Who is this service for?
Galiciaproperty.com’s search service is designed for people who are seriously interested in buying a property in Galicia but to whom any of the following apply:
- They don’t know Galicia well
- They don’t speak Spanish well
- They live in a different country and don’t have the time and/or money to come to Galicia every time a property they might be interested in appears online
- They want information provided by a native English speaker who is based in Galicia, knows about Galician property and who is paid to be entirely on their side when finding their Galician property
Why this is a useful service?
In an ideal world property advertisements would contain comprehensive details, including of the minus points, and would remain unsold until such time as was convenient to make the journey to Galicia to view a number of properties in the same trip.
Of course things aren’t this way, and they are especially not this way in Galicia. The best properties often go very quickly meaning you need to be able to move fast, but equally many properties are listed with glaring omissions of important information seemingly on the basis that real estate agents think that if they can get you to the property they stand a better chance of talking you round the problems and making the sale.
This method can actually work, but if you’re coming to Galicia from a different country and perhaps also need to take precious time off work to do this it’s costly and infuriating to be on the receiving end of.
Here are a couple of examples of what I mean:
The advert shows you a charming little restoration project seemingly high on a tranquil hill looking down over the really nice town of Cedeira in the far north of Galicia (this is not my edit, this was the actual photo from the listing). The reality shows you that if you aren’t careful when stepping out of your front door you can be mown down on the busy main road from Cedeira to Ferrol.
And here we have the photo gallery of the listing for a nice looking (it can always be repainted if radioactive salmon isn’t your colour of choice) and attractively priced (275.000€ in Sept 2014) property within easy walking distance of Mino’s playa grande, which is one of Galicia’s best family beaches.
Although you can see the railway in one of the pictures there is no hint anywhere in the pictures or the description of the motorway that goes by the other end of the garden. Of course this would have been immediately visible on google maps if there had been an exact location in the listing, but there wasn’t.
This kind of thing is a really obvious game changer, and examples from my experience include a giant electricity pylon less than 10 metres from a front door, a paper mill (which emitted massive amounts of foul smelling gases) only a few hundred metres away, a 94.000€ grant from the Galician government tourism department which would have to be repaid if the property was not kept as a functioning rural hotel for the next 6 years, a neighbouring farmer with a right of way for him and his cows through the middle of a property that he didn’t use but wanted 50.000€ to renounce, and a beautiful hilltop restoration project that the agent only saw fit to tell me didn’t include one room and the main structural wall (the person who owned that bit didn’t want to sell) after I’d driven to the back of beyond to view the place.
Less obvious but equally important are generally unpleasant immediate surroundings, damp and/or structural issues, local council zoning or development plans that could impact the property and properties which don’t have either or both of the correct building permissions (including old houses extended without permission) or habitation licences and therefore properly connected services.
Finally, there’s the issue of finding a house which is to your taste. If you purchase a property with, for example, a kitchen and bathrooms in reasonable condition then you’ve effectively paid a number of thousands for them and so if you subsequently rip them out and replace them your total spend will now be a lot higher than the value of the property. Plus you may not want the hassle, stress and time cost of making alterations to the property.
If you are searching from a different country it can be a major benefit to confirm, in a shared native language, that a property you are interested in has the feel, style, materials, features and so on that you are looking for in a house. Then, when you do make the trip to view properties yourself, you won’t be unpleasantly surprised to find that the “charming rustic kitchen” is height adjusted for dwarves and the “modern, fully equipped designer bathroom” looks like this:
(This is a genuine bathroom from a relatively new build that was for sale at 450.000€ in Valdovino. I’m not certain, but I think the toilet roll end may have been folded into a decorative point …and here’s me saying Galicians don’t know how to present a house!)
Everything mentioned above is serious but is easily checkable, or at least it is if you’re reasonably local and know what to look for. If you’re not and/or you don’t it could cost you a lot of time, money and stress and might ultimately disillusion you to such an extent that you give up on your dream of a Galician property, which would be a shame as this place has a lot of good things to offer.
All of this is why galiciaproperty offers a search service that limits your time and money spend on a search and also allows you to move much more quickly with the added benefits of clear communication in English and local and expert knowledge.
