Should you be in the situation that you wish to sell your Spanish property this guide will cover the main points that you need to consider – from estate agents to lawyers and from taxes to utility bills. The aim is to aid anyone starting from scratch who perhaps isn’t sure where to start and isn’t aware of the pitfalls to avoid. Chances are, if you’ve lived in your home for more than a few years, you can likely turn a tidy profit.
That’s great news. But sealing the deal requires more than just a handshake. You’ll have to consider if now’s a good time to sell? What’s the best way to get the word out? How do you get top price for your property? In this Sellers’ Guide, we hope you’ll find helpful material regarding all the most important aspects of selling a home, including; preparing your home so it’s attractive to buyers, strategically setting an asking price, effectively marketing your home, showing your property at its best and negotiating the best possible deal.
Before you determine the listing price for your home and place it on the market, it’s important for essential property repairs, cosmetic improvements and in some cases, major renovations to take place. This will help you maximize your financial return and increase the chance of it selling faster. To ensure you prioritize your time and financial resources on projects that will maximize the value of your property, and avoid “over-improvements” that will do little or nothing to improve your home’s value, consider the general guidelines below.
In general, homebuyers and real estate investors seek the least expensive property in the best neighborhood they can afford. Repairs and improvements should be made so the property shows well and is consistent with the neighborhood’s standards and preferences. At the same time you should minimize capital investments and over-improvements that may not be recovered from the sale. If you have an older property, you may wish to get a professional home inspection before putting your home on the market. This will help you identify and address any major repairs that may be required.
Ensuring your home sells at fair market value within a reasonable period of time is dependent on your pricing strategy. Create the ideal strategy based on the following factor:
Determine Fair Market Value
Fair market value is the price a buyer is willing to pay for a home given its condition, recent comparable sales and listings, and the local real estate market.
Comparative Market Analysis
Recent comparable sales and current listings are two of the most important factors impacting fair market value. Comparable listings that expired before they had a chance to sell also offer an indication of the fair market value of your property. Adjustments to your home’s valuation will also be made given its location (e.g. proximity to parks, waterfront, schools and transportation), floor plan, home improvements, amenities, parking, storage and other variables.
There are some extraordinary homes and estates that have few or no comparable. In these cases, preparing a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) requires specialized expertise that an experienced estate agent can provide. If your property falls into this category, please contact your estate agent to schedule a complimentary consultation.
Price Your Home
Determining your home’s listing price is one of the most critical decisions you will make in your sales and marketing strategy, and should be done in consultation with your estate agent. Your recommended listing price will take into consideration your home’s fair market value, adjustments for unique property attributes, neighborhood market trends and appropriate pricing strategies given current market conditions.
The Risk of Overpricing
If you overprice your home above its fair market value, potential buyers and real estate investors will compare it unfavorably against recent comparable sales and listings. The risk is that your property will linger on the market for longer than what is typical for similar listings, stigmatizing it as an undesirable or blatantly over-priced property as a result.
Today’s real estate buyers are local and international, and are looking for homes through both, traditional and digital channels. To achieve top price for your home, it’s essential that you maximize the exposure of your property to both of them.
Luxury homes target a very specific pool of buyers, and so the marketing techniques and tools used to sell upscale properties is often quite different from those used during a typical Costa del Sol home sale. Privacy, security and anonymity are often key considerations for high end property sellers. Showings can be more difficult to schedule, and prospective luxury buyers from around the globe may be interested in your home, adding complications of timing and language to the showing and negotiation process.
Your estate agent will help you evaluate and negotiate offers from potential buyers in order to protect your legal interests, and to ensure you are optimizing the price and conditions surrounding the sale of your home.
The offer you receive will include: the legal name of the potential buyer(s), the legal name of the seller(s), the legal address of the property, the price the buyer(s) is offering to pay, desired inclusions (items in or around the home that the buyers wish to have included in the sale), amount of the buyer’s deposit, desired dates the potential buyer would like to take legal and physical possession of the home, legal “subjects” or “conditions” upon which the contract becomes final (such as satisfactory home inspection report or financing approval), and the date the offer expires.
You can respond to an offer in one of three ways:
1. Accept as is: your signature finalizes the contract and it becomes a binding legal contract.
2. Counter offer: you may make changes to the offer, such as adjustments to the price, closing date or conditions. When you do so, the prospective buyer may accept, reject or make another counter offer in response. Only when one of the parties signs an unconditional acceptance of the other party’s offer does it become legally binding.
3. Rejection of the offer: you may simply reject the offer and the sale will not go through.
Once both parties come to an agreement the offer is considered “accepted” and they will have a set period of time in which to satisfy the legal conditions (“subjects”) agreed to in the contract, such as completing a satisfactory home inspection report or securing financing. Only after all subjects/conditions are removed do you have a legally binding document.
Price is only one of many factors to weigh as you evaluate and negotiate an offer. Every situation is different. While you may be motivated to secure the optimal price given current market conditions, you may also need to weigh other considerations such as the convenience of the buyers’ desired completion, possession and adjustment dates, their desired inclusions, the number of subjects or conditions attached to the offer, and the amount of the deposit. Your estate agent will help you assess each incoming offer to determine whether it’s the right one for your unique needs and circumstances.
The closing or completion day is the day the buyer takes legal possession of the property. On completion day, legal ownership of your property will be transferred to the buyer. Your lawyer or notary will receive funds for the sale from the buyer’s lawyer or notary, and your lawyer or notary will provide you with a statement of adjustments. This list itemizes all costs payable at completion, including legal fees, taxes and other completion costs. Finally, funds will be used to discharge your mortgage, if applicable, with any remaining proceeds transferred to you in the form of a bank draft.
Selling Your Property In Spain; Taxes And Fees
P.S. Please note, however, that this overview is no substitute for legal or fiscal advice from a qualified professional. When buying property in Spain you should always use an independent lawyer.