THE key to buying easily re-saleable property lies in making sure that a property has as few obstacles as possible for potential future buyers. By obstacles, I mean serious things that would put people off buying and that, unlike the colour of the walls or type of furnishings, cannot be changed.
Let me illustrate what I mean, by taking an example of, say: a villa. Imagine our villa is on a popular, high density foreigner-owned estate, situated on a hillside with lovely views of the sea. The pool is at the bottom of the property and the villa has been cut into the hillside (along with its neighbours). It has two bedrooms, dedicated parking at roadside level and has some ten or so steps down to the villa entrance. It is reasonably new and in good condition with the nearest village a 5/10 minute drive away along a well-made road that snakes down to the bottom of the estate. The villa is being sold for a price within your budget and is, in fact, a reasonably common type of villa found in many areas along the coastline of Spain.
So, what are obvious obstacles to a future buyer?
Well, firstly, many steps up or down to the entrance of a villa are a minus and are likely to put off anyone old or infirm or someone with very young children or grandchildren. Secondly, a two bedroom villa will rarely be sufficient for anyone considering buying the villa for full time life in Spain, whether a Spaniard or international buyer. Thirdly, because the villa is on a high density foreigner-owned estate (quite far from a village) any prospective future buyers are likely to be only foreigners not Spanish. Fourth, the snake- like road will put off some drivers, particularly older drivers unused to continental driving.
What does this mean?
It means that the potential number of buyers for this villa is probably quite small. Indeed, you may be left looking for a buyer who is from outside of Spain and who is reasonably fit, who has no small children (or grandchildren), who is a confident driver (as well as their partner) and who wants the villa only for holiday use. Clearly, that would not be easy!
By comparison imagine, for example, buying an almost identical villa that lacks steps to the entrance. All of a sudden, the villa will be suitable for many older people, those who have some infirmity and anyone with young children. The obstacle to finding buyers who are not nervous drivers and who are Spanish have not been removed but at least you will have the chance of selling to a much wider range of buyers than before.
My point, of course, is that buying a property should always be about re-saleability and that, for a wise buyer, is about assessing a property carefully (and objectively) to ensure that the maximum number of future buyers will find the property desirable. Location (that old cliché!) is vital but far from everything.
Of course, it is important that a property looks lovely but that is often very subjective and not the most important element. After all, where the safety of young children is concerned or when someone is elderly and infirm then buyers will (even if only at the last moment!) almost certainly tend to choose safety and ease of life over everything else…
Nick Snelling is the author of five books including ‘How to Buy Spanish property and Move to Spain – Safely!’ and runs the information site Culture Spain