Thousands of new apartments and houses across Spain lie empty for months, even years. If you look in their windows, the image of many is pretty grim, dusty, grimy and very uncared for. It doesn’t matter what you intend to do with a second home or investment property, at some point it needs to be furnished.
But I am going to sell it!
Even more reason to furnish it. There’s nothing more off putting for potential buyers than viewing an unfurnished house. In fact, with regards to saleability, it puts it on a par with those decorated with “bad taste”. You have to remember that most people have made their mind up as soon as they have entered the front door, and as I mentioned above, an unfurnished home can be very unwelcoming and even a bit sinister. Also, many house hunters lack imagination and vision, you have to spell it out for them.
When you are selling a house or an apartment, you are selling a lifestyle so you need to create this by selecting furniture to create a desired “look”. As you are probably aware, after a trend in buying off-plan a couple of years ago, everyone is competing to sell, which gives you even more reason to make the effort and furnish your property.
But I am going to rent it out unfurnished!
All those people who can’t sell on their off plans are forced to rent them out. Again, you are up against stiff competition in the rental market. You have to bear in mind your market. Most people renting in Spain are British who have come out for a bit to “test the water”, or they have sold up and are looking for somewhere to buy. Either way they are unlikely to have furniture with them. The former will still have their furniture in their home back in the UK and the latter will have got rid of a lot with a view to starting fresh depending on what they buy in Spain.
I will sort it out when I am next out there on holiday!
Well, make it an extended holiday and make sure you are super organised. In fact, don’t bank on a holiday at all because furnishing a property in Spain is different to furnishing a property that you live in back in the UK. For a start, you are familiar with the shops, the names, the brands etc and you know who to trust back home. You are under pressure to get it done quickly here as you still have your commitments work etc in the UK. The pressure often results in panic buying that you regret. Also, it is when you are under pressure to shop in a restricted time span that you end up wasting money as you haven’t time to shop around. You have to be careful as I have discovered huge price discrepancies in Spain, especially where furniture is concerned.
So, where do I start?
Think seriously about what you intend to do with the property.
If you want to sell it, think about who your target market would be and what kind of interior would appeal to them.
If you want to rent it out, think about what kinds of furnishing are most durable and resilient e.g. stain resistant fabrics.
Measure rooms carefully, then sketch floor plans, rooms and furniture arrangements on graph paper. Even better, make cutouts of furniture you can move around. Or, look for room-layout software. Keep traffic flow in mind: You don't need a straight shot through each room, but avoid obstacle courses.
Measure doorways and stairways to be sure furniture can reach its intended spot. Always carry a tape measure when shopping.
Have a look at some interior magazines, Spanish and English.
Visualise a desired look.
Think of a theme.
Choose some colours.
Have a realistic budget in mind.
Talk to people. Go on the expat forums on the internet and ask for advice. Perhaps, use a company that you trust to do a complete furniture package for you. This would save you a lot of leg work, petrol and time.