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Off Plan Vs. Resale (Second Hand)
The main differences between buying Off Plan and Second Hand are; the seller of the property, the search process, the price, the time scale of the purchase as well as there are a number differences in the actual buying process.
Off Plan Vs. Second Hand: The Seller
Off plan properties are in general sold directly by the promoter/constructor to the public although many promoters allows for re-sale even before the property has been finished. This means that some properties under construction are owned and sold by private or professional investors. Even though an agent intermediates in the purchase you will still have to sign all contracts and make all payments directly to the promoter and this will not influence the price of the sale as the agent is paid a commission directly from the promoter. At the moment there are a huge number of new developments taking place all over Spain (although it has slowed down a bit the last couple of years). As new developments are sold before they are finished, there exists detailed information about each promotion including brochures, technical drawings and descriptions, building standards, plans for each property, etc. This makes it easier initially for a potential buyer to say (after looking at all the information) if it is interesting to visit the promotion. Since there are so many different development options nearly everybody can find exactly what they are looking. See off plan property in Spain guide for further information about buying a property in a new development or see Spanish Property to search through our database of available properties.
Second hand properties are sold by the former owner and normally through a Real Estate agent who will take care of the reservation fees and initial contracts - in many cases the buyer will not even meet the seller until they sign the final title deed at the notary's office. In general it is more complicated and takes longer time finding the right second hand property. Buyers of second hand property tend to visit far more different options than buyers of off plan before they find the right property. Second hand buyers will also have to make sure that the property doesn't have any failures in the structure, the plumbing, electricity etc., which means they will normally visit a potential property at least twice before deciding to buy it or not.
For more differences between buying off plan Vs resale property see our Free Spanish Property Buyers Guide.