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Secrets to photograph your property for sale

I’d like to give you 3 useful hints, which will help you to prepare your home for the sale.

When you decide to sell your property, you need to consider different aspects, that can have a big impact. The most important ones are: the condition of the property, the price and the marketing.  
It happens very often, that in the internet we find pictures, which not only don’t look attractive but even have the opposite effect and make the potential customer avoid it.  

Follow these 3 steps, which will help you to improve a lot the presentation of your property:

  1. Despersonalize your home. This means that you should take away elements, which could disctract the potential buyer from having a full and free view of the living space. These are for example photographs, decorative objects with personal significance, reli-gious objects and so on. Sometimes we think, that decoration will turn the rooms more attractive but this is proven to be wrong. Anyway, if you are liv-ing in the property for sale , of course you cannot remove everything but we simply recommend you to follow the rule “less is more”.  
  2. Tidy up your home as if it was a show flat. It’s very important, that your home looks almost like a show property. Even if you are living there, you have to behave as if you were not. You should be aware, that the house won’t belong to you anymore and you should always present it as if it was an empty show property. This will help you to achieve the best results.  
  3. Take the pictures from corners, in order to have a wider angle. You’ll always achieve a wider range and higher luminosity from the corners of all spaces. In the example of the picture you can see on the right, we posi-tioned ourselves in the left corner of the terrace because on the left side there were some abandoned buildings.  In this way we managed to leave out the less attractive elements in order to optimize the presentation of the property.

Following these 3 simple rules for sure you’ll improve a lot the presentation of your property and to attract more potential buyers. 

Always remember that there’s no second chance for a first impression.

Know more about Charly Simon:

Charly Simon Photo is a professional photography agency in Marbella, special-ized in Real Estate photography. The team consists of professionals, who are in continuous training and use the latest technology tools available.  

Their philosophy is:  
“Selling emotion, creating in the client’s mind the desired image.“










Secretos de un fotógrafo profesional para vender tu casa

A la hora de poner una casa en venta, hay que tener en cuenta diversos factores. Entre esos factores se en-cuentran por supuesto el estado de la casa, el precio y el marketing de la propiedad. Nos encontramos a me-nudo con imágenes en portales de internet, que no solo no hacen que las propiedades sean atractivas, sino que consiguen el efecto contrario, ahuyentar al cliente potencial.  

  1. Despersonalizar la casa. En este caso nos ocuparemos de quitar todos los elementos que puedan distraer de ver el espacio completo. Estos es fotos personales, elementos decorativos con valor sentimental, elementos religiosos, etc. Se trata de que el potencial cliente pueda ver el espacio completo sin ninguna distracción. Muchas veces creemos, de forma errónea, que cuantos más adornos pongamos en la casa, más bonita va a quedar. En el caso de vivir en ella es posible, pero recordamos en este caso, que la casa la estamos poniendo a la venta. Siempre menos, es más.

  2. Ordenar la casa intentando conseguir la sensación de piso piloto. Es importante ordenar la casa como si fuera un piso piloto. Aunque vivamos en ella, tenemos que hacernos a la idea de que la casa esta en venta y no vamos a estar ahí mucho tiempo más. Por lo tanto, ordena la casa y preparala como a ti te gustaría encontrar una casa piloto.

  3. Busca ángulos de esquina para los espacios. Siempre se consigue más amplitud y luminosidad desde las esquinas de los espacios. En este caso concreto buscamos la esquina correcta, ya que en la otra esquina podemos ver unos edificio abandonados; eso no es necesario que lo vea el cliente en su primera impresión sobre la casa.

    Con estos tres pequeños consejos, seguro que vais a destacar mucho más a la hora de presentar vuestras fotografías a los posibles clientes. Y recuerda, “no hay una segunda oportunidad para una primera impresión”. 

