Julio Vasco – Founder of enAlquiler
ExpatFinder had the chance to speak to Julio Vasco, the Founder of enAlquiler, a real estate company specialising in the niche business of long-term residential rentals in Spain. In the interview, Mr. Vasco shared trends he has observed over his decade of experience with customers. The Barcelona region and apartment units are, for instance, the most popular.
Based on research, he also identified a strong demand from expats in purchasing property for investment, though he noted that it may be tamed by Brexit. Find out more from Mr. Vasco below on the essential inclusions in a rental document, real estate dealing process, tax obligation in Spain and most importantly, his valuable advice for foreign expats.
|Category: Real Estate|
|Established since: 2005|
|Geographical coverage: Spain|
Q: When did you enter the industry, and when was your company created? How big has your team and clientele grown since?
A: When the project started in 2005 we were only two people in the team: a PHP programmer and me, the CEO and Founder. We are now 75 people divided between our two offices in Barcelona and Madrid.
Nearly 20,000 real estate agencies use our portals in Spain and Italy.
Q: What makes your company different from other real estate companies in Spain?
A: We are focused and specialised in residential rentals. We don’t work on holiday rentals. We are the only ones in our market specialising in just residential rentals.
Q: What are the ideal areas and lease length for rentals in Spain?
A: Regarding long-term rentals, we have just completed research amongst our users and the majority (57%) says that their intention is to stay in their residential rental for over two years. Only 26% would remain from one to two years, 12% from six to twelve months, 5% from one to six months and 1% less than a month. But, as I explained before, we are specialised in long-term rentals, we don’t work on holiday rentals.
Barcelona (19%) and Madrid (15%) are the main markets, followed by Málaga (6%), Valencia (5%) and Alicante (5%).
Q: What are the most common types of housing for expats in Spain?
A: Our tenants are mainly born in Spain (73%), only 27% come from other countries. Taking this into account, apartments are the most common option for our tenants (73%), followed by houses (14%), and penthouses or attics (7%).
Q: Do you see more of a trend in helping expats purchase real estate in Spain for residential or investment purposes? Why do you think it is so?
A: According to the latest statistical information gathered by the Spanish Government, 17.3% of the total purchases of housing during the first quarter of 2016 were made by foreigners. If we look closer at the numbers, we can foresee an increase in this percentage in the coming months.
The purchases made by foreigners who live in Spain (16,817) registered a 24.8% increase when compared to the first quarter of 2015, the nineteenth month in a row marking an inter-annual growth rate. Meanwhile, the purchases made by foreigners who don’t live in Spain (1,087) were 15.9% higher than the ones registered the year before.
There is, in fact, a market for helping expats buying their houses in Spain and there are already real estate agencies and lawyer firms focused on this population, though the recent results on the Brexit have changed the landscape. We must not forget that the British citizens (20.6%) are the main buyers of housing in Spain among foreigners. They are followed by French (8.8%), Germans (7.5%), Belgium (5.7%), Italian (5.5%) and Rumanians (5.3%), according to the latest data gathered by the Consejo General del Notariado.
British buyers have benefited hugely at times when a stronger pound has enabled them to buy eurozone property at bargain prices, but the fall in sterling together with the threat of a recession in the United Kingdom (UK) as a result of Brexit, plus uncertainty over British citizens to live abroad once the UK is outside of the European Union, could have a drastic impact on Spain’s property market. It’s too soon to have an accurate analysis but the uncertainty is there.
Q: What are the key housing paperwork and procedures in Spain for property rentals and purchase respectively?
A: If you are renting a house you need to sign a rental agreement with the landlord or his/her legal representative where you should include all the conditions. It is better to include everything in writing so you won’t have problems in the future.
The main things to include in the rental agreement are: names and identification of the tenants and landlord, rental price, how much is given as deposit and any additional deposit, duration, compensation in case the tenant leaves the house beforehand, and who pays these concepts: municipal taxes on trash, impuesto de bienes inmuebles (IBI), and community expenses.
You should also clarify how the light, gas and water will be paid, as well as on the availability of any other services in the house (Internet, phone etc). If the rental agreement doesn’t specify anything, the rent can’t be increased.
The rental agreement should have attached these documents: identifications of the tenants and landlord (DNIs, NIEs or passports), certificate of ownership of the house, cédula de habitabilidad, energy performance certificate and receipts for any payment done when the agreement is signed (rental and deposit mainly).
The landlord or his/her legal representative should give the deposit (one-month rental) to the public office designated as a guardian for this money. Once the rental is over, the landlord can claim the money in order to give it back to the tenants if everything is correct with the house.
The tenant should pay this tax to the Government: Impuesto de Transmisiones Patrimoniales (ITP) y Actos Jurídicos Documentados (AJD). He/she can pay this tax by signing the rental agreement in a documento timbrado that can be bought on any estanco or by going to the any Tax Agency office and filling up the model 600 for rentals and paying it for it.
If you are buying a house in Spain and you are a foreigner, I would strongly advise you to hire a real estate lawyer who can guide you through the whole process so you won’t make any mistakes. It is worth paying a lawyer a bit since you are probably spending hundreds of thousands of euros on a house.
Q: How do you determine if a real estate company or agent in Spain is credible? (eg: credentials, certification, membership etc.)
A: You should ask for his/her API number which will probe that is a member of the Professional Real Estate Agents Organization and will show his/her knowledge of the real estate market in Spain.
Q: What are some things specific to real estate in Spain that people often do not know about? What is your advice to expats regarding them?
A: I recommend research, patience and getting expert advice on legal issues.
Regarding research, Internet has made it really easy to access almost all the properties for lease or sale in any country, and Spain is not different. You should check the main real estate portals and see how the prices are for the type of house you are looking for in your area of interest. Create an excel with the prices, area, and type of houses to get a better idea of how the market is and then contact the real estate agents to have a more in-depth knowledge about the availability of the houses.
You shouldn’t be in a hurry, take your time, look at the houses and make lower offers to have a better sense of the market. Your dream house is out there, you just need to look and be patient.
If you are buying a house, I recommend you to hire a lawyer with experience in real estate in Spain and how the market works for foreigners. Yes, you can also do all the paperwork by yourself but it will take you lots of time, translations and you might make some mistakes that might cost you more than having your own personal lawyer.