Interview with Sun Lawyers Jose Maria Lomax and Mark McMillan


Ahead of Sun Lawyers exhibiting at A Place in the Sun Live in Manchester on 5 and 6 March 2022, Nick Shrimpton spoke to Lawyer Jose Maria Lomax (JM) and Head of Relocation, Mark McMillan (MM), on the current state of the Spanish property market and their thoughts as the worst of the pandemic may be behind us. and the post-Brexit world is that bit clearer now for Brits buying property in the EU.

Jose Maria Lomax

Mark McMillan

Q: It must be exciting to be taking part in a full scale live property show again for the first time in almost two years?

JM: Of course, it’s lovely to be coming back to the UK and meeting people again in-person. The Costa Blanca property market has been very resilient throughout the pandemic despite travel restrictions. But we are sensing there is a large number of Brits who are enthusiastic to buy in Spain; quite a few who would have done so before now were it not for Covid19.

Q: What pieces of advice would you give to people coming to the show?

MM: Obviously follow all of the safety guidance issued by the organisers first and foremost. Then, I would say speak to as many experts in the room as you can and remember; there is no such thing as a silly question. Those of us exhibiting who are coming from Spain, whether lawyers, agents, currency or finance experts, we all know each other and want to be as helpful as we can in our own areas of expertise.

JM: We would always say to people, if you are ready to come out to Spain and view properties then it pays to plan ahead. We would recommend that you make an appointment to meet an English speaking Spanish lawyer as part of your viewing trip. If you chose Sun Lawyers, that first consultation would be free and without obligation. To buy a property in Spain, you will need an NIE number and a Spanish bank account. We can help you with these when you are in Spain, as well as with a Power of Attorney (POA). The POA lets a representative act on your behalf during the property purchase process. It means you don’t need to come out to Spain every time a new piece of paper needs signing! With these elements in place you are showing to an agent or a developer you’re a serious buyer. When it comes to making an offer, you’re well-placed to secure your dream property.

Q: Do you think Brexit is putting people off buying property in Spain?

MM: I’d say it’s made people think more carefully, that’s for sure. In the last year, people have had to learn about the new procedure for applying to live in Spain if they want to stay there for more than 90 days in any rolling 180 days at a time. Speaking to clients, especially those retired or nearing retirement, they have been researching visa applications on the internet. Many have a good understanding of what’s needed. The visa application is quite a commitment both in terms of time and money, without the guarantee of a successful outcome. Our visa application support service is proving popular. We are making regular visa applications in the Spanish Consulates in the UK and are ideally placed to prepare clients for their meetings.

Q: What snippets of information can you give people that will help them before they arrive?

JM: One of the most common questions we get asked on the stand is what is the total cost of buying a property over an above the purchase price? For budgeting purposes we would recommend an assumption of 14% on top of the property price to cover all of the associated purchase costs.

MM: In relation to property prices, the nearer to the coast you want to be, the more you will have to pay. The Costa Blanca is an incredibly varied region and the more time you can spend out there familiarising yourself, the better. That way you can be certain you’re house-hunting in the right area for you.

Q: Finally, Rioja or Cerveza?

JM: A beer to cool down on a hot day, then Rioja with a Valencian Paella!

MM: Good question! Depends on if I’m biting into some delicious beef or enjoying some calemares and tapas at the bar. One of my favourites is mixing anchovy-stuffed olives with freshly roasted almonds with a few beers at the beach on a lovely summer evening.

Visit Jose Maria and Mark plus other members of the Sun Lawyers team at A Place in the Sun Live, Manchester on 5 -6 March 2022.

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