Descubre más sobre Charly Simon:

Charly Simon Photo es una agencia fotográfica profesional de Marbella, especia-lizada en imagines para el sector inmobiliario. El equipo está formado por pro-fesionales que  siguen formándose y utilizan las últimas herramientas tecnológi-cas del sector.  

Su misión es: 
“Vender emoción, crear en la mente del cliente la imagen deseada.”










Recycle your furniture and create something unique

What I do is a so-called “sustainable decoration” and it’s not some sort of utopia but the trend is ever growing nowadays. In my opinion creating or improving a place with recycled objects is totally applicable, without worsening or deteriorating the style and look of your home. Each piece of furniture has its own history, which leads to its essence. Through many years of usage your grandmother’s armchair, that was just there for ages, can tell us episodes of life… but sometimes we live too much in a hurry to appreciate this kind of heritage. Therefore, we just prefer buying new things instead of giving value to old ones.


Nevertheless we can update our home and adapt what we already have to a modern look personalizing it until it becomes unique. This is how you can be the designer of your own furniture! How many times did we decide to buy something new, even though in the hidden corners of our house there were indeed objects that could be recycled? When you get more awareness of designing (or re-designing), the seed of transformation is already growing inside your mind and suddenly you start to see the new potential you can give to old things using different techniques of renovation and decorative painting.


The program of the workshops I organize fit any adult person without previous experiences, who wants to learn different decorative techniques, which can be used for the recycling of furniture and objects. In my studio the students can use a large number of tools and materials to carry out the exercises, furthermore they can bring and recycle their furniture with my help and assistance. My classes usually start with a small initiation to the world of do-it-yourself, an explanation of chalk and milk drawings and how to create stylish effects like stripping, washing, stenciling and so on, waxing and varnishing just as getting a basic knowledge of colors.


The exercises used for developing and increasing creativity are resources for innovative thinking, creating something new and finding new solutions. In the workshop, these exercises are carried out first on wooden panels so that the students can test the techniques on a material, which is similar to their furniture. We use a palette of 43 different colors, so that the students get used to working with a big variety of shades losing the fear of using colors and learning how to create different finishes. They can also make trials and change the design as often as they want. I’m really impressed by the enthusiasm and affection, my students show towards every new exercise and the huge satisfaction they feel when seeing their results.


The more workshops I organize, the more positive things I see in this activity: one is the growing need of renewing, updating, decorating at a low cost, respecting the environment. Another one is creative thinking, which brings about a lot of benefits, no matter if they are mental, emotional or sentimental: when students bring objects of their families, which they want to renew, their whole sensitivity is involved in this emotional process of creating a new design. 


To learn something new is a privilege and creativity is contagious, it donates us positivity. On the other hand we also have to mention that in a society based on the concepts of “fast & rush”, a creative activity helps us to improve our social and mental life.


Anne Charrière

El Taller de Anne - Benahavís




What should I do to sell my property? — 4. Prepare the marketing material - photos

Now that you have decided to sell and that the property has been prepared for that, the next step is to prepare the marketing material for its distribution. Two major differentiating factors: photos and description. A property with a set of photos that do not fully represent the property and a poor description will not attract potential buyers. In this article and due to the examples I am showing, I will refer only to the photography.


A photo should get the most of your property. Don’t do photos with mobile phones or tablets. Photos should mainly show the ampleness of the property and the light. Show only what is relevant: a photo of an uncluttered storage does not add any value to a property. If you want potential buyers to know that you have an storage, mention it in the description but do not show a poor photo of it. My main recommendation: if you are not a professional, hire one. It is worth what you pay for the attraction professional photos generate. In any case, there are some important points to consider:


1.- Show the light. This is not easy on bright properties. If you want the photo to show the brightness of the interior, the windows will look burnt. On the other side, if you want to show the exterior, the interior will look dark. There are tricks to touch the photos to avoid this effect using software to edit photos but it is not basic editing. Other option is to take the photo early in the morning or late in the evening when there is not a lot of exterior brightness. The use of flash does not help either because it creates unwanted reflects and shadows.

