Sean Woolley is a Spanish Property Expert and Author of From the Ground Up – The Insider’s Guide to Buying Spanish Property. In this article, we ask Sean what impact the events of 2020 have had on house hunting in Spain.
After a very tough and extreme lockdown, we have entered the “new normal”. Many things have changed in all aspects of the way we’re living now, and international property hunters need to be prepared for how these changes will affect their search.
To help prepare you, Sean has answered some questions about viewing properties in the “new normal”.
Luxurious Magazine: If I am unable to travel to Spain, do international real estate agents offer virtual home tours?
Sean Woolley: Virtual viewings have become the “new normal” for overseas real estate agents. We have been using them so that our buying clients can effectively shortlist properties from the comfort of their own home, with the aim of physically viewing their selected options when they are able to comfortably travel to Spain.
For clients who are already well-researched and familiar with the areas, there has sometimes been no need to physically visit. Armed with a high-quality camera, a gimbal and a wide-angle lens, we have been able to conduct live walk-through video chats and to produce beautifully edited videos which are almost as good as the real thing.
During the later stages of lockdown, we were able to broker deals on two luxury villas in Marbella – one of them priced at €1.5m, purely based on virtual viewings.
LM: What is the mask etiquette when touring properties at the moment?
Sean Woolley: In most parts of Spain, laws require the wearing of face masks in all public spaces, and this also applies to property tours. Here in Andalucia, when we take clients out on viewings, we are armed with extra masks and hand sanitiser. We tend to restrict the length of our tours to 4 or 5 properties at a time as we have found that most clients (as well as our property consultants) find mask-wearing too restrictive after 3 or 4 hours of constant use.
LM: Are there lots of bargains to be had now?
Sean Woolley: This pandemic has caused some pricing corrections on previously over-priced properties, and there will be some good deals to be found, but do not expect general discounting in the market. We expect to see some developers offering price reductions during the second half of 2020, but don’t think these will be widespread because demand has held up pretty well, despite the pause in the market caused by the lockdown.
LM: How has the trend for homeworking affected international buyers?
Sean Woolley: Due to the fact we were all forced to work from home due to COVID and everyone has seen how well it can work, I have already seen a change in buyers who want to use this new trend and increased job flexibility to their advantage, using their Spanish property as a full-time base and commuting back to work as and when they are needed in the office.
Of course, it depends on how flexible your bosses are, where you’re based and how well you work from home, but it’s definitely an option for buyers working in the UK, Ireland, Italy, France and Northern Europe.
I’ve had clients buy a holiday home and then realise that they prefer the lifestyle and that the lower cost of living means that taking regular flights and perhaps staying in an Airbnb every month makes financial and practical sense, so it is well worth considering as part of your purchasing decision.
For more information, top tips and tricks to ensure your Spanish property purchase goes smoothly read From the Ground Up – The Insider’s Guide to Buying Spanish Property, which is now available on Amazon.
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