Buying a house in Gran Canaria
How to find a house
Most people buy through estate agents however it s still possible for private sales, be aware of private sales though and employ a very good lawyer to make sure you don't get burnt.
Estate agents tend to advertise in their shop windows, in the newspapers Canarias7 and La Provincia and on the website www.segundamano.com. However there are also many housing newspapers that you can pick up in garages and newsagents. Shop around though sellers seem to put on whatever price they want and it may be much more than the actual value of the property.
Prices in Gran Canaria are generally cheaper than northern Europe but not by much and locations such as Las Canteras in Las Palmas and certain regions in the south are more than the average UK price for example. There aren't the bargains there were 5-10 years ago. The price of property is decided by the seller and often has very little relation to its actual value. As banks will only lend according to the value of the property make sure the price you pay is equal to or below the price it is officially valued at otherwise you may run into problems when applying for a mortgage. Ask the seller to provide you with an official tasacion (value) that is under 6 months old.
What to watch out for
There are many rogue builders and house sellers in the Canary Islands, especially when selling older properties in the country. Before you part with any cash make sure you have all the paperwork checked over by an INDEPENDENT lawyer. We cannot stress how important that it is to have the papers checked over, we can speak from personal experience We had the paperwork checked by the estate agent's lawyer and we had paperwork problems the lasted 3 years, inability to take out a mortgage and building delays of over 2 years. Have a look at our directory of English lawyers.
Costs of buying a house
The taxes, lawyers fees, mortgage fees etc. will add up to about 10% of the value of the house.
You will probably be told you can't haggle, this is not true. Depending on the property and the seller I have heard of buyers getting up to 40% off the price, however 10-20% is more likely. Having said that some people will laugh in your face if you even ask for 100 euros off the price.
Where to buy
Research the area well.
Climate - There are different climates throughout the island and some places get quite cold and wet in the winter.
New roads etc. - New roads, quarries etc are being built all the time, make sure they are not going to build one in front of your house.
Adjoining buildings - In the cities check the planning permissions for any adjoining buildings, it is very possible that one day you will have sea views and the next day views into someone else's bedroom.
Overall, just be careful. If you take care every step of the way you will not have any problems.