Sam Mednick is a professional life and executive coach based in Barcelona (www.blueprintcoaching.ca). A Canadian native, she’s been living in the city for eight years working with companies as well as individuals focusing on transitions, communication, leadership training, time management and productivity, as well as emotional intelligence development. For more coaching tips, tune into her Podcast.
SAM SAYS: DON'T MAKE RASH DECISIONS
I’m wondering if I should invest in property in Barcelona. Lately everyone I speak to says that now is the time to buy, as prices are slowly creeping up but they’re still low enough where you can get good ‘bang for your buck’. I’m interested yet hesitant for several reasons:
1. I don’t know anything about property.
2. If I decided to go ahead with it, I wouldn’t know where to begin.
3. I’m not really sure it’s the best use of my money.
Any words of wisdom or insights into this would be wonderful.
Thanks so much for your help,
Dear Property Phobe,
This is one of my favourite topics, so thanks for bringing it to the ‘table’. I’ll preface this answer however, by saying that by no means am I an authority on the subject. A little while ago I researched and wrote an in-depth article about property in Barcelona, so I’m going to base much of my response on what I uncovered speaking to experts at the time.
I’ll start by saying that your concerns are valid. This is a big decision and it’s great that you’re asking questions. With regards to your first query, whether or not you know much about property shouldn’t act as a hindrance. Like so many things in life, if you surround yourself with people who are immersed in the industry, who are authorities on the subject and whom you trust, you’ll become a bit of a connoisseur yourself.
In terms of where to start, I’d say that the first thing you need to do is to answer the question: What is the point of buying property? What are you going to use it for?
Would this property be for you to live in, or to rent out, or to buy, flip and then sell? The answer to this will largely set the course for the rest of your ‘real estate journey’. If you want to invest in a place but have no desire to live there, the requirements for what you need will most likely differ than if you wanted to call it home.
This question also forces you to look into the future. Many people buy to invest for the long term, meaning that they want to buy something fairly cheap now, hoping that in 15-20 years, it’ll go up in value. This means that they don’t need to live in it and they’re ok tying up some of their money for an extended period of time. So before putting down a deposit, it might be a good exercise to look at where you see yourself in the coming six months, the next year, even the next five years, to help direct your decisions.
With regards to whether or not this is the best use of your money, that’s a subjective question. If only we had a magic 8 ball. The closest thing to that however, is using a good real estate company and/or surrounding yourself with people who understand the current state of the market and who have had experience with property buying. Speak to as many people as you can, ask questions, compare answers and do your due diligence.
The general consensus is that property is usually a very solid investment, but again it depends on what you’re investing in and what your short and long-term goals are both surrounding the property itself and your life on a whole.
There’s a great book called The Wealthy Barber. It’s not solely about real estate, but it has a chapter in it that is extremely insightful. The book also touches on finances in general and how to determine what the right financial decisions are for you and your lifestyle.
Before you make any decisions, I’d encourage you to keep asking questions and gain as much information from as many reliable people as you can. The more you know, the more you have to work with and the better choices you’ll be able to make.
To share your thoughts on this column or ask Sam a question, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Metropolitan at email@example.com.