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Is it going to be your permanent home, for holidays or primarily to rent? Some or all of the following will apply:

Set a budget based on capital available and (if required) what mortgage you can afford or can obtain (typically up to 70% for non-residents).
Minimum/ideal requirements for your property – i.e. number of bedrooms, bathrooms, garden, land, patio and/or roof terrace, swimming pool (communal or private), views. Be realistic and prioritise if necessary.
Proximity to facilities (e.g. main shops, some shops, schools, medical care, beach – walking distance or 5 minute drive).
Type of property you would like, would best suit, and can afford – e.g. beach/ mountainside/ country villa, apartment, finca (farmhouse) or townhouse.
What part of Spain – do you want to integrate into a Spanish dominated area and plan to learn or already know the language (don’t forget there are dialects too), or do you need to be understood in English (e.g. for work) and/or require English friends and activities? Be realistic – take a look at what leisure and social activities you (and your family) currently like to do.
If you are buying-to-let then choose a property in a place that matches your rental criteria (i.e. for short-term holiday lets then a popular tourist area close to the beach and/or with access to a pool would be best, whereas for a long-term let it may be better to have a flat in a busy town/city).
Are you retiring to Spain, planning to move over to work or buy/set-up a business? If the last two, then you will need to research this firstly as it will ultimately narrow down where in Spain you will live. For more advice then see our Working in Spain, Jobs and Buying a Business sections.
It may be worth renting a property initially while you explore and familiarise yourself with the area – remember, buying the right property in the wrong place is probably worse than buying the wrong property in the right place!
Climate (it’s not sunny and mild everywhere in Spain). Go to our Facts about Spain and Weather sections to find out more.

To discover more about Spain, then read our Facts about Spain, History & Culture and Town/City Guides sections. To get a feel for types of property available and prices, then go to our Property section.

Found a Property?

Check the property has and is connected to services such as telephone, electricity, mains water and sewage – these are particularly important points for rural properties. Where the services are not currently connected, it may not be possible to obtain them or be cost prohibitive.
Get the property surveyed for structural defects. A builder or architect may do this, however for complete peace of mind you should use a Qualified Surveyor or Buildings Engineer
If possible, speak to neighbours about the area (ask about neighbour and neighbourhood problems) and also if they are familiar or know anything about the property itself
View the property several times, and if possible, visit the property/area at various times of day and/or on different days (e.g. early morning, during working hours and at night-time, week-day and weekend)
Seek legal advice BEFORE signing anything or handing over any money (even if a new build from a seemingly reputable building company) – ownership and outstanding debts on the property need to be checked thoroughly

You can find lawyers, professional advisers, builders, architects, mortgage companies and banks in our Services Directory, or your Estate Agent should be able to recommend you one (which you are not obliged to use).

See Also

Taxes for the Buyer and Seller
Buying a New Property
An Example Purchase
General Advice
News/Features: Property/House & Garden

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