So, you want to sell your off plan?

Published on 11/15/2006 in Buying Process

It seems that everyone who bought off plan in the Costa del Sol two years ago has decided to sell. Unfortunately, due to the stiff competition, people aren’t making the huge financial gains that they had anticipated and in some cases had been persuaded to buy on this premise. Agents are even turning away off plan resales because they know that the challenge is impossible.

It is true that some people are still unrealistic and have placed ridiculous price tags on such properties. In the current climate you cannot be greedy, the truth is there are too many sellers prepared to break even or even cut their losses. It certainly is a buyers market and they can be very picky. If you don’t want to rent it out short term or long term and you just want to get rid of it, you will need to be flexible and put in a bit of effort. It sounds harsh but so is the situation.

So, what can you do?

Firstly, if you are serious about selling put a reasonable price tag on it. Take a long hard look at it, compare it with other properties on the market and be true to yourself about its worth. For example, an apartment with a terrace cannot command the same value as a similar sized detached house with a garden. Remember, your property is only worth what somebody is prepared to pay for it.

Apart from trying to get estate agents in Spain to sell it, trying selling it privately.

Research sites that allow you to list your property for sale. Some will charge you; some are free, depending on their exposure. For example, Eye on Spain have a private listing service at

Post on related expat forums. Some do not allow commercial postings, whereas some are more lenient, but many have specific sections where you can list your property for sale.

An obvious one is to let everyone that passes by know that it is for sale. The agent must put a big, bold sign up with clear contact details. If you are selling privately make a sign and put it somewhere visible yourself.

Tell everybody that you are selling, friends, family, neighbours and work colleagues. Be careful not to bore people though!

If you live in the UK, make an attractive flyer and pin it up on the notice board at work or in the local corner shop window. Make sure you include an enticing description and put clear photos on it. Experiment with the camera angles to captivate the “theme” of the property. Good photos really do help to sell a property.

Advertise privately in “El Sur” ( and other publications.

In your advertisements, always include the price, as a missing price suggests the property is too expensive.

Consider your probable buyers. Will they have school-age children? If so, include proximity to schools. Describe features of the property which appeal to your probable buyers rather than the entire public.

You might want to consider auctioning the property, such as at

Think creatively, I have even heard of people raffling apartments as they do cars in UK airports! So in the current climate, you have to think a bit out of the box.

If you have completed, do not leave it lying empty. This says unloved and bought for financial gains to a buyer. It holds no appeal and does not inspire buyers particularly those that lack imagination, many do.

Furnish it but with taste and your target market in mind. It needs to impress. You need to create a lifestyle that potential buyers can aspire too.

If you are living there, clean, clean, clean. This is particularly important if you are also targeting the Spanish market. If you have ever visited an average Spanish home you will know that they are scrupulously clean and big on hygiene. The floor must sparkle!

Remember, most potential buyers have made up their mind as soon as they enter the front door, so create what home stager Guru Ann Maurice calls “kerb appeal”. Oh and please if you have moved in with your pets, hide away the smelly dogs, sooo off-putting. Again, if you are opening up your target market to the Spanish, this is imperative as they generally do not appreciate the British tendency to allow their dogs free run of the house and are appalled at the thought of sharing their bed or sofa with an animal.

Have a look at show homes, look at interior magazines, and talk to friends or family members with an interest in the subject. Don’t be proud; ask their advice and their honest opinion. They might be able to open your eyes to flaws in your own interior design skills.

I stress the interior, it is so important at the moment as you have to create that “vibe” that makes you stand out from the rest. I know of a particular developement on the Costa del Sol where a couple of months ago, over one hundred people were trying to sell. Mission impossible maybe but not uncommon. It is for this reason that if you really want to sell, you have to stand out from the crowd and create that “wow” factor that they go on about on all those interior design programmes that everyone has been watching over the past five years.

So, you may have to invest a bit to shift it and perhaps sell it furnished, which can be very attractive to buyers as we all know furnishing a holiday home abroad can be such a hassle. If you take this hassle out of the “experience”, you have already gained some points on the saleability scale.

Everyone is holding tight through this frustrating phase and investors have been thrown by the unexpected slump. However, when I talk to agents, they tell me that properties are selling if they are reasonably priced and meet the buyer’s entire criteria.

