Looking for a house as an action, maybe is not a difficult task, but when you realise that the home you really want is not just an investment but a home for you and your family, things start to change. The fact that it should fit your modus vivendi, lifestyle and of course your economic state.
In this list maybe there are not all facts to consider -because it would take us a whole book- but at least we are covering according to my opinion, those we can consider as essentials.
FINANCIAL AMOUNT TO SPEND ON
The first thing that we have to decide is an approximated budget. Of course, taking into account that this figure should not overcome the 40% of our annual net incomes. And based in this “ideal monthly instalment ” of mortgage, we can know what kind of loan we have to ask for, regarding to the savings that we have.
Of course, we also have to know that the taxes and expenditures linked to the buying will be between a 10% and a 12% of the total price, and it has to be a down payment. So, to the selling price in which the house is offered, we have to add at least that 10% of expenditures; the mortgage to ask for, should be the addition of these two figures, minus our savings.
DECIDING AN AREA OR NEIGHBORHOOD
At the time to decide an area for buying our house, there are objective factors (prices, transports, shops, green zones, schools, hospitals, entertainment, …); but also emotional factors (close to our family and friends, where we have grown, …). Finding a balance between both factors should help us make the decision.
HOW AND WHERE
There are a lot of sources that you can use either physically (Real Estates agencies, public services, doing a prospection of the area, …); or through some media and publications (Real Estate webs, press advertisements, …).
Going to a Real Estate Agency that is specialized in the area where we are looking, apart from saving us time, it always gives us the high value of its expertise about the price situation, advantages and disadvantages of that neighbourhood and of course, a wider variety of properties in that particular area.
In addition, although the existing fake belief about the intermediation of an agency will increase the acquisition price, only the fact of knowing how to negotiate the price using the real selling prices in that area, most of cases will make that we get a more optimum price for buying than we could do it by our own.
Without doubts, the surface is one of the most important characteristics of the house, and we have to know how to distinguish between built surface, which is the total built meters including all the elements like beams, walls, balconies or terraces, etc; and net surface, which is the total surface after deducting the width of beams, walls, etc. The difference between these two concepts is on average 15%, and in the case of opened terraces, we have to deduct the half of their surface in the calculation.
Finally, we have the total surface, which is calculated adding to the built surface the proportional part of common elements such as halls, stairs, gardens, etc. In fact, that relation between built surface and total surface, is what it is used for defining participation quotes in Assembly of the Real Estate Owners. It is also used for the house appraisal.
OTHER CHARACTERISCTICS AND ASPECTS TO CONSIDER
The space and distribution of the house is important (number of rooms and bathrooms, windows with street view, halls, entrances, wardrobes, storage space, …).
The side of the house is another aspect to study, because the exterior houses receive normally more natural light, and the courtyard view are more calm and silent. The south side are more demanded, because they guarantee more quality of light hours.
The qualities and structure of the building always guarantee security, solidity and quality. Among the elements to observe while we are visiting a house, we can highlight the paint, floors and tiles, aluminium, carpentries and the rebuilding state and both the conservation of the house and the building in general.
The utilities such as water, electricity and gas, heating and/or air conditioning, are other elements that are necessary to study very well and check if they accomplish the current law in this field. Also, we have to confirm if they are individual or not, or if the previous owner has had utility service. Rebuilding infrastructures are one of the most expensive costs of the house, so it is important to review them very well before making the decision.
The garage is another essential element and it is going to affect the selection of the house, and we must have in mind some things:
- Easy access.
- Dimensions of the garage and easy to use.
- Direct access to the house.
- Legal situation of it. It means, if it is an annex of the house and so, or on the contrary it goes in a separate title deed, and in this case it must be bought independently, although we can use the same notary document to avoid the double cost for this concept.
HOUSING COMMISSION Versus OPEN MARKET HOUSING
The Housing Commission has a series of subsidies for their construction and project financing, but apart from having limitations both in price and size, and at the time of the second transmission (right of first refusal, having to last a minimum of 10 years since the acquisition, …). Also, if we don´t respect the law of these limitations set by the public administration, it will take bills and paying back the subsidies received.
The Open Market Housing does not have any type of limitation in prices and so they are only under the market law of offer and demand, on the other hand they do not receive any kind of subsidies or government support.
DOCUMENTATION TO REVIEW BEFORE SIGNING ANY CONTRACT
If the house to buy is second hand, before buying it we should review at least the following documentation:
- Original title deeds.
- The last Property Tax Bill.
- Assembly of the Real Estate Owners certificate of duties.
- Certificate issued by the Land Registrar about the legal situation of the property.
- The last bill of the utility services (water, electricity, gas, …)
- Home Inspection Certificate, compulsory in houses with more than 20 years
If the house we want to buy is new, the information and documentation to review is different, because the Assembly of Real Estate Owners is not set yet nor the constructor could not make the final steps to get the documents for property division:
- Identification of the constructor and its inscription in the business registry.
- Location plans and blueprints.
- Description of the house (which has been detailed along this article).
- Building specifications (paint, floors and tiles, carpentries, …).
- Land Registrar booking data.
- Detailed contract with all the general conditions (price, way of payment, submission deadline, …).
Finally, if this process is done through a Real Estate Agent, he will be in charge of checking everything, and give us a real information about the house, and all the paperwork and procedures to fulfil. Also, he will check if there is some change or new law to accomplish, or even any subside of which we can benefit.
If not, everything that you should know is in this list, because any detail can break the operation, having an impact or delay/prevent in the sale progressing.