After a long winter and a year of stop-start lockdowns, many of you are dreaming of a holiday in the sun or buying a lovely home in Spain – and in a few more weeks there might finally be some clarity. We are hopeful.
BUT ….. In case you missed the news this week, we are happy to confirm that there is light at the end of the tunnel for prospective home buyers from Britain. Starting Monday 29th March, the UK’s travel restrictions will include a list of specific “reasonable excuses to travel” outside the country, which includes travel “in connection with the purchase, sale, letting, or rental of a residential property,” according to new legislation.
Permitted activities include visiting an estate agent, developer sales office, or show home, viewing residential properties to rent or buy, and preparing a property for moving in. Also… starting next Tuesday 30th March, the Spanish government will be lifting restrictions on flights from the UK! Travellers will still have to show a negative PCR result from a test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival.
As other countries have different rules, laws and restrictions around Covid-19, and it can be a moving target, of course so YOU need to make sure you comply with your departing and arrival country’s rules. Check the Gov websites or your travel agent. Failure to comply could mean BIG FINES!
So cling onto the good news, that in general it can still be possible to travel abroad for the purpose of purchasing a property.And people are doing so.
You probably will need a negative COVID-19 test before, during and after you travel. Some countries may require you to quarantine for a period (5 to 10 days). And it would be wise to get an authorised letter to prove the purpose of your visit.
However, here are the valid reasons to travel, including a purpose to buy or rent property abroad:(Again check as they may change)
• Work • Study • Legal obligations or to vote • Moving, selling or renting property • Childcare reasons or to be present at a birth • Visiting a dying relative or close friend • Attending a funeral • Getting married or attending the wedding of a close relative • Medical appointments • Escaping a risk of harm
For UK travellers, SKY have an article that explains the current situation in more detail, including the RED LIST of countries that are most affected.
Finally some good news in this Covid-19 year!! Hondon Villas have been busy in these difficult times. It’s been hectic to be honest, a surprise given the current pandemic. But we are happy to report multiple sales post Lockdown. Congratulations to all involved.
It’s a relief as we all know it is a worrying time for businesses that rely on movement of people and freedom of travel, like us. And of course the dreaded Coronavirus has impacted on people wanting to travel to/from Spain for their holidays and property inspections.
Thankfully people still want to move homes or invest in property in Spain and the glorious Hondón Valley is on many people’s list right now… or at least they have been for us, Hondón Villas.
It’s been a mixed bunch of sales, mainly from people already living in Spain and either upsizing/downsizing or moving areas. However, we have had two that flew in from the UK (safety measures in place of course) just to view a property, loved it and paid the reservation deposit! Bonus! And so pleased for vendors and buyers alike… more dreams made.
Anyway, so we need more properties to replenish stocks. Property that sells in the right location and at the right price. it can and is being done.
Let us know if you want to be listed with Hondon Villas, the first choice agent for 15+ years in the Hondón Valley area.
INTERESTED? CONTACT US: TEL: +34 622 314 244 OFFICE: Central Plaza in Hondon de los Frailes Office Location: https://www.hondonvillas.net/google-maps-for-hondon.php
We strongly recommend that you register with them as they have lots of generic online help & online webinars for buyers of homes abroad. Most of the main presenters are involved too. You can download buyer’s guides too to read on your web device and even ask questions on their social media pages. Start on the main APITS “The Hub” section here. ( https://aplaceinthesundigital.co.uk/the-hub/ )
According to Kyero (one of Europe’s largest international property portals) the following property features are high on most buyer’s tick lists. Do you agree. We think it is there or there abouts depending on the location & budget. But Kyero have the data to prove it so we’ll go with it in general.
A big part of a real estate agent’s job like Hondon Villas, is to match properties to buyer’s criteria. That can sometimes be easy but often discerning clients might be hard to please. It’s a skill and one we take pride in through the hand-holding and Q&A we do with new buyer’s of course knowing our property portfolio and local market is essential too. When we get that match right.. it’s an offer and hopefully a sale to completion. Job done and all parties are happy!
