|Published:||21 Jun at 6 PM|
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For expats giving up and returning to the UK before Brexit, selling your Spanish home isn’t as straightforward as it seems.
Selling a property in Spain is tougher as regards bureaucracy than the process of purchasing. The easy part is finding a buyer, especially nowadays as the number of Brits buying property and emigrating before Brexit kicks in ensures a steady flow of interest usually leading to a quick sale. It’s essential for sellers to have the help of experts in the legal process, but there are several ways in which the householder can speed up the sale.
Unless the buyer is offering cash, completion will take around two months from acceptance of an offer. Getting the price right is crucial if a fast move is required, with searching online for similar properties a useful tool when setting a price. Using a real estate agent for a valuation is another way to ensure you’re not overpricing. Although it’s unlikely you’ll need to pay capital gains tax, non-resident sellers will be liable for a 3 per cent withholding tax, a fact of which many sellers don’t seem to be aware until completion. For those to whom this is an unpleasant shock, your local Spanish tax lawyer can reclaim the paid amount.
Understanding how real estate agents calculate their fees will help you smooth the sales process considerably, as there are several different methods. Fees can be factored into the full cost of the property or can be paid as commission at a negotiated rate after the sale is completed. Given that many buyers nowadays are in a mad rush to get out of the UK before March next year, a good strategy is to include furnishings and fittings in the deal, allowing the buyer to move in as soon as the formalities are complete. Kitchen appliances in particular are desirable, as are beds.
Once you’ve sold your property, you’ll need to remit the amount back to the UK via a bankers’ draft from your Spanish bank, costing you a fee of up to several hundred euros. Exchanging your nest egg back to pounds sterling will cost around one per cent of its total value, often a sizeable amount of cash. Also, sterling is having a hard time due to fears over Brexit and, if you’d rather wait to exchange your euros, getting a euro denominated account with a friendly offshore bank will keep your cash safe until the exchange rate improves.
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