It’s absolutely vital when you’re doing a visit to any potential property to keep these things in mind:
1. Paperwork: You should acquire a nota simple, a condensed report of the property details including a brief description of the land and property features, as well as telling you who the owner is. By having one of these, you can ensure the person selling you the house is the real owner and that the sale is legal.
You should also be sure about what comes with the property: any mortgages or extra hidden fees of any kind. For example, all buildings in Spain over 20-years-old need a special inspection certificate, the Inspección Técnica de Edificios (ITE) which should be renewed every 10 years.
2. Know the price per square metre and square foot: The local council keeps track of and sets the minimum sale price according to the area, and use this to work out the Impuesto de Transmisiones Patrimoniales (ITP), the property transfer tax, so be aware that if the final sale price is below the local average, the taxes will still be higher.
What to check when you get there
3. Utilities and general condition: Check the electricity and water pressure. Try turning on all the taps and flicking all the light switches. Look and see whether the fuse box is new and if there are individual energy and water counters. Pay attention to the state of the drainpipes, walls and heating. By making sure everything is in working order now, you will avoid nasty surprises in the future.
4. Location and orientation: How well-connected is the house to local supermarkets, schools and by public transport? Is it north- or south-facing? This detail could have a great influence on how much you spend on heating and electricity.
You'd be well advised in all cases to take an estate agent along with you to the viewing - they're professionals and they know exactly what to look for and how best to help you get the most out of the viewing.