If you see a property that you like that doesn't have an advertised price beware! We spent a morning with a Spanish estate agent looking at properties for sale in Valencia and we were given a price for each as we saw it. I managed to peak at his catalogue when he wasn’t looking and it showed prices that were well below what he was telling us. So beware, different prices depending on who is buying.
The next tip is when you show an interest in a property do not to let them bully you into a sale. They will want to secure a sale with a deposit from you. Just tell them you need to run it past your solicitor. There should be no pressure to leave a deposit.
In Spain you don't need a solicitor to buy a property but it is well worth employing one as a safeguard. We had seen a Spanish property that we liked but it had no electricity and no drinking water. So we asked if it was possible to have mains electric and were shown nearby pylons and told it would not be a big problem. However we saw the same property in a different estate agent at a lower price. This agent told us straight off that there would be no electricity and we would need to use a generator and that water was agricultural and we would need to by drinking water.
There are several ways to have drinking water in your Spanish home. Firstly you can have a clean source laid; you can build a tank and buy it by the tanker; you can sink a well which would you need to have tested for impurities; or you can buy bottled water.
Another reason for using a solicitor is that they will check for outstanding bills; whether there are any planning applications involved near the property; and whether the property has all the relevant paperwork. Does it have a habitation certificate? Will you need to contribute for local road improvements?
Another property we liked was fed by mains water and had its own well but no electricity and we would have liked to extend it to build a workshop. We were told by this local estate agent that there were plans for a new motorway but it would be far enough away not to bother us.
Luckily the solicitor told us that the motorway would be less than a hundred metres from the property and the consequence of this was, as well as the noise and pollution, was that we would not be able to make any alterations or bring in electricity lines.
It is also possible to go to the Ayuntamiento (local council) and ask about planning in your area.
Finally you may be aware of "black money". This is where the price you pay can be split into two with part being paid for the official translation and the balance handed over out of sight of the Notario but in a room provided. This is not a good thing for you as when you sell the property your taxable profit will seem higher.