Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Au Revoir Sal

All of us at Valencia Property would like to say a big thankyou and good luck in the future to Sal, our genius secretary who is leaving us because of family reasons. I am sure there are plenty of clients who would like to thank Sal for all of her help and any mails sent to her old mail address, will be passed on.
This now leaves us rather short handed over the next few months until our new secretary arrives in September. Therefore please bear with us during this time. It does mean however that all of the little extra jobs that Sal did free for people such as translating at schools, dealing with Telefónica constantly, even reporting a theft near Madrid at the local Guardia Civil for a whole morning etc... cannot now be covered from our workforce as we are just too busy. We will from now on recommend translators to accompany you and professionals for certain services that we previously did but obviously they will have charges. Our free included services are still spelt out on the back of our promotional folders that you receive on arriving and looking at houses with us.
Good luck in the future Sal and you know you are welcome back at any time.

Monday, May 29, 2006

VP in The Costa Blanca News

The project that we donated money to in Cameroon was featured in the Costa Blanca News last week. To view the article go here
Remember that if you wish to contribute and to sponsor a child in the school in Malima there is a sponsorship form at and from there you will be given all of the information that you may need.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Where you can see our new houses

We have a bit of a problem, as you will have noticed, that we get so busy we don't have time to update our wesite regularly enough. Therefore we have taken out advertising now with Kyero and our properties can immediately be uploaded to their page for you to look at. This means that when you are planning your visit, if the website hasn't been updated for a time, take a look at our page on Kyero and you will see our latest properties along with all of the others we advertise there. If any of the houses or flats on the page tickle your fancy then get back in touch before you come and tell us you want to see those too.
The VP Team

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Be Careful Out There

Sal will be helping out a client in the Guardia Civil tomorrow morning after he was robbed today by a policeman, supposedly. Driving down to his house, he was just north of Madrid when he was forced off the road by a police type car, with the passenger of this showing his identification. The car parked in front, a guy dressed as a policeman got out and showed credentials. He claimed that our client had paid at the garage using false notes and asked to see his money. He then insisted on searching the bag of the man's wife and also looked in other bags in the car before going to consult his colleague and hightailing it out of there. Then our client falls for it and realises he is a lot poorer for the experience.
This is happening a lot to foreign registered cars in central Spain so the police recommend the following.
Never get out of the car until you are sure of identification
Lock the car doors.
Wait for the police, in a marked police car, to arrive.
Make an emergency call if necessary.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sunday Times and Telegraph

The area to the north of Valencia, the Costa del Azahar was featured in the Sunday Times yesterday just as it was in the Telegraph a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately for the researchers on the paper of the four featured properties in the Sunday Times only two were really on the Costa Del Azahar. Nevertheless the article made some very good points and continues the trend to feature Valencia positively in the National Press in the UK and on the TV too with Valencia featured in A Place in The Sun a couple of weeks ago and recommended as the fourth best place to buy in the World by a certain Ms Lamb as mentioned below.
It's good to see a very positive spin on Valencia recently because in the past when the dreaded LRAU law existed people were wary of buying here when really there was not much to worry about if homework was done for you and you did your own investigation.
We are currently extending our range into the area North of Sagunto in order to take into account this very pretty yet rather underdeveloped coast. However we will never promote the ridiculous and rampant expansion that is the Marina D'Or development!

A Typical Working Day

Just a few things today to show what we spend our lives doing at
Today being a Monday is generally the busiest day of the week as things build up over the weekend so we sort them on Monday. The last three Mondays have been holidays, Easter, San Vicente and Mayday (OK for some I hear you say) but today it was back to normal.
I had meetings this morning about three mortgages that we are arranging and one mortgage in Estepona was completed, ie signed, sealed and delivered. We arranged valuations tomorrow for another and we are awaiting the final offer on two others. I also had meetings in Valencia with lawyers representing our clients and insurance companies that insure our clients' properties.
Both Tim and Diana were with clients with widely differing requirements, one wanting a good class of chalet and another wanting a flat in Valencia. All of our photographers were out taking pictures of properties that will soon be loaded onto our web and the office was sorting out problems with Telefonica for people (as usual), organising visits for clients for later this week, fielding calls from clients needing help with schools, cars and other purchases and translations and liaising with banks with the fax to send P60's, payslips and other info for clients. We were also making sure from the office that we all knew what each of us was doing!
Of course I had a break to watch Sven's ridiculous squad selection for the World Cup and then we started talking to clients due to arrive soon about their requirements. I glanced at a few of our competitors websites just to check and was pleased to find that as usual we have our houses at much cheaper prices than others, usually between 6-12000 Euros cheaper because we don't charge the seller anything and therefore don't add 3% onto the price. If we notice anything more expensive we immediately get in touch with the owner and find out why. Then we can generally reduce it to below anyone else's price.
It is now half past five and I need to get out to see some clients who bought from us some time ago to make sure that everything is OK.
I hope this gives you an idea of the hectic schedule that we have here.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Telefónica and Late Builders

We have moved the office and because of a bit of a mix up with dates, builders and new tenants we have been left officeless temporarily. The new office will probably be in Olocau on La Lloma estate when the building is finished but that date keeps getting put back by our builder so currently we are working from our registered office in C/ Valencia 57.
The worst problem was Telefónica, isn't it always?, They left us without our phone line for a week so if you have been trying to get in touch on our office number of 902747425 you now can and Sal will be there to sort out your problems and queries as always. Sorry for any inconvenience and remember we also have the new Skype numbers (See Below) if you are calling from the UK.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

New Skype Numbers

As a new service for those calling us from the UK we have new SkypeIn numbers for you to ring us on. You can reach our office between 9.30am and 2pm (Spanish Time) on 0161 408 5712 and you can reach Graham when online on 0161 408 5711 at any time. If no answer is forthcoming then leave a message with a number to get back to, an email address and a Skype name if you have one and we will try to get back to you as soon as possible.

