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Estepona & Marbella: certainties in the world of real estate investments

Home » Estepona & Marbella: certainties in the world of real estate investments

The Costa del Sol in southern Spain, which stretches along the coastline of Malaga province, is known for its sunshine, delicious food, lively people and contrasting landscapes. These factors have all contributed to the growth of real estate development over the past 50 to 60 years.

Investing in Estepona and Marbella.

In 2022, two years after the Covid-19 pandemic brought everyone’s life to an abrupt halt, the real estate market has rebounded and is now targeting new types of buyers. These are faced not only with the dilemma of what kind of property to buy, but also with other legal aspects intrinsic to buying on the Costa.

People will always need a place to stay and live, and the Costa del Sol offers a perfect place to do so. As founders of InvestinSpain, Gunther and Sofie are closely involved in the real estate market to get their insight into what buyers need to get out of their purchase.

gunther en sofie

The best place to live

After the severe lockdowns most of the world suffered in 2020/2021, outdoor space is now more sought after than ever before. The Costa del Sol is the perfect place for people to buy their dream home, and it even offers different types of lifestyles.

“The interior of the Costa is a very good place to live, but also close to the beach. There are advantages and disadvantages,” says Gunther. “If you choose to live close to the beach, you may get worse weather in the winter; the sea salt will deteriorate the material of some properties after a few years and you won’t have much privacy,” he explained.

“If you live inland, you may have different amenities and different neighborhoods. If you’re going to live inland and you can go to the beach every day, that’s the best option.”

Eduardo, now employed as a Property Consultant at InvestinSpain for more than a year, emphasizes how living in the lesser-known towns on the coata offers the best of all worlds. “In Manilva and Casares, for example, you have the peace, quiet, beauty and serenity, yet you are minutes away from both Marbella and Sotogrande.”

Golfing in the best climate in Europe

Moreover, living on the southern coast of Spain is a privilege for golf lovers, as you can sample from all areas and there are more than 70 golf courses to choose from.

La Alcaidesa golf 1 1

“It has been proven that the Costa del Sol has a microclimate because of the mountain La Concha. It’s a miracle because we can enjoy both the beach and the interior,” Sofie emphasizes.

Want to know more? Then check out our selection of golf new homes for sale in Costa del Sol.

Different buyers….different desires

Homebuyers tend to differ, depending on their nationality, on what kind of property they want to buy. While Spaniards are often comfortable enough to invest in second-hand houses, foreigners – especially Swedes, Dutch, Belgians and British – prefer to buy either off-plan or brand new. This can be explained by the fact that those foreigners are more confident about their purchase because it is new, even if that means they have not seen the property beforehand.

Tastes have changed

Within InvestinSpain, everyone believes that the tastes of the new buyer have changed. “They want more comfort and larger outdoor spaces. Inside, they need an independent space to work remotely. We should try to convert vacation tourism into residential tourism.”

The profile of buyers has also changed since the pandemic began. Previously, older people were buying their future retirement home, while now the customers are younger and come from tech companies or the pharmaceutical sector, and have taken advantage of the situation created by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Gunther also believes that the game has changed for developers and that they need to reconnect with what the market is looking for.

“We are targeting particularly the luxury market. Needless to say, the very affluent customer is looking for comfort, technology and peace of mind. Think smarthome technology, high-quality fiber optics, as well as coworking spaces that people can use.”

The reason for purchase is also important, as investors will want to use their newly purchased properties in a variety of ways – as retirement homes or as permanent homes.

“The moment you have a property with a unique feature, it makes for a better resale. If all the houses are blue and you buy the pink house, it stands out,” he said.

Important points to consider

Despite the dreamy views these luxury homes can offer and the attractive lifestyle they can facilitate, buying a home on the Costa del Sol is not as simple as it seems, with several things to consider from the moment you start looking somewhere to the exchange of contracts.

Gunther advises that, from a legal standpoint, buying a property off-plan or brand new is not the same as buying a second-hand property.

“The important thing is that there is a good contract and that there is no clause regarding (possible) delays.” There were customers who, because of the pandemic, received a reduced price or discount on their off-plan purchases, but he maintains that a “good agreement” is the most important thing between all parties involved.

He warns that some people do not understand the implications of new developments and the potential problems that arise during the purchase process. “It is therefore crucial to engage a BIV broker and be supported by excellent legal professionals who speak your language.”

Process can take time

Clients need to be in the best possible hands, Sofie adds. “They need to choose good lawyers and agencies to help them. We have a special department that guides them through the whole (buying) process. Clients engage with lawyers and they are not alone in the biggest investment of their lives,” she said.

Sofie also says it’s a “big deal” for people who want to buy a house in Spain, which is why InvestinSpain helps clients by calculating what their return on investment is going to be.

“Buying a house is a big economic factor and investors want to get the highest return on their investment, especially if they only want to live in the property for a month a year,” she said.


Another important aspect to consider is the immediate impact of Brexit and how that affects the will of the British to buy homes in Spain. Most customers on the Costa del Sol want to buy as an investment.

“With Brexit, customers don’t want to be in Spain for more than 90 days [a year],” she said. She also explained that 95% of clients are looking to buy to invest in order to live in Spain for three months and then receive benefits for the rest of the year, although they also need to find the best solution in terms of paying taxes.

“Because they have to pay taxes to the Hacienda (tax authority) every quarter, clients have to look at how they can get a benefit without paying a lot,” she said.

Despite the fact that Brexit makes buying for Britons in Spain a little harder, it has brought an alternative solution for those who want to spend more time on the Costa del Sol.

“There is now a visa called ‘visa nómada’,” Sofie said. “It’s not one for tourists, but it allows you to work from home in Spain if you want to move here.”

The buying process: making it as smooth as possible

Eduardo believes that when people are looking for a new home, they often have a very broad search area. “You should invest in making a trip to the Costa del Sol. Marbella, Estepona and Manilva are all very different. You can fall in love with Marbella but hate Malaga.”

He also said that people have bought houses after a virtual tour, although that is an option he does not recommend. “We focus a lot on experiences: what is it that makes you feel good about a location? What is the process of signing the deed? Clients need to be well informed, they need to come to the area and select a strong legal team.”

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Understand the entire process

Crucial information that all clients should consider before deciding to take the time to buy a home on the Costa del Sol.

“Buying a home can be stressful; it can take a few weeks or three to four months,” Gunther said. Eduardo adds, explaining that clients need to know the ins and outs of the process and whether it will be as easy as they initially think. “We need to make sure buyers are working with professionals,” he said.

Clients are also always interested in what part of their money goes to Hacienda, with taxes varying depending on what kind of home you buy. “Taxes are different depending on whether you’re buying off-plan, new or pre-owned,” says Hacienda. Buying something new will cost up to 10% in taxes, while second-hand will cost a little less: 7%.

In addition, customers should know that mortgages do not always cover the full cost of the house. They usually range between 60-70%, although the final percentage depends on the house itself.

“The broker should explain the whole process step by step. The best thing is to hand the client a document with the processes and convince them that you are the best for them,” Gunther says.

He maintains that buyers should be as informed as possible at all times and that there are even brokers who do not guide their clients through the entire process.

Buying an off-plan property

It’s important to know that the process can be lengthy, Eduardo explains. When a buyer is looking to buy an off-plan property or one that had been abandoned before it was completed, it is important that they understand the status of the property’s permits – such as the First Occupancy Permit (LPO) – and the processes that developers plan to go through to address those circumstances and issues, since most of them include in their plans the deadlines set by local town halls to complete the homes.

These problems are especially prevalent among smaller developers, who may not even be aware of the time constraints they face to deliver the final product.

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