fotos 1.JPG

2.- Show the ampleness. Although it may not be the nicest photo of a room, the photos taken from corners show more space and the rooms look bigger. The use of wide angular lens are recommended if you know how to use them. These lens tend to distort the photos and in many cases these photos should be “touched” to correct these distortions. Additionally and in order not to show too much ceiling, the photos should be taken at chest height not at eyes height.

fotos 2.JPG



What should I do to sell my property? — 3. Estimate a competitive market price for the property

The asking price is one of the most relevant factors when selling a property. An overpriced property, specially in our actual world where we have all the information in our hands via internet, will never sell and will only serve to sell our competitors properties and a underpriced property will reduce the net to be obtained from a sell. Therefore, it is crucial to have a competitive price when selling an property to maximize our investment. Valuating a property is not an easy task as not having some knowledge of the market may affect the result of it but, in any case, there are some steps that will guide to a more accurate value. These valuations are done using comparable properties and are called Comparative Market Analysis Reports. The steps will be the following:


1.– Obtain accurate information of the property. For an apartment, that includes interior built square meters, square meters of terraces, orientation and views, quality specifications, access, the inclusion of garage and storage, the facilities of the complex and status and presentation of it. For villas, also the square meters of the plot and the design and maintenance of garden and pool.


2.– Look for comparable properties with similar characteristics as the one being studied. The best comparables you can use are “sold” comparables but that information is not public in Spain so, unless you know an expert agent in a specific area that is selling mostly in that location and knows those sold prices, you have to use “for sale” comparables. A Comparative Market Analysis with “for sale” comparables will not be the most accurate one but will give the asking price to be at the same level of the competition. If it is a market with an excess of properties for sale, the asking price should be lower than the one obtained this way so you can compete with an advantage on price over the other properties to be the first one to sell. If it is a market with a shortage of properties, being at the same level of the competition is fine because all these properties should sell sooner or later.


3.– Calculate the price per square meter of the comparables. Once the properties most similar to the one being studied have been selected, the next step is to calculate the price per square meter of each one taking into account the size of the terrace and the interior built area for apartments. If the property is a villa, the price to buy the plot where the villa is built on in that location should be discounted prior to calculate the price per square meter. The average of all these prices per square meter of all the properties will give the average price of the comparables. If “sold” properties are used, the resulting price will be much more accurate.


4.– Estimate the selling price of the property. When talking about apartments, that price per square meter calculated previously applied to the size of the property being studied will give the estimated value of the property. In the case of villas, the price of the plot has to be added to the estimated value of the construction to get the value of the villa.


What should I do to sell my property? — 1. Decide if it is worth selling.

Following my previous newsletter with the steps to sell a property at the Costa del Sol, the first step “Decide if it is worth selling or not” is going to be detailed in this article.

In order to decide if it is worth selling, adequate and complete information is needed to be able to take a proper decision. I would summarize it in three main pieces of information:

1.– How is the market? Is it a seller’s or a buyer’s market? How is the inventory of properties for sale? Are the prices going up or down? Although some of the information is public, it is not easily accessible to the general public. In general, it is better to wait for more understandable charts and articles published by newspapers or real estate agents that are accessible through internet. However, be sure that the information relates to your local market. The data for Spain is different to that of prime areas in Barcelona or Madrid and completely different to the ones of coastal locations. The markets may change substantially from one village to the nearest. For example, if you are looking to sell in Marbella and Benahavis, you can find the local market information on my web

2.– Is it the right season to sell? That also depends highly on the location. High selling seasons may not be the same in big cities than in coastal villages. Talk to a reputable agent that have the knowledge about the seasonality of the local market. For example, in Marbella the best times of the year are usually spring and fall although summer is also not bad with all potential buyers coming for their holiday vacations. In Benahavis, it is mainly spring and fall with less buyer’s traffic in summer.

3.– Have you done your maths? Do you know your net after the sale?