Before we reveal the Top 10 property features for a Dream Home in the sun, it’s worth noting that there is a big difference between what locals buy and the affluent foreigner looking for a holiday or retirement home. hat is especially true in the Hondon Valley where we mainly operate. Knowing the key features that buyers want helps us to source desirable properties and market them with carefully crafted property descriptions for our target audience.
So without further ado here are 10 top features that are attractive to the international buyers browsing Spanish properties through Kyero: ( source ) … not necessarily in this order of course!
When moving to a country with a warmer climate, the first thing on many searchers’ lists will be to make sure that their new property can keep them comfortable, even in the height of summer. In the Hondón area most people opt for the “inverter” types that can blow hot or cold air as it can be chilly in the winter.
Balcony / terrace
The MUST HAVE for northern Europeans used to wet and windy weather! So easy access to alfresco dining is always a tick-in-the-box for buyers are emigrating to a warm country like Spain. Hondon is mainly a sprawling landscape and affords large villas with large terraced plots so dining outside is no problem. Many envisage a life of breakfasting on the terrace in the morning sun.
Garden / outdoor space
And as well as a terrace many home buyers will be looking for more outdoor space. In Hondon the villas can have plots from 350 SqrM to 10,000 so again there will be something to fit this criteria. They want space to wander and breathe in the warmth of the air and feel the sunshine on their skin. Many would also enjoy the space to plant some flowers, or grow fresh produce perhaps that they could not have grown in their own country.
BBQ / outdoor grill / pizza oven
Can you see a theme emerging? Eating, socialising and spending time outdoors are huge motivating factors for international buyers coming from colder climates. As such, ready-made outdoor cooking facilities will always be a big plus. The larger villas often afford full size fitted kitchens outdoors… literally you’d never need to use the indoor one!
Whether for the kids or for fitness, a pool is often high on the list of priorities for international buyers looking to emigrate to sunnier shores. It’s the kind of luxury they might not have been able to justify at home, but will be a big attraction in their new life in Spain. The majority of villas in Hondon have a private pool. Luxury and a god-send in summer when it’s great to cool down, even at midnight!
International buyers will most likely want to make sure they have somewhere to park their car safely within easy reach of their property. Again, villas in the Hondon Valley area ar so large you can get several cars on the drive or plot. many have double garages or large carports to protect their car from the harmful heat and sun rays.
Large windows / stunning views
Even when they’re not outside, your international buyers will want to be able to see the outside space. A beautiful view, whether across the hills, a city-scape or the sea, will be a huge selling point. Even better if it comes with huge windows through which to view it.
Villas in Hondon are know for the large patios / nayas and conservatories with views of the Sierras… watch the sunset with a G&T from your lounge or naya is part of the dream tranquil life.
Walking distance to the beach
Not applicable to the Hondon Valley… If a buyer is looking for properties in a coastal location, one of the biggest questions on their lips will be, “How long will it take me to walk to the beach?” However, in Hondon they do want to know how long it takes to drive to a beach. Thankfully there are several from 35 to 50 minutes drive. So often they go out for the day with some town shopping or lunch.
More so than ever… we all need to be connected these days. So it can be vital for keeping in touch with family and friends back home, or for running a business from their new home. So it’s not surprising that international buyers prize a reasonable internet connection speed above many other things. Hondon has a few providers to help there and in general is very reliable but you may not get speeds as fast as your home country, Hondon is rural after all. But most manage and many people do work from home successfully.
Wine fridge / cellar
While probably not a deal breaker, a wine fridge or cellar can be a real bonus for international buyers looking forward to a new, relaxing and sociable lifestyle. It sells a vision of sitting on a sunny terrace sipping a chilled white rioja, and that dream is what will secure the deal.
Well? Do you agree? They are quite generic and not too surprising for us here in Hondon to be honest. Apart from 2 (Beach/Wine Cellar) they are often asked for in the Hondon Valley property market we serve. At home valuation time we note these and they will form part of our online property write-up.
