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What to Look Out for When Buying a Costa del Sol Property


All the signs point to 2014 as being a good year for the Costa del Sol property market, particularly in resorts like Marbella where agents are predicting price rises over the next 12 months.

However, the property market is still a long way off booming and it remains a buyer’s market with plenty of choose from, particularly if you’re looking for an apartment or townhouse. Many of these properties are cheap, but, as always in a market where supply exceeds demand, they are cheap for a reason.

Here is a short guide to what to look out for when buying a Costa del Sol property.

Illegal Developments

The construction boom included illegal developments. The reasons for the illegality include building on land not designated for construction, lack of planning permission or not following planning permission specifications. Such developments exist on the Costa del Sol and many of these, particularly in Marbella, are in the process of legalisation, but this isn’t true for all of them.

When looking at buying in a development, take independent legal advice before you pay or sign anything.

Unfinished Developments

The abrupt end to the boom years left many developments unfinished. While the properties themselves may be finished, the communal elements, e.g. pool, underground parking spaces, etc. may not be complete. And they may never be.

An unfinished development can also affect other infrastructure such as access roads or shops, which were not built because the development was not finished.

Ask yourself if the low price compensates for the lack of facilities and ask your lawyer to find out what will be built in the future.

Partially-sold Developments

There are quite a few properties on the Costa del Sol in developments where not many of the properties have been sold. This lack of owners can mean the development is often empty (and possibly less secure because of this). More importantly, it can lead to problems with the maintenance of the community because of lack of fees.

Ask yourself if the low price makes up for few neighbours and possible community issues.

Remote Developments

Lack of building space in the Costa del Sol resorts led to the construction of developments in remote areas and in some cases, right off the beaten track. As a result, these developments can be difficult to access and/or a long way from main roads and amenities. Their remoteness might also make them less secure.

Ask yourself if the cheap price tag is worth the extra driving and possible lack of security.

Andalusian Lawyers’ Top Tip

When looking at a property on a new or unestablished development, ask yourself:

  • What’s missing?
  • Who are the owners?
  • How long does it take to get here?

Remember, the property should be attractive to you as the owner, holidaymakers if you’re planning to holiday let your Costa del Sol property and future buyers. And always take independent legal advice.


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