It is not only about selling, it is also about how much are you going to get out from the sale. Debts at the date of the sale that have to be cleared, pending amount on your mortgage, professional fees for lawyers and real estate agents, Plusvalia tax and Capital Gain tax should be discounted from what you are going to receive to calculate your net.

  • Previous debts could be with supply companies, the community of owners or IBI and rubbish collection taxes. Contacting the supply companies, the community administrator and the Patronato de Recaudacion will get you those amounts.
  • On the mortgage, the bank should give you an statement with the exact amount pending at the date of the sale.
  • Plusvalia tax is the tax paid to the Council when selling a property. A real estate agent, a lawyer or directly the Town Hall can provide an estimation of that amount.
  • Capital Gain tax depends on your gain when selling your property. That means what you are selling for minus what you paid for it minus the expenses. The expenses may include the fees of lawyers and real estate agents contracted to buy and sell and investments on the property. All those expenses have to be justified with proper invoices.

What should I do to sell my property?

There are a number of steps you have to follow when selling a property not only in Spain but also in every corner of the world. I am summarizing those in this article and I will detail them in coming newsletters.

1.– Decide if it is worth selling or not.

Get info on the local real estate market your property is located at. Is the market slow or hot? How about the inventory and the prices? Going up or down? Every neighborhood has high real estate seasons when most properties sell. Is it the right time to sell? Have you done your maths? Do you know your net after the selling?

2.– Prepare your property for the sale.

Every property has to look like a model home to attract potential buyers. Have your read about home staging tips? Depersonalize, small repairs, declutter, etc. If you are thinking on putting your property on the market, it is the time to do it.

3.– Estimate a competitive market price for the property

Try to fix a competitive market price for your property leaving aside personal emotions that the buyers are not going to account for. Get comparables and work out, depending on the market conditions and your needs, i.e. if the prices are going up or down, the pricing strategy.

4.– Prepare the marketing material

Look for a professional photographer to get the most of your property. Don’t do mobile photos. Photos should show the ampleness of the property, the light and should be “touched” the get the most of them. If you are not a professional, hire one.

5.– Prepare an effective Marketing Plan

Your property may be priced competitively but if no ones sees it, it won’t sell. Work it out so you know which are the following steps on the process.

6.– Hire a professional agent

A professional agent will help you to set a competitive price, to prepare a Marketing Plan, will take emotions out of the transaction, will sort out the problems that, in every transaction, appear during the process and will negotiate better for you.


What if the property I am thinking on buying has an embargo. Should I buy it?

A property with one or various embargos registered at the Land Registry can be bought with total security but there are some aspects that have to be taken into account. I will refer only to embargos affecting to properties and not to those affecting to salaries, pensions, bank accounts or other assets. In any case and if you are aware that there is an embargo on a property, I fully recommend working with a knowledgeable lawyer to avoid future complications.

What is an embargo on a property?

An embargo can be understood as a legal action taken against a property for a certain value to enforce the payment of an outstanding debt. They come in the form of a Court order or from a Public Administration—local, regional or national—in Spain. Both the Courts and the Public Administrations have the power to order the seizure of the properties of the debtor to settle the debt and can liquidate the non-monetary assets in public auctions.

Public Administrations embargos and how to clear them

The most common embargos from the Public Administrations come from debts with the Spanish Tax Office (for non payment of income or wealth taxes), the Social Security (for non payment of Social Security receipts) and the Council Authorities (for non payment of I.B.I., rubbish collection or Plusvalia taxes). The steps to clear them are the following:

· Obtain from the Public Administration holding the embargo a payment slip (Carta de Pago) with the full debt, the main debt plus interest plus legal costs, at the day of the signature of the purchasing deed.

· That payment slip has a deadline on it to pay the debt without additional interest that will give the purchaser some days after the signature of the purchasing deed to pay the debt.

· Retain the amount on the payment slip, the debt with that Public Administration, from the amounts to be paid to the seller at Notary. This retention to pay the debt will be stated in the purchasing deed.