CONTACT US: If you want to buy or sell your home in the Hondon Valley then Hondon Villas is a premium family agent for the area located in the Hondon de los Frailes high street. We have 15 years in the valley and Maureen Cook, the Director has 30+ years in real estate. We are AIPP registered for Pro’ standards and were voted Business of the Year 2015 by the Costa Blanca News.
Hondon Villas would advise all property vendors to get their home ready to sell. All parties: you, the agent and the buyer are wanting your property to look its best if it is to have a better chance to sell in this competitive market. You need to do your bit and get motivated and ready to sell.
Here are lots of tips to get you going.
What does that mean? Well our property partner RightMove have written an article on this. Here we have adapted it more to our target market. Please read on…
As we write we are in midst of the Covid-19 crisis and the uncertainty that brings. So the property market is paused right now and may be for a while. And is likely to be both slow to recover and more competitive when we do start up again. But you can at least get your home ready.
First Impressions Count, Twice!
The main thing to remember is that, as a seller, you get two opportunities to make a first impression to potential buyers. Please we cannot emphasise this enough. After all, another property is literally a click or two away if yours is dismissed.
Question: How do you feel about untidy / poorly maintained homes when you are house hunting? Did you dismiss some? So try looking through the buyer’s eyes.
No. 1: Photographs / Videos. Potential house-hunters will mainly see your home online, which means that your property needs to look shipshape for the photographs (and video if applicable). Make sure you are happy with your photographs from the agent. However, YOU have to make sure your home is looking top-notch when the photographer comes around. So clean-up, clear the bathroom toiletries, empty the washing line, tidy away food from the kitchen top, polish mirrors, tidy the garden, clean the pool… yes there is work to be done.
No. 2 : Home Visits. When people eventually come to view your home in real life, they want ‘curb appeal’. That is, as they drive up to and enter your property they want to be impressed. They will judge immediately. You don’t want to give then cause for complaint. We know as we talk to prospective buyers for viewing feedback and sometimes they say that within a few seconds they knew the house was not for them.
In both cases, you’ll want to make sure that your home looks as good as it can. Follow the tips below to ensure that you are ready to go.
Start Getting Ready Now!
So if you’re planning to sell then you can use the in-between time to be get your property ready now. Plan a few minutes a day to get this important step on track. Certain “heavier” tasks may not be possible right now but there are still lots of jobs you could be doing. (There is list below that will help).
Getting this done now will not only help to present you home better to buyers but save you lots of time when you need to sign over and move out.
Note down all your rooms and garden areas, walk around and LOOK, then look again. Be self-critical. What can you do realistically to make that room or place better? Make notes. You can then plan and prioritise, doing the worst areas first.
Speculate to Accumulate… So you may need to spend Money
As you survey your home, be prepared to do minor repairs: For example: e.g. fix cracked tiles, jet-wash the patio, fix a dripping tap, paint the gate or fence, clean the window frames or clear the rubbish away, etc. Consider getting trade or pro’ help if it needs it.
Fix and Finish Those D.I.Y. Jobs
Now could be the time to tick off all those annoying DIY jobs that you’ve been putting off. This will help make sure you’re not giving prospective buyers a reason to mark your house down because of something that doesn’t take too long to fix. Believe us, in a buyer’s market they will offer less if there are lots of things to fix.
Your garden can be the first thing that a potential buyer will see close up, so make sure that you give them a reason to smile straight away. Unruly gardens and pools can and do put people off.
Here are some smart moves that will make a big difference:
GARDEN / EXTERIOR
Cut the grass / clean the patios / terraces
Prune any overgrown hedges / palm trees
Give the fence panels a new lick of paint
Get rid of the weeds from your patio
Make sure that rickety gate isn’t about to fall off
Clean up any dog mess
Remove debris and rubbish
Clean the windows and doors
Clean the Pool (green water puts people off)
KITCHEN & BATHROOMS
Re-grouting the kitchen / bathroom tiles
Touching up the mastic in the bathroom
Refilling cracks and picture hooks
Taking limescale off the taps
Make it mould-free is a must
Store toiletries away where possible
Clean shower doors
Keep the toilet seat down
Keep worktops tidy
Keep utensils organised and food in cupboards
Put washing up away
Clean the windows
Tidy away any indication of pets being in the house
as your prospective buyer may not be a pet lover
Makeover, Declutter and Tidy-up your home
Think “Makeover”… That cluttered kitchen, purple walls or bedroom full of boxes & gym equipment will not help your cause: TO SELL! If house-hunters can visualise living in your property, they are more likely to walk around with keen interest. You want them to think they could live there.
