Property Purchase Pitfalls

Telephone Availability in Spain

If it is essential for your Spanish property to be connected to the Telefonica telephone system, the following factors should be given prominence in your requirement specification to both your Estate Agent and your Solicitor.This may sound silly if you come from the UK or a similar country where a telephone installation is taken for granted. Not so in Spain. When the estate agent or property consultant shows you the perfect house/apartment in what you feel is the perfect location, he will usually point out that TV and telephone sockets are installed throughout the rooms.
This confidence building diverts your attention. This attitude makes you think that itís all there, no need for worry. Wrong!

Virtually all developers/housebuilders install all the standard amenities, it appears that all is perfect - you could move right in. Even if you query telephone connection, many will point to the fittings and say you have only to make an application to Telefonica. Don't trust it. It can take two years or more to have a telephone connection installed. It depends upon the location of the property and the type of developer. Many developers/agents seem interested in quick sales with little concern for after sales problems. Even if they point out to you that other houses in the locality are connected, the exchange may be overloaded and unable to take on new subscribers. Problems can be more complex.

The worst offenders are developers of new or expanding estates. Price is not necessarily the criterion. One development I know of has properties from £1.000.000, some above £2M , not one resident has a land line phone and they have been trying for over two years. Indications of whether or not a phone line may be available are:

  1. If there are overhead telephone lines near the property, ask local residents if they have a phone and how long they waited for installation. Also, if there are any local problems. I know one person with a line within 50 metres, but still no phone.
  2. Check in the road outside the property to see if conduit channels have been built in when the roads/pavement were constructed. These are identified by metal access manholes cast with the Telefonica name.

Even this is no guarantee.

  • The ducting may have been built but have no cables installed.
  • There may have been no planning permission or negotiations for connection to an exchange.
  • If you need Computer, Internet, Email, or Fax access from the property, the lines, even if installed, may not be the right type with the ability to offer these facilities.
  • Even if you have, or can have, a land line connection but need ADSL for permanent internet connection, this is often not possible because there is no telephone exchange within the maximum range of 3 to 5 km from your property. There are many developments that have no telephone exchange within 5 km
    Even if there is an exchange, many have not have been converted to handle ADSL.
  • Lastly, the cost of installing lines where the developer has not built under road ducting during construction may be too prohibitive to encourage Telefonica to install a service, particularly in rocky hillside developments.

All of these problems are factual and to my knowledge there are many sites with these problems in Southern Spain.

The residents of one site fairly close to me have been told that there is no likelihood of obtaining a land line telephone within the foreseeable future, despite their protestations to both National/Local Government and every other governing body.

For those already trapped into areas with such difficulties, the only answer is a Radio Telephone which can overcome some of these problems but check for dead radiophone receiving areas before ordering.
There are two versions. The new Mobile Radiophone with Internet connection and a Mobile Radiophone with Infrared connection to your computer. Please note, both are charged at mobile rates but the Infrared version allows you to seek and download batches of data at lower charges. I recommend that whichever you purchase, you pay the little extra for delivery and installation by the engineer, ensuring that he connects the system onto the internet to your required Host provider and checks it works for both outgoing and incoming Email. Also whilst he is on the spot, phone a friend and get them to phone you back to ensure the phone system works both ways. Don't take anything for granted.

Please note, British telephone connectors or electrical plugs do not fit continental sockets. (Telephone adapters should have a ring circuit) Also some Lap Top computers have problems connecting to Radiophones. Check everything before the engineer leaves. Do not sign his delivery docket if all is not proved to be working 100% not even if he promises to return manana.
Any queries phone Ron. 96 296 0920

If you have been considering moving to any area within the Valencia Region, don't give up. We live here and both the province and the people are delightful. I'd not live anywhere else. Just be very careful, your legal adviser should check all the legal points but many of the queries I outline are not legal points, they are common sense items you should query yourself.

Before considering a property, please read about the other property purchase problems which may affect the enjoyment of your new home. They may also have serious financial implications and I would urge you to seek appropriate professional advice and assurance before proceeding with a purchase.

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