Purchasing property in Extremadura

There are numerous websites that provide info on the legal process involved in purchasing a property in Spain, so I don't intend to re-hash that here. Instead, let's focus on a number of points that are key in Extremadura.

The first important issue is communication. As is explained in the article on language learning, you'll encounter few English speakers in Extremadura. They do exist and can help you greatly, but inevitably create dependence on them. You'll need basic Spanish at some point in the house-buying process and/or dealing with tradesmen afterwards, so it's best to face up to that fact from the outset. Anyway, what's the point of getting away from all the masses of ex-pats and coming to unspoilt Spain if you then can't talk to anyone? A few evening classes beforehand will give you the platform to enjoy your experience; what's more, the locals are understanding of mistakes and really appreciate your effort.

All of the above is why I recommend renting when you first arrive. Doing so for a time enables you to get a feel for a town/village before you buy (even if just as a second home), while also exploring other places in the area. At the same time, you'll be able to gain confidence in your Spanish and begin meeting the locals. Moreover, you'll have the chance to back out without incurring ridiculous expense if you realise unspoilt Spain perhaps isn't what you expected or want.

Getting to know people is crucial when purchasing property, as society in Extremadura very much relies on networking. For example, relatively few jobs are advertised, with a large proportion of vacancies being filled through word of mouth. This phenomenon can be extending to rural house-buying. In recent years many estate agents in towns and cities have sprung up as a mini property boom has taken place, but large numbers of properties, especially farms and land in the country, are still sold privately, often through an informal "fixer" called a corredor, rather than a formal estate agent. Such a process may sound dodgy, but is fine so long as you get an impartial lawyer to check out the deeds, etc, a common ploy being to sell land without planning permission/mains water/electricity or with illegally erected buildings on it.

Just don't get too discouraged by my remarks, as these (surmountable) barriers mean foreigners seldom take the plunge and so prices aren't artificially inflated. Add in the fact that Extremadura is still one of the poorest regions in Spain and property suddenly looks extremely cheap for the northern European pocket.

If you apply the rationale that we have to encounter and suss out honest and crooked people all over the world, while also taking into account their local society, the purchasing process can become part of your adventure in Extremadura.
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