· After signing the deed, go to one of the banks that appear on the payment slip with the slip to pay the debt and keep the receipt of the payment.

· After the payment, the Public Administration issues a certificate for the Land Registry (mandamiento de cancelación de embargo) stating the debt is paid and that the Land Registry can clear the embargo. After presenting that certificate at the Land Registry, the embargo should be cleared.

· It is also recommendable to retain, from the amounts to be paid to the seller, an amount to cover the expenses associated with the clearing of the embargos

Court Order embargos and how to clear them

The Court Order embargos are those coming from the execution of the sentence from a Court process to cover a payment obligation that is not paid voluntarily by the debtor and are enforced by a Court order signed by a judge. The steps to clear them are the following:

· The seller of the property or his lawyer has to contact the creditor to produce a document stating the total debt, including interest and legal costs, at the date of the signature of the purchasing deed.

· From the amounts to be paid to the seller, one of the checks has to be prepared for the creditor for the total amount outstanding at the date of the signing of the purchasing deed. The creditor should go to the Notary to receive this bank draft that will clear the debt and sign a settlement document stating the clearing of that debt.

· At the Notary, the creditor should produce a document signed by his lawyer and his court agent where they request the Court to lift the embargo as the debt is paid. Additionally, it is also recommended that they produce a document stating that, with that payment, they renounce to additional claims.

· With that request, the Court will produce a certificate signed by the judge for the Land Registry (mandamiento de cancelación de embargo) stating the debt is paid and that the Land Registry can clear the embargo. After presenting that certificate at the Land Registry, the embargo should be cleared.

· It is also recommendable to retain, from the amounts to be paid to the seller, an amount to cover the expenses associated with the clearing of the embargos.

Since each particular case is different, it is fully recommended that you check your own details with your lawyer.


How is the standard purchase process of a property in Spain (II)?

Following with the detailing of the process to buy a property in Spain and after talking in my previous article about the Reservation of the Property, I am going to touch in this article the Private Purchase Contract. As I mentioned on my previous article, there are many variations in this contracts for each particular case but I am referring to the general and most common one. 


A Private Purchase Contract is a binding contract between the seller and the buyer for the purchase of a property. In Marbella, the are two types of contracts usually used for this transactions: what is called an “Arras” contract and a Option to Buy contract. As I said before, there are many other options like the Rental with an Option to Buy contract but I am not going to get in so much detail and just will touch on the two ones mentioned.

a) The “Arras” contract.

- It is a binding contract between the selling and the buying part and is associated with a payment of an amount , the “arras”, of, in general, a 10% of the agreed price.

- This contract will include the identification of the property that is being transferred, the parties that intervene, the price and payment schedule, the date of the signature of the public deed and additional agreements like the distribution of expenses.

- The are three types of “Arras” contracts: confirmatorias, penitenciales and penales. The most common is the arras penitenciales contract that is the one where the amount paid, in general 10% of the agreed price, serves as penalty on both sides: if the buyer does not complete or fulfills the contract, he will lose the amount paid; on the other hand, if the seller does not fulfill his obligations as per the contract, he will have to return the received amount and pay a similar amount as penalty.

b) The Option to Buy contract.

- It is again a binding contract between the selling and the buying part and is associated with a payment of an amount, the premium of the option to buy, of, in general, a 10% of the agreed price. Similarly, this contract will include the identification of the property that is being transferred, the parties that intervene, the price and payment schedule, the date of the signature of the public deed and additional agreements like the distribution of expenses.

- The main difference is that in this case the buyer is buying a right to purchase the property or an option to purchase the property and agrees to pay the rest of the price before and agreed date. The premium paid will be discounted from the final price agreed. If the buyer does not execute his right to buy, that is, does not manifest his intention to execute his option to purchase the property or does not pay the rest of the agreed amount before the agreed date, he will lose the premium paid for the option to buy and with it all the rights over the property.


