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10 things to consider when buying a home

Buying a home is probably one of the most important decisions a person can make.

Whether it is because you are buying your first home and it is not going to be the house of your dreams, but you are thinking of a possible future sale, or because you are a family that needs to increase the number of rooms or the size of the house, this is a step that must be carefully considered, both in terms of the financial set-up and the years of mortgage that you will have to pay.

What we do know is that, whatever the case, the purchase of a home is always an exciting moment as it is a very personal project. That is why we must be certain that we are going to acquire a property that will fit our needs and that will not cause us any kind of problem once we have made the purchase.

Here are some questions that you should always be sure of before buying a property.

  • Is there a rental contract?

Although it may seem obvious, it is more than advisable to check this point. Sometimes properties are bought that at that moment have a tenant renting them, a fact that prevents us from being able to enjoy the property at that exact moment and forces us to wait until the expiry of the contract.

In the case that the property has tenants, it is essential to receive information about the end of the contract.

  • Are there plans to carry out works in the building itself in the short term?

It is important to know this point in order to be able to anticipate future payments or expenses to be shared among the owners. For example, refurbishment or improvement works in the building, lifts or works to adapt the building for people with reduced mobility.

  • What are the community fees?

Depending on the type of building or type of living, there are those with concierge, swimming pools, common areas… the community expenses that are attributed to each resident can be very high, so it is advisable to find out beforehand in order to avoid unpleasantness in the bills.

  • Is the payment of the IBI (Impuesto sobre los Bienes Inmuebles) up to date or are there any other taxes pending?

Apart from being a necessary piece of information at the moment of applying for the mortgage in the bank, it is necessary to ask for the proof of payment of the last 4 years of the Real Estate Tax as well as other taxes that could be pending payment by the previous owner.

  • Does the house have an Energy Efficiency Certificate (CEE)?

The CEE allows us to calculate the energy consumption of the house (electricity, water and gas) under normal conditions. In general, the owner of the property must provide this document to the buyer.

  • How much usable space does the property actually have?

We should never confuse the meters that appear in an advertisement of a property, even in the plans, with the meters actually available, the usable meters. That is to say, the number of metres that we can really inhabit without including partitions, ducts, galleries…

Depending on the layout of the house, it may have many square metres, but not so many useful metres.

  • What is the state of the electrical and plumbing installation?

It is very advisable to know the state of the electrical system of the house, the plumbing or the general piping, as they can represent a great future expense.

  • Is there any kind of charge on the property?

We must not forget to request the so-called “Nota Simple”. In this document, as well as verifying the name of the owners, we will be told if there is any encumbrance on the property (mortgage, limitation of use or ownership…) that could be an impediment.

  • Is the property in a quiet area or neighbourhood?

Obviously, it depends a lot on what we are looking for, although most of us are looking for a property in an area that is quiet and safe at night. If this is the case, it is a good idea to take a walk around the area beforehand to find out if there are any restaurants or bars that cause noise or problems, or to observe the noise produced in the street itself.

  • What services can be found in the area?

Especially in the case of families with small children, it is good to know if there are supermarkets, parks to enjoy with the family, medical services, pharmacies or even public transport connections close to the property.

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