Thinking of buying a property in Spain? Virginia de la Cuadra is here to help you. Place your trust in the fairy godmother of property hunting and begin the search for your place in the sun today. I had the pleasure of speaking with Virginia de la Cuadra Galera, an English-speaking Spanish lawyer. In her last interview with ‘24/7 Valencia’, Virginia shared her opinions on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit, as well as touching upon her role in a women’s association here in Valencia. This time, we discussed the comparison of the UK and Spanish property market and the most important things to consider when buying. Virginia also elaborated on her involvement in the BPW- International Federation of Business and Professional Women, something that was truly inspiring in the wake of International Women’s Day earlier this year.
24/7 Valencia: Could you briefly remind us of your background and why you decided to specialise in property purchase?
Virginia: I finished my degree in Law in 1999. I specialised in Civil Law, which included conveyance. I wanted to improve my English language and business skills, so I decided to go to England for a while and I ended up spending nearly four years there!
24/7 Valencia: Where did you live in England and how did you find the process over there by comparison?
Virginia: I lived in Farnborough, Hampshire for a while and then in Ash Vale, Surrey in a lovely house with the Basington Canal at the back of the garden. Moving into this house was such an experience for a foreigner, hence why I perfectly understand how my clients feel. Things were different then. For instance, the lawyer held the money and orders the transfers instead of doing it directly as is the case in Spain. In addition, all buyers and sellers involved (in this case it was a chain of 5 properties) had to be ready on the same day but at different hours.
24/7 Valencia: UK property prices are set to fall as interest rates and cost of living increases. Would you say Spanish prices are stable?
Virginia: Since last summer, interest rates were climbing, but at the moment prices are relatively stable. Although, recent surveys have noticed a slight decrease. Each area of Spain is different and in terms of Valencia, I don’t think the prices will go down as there is demand in the town and so the prices remain stable.
24/7 Valencia: What is the financial climate in Spain at present? Is it a good time to buy?
Virginia: We are about to get municipal elections in Spain and until the new governments are established and the financial climate settled, the uncertainty could cause an impact but personally, I believe it is a good time to buy. There are not enough properties to rent so buying is a profitable investment.
24/7 Valencia: In your opinion, what are the most important things to consider when buying a property?
Virginia: Make sure you have enough funds to buy! It may seem silly to say this but all costs involved on the transaction must be considered. Make sure you have an NIE number, a Spanish bank account open and the legal checks on the property have been done to avoid any kind of surprises when the completion day arrives. I would like to refer to my videos where I give a few useful tips about the whole procedure.
24/7 Valencia: Do you provide the whole service? Conveyance? Mortgage advice? Relocation?
Virginia: Yes, if requested by the client a full service can be provided. My new side of the business which is precisely ‘Relocation’ is about to be launched. From the moment a client starts to consider looking for a property, Olive Roots will assist them. I will be working closely with other professionals whom I trust and who come highly recommend thus allowing for a high level of customer service. Of course, I will be in charge of the legal side of it.
24/7 Valencia: How easy is it for expats to renovate old property abroad in terms of being able to find English speaking builders etc?
Virginia: This is not easy even for the Spaniards!!! It is not so easy to organise the refurbishment on a property, which is why Olive Roots will help the clients throughout their journey.
24/7 Valencia: What are the rule changes since Brexit? Can Brits only stay 90 days or as a homeowner can they apply for residency? How easy is that process?
Virginia: Unless a British citizen is a resident in Spain, they cannot be in Spain for more than 6 months. This is a general rule for any citizens from non-EU countries but can be tedious for international property-seekers! The positive side of it all is that it has allowed many Brits to regularise their situation. Many of them were halfway between Spain and UK, living in Spain but being registered in the UK which is difficult when any kind of legal or fiscal issues arise.
24/7 Valencia: Spain recently introduced the digital nomad visa allowing people the right to work remotely away from their country of permanent residence. Do you think the implementation of this law has altered the age demographic of your clients?
Virginia: Certainly. I would definitely say the profile of my clients has changed since before the pandemic. When I first started to assist foreigners over 15 years ago, the clients tended to be retired people who wanted to enjoy their last days in the Sun but progressively the profile has changed to younger people. After the pandemic and even more now with the introduction of the digital nomad visa, the majority of my clientele are young people who are able to work from anywhere and would like to try life in Spain, at least for a while before deciding where to settle. The new law has also brought a number of fiscal bonuses.
24/7 Valencia: Could you tell us a little more about your involvement with the women’s association?
Virginia: Fighting for Women’s Rights has always been something that naturally, even without being conscious of it, has been an important part of my life. Now, as an adult with the freedom to choose how to spend my free time, I help out as much as I possibly can and spend my time being a part of EVAP (www.evap.com)- a network of over 350 professional and female entrepreneurs in Valencia. These women share their knowledge and work hard to improve society, giving visibility to female achievements.
Interview and report by Imogen Hockings
Article copyright ‘24/7 Valencia’
Virginia de la Cuadra Galera- English Speaking Spanish Lawyer- Abogada
+ (34) 680 438 775
G.V Marqués del Turia, 20-6, 46005, Valencia, Spain