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EU Property Solutions- Experts in all Spanish property issues

EU Property Solutions offer professional assistance and advice in all areas of European property in particular, Spain. We can help provide strategies and solutions to solve problematic property issues, negotiate with lenders on debts, help reclaim lost deposits on unfinished developments and help with repossessions and mortgage arrears across Europe. We have offices in London, Belfast and Spain.

Can a Spanish Debt be collected in the UK?
12 April 2021

Recently we have seen a large increase in enquiries from people who have mortgages overseas, specifically in Cyprus and Spain asking the question of “Can a foreign debt be collected in the UK?”. Many are concerned with some loan sales now being undertaken by Banks across Europe, as the Banks at last look to clear all problematic debt and tidy up their ‘books.’

Such problematic debt cases include:

  • Those in arrears, be it one month or multiple months behind on mortgage payments.
  • Unaffordable repayments brought about as mortgage products moved from interest-only to Capital repayment.
  • Negative Equity on Property.

Many people think merely ignoring a foreign mortgage debt problem will see it go away. Yes – a lot of time has elapsed since the 2008 crash but like elephants, these Banks do not forget! 

Banks are still relatively civil in most instances providing there is engagement in some form, but across the board – their patience is wearing thin. They are employing the following approaches to close troublesome mortgage accounts, to name but a few:

  1. Applying for European Enforcement Orders,
  2. Appointing strong legal firms to enforce in the UK,
  3. Making their own enquiries as the people’s worth/assets, and
  4. Most worryingly for our clients, the sale of loans to Vulture Funds…the name should be a clue as to how they conduct themselves…not so civil!

Foreign Banks in the main are still approachable. As ever it’s a case of the right type of engagement, usually undertaken by a trusted party.

Some people believe that this ability to chase foreign debt in the UK, as provided for under Cross Border Claims EC 44/2001, will diminish with Brexit.

We do not see this happening as the EU will still be our main trading partner and such provisions ensure safer trade conditions for all.

Under law, anyone, including Bank’s and any other foreign trading entity can secure a Judgement in their country and then bring this to the UK and apply for a European Enforcement Order.

This Order when granted, and they usually are, enables the creditor to pursue clients here in the UK, which can, in turn, see UK assets such as homes, businesses and in some instance’s pensions, come under threat.

The legal costs in such recovery actions can be horrific and payable by the debtor as well.

As ever we use the mantra of #KnowtheWorstAchievetheBest.

Definitive advice is imperative. Relying on uninformed opinions is no good for those facing this sort of situation. Relying on ‘bar room’ legal opinions is dangerous – especially when these opinions that may suit your arguments, are wrong.

In conclusion, if you face foreign mortgage problems, get the best advice you can. If it goes wrong, then you will be pursued at some time. Do not ignore the issues, seek out professional help to know your options.



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Spanish Mortgage Issues
08 April 2021

Are you unsure if your property is in Negative Equity?

Negative Equity occurs when the current loan or mortgage balance secured on a property is higher than the current market value of the property. Subsequently, some borrowers refer to them as Negative Mortgages.

For example, if a borrower’s current mortgage balance is €150,000; but a recent comparable property may have sold for €100,000 (before selling costs of c8-10%)…this borrower is in Negative Equity and faces a mortgage shortfall of €50,000+.

Such Spanish property issues/shortfalls are due and payable in full as and when the property is sold or disposed of.

We have had contact with and helped many hundreds of people who purchased in Spain and across Europe at the height of the crazily inflated market, pre-2008.

These couples and individuals took out huge mortgages which were too readily available. These scenarios in turn later left the majority of mortgage holders in some form of financial difficulty. Leaving them exposed to an asset with falling value.

Many who still own a property in Negative Equity feel trapped. They are unable to move on, being dubbed ‘mortgage prisoners’ or ‘Stuck in the Sun’.

We are experts in Spanish Mortgage Law; assisting borrowers who still suffer from a Negative Equity loan.  We and our hand-picked legal teams work with all lenders across Spain. We can tailor our services based on your circumstances and lender.

A recent example saw us settle a Negative Equity position on a proposed sale of c€120,000 for £25,000 including costs. Genuine telephone testimonials are available to support our work.

Borrowers often bury their head in the sand. They face the very real risk of Spanish mortgage default or Spanish mortgage repossession. These scenarios can be life-changing and will expose your UK Assets and Income.



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Community Fees & IBI Taxes
08 April 2021

Have you fallen behind on Community Fees & IBI Taxes? If so, read on!

