Inspection visit to buy property in Spain
Your inspection visit
You will need to see selected properties in Spain before agreeing to buy. Packing dozens of property viewings into a few days will only serve to confuse you. Try to come up with a shortlist of properties that interest you and arrange to see them. For each property you select choose an alternative as well in case your original choice is sold before you visit.
Do not forget to let the estate agents know that you are planning a visit. They need notice to be able to contact key-holders or allocate somebody to bring you to the property.
The day before you intend to travel, contact your chosen agents to make sure the selected properties are still available. If not, arrange to view your alternative properties. Try to avoid the situation whereby you are relying on the agent to come up with something for you. The more time you have had to examine the ins and outs of a property in advance, the better prepared you are to decide if the property is right for you.
We also recommend using the inspection visit to open a Spanish bank account and engage the services of a Spanish lawyer. You will need your passport and proof of your current address to open a bank account. You may also be asked for proof of income. You could also use your inspection visit to apply for an NIE number (see Legal Matters). You will need an NIE number to be able to complete your purchase.
Bring your brain as well as your bankroll
The biggest problem with short inspection visits is that the buyer feels an irresistible urge to make an offer. Act in haste, repent in leisure. Unless you are 100% certain that a property is just right for you, do not proceed. Better to suffer the cost of another inspection visit than to end up with something you do not really want.
If possible, bring a digital camera (with loads of batteries) and laptop computer or alternatively a video camera. Take extensive pictures of viewed properties, remembering to identify each one, and then review them each evening in the comfort of your accommodation.