Alan Cuthbertson – Moving Abroad

Buying a home in Spain


Okay, so you have decided where in Spain you want to live. The only thing you have to do now is find a house. Of course living in East Leeds we all know how the system works in our area. You either look on the internet or take a walk down to the high street and checkout the local estate agents. If we are selling a house we can expect to be charged a couple of thousand pounds, if we are buying we pay nothing. Is it the same in Spain…definitely not!!!!

se-vende-signFor a start if you look on the internet you may find the same details on 100s of different sites, all offering the same property at a different price. This is because most are linked by a system that allows them to share the details, and the commission. Speaking of commission, if selling you will be charged anything up to 8 percent of the advertised value. That means if your house is £200,00 then the agents want about £16,000. Don’t worry over here in Spain you just add that to the price and the buyer pays it. Oh, yes. You will need another 10 percent to cover taxes etc.

What do they do for this commission….very little as I can see. The internet companies just show the details on their web sites. The local estate agents do likewise (that’s if they have a website). In Leeds when we sold our house the estate agent came around taking professional pictures, moving furniture and personal belongings to get the most out of the property.

When we started looking in the windows of the estate agents in Spain we couldn’t get over the quality of the pictures. Many were se-vende-estateagentpicfaded and details very vague. When we looked closer we were astonished to see that pictures of kitchens showed sinks pilled with pots and half eaten food on the sides. One picture showed a living room. In the centre was a man laid on a sofa reading a newspaper, with one hand down his trousers!!!

We contacted an estate agent who advertised a couple of properties that looked interesting, and arranged to meet somebody called ‘Mike’. We waited at the agreed service station, and right on time the four wheel drive Toyota pulled in. Stepping out ‘Mike’ looked like he had stepped straight off the cover of Vogue magazine. “Stacey and Ashlie (our daughters) would like him.” said Heather, my wife, as she stared and looked him up and down a little too long. Until this point I hadn’t realised you could dislike someone just because they’re better looking than you.

It turned out Mike was not just an ex-marine, he was a very good estate agent. He spent the next couple of weeks showing us every kind of accommodation. Eventually we found the house of our dreams in a small village in the Andalucian mountains. It just goes to prove, not all estate agents deserve the bad reputations thrust upon them.

Alan Cuthbertson is the author of Fiestas and Siestas Miles Apart, and Clover House.
He has lived in Spain for over ten years.
For more information please visit

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