We take a lot of people out to see Valencia Property and when we do we field a host of questions from the most obvious “Where are we now?” to the left field questions such as “Why has that cat not got a collar?” Now we can always answer the first but the cat question… When you are looking at property with us you will also have questions and some of them will be left field but they are all usually valid questions when you don’t know a place too well.
However, if you have that question then it’s almost certain that somebody else has asked us the question beforehand and also the answer will interest other people. Therefore today we are looking at the most common questions people ask. We will put the answers in here too and we will use it as an exam so that when you visit you don’t have to ask these questions and we can concentrate more on more granular issues such as speculating on the cat’s collar.
Is Valencia Safe?
Generally it’s the American clients asking this because their mindset is a background of fear due to the gun culture in the States. Here’s the good news for them,
Valencia is considered to be one of the safest cities in the World.
It’s safe for solo travellers, safe for women in the streets and safe after dark. Basic precautions such as not walking alone down unlit streets at night while smashed out of your head should be taken but generally Valencia is very safe. There are no guns, muggings are rare and as long as you take sensible precautions there aren’t too many pickpockets. One thing that can happen is bike stealing so most people use Valenbici or a good lock. Bag snatching from sleeping tourists in the Turia park or on the beach is also known to happen.
Why Are There Bars on the Windows?
There are various reasons for this including security, decoration and tradition but the main reason I saw succinctly stated on social media a few weeks ago, bars on windows and door means you can leave the doors and windows open at night to let the cool air in without inviting the whole world into your house for a robbery. This is traditional because you have to bear in mind that air conditioning is a relatively new concept in Spain.
Almost all village and town houses and most lower floor apartments have bars on the windows to allow this. Houses in the countryside also have it but the main reason there was security as they were usually originally built as country houses for the summer and weekends and therefore were empty for long parts of the year meaning the owners wanted to make sure they were safely locked up. So there’s a bit more of a security issue there but it’s still to do with opening the windows and decoration, wrought ironwork bars can look really fancy.
Why Are The Owners Selling?
The temptation to say “None of your business” is there but we know especially in the UK that this is the first question everyone asks on “A Place in the Sun” and any of the other 500 property programmes you can find on daytime TV so we allow it.
The answer will be one of the following… House too small as family is growing, house too big as kids have moved out, bad memories, an inheritance (and yes they did die peacefully in the bedroom and not cut up into pieces in the bath by a jealous lover… except for that one flat in Ruzafa) selling after modernising it or simply put, they want a change. The answer could be, they have lost their job and need to sell as they have a mortgage, divorce, change of work and they need to move to live above their new workplace or leaving the country but the former set of answers are the usual suspects.
How Long Has This Property Been on the Market?
That’s the answer, even when it’s not, from all agents, everywhere, in every house, all the time.
We recently changed our website so that the date that we listed the property shows up on the site. This does not necessarily mean that it hasn’t been on sale before that through other agents but it gives you an idea. However, just because a place hasn’t sold do not assume that means that you can make a low offer that will work. It’s often still for sale because the owner is in no hurry and will not accept even a single euro discount on their property. Yep, some owners are “difficult“.
In the Spanish market it doesn’t really matter how long a property has been on the market in around 90% of the cases because that won’t change the attitude of the owner one little bit.
***The previous two questions are just a way of asking whether the owner will consider offers below asking price. It’s easier just to ask us “Will the owner consider offers?“. However it’s also best to ask that once we are out of the house because some owners understand English of course and it’s probably better for us to not answer yes while with them. Ask us once we get outside if you are interested.
What If They Open an Airbnb Next Door?
(Or the alternative “Can I Open an Airbnb?”)
Generally it’s difficult to get a licence for Airbnb in most parts of the city now and equally there are rules and regulations for places that want to have a licence in the areas where it is still possible. For example if you buy a first floor apartment you can only get a licence if the other first floor apartment already has one, chicken and egg anyone? The rooms must be of a certain size and there must be an independent entrance. This rules out 95-99% of apartments both for someone opening an airbnb and for you buying a place to use as an airbnb. So it’s unlikely.
On the second question we always suggest that it’s a much better idea to rent out long or medium term to people as the returns are just as good or better and the work is a lot less, no changeovers, no party flat problems and no licences required.
Is There a Problem With Squatters?
“I’ve read on Facebook that if I leave my flat for half an hour then squatters will move in and it’ll take me 147 years to get them out as they have rights to stay forever and pass the property onto their children and their children’s children, and their children’s children’s children…”
You get the idea. The first suggestion about this is NEVER read Facebook.
Squatters exist just like in every other country. Are they a problem? Not really. Have we experienced squatters? Yes. Here’s the thing though. Squatters in general don’t want your property and the potential problems from you being an owner that might not take too kindly to their presence and get them out by let’s say, “unconventional” means. They want somewhere to live where they can stay without hassle so they tend to concentrate on bank properties because the banks hold a lot of properties empty and the squatters know that banks will take a long time to get them out.
Equally, sometimes we get the question from people buying to rent about how they can ensure there are no problems with a tenant stopping paying and essentially squatting. We use an insurance policy for this and the insurer chooses the tenant from the potential candidates and you ensure yourself against non-payment. In case of them not paying the insurance company pays out and does the work to get the non-paying tenant out.
What About the Utilities, How Do We Change Them Over?
We wrote recently about the costs of utilities but how do they magically get into your name? Water, electricity and gas are changed over by the agency or the lawyer to your name and account details for future direct debit payments. Sometimes you have to help by signing a document that is sent to you but generally this is done in the background on the day of the signing or the days following. Electricty and Gas are relatively painless but water can be an absolute pain in the rear end and may require your presence, your signature (In blood) and the presence of the previous owner at times.
