The Inspection Trip

Our advice is – if you are considering buying go on one or more Inspection Trips. You will be treated very well indeed and all the companies we have heard of genuinely will not pressurise you into buying because they don't need to. The company we went with, Euro Anglo Sur who are the Spanish agents for Anglo Continental Properties, claim a fifty percent sales rate which means that the properties they have for sale are well matched to the clients needs.

Our trip lasted five days during which time were treated like royalty. We flew by Monarch schedule, were picked up from the airport and taken to a first class hotel. Each day we had breakfast in the hotel and then were picked up and taken around the area. Part of the deal was lunch and dinner each day in a variety of excellent restaurants. There was even a generous amount of free time for us to explore on our own.

We were paired with another couple who had shown on their pre-inspection questionnaire that they were looking for similar properties to us. Companies pair you up with other couples so that you do not feel intimidated by a salesperson taking you around on your own. The aim was to show us as much of the area as they could and of course the properties that they had for sale in our chosen price bracket. It transpired that we were more sure of what we wanted than the other couple Being focused is very important because you don't have the time to look at all the areas and properties that are available. It would take literally weeks to view the full range of properties most of these companies have for sale

Having done a lot of research on the Internet, we liked the development that Euro Anglo Sur were selling in at Bigastro. As it turned out this was the first place we were taken to. From our point of view Bigastro was just what we were looking for but of course you never know whether you will find somewhere better. We were told afterwards that we could have put a reserve on a plot on our first visit without obligation. This could be important if another salesperson, not necessarily from the same company sold the plot we were interested in whilst we were visiting other developments.

The last day of our trip was rushed. We separated from the other couple because it was clear that they didn't know what they wanted. In the morning we looked at the large urbanisation in Quesada first and then went back to Bigastro. We could have saved time by making it clear to the salesman that we were only interested in a house in Bigastro but it didn't hurt to see what we could have for the same money in Quesada. Finally we arrived at Bigastro. Having already decided amongst ourselves upon the style of house we were interested in it was down to finding a suitable plot. Fortunately there was one plot left at the edge of the development which was where we wanted our house to be. If there hadn't been a suitable plot we would have walked away without buying. We have met people who claim they had no choice. Either the house they wanted was not available in the phase that was being sold so they accepted an alternative or they had no choice of plot. We were not prepared to make that mistake.

After lunch we then had to go through the process of setting out contracts, visiting the solicitor and paying our deposit. That is where we could have done with more time to ask about the options that we might have been available to us and looked at what we were buying in more detail. Most builders will make alterations if they can perhaps extending a room or even adding extra rooms. As it was we didn't leave the solicitors until 7pm. A long day but we had secured our house! We met the other couple back at the hotel and went our for a celebratory meal.

NB New properties in Spain are mainly sold "off-plan" which means that the property is not yet built. What we were shown at different sites varied. At most but not all we were shown a show house or houses. We were then shown a plot diagram that indicated where the available plots were. Finally we were taken to the location of the plot on site. In our experience you do have to use quite a lot of imagination to picture the house you want along with the surrounding houses on the plot that you are shown. Some of the sites were just cleared areas of land. At Bigastro the plots were marked by the service boxes for water and electricity which gave you a good idea of where the house would be.

The price that you pay for a house has several elements. First there is the house itself which would be the same whichever plot you bought it on. Then there is the the size and location of the plot. As more available building land gets used up so the cost per square metre rises. The plot size is now a much larger element of the price than it was five years ago. Plots that are on sloping land which have retaining walls are more expensive than those on flat land. Finally there are the extras that you might want such as central heating, air conditioning etc.

When we were buying our house we were given an estimated date for completion. In our case it was twelve months hence. We know that some developers were selling houses eighteen months and more in advance. In many of these cases the completion can be three, six or more months late.

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