At this point, I should also mention that investors are under pressure to sell before completion to avoid being penalised by the CGT (Capital Gains Tax) rules. As you are probably aware, non residents are taxed at a flat rate of 35 per cent. Whereas residents are taxed at just 15 per cent providing they have been an owner for a year. The EU has ordered Spain to level the rate of tax irrespective of the residency status of owners. To ensure this, the EU is now taking Spain to the European Court of Justice. If you are planning to sell your off plan, you might want to hold out for a bit longer and hope for a result in your favour.

Written by: Susan Pedalino

About the author:

Women In Spain

Right arrow icon Send to friends   Right arrow icon Printer friendly version    Right arrow icon Submit your own article


Maria said:
Monday, October 3, 2011 @ 5:10 PM

Dear all,

If you need any legal assitance in Spain, Im a lawyer in London but our main office is in Marbella (Spain).

Please, write me to and I will try to help you.

Kind regards,


el corioloni said:
Thursday, June 16, 2011 @ 12:07 PM


Mike said:
Wednesday, November 17, 2010 @ 10:04 AM

I want to sell my apartment in Spain and I have a mortgage. What can you advise? and will i have any IVA to pay as I payed when I bought the property?

Emma said:
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 @ 1:10 PM

When selling your property consider what else is available on the market, similar priced properties and what they are offering. What makes your property unique and desirable - make sure that this aspect is in all the descriptions (estate agents and privately).

Keeping a house clean, garden tidy and everythign having a home makes a potential purchaser look around and think that storage isnt a problem!

If you have an outstanding mortgage on the property inform the agent that a possible Mortagage Take over (subrogacion de hipoteca) is possible, this is always an additional bonus point for those looking at joining the property ladder.

Dont just advertise with the English estate agents. Spanish estate agents are now a days extremely helpful, they also have many local ties and contacts within the whole community. They also tend to advertise on multi lingual property portals and use their diverse contacts to sell a property.

After a viewing ask the agent for any feedback. For example if they thought the house is too small, maybe take out some larger pieces of furniture and use the light/mirror technique to make the house seem larger.

With regards to Pamela´s situation: file a denuncia with the Guardia civil and incude a copy of the invoice and payment receipt. Technically it could be classed as theft and therefore the administrators of the company could be held responsible for paying back the money or fulfilling their side of the deal.

Best regards

Cases Xalo SL.

miko said:
Sunday, September 23, 2007 @ 7:53 PM

Hi my name is Pamela. I am about to sign for my off plan apartment in Duquesa,but the company i bought my furniture from has disapeared with my £7000. they were called inspirations then coordinated lifestyles.If any one else has had furniture from them or knows of their whereabouts i would be gratefull.

Roberto said:
Thursday, November 30, 2006 @ 6:39 PM

This advice isn't much use to those who bought and are now trying to sell, but for those who may be thinking of buying now or in the future, with a view to reselling before completion - think about how and who you are going to sell to BEFORE you buy. Do not buy somewhere that will only appeal to foreigners. There are far more Spanish buyers than foreigners in this country. Even if you don't speak the language, there are plenty of Spanish agents who speak adequate English, who will be able to market your property to the Spanish buyers, so don't restrict yourself to holiday complex developments that are being marketed mainly outside Spain - there could be a reason for it!

Only registered users can comment on this article. Please Sign In or Register now.

Comment Using Facebook:

Related articles in this category

"Ever Thought of Retiring to Spain?", She Asked

10 Year New Build Property Insurance - Seguro Decenal

2007 – The Outlook for Spanish Property….

4 Ways To Help Your Kids Enjoy Their Spanish Holiday

A Quick Guide to Spain's Autonomous Communities

A Room With A View

Agent Property Sharing Systems Cost You Money

Aparthotels - Touristic Apartment Legal Requirements

Bank Guarantees for Spanish Off Plan Developments

Being a Film Set Extra in Alicante

Bored In Spain? Not The Spanish

Breach of Contract - Off Plan Success Story

Building Defects in New Properties

Bullfighting in Spain - On its Last Legs?

Buy Property Safely In Spain...NOT!