Think neutral as by far, untidy clutter, bad decor or crowded rooms, puts people off as they cannot see “space” or potential.
It’s important to take some of your personality away from your property. So, as nice as you like it now, it may not be your prospective buyer’s ideal. So it is better to think the house has to go and right now attracting a new buyer is more important that your collection of ceramic frogs, crystal glass or garden gnomes.
So please, take the advice, to minimise and re-organise each room so it looks light, airy and spacious… and inviting. Make a room that can be used and enjoyed. If you don’t use that room. Why? Fix it for your potential buyers.
According to Changing Rooms star Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, this job is hugely important and should not be underestimated. Decluttering your home creates the illusion of roomier spaces and also means that you will be showing buyers around a clean and tidy home.
Also, try upcycling tired or worn-out furniture if you have some free time during lockdown. You could add new cushions, “throw-overs” or paint wood furniture (Shabby-Chic is still a quick and cheap way to go)
To be honest you will not fool a vendor to part with €100Ks if they don’t see what you claim. So, if you’ve marketed your home as having three-bedrooms, do your best to make sure there are three bedrooms, rather than two bedrooms and a study, gym or playroom.
Again, it comes back to visualisation and making it as easy as possible for buyers to imagine living in your home.
Darker rooms generally look smaller than lighter ones, and this can be a big turn off for potential buyers. So we’d suggest making sure that blinds are open, and curtains are apart, to flood your home with light.
Pay a lot of attention to Kitchens and Bathrooms. These two rooms are the most expensive for a buyer to upgrade. So show them at their best. They should at least look & smell clean, be bright and de-cluttered. Turn on lights (make sure bulbs work) to brighten up the room if needs be. Use candles or scents to make the house smell nice.
If you’ve made an effort to clean and declutter them, you’ll be giving potential buyers another reason to be positive about your home.
Having the Right Documents
It is very important in Spain to have all your property and personal documents up-to-date. It can cost you if not.
Your estate agent and solicitor will ask for various bits of paperwork throughout the selling process, so if you can gather together all the relevant documents ahead of time, you should avoid delays further down the line. Ask the agent what you need in advance, don’t wait until an offer comes in. At Hondon Villas a few house sales have been severly delayed or even fell through because the vendor’s paperwork was not up-to-date or incorrect.
A quick check for documentation / paperwork to consider rounding up:
Make a fixtures and fittings inventory
Passports, ID, Birth Certs, Marriage Certs
NIE, Suma (Community tax) Bills, Utility Contracts
Currency Exchange / Bank Details
Land Registry Title Deeds
Gas/Electric/Water checks completed by a registered engineer
Energy Efficiency Certification
Planning permissions / plans, like pools or annex buildings
Building regulation completion certificates
New build guarantee certificates for alterations or additions
Party wall agreements / Land (if relevant)
*Note: Some of the above may not be applicable and is not an exhaustive list. Ask your Lawyer.
OK, so what are you waiting for?
As you can see there is plenty to be getting on with. Alas we know many people leave it all to chance. This could affect your saleability, time on the market, the selling process and undue stress as time passes.
So try to do some of the tips on a regular basis so you keep on top of it all. You’ll be thankful you did.
If you need help or have any questions on the above article please contact Hondon Villas. Here are the contact points: email, phone and social media)
Approx’ 1 million Brits are living in Spain. We love it! Which means it is very doable and most of the headaches or hurdles have been conquered by those that have taken the plunge already. Good news indeed for new foreign workers and overseas home owners to this lovely part of Europe.
