This morning, I carried out a number of file reviews and noted that increasing numbers of our UK clients have been unable to sell their homes. Divorce is stressful enough as it is, but in many cases property must be sold and the couple’s finances split before the divorce can be finalised. The houses in question don’t fall into any one category. They range from fabulous estates and overseas villas to family homes in which the parties continue to live together, because they can’t afford to live anywhere else.
Also this week I was contacted by a journalist at The Independent, who wished to gauge my views about the latest Budget. It was doom and gloom as far as I could see. Clearly, the revival of the housing market is at the forefront of the Chancellor’s mind.
So I was intrigued to read about some new, property-based incentives to divorce in Spain. According to The Daily Telegraph, innovative Spanish agents have come up with some creative ideas to kick-start the plummeting property market there:
The latest offer from a property company in Huelva province in southwestern Spain promises a free divorce lawyer to couples who buy one of their three bedroom houses for 68,000 euros (£61,000). The deal by Geimsa realtors hopes to capitalise on the number of married couples delaying divorce proceedings because they cannot afford to set up new homes in the current economic climate.
“A divorce is very expensive,” said Vanesa Contioso of Geimsa. “So we are offering new clients the free use of our lawyers to handle the process”.
Now isn’t that an offer you can’t refuse? It doesn’t only apply to divorcing couples, either. The story continues:
The initiative follows a 100,000 euro offer by the same company of a brand new apartment and all-expenses-paid wedding for partners thinking of tying the knot. The deal has already been taken up by dozens of couples.
Get a house and get married! I agree that marriage is undervalued and who knows, an incentive such as this might just tempt young couples in the UK too. I can’t help but wonder about the “what ifs”: what if the house purchase falls through and the wedding is booked? What if the wedding is cancelled and the house is purchased?
What about this?
In a separate scheme, some 30 estate agents across Spain have agreed to offer discounts on homes of up to 40 per cent to buyers going through a divorce or separation. The offer also includes a year’s free mortgage.
We’ll have to wait and see if these ideas come off. In the meantime I would like to suggest that any English or Welsh expats living in Spain, if they are tempted to take up these offers, think very carefully before doing so.