There is a lot of advice out there for people thinking of buying property in Spain and the Canary Islands. Most of it is pretty generic and not all that useful when you get down to local-level issues.
Local matters in Spain so here are eight really useful Las Palmas property tips for anyone planning to buy, or sell, in the city…
Use an estate agent to buy Las Palmas property?
An estate agent advising you to use an estate agent to buy property? What a surprise!
Well, all I can tell you is that 9 out of 10 people I meet that have serious problems buying a Las Palmas property did it without an estate agent.
The reason for this is simple.The process of buying a Las Palmas property is arduous but safe. There is a lot of paperwork but in the end the Notary checks everything. You are therefore unlikely to be ripped off.
However, there are lots of little pitfalls involved in buying a Las Palmas property. Things that can delay or block a purchase, or cause trouble years down the line. A good estate agent also knows from experience how to spot and fix all these issues.
Using an estate agent to buy Gran Canaria property is free and, in many cases, ends up saving you a lot of time and money. Choose an agent and let them advise you before you start contacting property owners.
Trust me, I’m an estate agent!
Contact sellers through your estate agent or they just can’t help you
The Gran Canaria real estate commission system is simple. The selling agent and the buying agent share the commission equally and each side represents their own client.
However, if a selling agent attracts a buyer directly, they keep all of the commission.
This means that if you contact a selling agent directly via a portal like Idealista.com, you squeeze your buying agent out of the process. The selling agent will say that you came directly to them and that they therefore don’t have to share the commission.
So, if you want personal service from a buying agent with your best interests at heart, let them make first contact with selling agents.
Don’t call them, just call me.
Everyone wants it but outdoor space can be a minefield
Outdoor spaces cause more problems for property buyers in Las Palmas city than anything else.
The rules about outdoor space are complex and overlapping because they are governed by a hotch-potch of national laws, town hall regulations, communidad rules, and the property registry. You own a terrace, have exclusive rights to its use and be responsible for its upkeep, or just have the right to use it. And the rights can be recorded in one of several documents.
Given all of this, I would say that if you buy a property in the city that has a roof terrace or patio, you need to consult a lawyer.
Most balconies, roof spaces, and terraces are straightforward and cause no problems. You have to check things out before you buy to make sure.
It’s not you, it’s them: Why local agents ignore foreign buyers
A local estate agent who doesn’t speak your language will often ignore any information requests that you send via the portals, or even direct requests to view a property?
Why would an estate agent do this? Especially in a market flush with foreign buyers?
Because, as a foreign buyer, you are likely to be the least attractive option for the local agent. Communication is going to be more difficult. They likely don’t know the rules for foreign buyers and worry that you won’t get a mortgage. Foreign buyers also ask more questions and demand more due diligence than local buyers familiar with the market.
In short, local estate agents prefer local buyers because they tend to be easier and quicker to deal with.
It’s ridiculous but it’s true and local agents miss out on big sales because of it. So, by the way, do their selling clients.
You can’t really beat the system without understanding it
Some foreign buyers come to Las Palmas and decide that they don’t like the way things are done here. So, instead of working within the system they try to disrupt it or reinvent it.
This approach almost inevitably leads to frustration for everyone involved and rarely has a positive outcome.
Buying a property in Las Palmas can be fiddly. There are esoteric rules and mysterious bits of paper, and things often take far too long. However, the system works as it protects buyers and sellers from sharp practices like gazumping and straight-up dishonesty.
If you really want to buy a quality property in Las Palmas at a good price, and to do it with all the right paperwork in place, get good advice and work within the system, at least at first.
Buy, flip, sell, make a load of money?
There are bargains in the Las Palmas property market but it isn’t easy to make a fast buck. Purchase fees and taxes add up to almost 10%, and renovations take time.
If your plan is to come to Las Palmas, buy a property, get a crew in, do it up fast, then sell it for a huge profit, my advice is to come up with a new plan.
If flipping property was easy and profitable, local investors with access to tradespeople and financing would do it all day long.
Unless you are able to do your own electrics, plumbing, plastering, etc, a long-term approach to property investment is almost always a more reliable way to make money from property in Las Palmas.
The beachfront is not for investors
Beachfront property in Las Palmas starts at 5000 euros per square metre and is almost always a terrible investment. You just can’t get the ROI from renting it out even if you do it on a holiday-let basis.
For genuine ROI, look in areas within walking distance of the beach but without the direct sea views. La Isleta is a current hotspot, and Alcaravaneras offers excellent value for money.
Build your property empire in areas with good ROI, then live on the beachfront.
Go to your comunidad meetings
If you own a property in an apartment block in Las Palmas, you pay a monthly fee to the communidad and should get regular updates from it.
If you can, you should also attend the annual meetings and any others that come up.
Comunidad law is pretty well defined and it can’t decide anything that is against the rules. However, if you don’t attend and the meeting votes to raise the comunidad fee, or accept a tender for renovations, you can’t appeal later on.
If you can’t attend a meeting, you can nominate another owner in the building to vote for you.
Bargain Property in Las Palmas is cheap for a reason
If you find a property on the market in Las Palmas that looks too good to be true then it almost certainly is. Most cheap property is cheap because the risk, or the extra investment needed, has already been priced in.
Bargains do come up but they also sell fast because there are lots of people looking for them. Spanish people prefer to invest in property than to give their money to banks.
In practice, what this means is that if you do spot a real bargain and then have to do due diligence, it is very likely that someone else who knows the market better will buy it first.
That said, bargains do turn up.
My friends just bought a lovely apartment close to the beach for 20% below market value. The owner priced it using the “metros utiles” rather than the “metros construidos” and his estate agent didn’t correct the valuation.
My friends were the only viewers because the property seemed to be overpriced but when you factored in the full area it was a bargain.
The mistake cost the seller well over 50 grand!
Laura from Las Palmas property
I’m Laura Leyshon, a professional estate agent working in Las Palmas city with 10 years of local experience. If you have a question about property that isn’t addressed in these Las Palmas property tips, please let me know via the form below.
If you plan to buy or sell property in the city, please get in touch early in the process so that I can offer you the best possible service right from the start.
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