Hondon Villas can help of course and we have good connections and contacts who will assist you with legal paperwork, language, lifestyle, utilities, moving in and beyond. Let us know… 100% well be able to guide you for our geographical area. Our AIPP membership makes us duty bound to give you good, well meaning and honest info’ .
Get the Knowledge First: Of course there is lots to know and learn about the differences from one country to another. Spain has many, especially around property, work, legalities and culture. So, if you are thinking of coming here, then the more preparation and research you do before hand will help relieve the stress of your important life changing decision. Indeed, good knowledge will save you valuable time and possible minimise the costs you’ll incur to be here. Get wise and read up.
Speaking Spanish: Of course knowing the language is going to help a lot. It’ll speed things up and you’ll feel more in control. Having said that most foreigners in our area DO NOT speak Spanish so well and rely on interpreters but most lawyers and agents communicate in English in this area, such is the demand. You’ll get by but learning Spanish will help you integrate more.
Government Help: Both the Spanish and UK Governments have online help, official channels, consulates and experts in various fields to help along your journey. You’ll need to know how to change residency and register for health services or tax. The good news is, in Spain for a relatively small charge there are Gestors / Lawyers and Accountants that can help with all this. > UK Gov “Living Abroad” > UK Gov “Living In Spain” > Citizen Advice Bureau, Spain
Property Buyer’s Guides: Many real estate agents and well-known portals, like A Place in the Sun have property buyer’s guides that can be downloaded and read online. The AIPP/AIPO have your interests at heart and provide a list of approved agents and many useful downloads on property overseas. They also offer some FREE legal Advice. > AIPO Website > A Place in The Sun website (Buying, currency, legal, mortgages, viewing trips, tax) > Righmove Overseas Buyer’s Guide
Property Exhibitions: If you prefer to talk face-to-face, then before you buy or even come over to Spain, you could attend Property Shows and Trade Exhibitions, etc to meet experts and advisors. The large UK venues like Olympia, NEC, ExCel, etc are a good place to start. There are still some UK agents offering Inspection Tours (3~5 day trips to look at areas and houses).
Check you local press or search online for these exhibitions near you, they can really help fire you up to an overseas move and put your mind at rest that there is lots of help out there. You’ll be able to get specific advice rather than generic help online, by emailing or calling your questions to agents, lawyers, tax experts, employment agencies, etc. So make a list of concerns or questions pertaining to your circumstances and then find the expert you need to get answers.
Interact with Online Blogs, Groups and Social Media: Up-to-date information is key as Spain does tend to change rules and laws around property and its related topics. There are lots of social media groups to ask Expats or experts about the areas you are interested in. We run the “Hondon What’s On” page, our own Hondón property Facebook page and have a Hondon Villas Blog. But find one that suits you where you can interact with people already living in the area. It’s worth the time and effort.
Read Books and Magazines: There are also plenty of paperback books on life in Spain, buying or investing in Spanish Property available on Amazon or other eBook formats. Book stores will have some or can order them for you. Make sure they are up-to-date though.
If you need to ask us a question or are concerned about buying property in the Hondon Valley area, in any way here are the main points of contact. WEBSITE: WWW.HONDONVILLAS.NET OFFICE: +34 622 314 244 EMAIL: email@example.com FACEBOOK: facebook.com/hondonvillas/
We sell property in the Hondón Valley. And we sell more houses in this area than any other agent. We’ve lived and worked in the area for about 15 years… that longevity and experience is for you to take advantage of. Please let us help you buy or sell your Hondón Home. :-)
++ Every year so far we have beat the previous year’s sales figures. ++ Thank you for your support and please if you care about keeping local businesses alive ++ Over 1.8 million website views since we started! ++ We also know we sell more homes than any other agent in the area. ++ This graphic attached might illustrate our success a little (click to see in full – actually there are more, we just couldn’t fit them on). ++ We are honoured to have served so many people and lasted so long
Pop-in to our Hondon de los Frailes office (Main plaza) or visit our website for all contact points and the latest property for sale : www.hondonvillas.net Thanks Again : The Hondon Villas Team.