How Much Will It Cost Me Annually?
With an apartment you have two fixed costs and then the variables. The fixed costs are the Council Tax and the Community Fees. We have written about the Community before here. With a house you probably only have one cost which is the council tax.
Council tax for an apartment in Valencia may vary between as little as 100 Euros or less per year to around 600 Euros per year depending on size, area and historical significance and protection level. Community costs may be as little as 10 Euros per month but vary between 20-50 Euros per month typically and go up when the community needs to do a bit of work on the building.
On a house council tax may vary from 250 Euros up with the most expensive we have seen around 2000 Euros per year. Typically a house will be around 400-500 Euros per year with discounts provided by many councils for modernisations that make the home more energy efficient or for the installation of solar panels for example. In general there are no community costs on a house but sometimes the Urbanisation may have a cost for security, the sports centre or even the annual fiestas.
Is it Leasehold or Freehold?
Always. Well, almost always. Buying a house in Spain means buying the land too. It’s not owned by the Queen, the Duke of Westminster or some faceless hedge fund. You own the land, or a part of the land it stands on in the case of apartments.
There are a few exceptions to this, properties that stand on the coastal strip and near to the port for example may only be leasehold but well over 90% of purchases are freehold and if they aren’t we will let you know, and also let you know if you can buy the freehold of the property. We are currently promoting just one property that is leasehold and the lease can be bought off the town hall too.
What Are My Costs on Top of the Purchase Price?
The tax in Valencia is 10%. Agency fees are typically 3%, notary, registry and Gestor costs are around 1% and you should be using an independent lawyer too who will charge you up to 1%.
It may cost you a little more at times. If you get a mortgage then add in the valuation fee and study fees the bank or mortgage broker will charge you. If you buy an absolute bargain then the reference value for tax purposes might be higher than the actual price and the 10% tax will be based on that.
Can it be less? Sure. Sometimes the agent says they aren’t charging you. Therefore you save 3% right? Erm… no. Their fee will be hardwired into the cost of the property as they will be charging the seller whatever they can get away with but it will be a minimum of 5% and oftentimes 8-10%.
You as a buyer pay this but without realising it.
Sometimes the owner may offer for you to declare less and give them some money in B to reduce tax for you. Don’t do it. You are just saving yourself up a capital gains headache in the future (And it’s illegal). You might get away with buying the furniture and paying just 6% on that but furniture costs should never be more than a maximum of 20k before the tax office starts looking at that particular deal with a magnifying glass. You don’t want that.
And just before we finish just one more….
Is It Available on Rent to Buy?
No, no it isn’t.
In the current market it’s like Hens’ Teeth finding a rent to buy in Valencia and if it’s for sale it’s for sale not available for a glorified rent.
In the next podcast later this week you’ll be able to listen to a round table discussion with David and Gavin about these questions where they give their opinions (As long as the professional editing comes back a lot cleaner than the original sound file, I had to send it off to be sorted) In that we also talk about weird questions and stupid, or not so stupid, questions.
And here is the Podcast version of this now it has been published.
There are more questions though aren’t there…
The Famous Google Searches…
There is no accounting for what somebody may ask online. Google will supply you with the most popular questions they get asked about Valencia. If you type in “Is Valencia” you get the following (I did this without being signed into Google so previous searches aren’t considered).
Yes, No, No, Yes (Strange one), No (But the reverse is true), Yes, No, Yes, Yes, No.
There you go, the answers. I’m better than Google ;-).
Type in “Does Valencia…” and you get the following.
The answers to this one are At times, Of course, Yes, Not Exactly, Yes, Yes, I don’t even know what that means, Strange Question, Yes and Yes.
So there are your typical Valencia Property questions. You need to come up with more creative questions when you are here after reading and inwardly digesting this post for future reference. We look forward to trying to answer the questions you come up with.
Property of the Week
One of the main teachings of the Arabian Nights is that Scheherazade always leaves the Sultan wanting more. And why not? If she doesn’t she stands a good chance of being beheaded the next morning. If there was ever an incentive to make up a story with no end then the Saturday morning cinemas of our youth had nothing on Scheherazade.
Why am I telling you this though? What has that got to do with a villa on the Altury estate in Turis which definitely doesn’t leave you wanting more because it has almost 500m2 spread over two floors with huge terraces, easy maintenance gardens and a nearby bar to walk to and stagger back from?
Well, you need to check out the decoration which is very Arabic looking at times and you should take special note of the master bedroom which is either the perfect place to listen to 1001 Nights being softly whispered into your ear in an ASMR monotone or you could call it a bit of a Russian Oligarch’s tasteless love nest. We all have our opinions right?
So, 5 bedrooms, three bathrooms, two living rooms, two kitchens, two huge terraces, garage, storage room and a bit of a bunker feel. Secluded easy maintenance gardens and a large pool which needs filling or photoshop to make it look better than what my photo shows you.
You have fast internet and the towns of Turis or Real de Montroy are just 10 minutes away for your supermarket needs and to pick up a copy of Arabian Nights if required.
There’s a kids park next door, a bar and sports centre nearby and it lies on an established estate with tarmacced roads and houses with lovely gardens overlooking a dry riverbed full of plants and flowers. Click through to see more photos.
The Podcast Is Coming Back
Series 2 of the Valencia Property Podcast is back next week. We are looking at publishing on the 25th of June and then the following editions will be the 29th of July and the start of September and the start of each following month. If you have any questions for the podcast feel free to send us a question by mail or via whatsapp on 0034657994311. (Better as a voice note but we accept written submissions too).
If you liked this…
Then maybe look at some of our previous posts where we answer some of these questions in greater depth and other questions too. Just click on the images to be taken to the pages.