We assist people daily who have significant mortgage arrears and missed community fee payments. Many borrowers who purchased properties in Spain were not aware of costs such as Community Fees and IBI taxes. These additional costs and Mortgage Debt in Spain can result in significant stress.

Community fees are owed to Community Presidents in Spain. These Presidents are charged with ensuring the community in which you have purchased is visibly up to scratch – for example, the maintenance of common areas, swimming pool cleaning, and general upkeep of grounds.

It is important for borrowers to keep up to date with these fees as debt collection can be instructed by Presidents in Spain to the UK and Irish Debt Collection Agents.

If you cannot pay your Spanish mortgage and fall into arrears, then your mortgage balance will increase.

Missed payments are added to the balance along with penalties and interest. Furthermore, you risk legal action and ultimately you are putting your home assets and income at risk if you do not act.

If you cannot maintain payments on your Spanish property, then swift action is needed. If you act quickly through an intermediary then the matter can be brought under control and an amicable and desirable outcome achieved.



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What If I Die Before My Overseas Mortgage Expires?
29 October 2020

A tough question but a common theme our team experience.

Demographically speaking, a majority of our clients are those of retirement age who purchased property during the boom period in Europe pre-2008. There have been multiple occasions where we have received enquiries from people who have advised their mortgage term will last long into their 80’s.

Firstly, this is evidence of “loose-lending” and pre-2008 many lenders did NOT follow proper protocol. Since then many Central Banks’ have become tighter and increased regulation on lending across Europe. Ask the question of how a Bank deems someone of retirement age able to repay a capital repayment mortgage? Madness.

What is most alarming, is that some clients do not know how they can continue to pay the mortgage! Nor, the implications of not paying and if they did die – put simply debt does not disappear.

Should a borrower pass away the debt does not go with them. Instead, it will be put into the deceased’s estate and may have implications in terms of potential inheritance for children, etc. No one would wish to leave this burden on their children.

Accordingly, this is NOT a matter to be avoided, we have solved troublesome mortgages of this type in Spain, Cyprus, Portugal, France & further afield.



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SPANISH PROPERTY EXPERT REVIEWED OUR WEBINAR
09 June 2020

As you may be aware we held our first-ever live webinar on the 27th May 2020 on Spanish & Cypriot Property Debt.

We had a great blog write-up from Property Market expert Mark Stucklin who discusses our webinar below.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

The economic crisis building as a result of the coronavirus pandemic will leave some people with mortgages in Spain in financial distress, through no fault of their own.

If this happens to you, it is advisable to seek help from independent experts on how to handle the situation.

Last week I attended my first webinar (online seminar, for those that don’t know), held by Terry Bell, speaking on behalf of Bell & Co. in the UK and Ireland, and EU Property Solutions in Spain and Cyprus.

These companies specialise in helping people with business and personal debt find negotiated solutions to their financial problems.

Terry’s presentation about the typical financial problems borrowers from the UK and Ireland run into with mortgages in Spain and Cyprus was an eye-opener.

For instance, there are still many people struggling with mortgages taken on in the boom years before 2008. They are not getting any younger.

Terry explained that the “demographic” of people with mortgage problems in Spain means that time is not on their side. They need to sort out this problem before it’s too late.

There are many people in arrears on their mortgage payments who think they can walk away from their foreign debts. They think the problem won’t catch up with them back home. That is wishful thinking, even for those who did this years ago.

Slowly slowly, Spanish mortgage debts are being worked through. Debtors are pursued back home on the basis of EU directives, increasingly by vulture funds who have bought the debt.

The worst thing you can do is stick your head in the sand and hope the problem will go away. It won’t.

The best thing you can do is contact third-party expertS, who have dealt with many cases like yours, and know what to do to get the best solution for you.

Experience is key to negotiating the best terms in this complicated situation. This is probably something you have never had to deal with before. And every lender in Spain has a different approach to dealing with what they refer to as ‘delinquent debt’. Only experience of dealing with many cases helps you decide the right strategy.

Terry talked about all the problems facing borrowers in Spain and Cyprus. There’s one brutal problem in Cyprus – that we can be grateful few borrowers in Spain are having to deal with:

  • Namely the Swiss Franc mortgages that were so gaily mis-sold to borrowers in Cyprus back in the boom years.

Since then, the value of property in Cyprus has plummeted:

  • Whilst the Swiss Franc has appreciated, crushing borrowers financially in a vice of negative equity.

Mercifully, most borrowers in Spain have euro mortgages, but some of them will still be in negative equity more than a decade after they purchased.

And now we have a new wave of financial problems to look forward to, thanks to the coronavirus crisis.