Thanks to Dino T. on Facebook for the following article / a quick guide to managing this crisis, for workers, business owners and residents during this CoronaVirus 19 Lockdown in Spain. #keepsafe #stayathome #coronavirus
No. #1 Be positive – we know how hard it is to be positive at the moment, but the law of attraction means that the more positive we are, the better things start to turn out. Life will go on, we will make a success out of the changes, however long things may take.
Protect your future business – before closing down, consider using ERTEs to be able to temporarily lay off staff, you can then take them back on again when business gets back to normal. Claim your one-off benefit from the state and register for the social security moratorium. Stay in touch with your Gestoria about what else you could do. Contact your customers to re-assure them that you will be back soon. How can you strengthen your business in the future? Who can you collaborate with? What opportunities will all these changes bring? How can your business help other local businesses?
Mortgage break – Most banks are now offering a Government backed scheme to have a moratorium of up to 6 months, that could give you the space you need to get back on your feet. You may need help filling in the forms from your bank or Gestoria.
Sort your rent out – pay it if you are able, look into what help might be available, ask your landlord for a payment break. Do not bury your head in the sands, landlords will be more flexible if you stay in touch with them.
Make sure your paperwork is up to date – register when you can on the “padron” at the town hall, check that your residencia is still valid, make sure your tenancy contract is up to date. Without these things, you may struggle to get help from authorities.
Don’t worry if the ITV inspection of your car is overdue – the centres are closed, so you won´t be fined. But remember to book it in as soon as they re-open and don’t drive your car if it is not roadworthy or insured.
Look after your physical and mental health and those around you – eating a balanced healthy diet, control your drinking, get some exercise, sing in the shower, share your problems, do deep breathing exercises, take up yoga, sleep regular timetables, leave your mobiles before bed, spend time with your children or pets.
Don’t worry about things that are out of your control. Read the news, but don’t obsess about it. Don’t get ill – things will seem worse if you get infected. Stay home unless essential. Don’t take risks with your health and those living in your household. When you do go out, use gloves and hand sanitizer, stay 2 metres away from people.
Check what benefits might be available – some new benefits are becoming available for those who don’t have the right to “paro” (unemployment). Find help if you don’t understand what you are reading. Consider what other employment or self- employment options may exist after the return.
Talk to Citizens Advice Bureau Spain about your problems and read their regular posts about benefits, tax, residency, etc… don’t ask on general sites because people may not know and inadvertently give you incorrect advice. Here is their excellent website.
Respect the workers – don’t get mad with health workers, town hall employees, supermarket workers, police. Instead thank them for their work and do everything you can to make their work easier and safer.
Focus on priorities – make an action plan and do something positive every day. Don’t ignore anything, be aware of what you need to do and when.
Prepare for the future you want – consider what kind of future you want, what would be your ideal work / business? Use the lockdown time to research your plans, making plans for the future will make you feel stronger.
Consider releasing monies that are tied up in savings plans and private pensions, but check if there are any penalties or tax disadvantages in doing so Consider renting out a room in your home to share expenses.
Share your experiences – how did you cope? Did you manage to get help from Social Security or the Tax Office? Share your experiences and help others. We are all in this together.
Show you care – call your closest friends, listen to their problems too, they are also suffering, remember that ¨a problem shared is a problem halved¨. Do something kind for friends and neighbours, it will also make you feel better.
Sell your stuff – when the lockdown ends, could you sell some of your valuable belongings? Maybe trade down your car for a cheaper model.
Consider going home – if you have exhausted all your options, be open to the idea of returning to your home country, especially if employment or business options will be brighter there. It is not failure, it is recognising when the time is right to do something different and moving on.
This article was first written and published b Dino Trubbianelli c2020 on Facebook. Please support his website “Visit Albir”.
Hola! thank you for your visit.
If you are looking to buy or sell property in the Hondón Valley area, please consider Hondón Villas, a local family business for 15 years. We are passionate about property and can advise & hold your hand throughout the process. Our office is in the main Frailes plaza, open Mon-Fri 10.00-17-00 and by appointment at evenings and weekends, WEBSITE : WWW.HONDONVILLAS.NET