House Inspector: The Property Check done by an Architect in the Costa del sol.
It’s better to get some good advice than a bad deal
An Interview with David Fernandez,
Architect, Building Surveyor and House Buyers Consultant
The House Inspector will search for, and discover, defects in the construction of a property, which are then used as arguments for negotiating the selling price. Similar to second hand car purchase.
David Fernandez is an architect, Engineers | and CEO of LuxuryForSale.Properties who have been on the Costa del Sol since 2005. In his profession he works specifically on new buildings and reforms on existing residential property on the Costa del Sol and Sotogrande. He also works as a building and construction expert and recognised property valuer. His latest service is “House Inspector”, a consultancy service for buyers covering the whole of Spain, for non-residents seeking to buy property.
David, why do we need a house inspector? Surely there are enough estate agents, experts and architects on the Costa del Sol?
Of course. But we need to ask what each of them is actually doing: estate agents concentrate on sales. We, in our capacity as house inspectors, are architects and have undergone technical training. Our motive is to negotiate the purchase price, since we earn our fee from the savings which we negotiate for the buyer: the more the buyer saves, the more we earn.
You could hire a private assessor just as well…
By all means, but the assessor will present you with a pages-long and cost-intensive technical report, and will need several days or weeks to prepare it. The house inspector comes on the same day and will tell the potential buyer about the state of the property on the day he inspects it. That is now, not in a few weeks’ time.
That brings me to the next question: what does the house-inspector service cost?
The potential buyer will get top-class information from EUR 350 plus VAT, no matter whether a purchase is made or not. If the buyer decides to go ahead, we calculate our fee as a percentage of the savings which we have negotiated for the potential buyer: official offer price less actual purchase price paid.
But surely the buyer of a real estate property could negotiate on his own as well?
Of course he can. But he will lack the arguments for a successful negotiation. We find them by searching and discovering the defects of the property. We will calculate the repairs required and give the seller no chance to argue: he must admit that these repairs involve a cost, which has to be deducted from the selling price.
In your experience, how much can realistically be saved?
We have been able to save up to 20% of the offer price by identifying defects in the building. With some other sellers, however, nothing will work. Unfortunately it has happened that potential buyers have shown too much interest before they employed us; clever sellers have good antennae and this makes further price negotiations impossible. So my recommendation is: show no interest and come to us straight away.
So when employing a house inspector, I don’t need a lawyer?
As consultants we cannot give any legal advice, nor are we allowed to. I see our service rather as a complement to that of the lawyer. The lawyer makes the legal check and we do the technical check.
Apart from the house inspector, what other services does your planning office offer?
Our planning office has been working successfully in the south of Spain since 2000. We have managed projects of more than a million square metres of residential property, including hospital projects,… Our largest detached residential property, which we also built, had a living area of just under 2,500 m². We constantly work for the state government, and we have completely rebuilt and modernised several hospitals in Spain and abroad – and did so while normal business continued.
And where are further focal points of your work?
We are chartered building and construction surveyors. Spanish courts employ us constantly for “peritaciones terceras”, (third party studies) when two reports have already been submitted and no agreement is in sight between the disputing parties. Since 2015 I have been recognised as Mediator by the Spanish Ministry of Justice, and have been asked to mediate (engaged by the Courts or private parties) in terms of trade and company law, family law and of course all types of litigation in construction law. We also carry out valuations – both for the courts and for bank finance.