If you find yourself in financial distress, and unable to cope with your mortgage in Spain, don’t stick your head in the sand.



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Will I be receiving no rental income in 2020?
18 May 2020

Following the UK confirming that those returning from overseas travel will have to Self-isolate for 14 days, the Spanish Government has followed suit imposing the same restrictions.

With this in mind, the question is - will you be receiving no rental income in 2020?

This year’s Summer Holiday season may well and truly be cancelled. 

If you are reliant on rental income to support:

  • Your mortgage payments,
  • IBI taxes, and
  • Community Fees on your Spanish Second Home -

The above will see you face increasing pressure to top-up payments from your home income.

Speaking with a local Costa Del Sol Agent:

  • It was confirmed that many Second Home Owners will take on long term rentals but given supply, these rental agreements will be very low in income.

Furthermore, many will be left without employment & may fall behind on their rent.

Second Home headaches are stressful enough in more positive times, but in these trying circumstances, they can be a real burden.

There are ways to end this burden in an effective manner without the need to travel to Spain.

Especially if the mortgage is greater than the true market price and the associated selling costs…which can be as much as 12%.

Thanks for reading guys!



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Spanish Holiday Home Values to Decline
28 April 2020

Spanish Holiday Home Values to Decline

Uncertainty and the markets do not go well together, the Spanish Property market & Spanish holiday homes are no different.

NOBODY, BUT NO ONE KNOWS what is going to happen in the coming months because of Coronavirus.

For sure Spanish Property prices will decline – the extent of this drop is unknown. Spanish Property Expert, Mark Stucklin, completed a survey recently for his website which you can find on www.spanishpropertyinsight.com to get feedback as to how Covid-19 would affect Spanish Property Prices.  

Key points relating to Spanish holiday homes:

  • 57% of respondents think house prices will reduce a lot (greater than 10),
  • 37% of respondents think house prices will reduce a little (up to 10%), and
  • 6% of respondents think there will be no impact on house prices.

Yet another potential house price collapse, this will be alarming to borrowers as many are already self-declared “Mortgage Prisoners” with mortgage balances greater than their property value.

There are ways through this, and EU Property Solutions’ legal process can help avoid a protracted sale and the associated sales costs.  It is key to respond.

So, if you have:
1. Negative equity,
2. Falling rentals,
3. Lender issues,
4. Interest-only problems, or
5. Anything that relates to your property in terms of its problematic disposal….

EU Property Solutions have options and plans for every individual case as we ensure to protect you, your income, your home, pensions, and other assets – from any potential legal threat.

SEE BELOW A TESTIMONIAL FROM A VERY HAPPY & RELIEVED CLIENT - https://youtu.be/gOBqNM9IsLw

 



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CORONAVIRUS – SELLING IN LOCKDOWN
28 April 2020

Uncertainty of the pandemic continues around the world as Economies reel because of Coronavirus and imposed lockdowns essential to Public Safety.

Undoubtedly property markets suffer in periods of uncertainty.

2nd homeowners with property in Spain will be considering selling at this stage. Factors include no rental income for Peak season, declining values imminent, and currently an inability to visit the property.

Selling property during a pandemic comes with its difficulties:

  1. The property could be in Negative Equity i.e. the outstanding mortgage is greater than the property value. With prices set to decline again, more borrowers will find themselves in this scenario.
  2. Costs of sale in Spain can be 10-12% of the sales price. Vendors must factor this into their calculations.
  3. The property must be “priced to sell”. There is a massive supply of 2nd home properties across the Spanish Costas and being realistic is essential.
  4. Demand for 2nd homes will undoubtedly fall in this period and for the rest of the year as confidence is hit.
  5. Lending restrictions imposed last year reduced the buyer pool, we await Banks’ response to this crisis and how their criteria will change again.

As Mark Stucklin said last week:

“If you find yourself in financial distress as a non-resident or second-home owner due to this crisis you may see yourself miss your Spanish mortgage repayments.

You need to get hold of the situation quickly and start talking to your lender about the options.

If you feel you need professional help from experts who know how to negotiate with banks and get you the best outcome, get in touch with financial distress and negative equity experts EU Property Solutions to discuss your case.”

We have options and plans for every eventuality, ensuring we protect you, your income, your home, pensions, and other assets – from any potential or ensuing legal threat.



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Spanish Mortgage Relief
06 April 2020

We recently had a great write-up from Mark Stucklin – a Barcelona-based Spanish property market analyst, and author of the ‘Spanish Property Doctor’ column in the Sunday Times (2005 – 2008) on the Coronavirus Crisis and the downhill effect.

