The mortgage process from a non-financial perspective

As a team member of Spectrum International Mortgages in Spain, I am confronted with the practical and financial aspects of mortgages from a client perspective on a daily basis. In essence, this means that I know and deal with a lot of the practical and number related issues that can arise when applying for a mortgage and purchasing a property in Spain. Although my experience enables me to answer the vast majority of queries we receive, it does not deal with the other side of things, which in many cases is at least as important to most people: the emotional roller coaster called ‘buying a property and getting approved for a mortgage’. This is a much less discussed matter but a very real aspect of the mortgage process, which is why I have created this list of 7 pieces of advice that I hope can be of use when preparing mentally for buying a property and applying for a mortgage in Spain.

This list is based on my experience with people and my own property purchase, and is what I think is useful to bear in mind from an emotional perspective when going through this process. Following this list will essentially ensure that you expose yourself to the least amount of stress during this process.
  1. Be prepared for an emotional roller coaster, because this is the closest description I have in terms of how this process is. This is my own experience and I have heard many people repeat this phrase, so be prepared!
  2. Do not let yourself be influenced by the estate agent informing you that there are other potential buyers. This may be true, but it is equally likely that this is just a way of pushing you to make a decision. The decision must be carefully considered, so take the time you need – even if that means risking losing the property.
  3. Do not be surprised if after a while you get a strange feeling in your gut saying “who is trying to sell something here? Me or the estate agent?”. That is just the way it is. Remember that the real estate market in Spain is utterly unregulated! Anyone who wants to can declare themselves an “estate agent”, which unfortunately doesn’t always produce great professionals in the industry. That being said, great estate agents do exist in Spain. For the true professionals, the so-called cowboys are an absolute pain in the back, as they affect the reputation of the industry as a whole.
  4. Do not panic if your Spanish solicitor does not answer your e-mails or phone calls seemingly as a rule. Also, be prepared for when you finally get to speak to him/her, he/she will act as if absolutely nothing is wrong. In my experience, the solicitors in Spain are good at their job, but less so at getting back to you – often because they’re just too busy.
  5. Do not sign anything until you have your mortgage approved or make sure that if you sign, you have a clear clause in the contract stating that if you are unable to achieve financing, your deposit is to be paid back. Signing an option contract without this clause or without being approved for the mortgage can be quite stressful, especially if you need the mortgage.
  6. Always try to get as much time as possible when/if you sign an option contract (arras).
  7. Understand that this process requires dedication, time and a bit of luck. You will almost certainly see your “dream property” be sold right from under your nose. So, when you finally purchase your property, be aware that you are likely the one who is buying it right from under someone else’s nose.
If you bear the above 7 points in mind before starting the mortgage process of purchasing a property and applying for a mortgage, I believe that you will be better prepared for what is coming your way. What normally creates the most stress in this process is time (deadlines) and uncertainty, so by knowing and accepting this, you are already a long way. The rest is really just formalities and can be taken care of by your mortgage adviser, solicitor and estate agent.

And on that last note, should you feel like having a chat with us regarding this process, or anything else mortgage related, feel free to contact us at any time.