* Since each particular case is different, it is fully recommended that you check your own details with your lawyer.


How is the standard purchase process of a property in Spain (I)?

The process to buy a property in Spain is quite straight forward and, although it may vary, even a lot, for special cases, the idea of these articles is to establish the general case. The starting point would be when the price and additional conditions (time frames, furniture, etc.) for a purchase are agreed between the parties. The process includes the reservation (or taking the property out of the market while the due diligence is performed), a Private Purchase Contract, the signature of a Public Purchase Deed in front of a Notary and the Land Registration of the property on the buyers name. Although the steps are simple, I am going to dedicate an article to each one of those to try to cover as many general aspects as possible.


Usually the first step is to take the property off the market with a deposit while the due diligence on it is performed. That deposit is in most of the cases held by the real estate agency or the lawyer representing the seller on a escrow account. In general, the document establishes that if the legal and physical situation of the property is correct for the sale, the buyers should proceed to the following step or they will lose that deposit. If something is not fully legal or a physical defect that makes the property unsalable appears during the due diligence process, the party holding the deposit should released back to the buyers.

a) What documentation is checked during the due diligence process:

- Nota Simple: it states who is the owner, the description of the property and the liens on the property.

- The property can be in the name of more than one individual or in the name of a company so in the first case, all owners should agree with the sale and sign the proper documentation or for the second case, a proper official of the company should be the one signing all documentation for the sale.

- The description of the property at the Nota Simple (including and not limited to address, sizes and neighbors) has to match with what the buyer is has been told it is buying.  

- The properties are sold, in general, free of liens. If any lien appears on the Nota Simple, the seller is liable to remove it from the record of the property at the Land Registry prior to the closing (that may include mortgages, embargos, urbanistic liens, etc.)

- Planning permission: that should be checked, specially in Marbella where the planning situation is not fully clear, to see if the property complies with the planning regulations of the area/urbanization/complex. This is not an easy step and should be dealed by a an expert on this issues like a lawyer, an architect or an experience real estate agent.

- Payment of the taxes (mainly council tax—IBI—and rubbish collection) and community fees: those expenses are charged against the property and should be checked that are up to date on payments.

b) A physical check by an expert technician or an experienced real estate agent to establish if the property has any defects that can or not be corrected or, or not, compensated. In case of major defects, like serious structural damage, the deal will be broken.

* Since each particular case is different, it is fully recommended that you check your own details with your lawyer.


What are the three factors that influence the sale of your property (III)?

Going back to my previous article on the three factors that influence the sale of a property - the conservation status, the price and the marketing - and the fact that the conjunction of these three is what will drive the sale, I will discus in this chapter the one that, is mostly on the hands of the real estate agents, the Marketing.


 The key person in the Marketing factor is the real estate agent that manages the sale of a property.

 The main responsibility of the agent hired to sell a property is to achieve maximum exposure and diffusion of the home by all possible ways of advertising and marketing, locally, nationally and internationally.

 Those buyers conducting actively searches for properties similar to the one for sale should be able to find that property through any of the marketing canals the agent is distributing the property to and generate the interest to visit the property as the first step for a potential sale.

 Every agent should have a Marketing Plan with all the marketing actions that are being to be implementedto achieve the maximum exposure required for the sale of a property. In our days, that Marketing Plan should include online and offline marketing actions of multiple nature: web pages, real estate portals, flyers, video, facebook, informing collaborating real estate agents about the property the agent is trying to sell, open houses, flyers, brochures, newsletters, boards, etc...

 In summary, a property may have the best price of the market but if no one knows that is for sale, I will not generate traffic and it will not sell.

Marketing piece villa for sale Benahavis
Marketing piece web villa for sale Benahavis
Marketing piece facebook villa for sale Benahavis

What are the three factors that influence the sale of your property (II)?

Going back to my previous article on the three factors that influence the sale of a property - the conservation status, the price and the marketing - and the fact that the conjunction of these three is what will drive the sale, I will discus in this chapter the one that, for most people, is the most important the Price. 