Spanish mortgage relief for borrowers falling victim to the coronavirus crash.

I’ve had enquiries about the mortgage repayment moratorium that the Spanish Government introduced for people struggling with mortgages due to coronavirus.

The scope of the moratorium is understandably limited to residents struggling to pay the mortgage on their main home.

Non-resident and holiday-home owners don’t qualify for relief, but anyone in those groups now struggling to pay a mortgage in Spain will find some advice at the bottom of this article.

The mortgage repayment relief was approved by royal decree in March as part of economic measures worth 200 billion Euros.

The first thing to note is that this moratorium only applies to residents of Spain so ones struggling with their main home.

Don’t expect any relief if you can’t pay the mortgage on your holiday home:

  • because tourist rental bookings have collapsed, or
  • you lost your job back home.

If that’s your situation, skip to the bottom of the article and receive some advice.

Borrowers who qualify for relief can apply for a temporary and interest-free mortgage repayment holiday or deferment.

An application can be submitted up to 15 days or so after the decree has expired.

Some sources report this deadline for applications as currently standing on the 3rd of May.

Spanish mortgage moratorium requirements

  • Borrowers who can demonstrate they have lost their job or seen their income slashed by 40% or more
  • Family income in the month prior to requesting mortgage payment relief was no higher than three times the IPREM household income reference point,
  • Mortgage repayment plus expenses and monthly utility costs greater than or equal to 35% of net household income.
  • Mortgage repayments as a percentage of household income have increased by at least 1.3 as a result of the Coronavirus.

You have to apply for this mortgage relief with your lender providing:

  • Proof of unemployment and business distress,
  • Your Family Book to accredit household members and dependents,
  • Homeownership documents including the nota simple land registry filing,
  • Deeds of sale and mortgage deeds, and
  • A debtor’s declaration of responsibility in compliance with the requirements of this decree

Non-resident and second-home owners in financial distress

If you find yourself in financial distress as a non-resident or second-home owner due to this crisis you may see yourself miss your Spanish mortgage repayments.

You need to get hold of the situation quickly and start talking to your lender about the options.

If you feel you need professional help from experts who know how to negotiate with banks and get you the best outcome, get in touch with financial distress and negative equity experts to discuss your case.



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BOUGHT THE DREAM? - NOW A NIGHTMARE?
10 March 2020

Did you buy the dream which has now turned into a nightmare?

Don’t take NO for an answer…The reason for our continued success across Europe, mainly Spain and Cyprus, is our refusal to take the 1st, 2nd or 3rd NO as the answer.

Murcia’s and most of the Costa’s credit-fuelled building spree up to 2008+ has ended in a rash of repossessions, empty villas, and roads to nowhere. The developments were once Europe’s most ambitious holiday home projects and the vast developments, golf courses, etc financed by supersized loans from Spain’s Cajas and Banks.

The properties were widely advertised on television in the UK to entice investors chasing the good life in the sun and hoping to profit from the property boom.

But now, years on, the holiday dream of sun-drenched apartments overlooking golf courses has turned sour. Apartments that once sold for €200,000 (£160,000) are struggling to fetch €60,000. The last resorts built are now ghost villages.

Today the bank-owned apartments that were selling for €200,000 at the market’s height, are being offered “as new” for €68,000 by the banks desperate to recover as much as they can.

Private sellers asking €50,000 struggle to find a buyer. Many owners who want to bail out can’t as their mortgages exceed the value of the property. This week has been a massively successful week so far  – but that would not have been the case if we accepted ‘no’ as our first answer.

‘Don’t take no for an answer, keep knocking down walls until someone says yes!’ – This is how we get results!

An example of our work saw:

  • A couple of retirement age approaching us last year.
  • They had been ‘sold the dream’ back in the day. An apartment purchased for €200,000, they remembered the date they signed, April 2008.
  • On the 15th September of the same year, just five months later, ‘their dream became a nightmare’. Overnight the value of their property plummeted to €80,000 and had not improved since.
  • The negative equity shortfall was c€100,000.
  • This couple had a 10-year interest-only mortgage and at the beginning of 2017 their mortgage payments doubled. Payment chances = none!
  • Almost ready for retirement, with a reduced income, the couple approached their lender to try to hand the property back or negotiate the repayments and write down the mortgage.

They were ‘at their wit’s end’ when the Bank rejected their offers/approaches.

The couple approached us for help. We approached the lender and after months of negotiation settled with them. They said NO to start with and NO again but we persevered and won. The €100,000 shortfall was settled for £20,000.



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