All the Best
The VP Team

Local Tradespeople

We have often been asked by our clients to recommend local tradespeople, Spanish or English, to do jobs and we happily do so. We don’t do it for a backhander, we do it as a service but some people prefer to try and stand on their own two feet.

Unfortunately some of those that we do not recommend tend to con people out of money and then do a runner. Such is the case of one of our clients whose so called builder took 18000 Euros for an extension, promising planning permission through a local architect, took an extra 2500 Euros to pay the architect, who never received a penny, and took the roof off the house before leaving it open to the elements in October last year, the rainy season here by the way. The inside damage is around 10000 Euros. It turns out that another company are finishing the job for 18000 Euros, our hero’s original quote was for 36000 Euros so our client will only be out of pocket for the extra architect’s fees and a fine from the council for building illegally although they were wanting to do it legally.

Well it turns out that our hero has also botched a job for a large disco in Valencia and the insurance company are suing him. If you are thinking of having some work done don’t employ this cowboy. (And just in case he changes his sobriquet, he is half Welsh, half Spanish and works from Betera and if you phone us to verify we will tell you his name in case you are worried)

Some people say that recommendations from estate agencies are flawed because they have agreements with tradespeople to pay a commission. If you believe this fine but please get at least three recommendations from people that have had work done by the person or company concerned before committing hard earned cash to projects. We have experience of many tradespeople and we generally know who the reputable companies are so ask for help.

All The Best
The VP Team

The Market

Rumours are abounding that the market is taking an upturn as people are selling up in Bulgaria, Croatia and other eastern European destinations and heading back to France and Spain. Apparently the cheap prices don’t make up for the lack of home comforts, alien culture and feeling of being just a short hop back to Blighty for a quick visit. We have noticed that the 2/3 year itch is having its effect here too with lots of Brits selling up and moving on, either into larger places here (Or in some cases into the towns when the novelty of keeping the pool clean wears off) or back to the UK taking advantage of the capital gain they have earnt by buying and renovating here. Agents in Javea and Denia are reporting more enquiries in the first three months of this year than in the whole of last year, which was a very slow time in that area.
Here in Valencia the market continues to be pushed by the impending large events such as the America’s Cup and the extension of the airport and other communications. Prices continue to be reasonable but we all wish we could go back three years to when prices were giveaways. There are still bargains with huge potential for capital gain in the long and medium term available although the rental market continues to lag behind when looking for good yields based on price paid.
Our latest update has quite a few excellent buys and a couple of beautiful new build properties in Olocau. It seems that some sellers are more willing to negotiate on price than previously too especially for flats in Valencia. One client in the capital has reduced their flat by 94000 Euros in price. You still need to be very rich to buy it but maybe expectations are becoming more realistic.

All The Best
The VP Team


Mortgages and Valuations

Recently we have been organising a lot of mortgages for people, extensions to existing ones, new mortgages for buyers and mortgages for those who already have a house but need to finance renovation or just want to release some money. So we thought it was time to explain the rather eclectic way that banks grant mortgages here.

Firstly, the price of the house bears no relation to the mortgage offer. The only thing that matters is the valuation because a percentage will be offered based on that valuation. The valuers are independent from the banks supposedly so give a true market valuation. (And I am Santa Claus) Our best disparities are the following, a house for sale for 327000 Euros was valued at 760000 and one for sale at 220000 was valued at 144000 because it was on rustic land. Therefore it is quite difficult to give an accurate idea of how much the bank will offer a potential purchaser unless you can get a prevaluation from the valuer who will be valuing the house to give a rough idea of how much will be offered.

Secondly you will need quite a lot of papers to get a mortgage, all of which can be organised but you need to be aware that the papers the bank originally ask for will possibly need to be complemented by your life story as the process moves along. Expect a non resident offer of 70% for the mortgage based on the fairy story of the valuation but 80% can be obtained for “good” clients. For good read rich!

Lastly, the rules have recently changed in banking to not allow the declared price of a house to be less than 80% of the mortgage amount. To give an example if your mortgage is 200000 Euros you must declare at least 160000 Euros on the deeds even if your actual purchae price bears no relation. This is an attempt by the government to put pressure on the banks to stop overlending and to put an end to the practice of underdeclaration on the deeds. If in the above case the declared price was 150000 Euros there would now be supposedly an immediate investigation by the taxman into the operation. Also let us assume that you were buying for 250000 Euros in the above case, the procedence of the extra money must be accounted for, where did you get it from? Our advice is that it is stupid to underdeclare by 90000 Euros on a sale because the taxman will catch up with you. Decide yourself which is better, 7% tax on purchase price or 30% on capital gain on sale price if and when you move (For non residents, residents pay 15%).

Rates remain low with the average mortgage currently being set at 3.5% but expect that rate to change to around 4% by the end of the year. Rates are fixed in general for one year and then variable every year after at Euribor base rate plus a differential which varies between 0.5% and 1.25% depending on the client, the bank and the risk involved.

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About Me

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