The key person in the Price factor of a property is not, as many people may think, the owner or the real estate agent but, and unfortunately for those selling their properties, the Buyer of the Property. 

Yes, the purchase price of a house is decided by buyers who make offers on the price they are willing to pay. The price is never fixed as it will vary up or down depending on the laws of "Supply and Demand" and other external influences as an unstable situation of the economy, the lack of financing to buyers, urban planning problems , etc.

The price at which the owner originally bought the house, the reforms that have been made, the price at which the neighbors have sold years ago or sentimental or emotional value that is in every house are not valued by buyers. In today’s market, buyers have "immediate access" to all properties that are for sale on the Internet in a simple and quick way. This situation is very positive if your home has a very attractive price but it is negative if there are other similar properties for sale at more competitive and interesting prices than yours. All buyers prefer to visit the most attractive looking opportunities so if the asking price is not competitive, the chances of a sale decrease dramatically until all these houses with more attractive prices than yours have been sold and yours is left in the top search engines and portals. 

For those properties in the market, the best way to get an indication about the price the property is going to be sold for is the traffic (of potential buyers) that the property is generating. If the marketing and the condition of the property are correct, no traffic means a highly overpriced property with no interest for the buyers with that budget and constant traffic but no offers means that the property is slightly overpriced as the buyers like what the see but not the price resulting in the purchase of any of the competitors.

The conclusion is as simple as this: if no buyer is ready to pay the asking price of a property, that property is overpriced for the actual market conditions.

What are the three factors that influence the sale of your property (I)?

Selling real estate is a little bit more difficult that it may be seem at first sight. There are three factors that influence the sale of a property: the conservation status, the price and the marketing. The conjunction of these three is what will drive the sale. Different people influenced each of these three factors and have a direct impact on them and, the importance here, is that the sale of the property depends on these relevant factors and people. Each factor has an associated influencer.

On this first chapter, I am going to analyze the first factor: The Conservation Status of the Property.


The influencer in the Conservation Status of a property is the Owner of the Property. Specially in the Benahavís and Marbella market with the higher levels of competition to sale a property.

I published an article last month regarding Home Staging and it applies directly to this really important factor that many times is left aside by owners when selling their properties. It is the responsibility of the owner to prepare the property as if it is a “show apartment” in a housing development. That means that it should be always impeccable, with neutral colors, where everything works and flows, without any repellent odors and depersonalized. This will bring the most visitors and will influence positively their decision to buy. The owner has to remember that each and every visit is crucial and the first impression when a potential buyer gets into a property may drive to a purchase decision.

I liked the charts Maria Martos published in her article about Home Staging in my last month’s newsletter so I am going to reproduce them again here for their relevance to this article.


Days on the market and negotiation rate with and without Home Staging


Difference in price with and without Home Staging

What is Home Staging and what are the benefits for a seller?

Home Staging might be defined as the displaying of a property focused to optimizing its sale or rental at maximum price for the minimum cost. Home Staging services can enhance the positive qualities of a home and minimize the less positive or weaker qualities such as the lack of light, lack of space and antiquity.

Home staging is not about decorating a house, as the decor is very personal. The aim of Home Staging is to convert a property into a neutral and friendly place where most visitors feel comfortable allowing them to get a quick impression on how a property would look like nicely furnished. In most cases, the first minute of a visit is crucial for a buyer to be able to take a decision.

The easiest way to explain what Home Staging is about is showing the before and after of an intervention. Each space is different and they all need different treatments but the common denominator is the image. Sometimes painting, repairing minor damages and acclimating the spaces is enough, but in the case of an unfurnished property, dressing it up is crucial to get the best image.

                                                     Before                                                                         After

Some people are able to see the different possibilities of a house by just stepping into it but there are many who do not. They need to physically see a possible distribution of spaces and lighting so that they can have a better envision of their own life in the property.

