deeds) and yes, they are valuable because they do confirm that you own the property, they aren’t the only things that you need to be aware of.

We, at Torcal Estates have been banging on for the last few years about the value and importance of the two land registry systems in Spain – the Property Register and Catastro (two separate registries which do the same job as the Land Registry in the UK).

The Property Register –

The Property Register is vital as it confirms the legal ownership of the property, whether there are mortgages on a property and whether there are any other charges or rights of way etc.

If your property is registered in the Property Register you will be able to obtain a Nota Simple for your property which summarizes the information held on your property (these can be obtained by your lawyer) and these are a useful thing to have in your file of documents for your property (they are sometimes attached to the back of escritura’s so you may want to check there for an old version).

The next thing to do is to check the description of the property (this will be a good test of your Spanish) – ideally, the property should be described as a “vivienda unifamiliar” which means that it is suitable for residing in. Sadly, some problems have arisen where people have bought properties that are registered as “almacen”, “casa aperro” or “casa de labor” which all relate to the storage of tools and an agricultural useage for the property.

If you do want any help in understanding your property’s registration at the Property Register speak to your lawyer or give Torcal Estates a call and we can help.

The Catastro -

This is, in our opinion, equally important as the Property Register and the escritura but seems to have a lesser value with many Spanish lawyers. This is very worrying because the Catastro details the publicly noted value of your property and should hold a description of the property and boundaries (and in many cases a very useful plan).

Sadly, the Catastro has been a voluntary system to update and many Spanish vendors have avoided paying taxes on properties that have been enlarged over the years – this is not illegal although our view is that this system will be made obligatory at some stage soon.

Many older properties have changed or been extended and this has not necessarily been updated on the Catastro – why should this be a problem? Well, the problems arise when you come to sell and the property doesn’t match the description in the Catastro – many buyers will be put off by this.

In addition, if your property is affected by public works or a disaster then your compensation will be calculated on your Catastral records. This has resulted in some instances of incredibly low compensation offers being made to property owners who have not had their records updated.

Unfortunately, the Catastro system has been inundated by vendors wanting to update their records and in some instances, this process can take months, if not years to bring up-to-date.

Once again, we have a way of checking exactly what your details show online – this can be very useful to understand the problems of inaccuracy and mis-description.

If you want to find out more about the Property Register and Catastro and your property, contact Torcal Estates on 952 75 35 34.

Spring has sprung!

Having had to convey our fair share of bad news over the last 12 months, finally the market is showing signs of the “green shoots of recovery”!

Whilst it is too early to say that the recession is over and Spain is bouncing back, we can report an upturn in enquiries, viewings, offers and actual sales! This recession will take some while to end and many Spanish properties are still over-priced and unrealistic within the current market – if you have had no viewings in the last 2 months then your property is over-valued. Fact.

The good news is that buyers from across Europe have started to show interest again in the Spanish property market - prospective buyers have even come from the UK despite the poor exchange rate – the reason? Well, property prices have come down to such an extent that people have realised that they can “bag a bargain”.

We feel that 2009 is an ideal year to be buying Spanish property and coming to this beautiful part of the world. Don’t consider this as a financial investment, rather an investment into your future happiness!

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