What does it cost?
To keep the cost of galiciaproperty.com’s search service as low, fair to all and transparent as possible it works as follows:
- Payment is in pounds sterling, in advance (on a top-up basis).
Taking payment this way means that we don’t have to spend time and money chasing debts and nor do we have to pass on the cost of non-payers to other clients.
- Travelling time is factored in separately.
Travelling time and car running costs are significant factors in many property searches. Rather than hide these costs inside a higher hourly rate, we prefer to itemise them separately. Likely travelling costs for your search area will be agreed with you before beginning the search.
- Payment is made to Galiciaproperty.com’s parent company DIAD Ltd. (UK) using Paypal to provide both a convenient method of payment and the security of Paypal’s customer protection policies.
And the actual prices are:
- £12 per hour for all time spent on your search including all correspondence and driving time.
- £0.25 per kilometre for all driving (agreed in advance) related to the search plus the cost of road tolls.
- Phone calls requested by the client, at cost.
- Any agreed additional costs incurred whilst conducting your search. Typically these would include fees for obtaining information from the Spanish land register, and occasionally overnight accommodation & meal costs if search logisitics make this more economic.
Within this fee structure, our time usage is basically up to you. Typically what represents good value for clients is high quality photos and videos (sent via dropbox or similar) of properties of interest, basic online or at the Registro checks of relevant documentation/registration, summary reports by email, discussion of properties by phone/skype, and superficial (ie. accepting no liability) survey / structural analysis..
How does it work?
Once we’ve agreed that you want galiciaproperty to do a search for you, the search typically consists of:
- We take a brief from you covering what you are looking for in terms of budget, location (or parameters such as distance to cities, airports, beaches, shops, etc), size and condition of property, the more general feeling you want from a property and its surroundings, etc.. At this point we can also make enquiries with Spanish banks about the sort of mortgage you might be able to obtain (our view is that you should take property purchase decisions very carefully but if you are serious about buying you should have the finances prepared to allow you to move fast if you need to).
- We scan through estate agent and other property websites and send you a report containing links to a number of properties that, at least based on the advertised details, match the brief you’ve given us.
- You tell us if there are any properties in the report (or ones you’ve found yourself, in which case step 2 can be skipped if you want) that you want to investigate further.
- We (one way or another) locate the properties you are interested in on a map and send you links along with comments about the exact location so you can google streetview the surroundings.
- If you are potentially seriously interested in any properties we check the Catastro (Spanish register of property) to see if all the buildings you can see are registered there and the local Concello’s planeamiento urbanistico for zoning and future construction that might affect the property. These are both fairly quick online checks once you know the exact location.
- If you remain interested in any properties then we contact the real estate agents for them and arrange to visit them. On the visit we will take as many photos and videos as you would like and will also try to flush out any issues with the property from the agent (problems with permissions, access rights, etcetera, ideally also seeing the Nota Simple information from the local Registro office at this point – this gives the best indication of the legality of all the buildings and details any debts or charges against the property). We then compile this information into a summary report and send you the photo/video files and at this point it’s normally best to discuss anything that you are seriously interested in face to face, by phone or skype.
- This is the stage at which you come to Galicia to visit properties you are interested in. We can arrange a schedule of viewings for you and accompany you as required (or not – your choice, probably depending on your level of Spanish and how much you want to spend on our services) on whatever portions of this visit you want (even extending to taking you on a tour of areas of interest).
- If you decide to buy a property you will then need someone to check all aspects of the documentation and agree a deposit contract. The majority of this is outside our areas of expertise and so at this point we can refer you to a relevant Spanish professional to handle this for you, but if you need local representation, translation and someone you can communicate with and trust to retain oversight of the purchase then galiciaproperty offers its purchase assist service.
For a real life example of much of the above, here is a case study.
Contact us about this service
If at the end of this process you own a Galician building site, restoration project or just a property that you want to make alterations to the galiciaproperty plan & manage service exists to provide a local, experienced representative that you can communicate effectively with in native English to help ensure that your building project turns out exactly as you want.
To contact us about our property search service please use the form below: