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Euro property bargains up for grabs in Spain

British buyers are leading the pack when it comes to snapping up properties in Spain encouraged by a weak euro and a property market at rock bottom.

Euro property bargains up for grabs in Spain
The euro is the weakest it has been against the pound in eight years, meaning huge savings.

Spain tops the wish-list for potential second home-owners living in Britain proving that  neither the economic crisis nor the planning corruption scandals of recent years have put them off.

House sales went up for the first time in 2014 since the construction bubble burst with foreign buyers accounting for almost one in every five houses sold in Spain last year, an increase of over 19 percent from the year before.

Official statistics from Spain published last month record that French purchasers made up 10.48 percent of the market, German buyers accounted for 6.45 percent of sales and Belgians 6.19 percent.

By far the biggest percentage of buyers were the Brits at 18.6 percent and it’s no wonder.

Spain has now overtaken France as the destination of choice for holiday homes for British buyers of a second home, a survey published by Rightmove Oversees in January revealed.  

Some 37 percent of Brits looking to buy abroad said they would choose Spain with only 23 percent opting for a property in France.

With the euro at an eight year low against the pound, estate agents in Spain are already seeing a rush from British buyers eager to snap up a bargain.

These three bedroom town houses on the Brisa de Alenda golf course are be sold from €145,000

"We're seeing British buyers eyeing up cut-price properties across Spain in high numbers right now, as they can get so much more for their money than they could a few years ago," Martin Dell, the director of leading Spanish property portal Kyero.com told The Local.

"But what's interesting is the number of buyers looking to snap up properties with heftier price tags too."

For example, this new build three bedroom villa with pool in Benijofar, Valencia, which is on the market for €335,000 would cost a British buyer £250,000 at the current exchange rate, while back in 2009 it would have cost £310,000.

"With the exchange rate looking so favourable, it really is a case of the more you spend, the more you save at the moment," observed Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España.

"There are some incredible bargains on the market at the moment, particularly in popular areas like the Costa Blanca," he said.

In Alicante, for example,  this a two-bedroom apartment in the newly constructed La Recoleta III development is going for just €142,000, not bad for a holiday pad just a few metres from the beach.

PHOTO GALLERY: The highs and lows of the Spanish property market. What can you get for your money? 

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EXPLAINED: What you need to know about locksmiths in Spain

If you get locked out, have a break-in or need to change or fix the door lock at your home in Spain, here are the rates and advice you need before calling a Spanish locksmith (cerrajero).

EXPLAINED: What you need to know about locksmiths in Spain

Like anywhere, locksmiths are generally expensive and the price can vary greatly depending on the service you need and where you are.

It also depends on when you need them, as it’ll cost much more to call them out on a Saturday night than a Monday morning, for example.

Nor would it cost the same to open your front door as it would a reinforced security door.

But locksmiths don’t just make copies of keys and bail you out when you’re stuck outside your flat.

They also offer a whole host of different services including, but not limited to, opening safes, creating master keys, installing security doors, anti-drill doors, cutting specialist locks that reject copied keys, and even unlocking the boot of your car.

How much does a locksmith cost in Spain?

Given all these variables, the price can range massively.

According to Cronoshare, the average price for a nationwide call out in Spain can start from €80 anywhere up to €400.

On average, for a basic service, you can expect to pay anywhere between €40-€70 an hour for the labour, with the price of changing or installing a basic lock anywhere between €80-€200. 

For basic door openings, it depends on the situation you find yourself in: for doors locked with a key, which is a more complex task, prices average around €200, and for doors that are jammed or slammed shut, slightly cheaper in the €80-€100 range.

For an armoured or security door, prices can start at around €300.

In short, a general rule is that the more complex the task is, the higher the prices.

And as always, prices can vary depending on where you are in Spain, the quality of the locksmith, the time of the day and week you need his or her services, and if its a public holiday or not. 

So, as always, compare prices to try and find the most economical solution without skimping on quality.

As such, the following rates are estimations taken from average prices from locksmith.

Weekend/holiday rates

Where prices can really start to add up, however, is when you have an emergency situation requiring a locksmith’s assistance at the weekend, on a public holiday, or outside of normal working hours.

And if you live in Spain, you probably know there’s quite a few of those days throughout the year.

If you really need a cerrajero on a public holiday or during non-working hours (usually defined as anything between 8pm-8am) prices can reach €300 or €500 due to the fact you’ll have to cover the cost of travel, which starts from around €40 plus the increased rate.

Then you must also include the price of labour to the flat rate, which is usually somewhere between €40 and €70 an hour regardless of when you call them out.

Key vocabulary 

We’ve put together some of the basic vocabulary you might need if you find yourself needing a locksmith while in Spain.

el cerrajero – locksmith

la llave – the key

la llave de repuesto – the spare key

la puerta – the door

la cerradura – the lock

la bisagra – the hinge

día festivo – public holiday

cambio de bombín – change of cylinder lock

puerta blindada – armoured door

coste de mano de obra – labour costs

quedarse afuera – get locked out 

puerta cerrada de un portazo – door slammed shut

puerta cerrada con llave – locked door

Tips relating to choosing a good locksmith in Spain 

If you’ve just started renting a new place or have bought a property, it’s advisable to change the lock as you don’t know who has keys to your front door. If you’re a tenant, try to negotiate this with your landlord as it’s in both of your interests that only you two have keys to the property.

If there has been a burglary in your property while you’re living in it and there’s no sign of forced entry, then there’s a very big chance that the burglars had a copy of your keys, and you should definitely change the locks. 

If you’ve lost your keys and you think it happened close to your home, again it’s advisable for you to change the locks.

One of the best ways to avoid being locked out and having to cough up a hefty sum is to give a spare set to someone that you trust that lives in your town or city in Spain. 

When it comes to choosing a locksmith in Spain, you should make sure he or she is a reputable one. Asking friends and family first can be your first port of call.

If not, make sure you read reviews online if available to get any insight beforehand.

In order to avoid any nasty surprises, ask them on the phone for a budget (presupuesto) for all the costs attached to their services before accepting.

Be wary of cerrajeros that automatically want to change the whole lock when a simpler and less costly option is possible. 

Usually they should offer you a contract for you to read carefully before signing. It should include a three-month guarantee for the potential new lock or at least a breakdown of the costs.

Make sure that they are not charging you an excessively high price if it’s an emergency, as this is not actually legal.

There’s also asking them to prove their accreditation with the Unión Cerrajeros de Seguridad (UCES).

Weekend and holiday rates can be higher nonetheless, so consider your options and if it’s worth staying with a friend or family member for a night to save some money. A trustworthy and honest cerrajero will let you know about the money you could save if you choose to wait as well.

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