Finding a home in Spain or investing in properties
Buying or renting a real estate property
This is the very first question you need to answer for your self - are you going to rent, or you intend to buy? Both options have theirs pros and cons, and we are not going to focus over these - a lot has been written. But in general, if you have resources and you plan to stay longer or you'd like to invest then go for the buy option. On the other hand renting might be difficult for foreigners, because most landlords demand insurances for which you might not be approved - preconditions usually are unlimited term working contract older than 1 year.
Renting a property
You can find a lot of offers in the newspapers, on the internet or even on the street by looking for a titles handing on the windows of a property that is available. You can also consider hiring a real estate agent to help you with you search and most probably this would be the only feasible option if you don't speak the language.
Buying a property
Sooner or later you will figure out that you will need your own property in Spain, either rented or bought, where you can feel comfortable.
The Spanish real estate market is quite well developed, with many agencies offering services to end customers. Of course individuals also advertise their properties for rent/sale, and the plus buying from an individual is that you are going to save 3% of the commission that an agency will ask you to pay.
Other players on the real estate market are banks. Usually banks offer their properties via agencies, but in case a bank is the seller, the agency won't charge you commission. Below we are going to review how the entire process of buying an apartment from a bank works, and provide you with some hints to make your life easier.
Buying apartments from banks
When someone has asked for financial support and purchased a given apartment with a loan from a bank, and at some point is not able to pay anymore the installments, the bank will sell the flat to cover its financial expectations.
Since banks are focused on making money, they are not interested in possessing flats - they want to get rid of them as quickly as possible, and of course at the best possible price. With banks you always have the possibility to negotiate and offer less than the asking price. If this would be accepted depends on various factors - flexibility of bank's policy, urgency, demand and at last but not least - luck.
Finding offers from banks
Offers from banks are advertised over public channels by agencies. You can find a lot of bank offers on idealista site or mobile applications, and by filtering using de bancos option you will get a list of what banks have for sale. Of course you can find offers on other sites, but the mentioned above idealista contains plenty of offers.
Usually contact will be some of the agencies with which the bank works. You need to contact the agency and arrange a visit. Most agencies work really quickly - you can arrange a visit within the next couple of days. Sometimes you can find a real jewels - low price for a flat at good location and in a generally good condition, so that you can almost immediately move in.
Apartments from private owners
You will also find a lot of offers from private owners, either advertised by the owner himself or by an agency. Keep in mind that agencies will charge you a commission fee and you cannot escape from that, though you've called the agency yourself after seeing the advertisement.
Commission fee is usually 3% from the final sale price + 21% VAT and will be charged when you sing the preliminary contract for purchasing the property. Of course you can try to negotiate, but still lowering the commission could be very difficult exercise.
If you are buying from an individual, nobody will charge you commission, but you might consider hiring an attorney to carry all checks for the property, especially if you are buying something that is currently being rented - usually you "inherit" the rental contract after purchasing the property and you will need to follow it.