Buying a Property in Spain - 10 Points to Consider

Buying a Property in Spain - The Private Contract

Buying A Property in Spain Just Got Safer - And Much More Affordable!

Cave Houses in Spain - ADSL Included!

Completing a new property purchase

Consumer Law - Abusive Clauses In Your Contract

Costa Brava Holiday Ideas

Currency Exchange from Sterling to Euros

Deadly Secrets And Those Books About Spain

Decreto 218 - What It Is And How It Affects Buying Property In Andalucia

Deposit Contract

Dispelling The Myths Of What Is And Isn’t A Snagging Defect And Some Amusing Responses From Builders

DIY snagging - Some pointers on how to ‘Do-It-Yourself’

Do Not Move to Spain if…..

Documento Informativo Abreviado. Brief Informative Document (DIA)

Don't Blame Spain

Don't Criticise the Junta's Actions, Only the Delay in Implementing Them

Eco-Friendly Holidays

Financial And Currency Overview - 2012

Furnishing your Off-Plan

Getting Planning Permission in Spain

Getting The Best Euro Exchange Rate

Help! I'm Busy But Poor!

How to Choose an Architect in Spain

How To Spot The Timeshare Fraudsters

In Times Of Recession Some Imagination Is Needed - Option To Buy

Is Anyone Still Moving To Spain?

Is Disney Coming to Spain? That'll be No.

Is it Dangerous to Buy Property in Spain?

Is Spanish Residential Construction Showing Signs of Recovery?

Is There More To Spanish Wines Than Just Rioja?

It Is Possible Not To Pay Enough For A Property - According To The Tax Man!

It's a Buyer's Market

It's A Good Time To Start Selling Property in Spain

Licence of First Occupation and Completion

Mallorca Property - The Cost Of Buying Explained

More on Consumer Rights When Buying a Property

Most Commonly Asked Questions on Completions and Snagging Inspections

Must Have Common Spanish Phrases To Spice Up Your Spanish

New Regulations Protecting Spanish Property Buyers

No Money? No Problem!

Off Plan Consumer Rights - Sample Purchase Contract

Paramount Theme Park In Murcia - What You Need To Know

Prices Soften As Mortgage Approvals Fall In Lanzarote

Private Purchase Contract - Resale Property

Problems Found by Residential Surveyors in Spain

Property Management - Who Needs It?

Publicity - Part Of The Contract

Real Problems Buying Property in Spain

Result Of Building Standards Survey

Snagging Horror Stories

Snagging Trends & Analysis

So, you want to sell your off plan?

Spain Top Choice for Second Home Abroad

Spain, a Gone Conclusion

Spanish Property Market Stalls On Exchange Rate Strength

Spanish Property Valuations - Confused?

Stimulating The Spanish Property Market – Please Take Note Mr. Zapatero

Taking Better Pictures of Your Property

Taking The Developer To Court - Jan's Story

The art of a successful Snag

The Beginner's Guide to Snagging

The Death Of The Spanish Estate Agent

The Do's And Don'ts Of Buying A Mobile Home In Spain

The Euro - Looking Back and Looking Forward

The Licensing Process For Off Plan Properties In Spain

The Mystery of Spanish Property Online

The Other Side of the Coin

The Right Groups’ – The Costs of Buying in Spain

The Rights Group’s Guide to Buying a Property in Spain

The Spanish Property Crash – Was This What Was Really Happening?

Time to Complete

Time to Complete? - Part 2

Top 10 Reasons To Buy In Spain

Top 3 Budget Restaurants In Central Madrid

Try Before You Buy

Try Before You Buy - A Change In The Property Market

What to do Before and After You Complete on Your New Property

What You Need To Do If Your Spanish Developer Goes Bust?

What's In Store For Spanish Property In 2011?

Where Are All The Property Bargains In Spain?

Who Is REALLY Looking After Your Interest In Spain?

Why Buy On A Golf Resort?

Why Buy Property On A Resort

Why Choose Interest Only For Your Spanish Mortgage

Why You Need a Website To Market Your Rental Property

Click here for a list of all the articles from our magazine 

Spain insurance services

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse you are agreeing to our use of cookies. More information here. x