Although the techniques of Home Staging seem simple, it is often very difficult for an owner, who has spent many years living in the property, to be objective enough to see any defect of the house and apply the tips they have read about Home Staging. A professional will bring an outside perspective and the aim to help the owner revalue its property. Nor should we forget that staging a home takes time, so an experienced Home Stager will achieve the desired goal much faster than an owner applying these techniques for the first time.

The effect of Home Staging

Nº of days on sale:

Negotiation rate with and without Home Staging:

Difference in Price with and without Home Staging:

Maria Martos Gross 

Gross Home Staging & Décor


P.: 629 252 997

What if a property has a previous debt of IBI the owner was not aware of?

I am writing about this issue because I had a recent case in one of my latest closings that I thought it was worth to comment.

The first question would be: who is liable for that IBI debt?

  • The owner at the time when the receipts were due is the liable subject. However, the actual owner has subsidiary liability on that debt. That means that if the Administration (in the case of the IBI and the province of Málaga is the Patronato de Recaudacion Provincial) is unable to recover that debt after using all legal means to achieve it, the actual owner will be-come liable. The Administration will have to declare its impossibility to recover that debt (declaración de fallido) and then initiate a new proceeding against the actual owner.

If the actual owner has not been notified of that debt until the declaration of impossibility by the Administration, can the debt be considered prescribed?

  • The prescription period for that IBI debt is four years counted from the last notification by the Administration or the issu-ing of the original IBI receipt. However, if the Administration has been notifying the original debtor, not the actual owner, on timely manner that prescription is not applicable. Therefore, the answer is NO, if the Administration has been notifying the original debtor in a timely manner, the debt is not prescribed even for the actual owner.

Does the new owner have to pay the penalties and/or default interest that were being applicable to the IBI receipt payable by the original debtor?

  • The answer is NO. When the Administration declares the impossibility to recover the debt from the original debtor and starts a new proceeding against the actual owner of the property, it has to write off the penalties and default interest ap-plied to the original debt.

Since each particular case is different, it is fully recommended that you check your own details with your lawyer or tax advisor.

Summary of the taxes you have to pay when buying, selling or just owning a property in Spain.

  • Capital Gain Tax — is the tax you have to pay for the difference between what you sold the property for and what you paid for it discounting the expenses you had on the transactions and investments on the property (if you are a non resi-dent in Spain, the buyer has to deposit 3% of the purchase price at the Tax Office to cover for this tax or other non paid taxes in Spain. A tax declaration of the sale has to be presented by the seller to liquidate that tax where the 3% retained will be accounted for: if the tax is higher than the 3% the seller will have to pay the extra but if the tax is lower the seller will get a refund). There are also special cases when you are over 65 years.
  • Plusvalia Tax—Payable to the Council to account for the increase of value of the land where the property is. The amount is calculated by multiplying the catastral value of the land, the number of years of ownership of the property and two more coefficients that depend on the Council.

  • Transfer tax or VAT (plus AJD) — I have written some articles about this because there are some different cases depend-ing on the type of property: residences, land, garages, storages or commercials. In general, if it is a new property it will pay VAT (plus AJD—an additional 1,5%) ranging from 10 to 21% of the purchase price and if it is a second hand proper-ty will pay transfer tax ranging from 8 to 10% of the purchase price.
  • Notary and Land Registry expenses (although they are not really taxes are payable on each transaction).

  • I.B.I. tax — it is payable to the Town Hall to pay for the maintenance expenses of the Council. It is calculated from the catastral value of the property.
  • Rubbish collection tax—it depends on each municipality and in some cases is also calculated from the catastral value of the property.
  • Wealth tax—this tax may be complex so if you are a resident in Spain is advisable to have a tax advisor.
  • Rental income of non residents—whether you are renting your property or not, the Tax office will require non residents to pay this tax. The base for the tax is also calculated from the catastral value.

Since each particular case is different, it is fully recommended that you check your own details with your lawyer or tax advi-sor.