Great post ROBI.
I think something I come across too often is people using the solicitor that the agents recommend. For me, this is obviously not going to be in the best interests of the client. I think it always pays in the long run to have an independant “eye” cast over any dealings you’re going to get involved in, be they buying a home, starting a business, etc…
My bug-bear here in Granada is more to do with how customers are completely misinformed when buying older re-sale properties. In recent years, because property prices have risen so quickly, within Granada province, I would say that most of the “best” reform/investment properties have already been snapped-up, reformed and sold on, in the last five years. I still happen across the odd one or two, but they are rare in the extreme. By “best”, I refer to properties that are a) really cheap - b) require minimum work - c) have great views, surroundings and have huge profit potential. The “next” boom area for this sort of property in my opinion is Jaen, but beware as many of the agents have already cottoned onto this fact.
Nowadays it’s very difficult to get anything in this area under €60,000 that has “some” hope of reform if alot of money is thrown at it. My recent experiences are that some of the properties I work on would be far cheaper to knock down and start afresh than to reform. More realistic would be a that most houses of say, €50,000 - will most likely need the same amount spending on it again. Considering that you can build a 200m square house from scratch for around €90,000 - it does bear some thinking about, especially if you’re buying an 80m square village house to reform.
Most clients I speak to want the following doing to their elderly village house as a minimum:
Full Rewire (Inc. Kw upgrade, “boletin”, contador, consumer unit)
Full Plumbing (Inc. pipework, drainage, contador, meter)
Floors Strengthened or Replaced Completely
New Windows & Doors
As an average alone there, you’re looking at at least €25,000 to €30,000 worth of work. Then cosmetic finishing work on top.
The problem in this is that agents locally are selling properties which need major work, yet not letting the client know what’s involved. They sell it and have a “it’s you’re problem now matey!” approach. By the time I visit a property to estimate for work, the clients are often quite shocked at what is needed, purely regarding structural and safety aspects, when they’re told a “lick o’ paint” or “some minor DIY” is all that’s needed. One agent I confronted actually said to me - “If they want to spend crap money, they get crap houses. It’s their problem - buyer beware! Nothing to do with me!”. I doubt very much when he was showing them the houses, he said “Ahhh Mr. & Mrs. X, here we have another CRAP house you’ll like for your crap budget…”
If there’s a funny side to this, it’s that in a twisted way it reminds me of phrases I used to see in estate agent windows back in Cornwall. My favorite was always “Sea Glimpses”. If you squint, hang off your chimney and swing clockwise a little…. LOOK!!! there’s the sea!!
Seriously though, it’s through this frustration that I set up an advisory service on my website. It’s aimed specifically at people buying older properties in my area, so that at the very least, they can have it checked BEFORE they buy it. Yes, I do charge for this service, but I believe that I can potentially save people alot of money and heartache in the long run.
My advice to many people buying older properties is to look at as many as possible. This way you will soon begin to understand some of the work that needs to be done to them, purely to make them habitable. I myself live in an old village property, which has been reformed with modern materials and techniques, but with sympathy to it’s age and surroundings. It has cost a considerable amount of time and money to do.
Get independant advice & estimates for work if planning to buy an older property. If the estate agent wants to sell it, and is worth their salt, they will I’m sure, let you have access to do this. Don’t let an agent put you off doing this.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK BEFORE YOU BUY.
I and many others on this forum, can’t say this enough!
Shame you can’t get the missus over here!!