I use a lawyer to handle my Spanish property purchase?
Perhaps it's the strong Mediterranean sunshine, perhaps the
cheap wine...whatever the reason, around 20% of foreigners
are still buying Spanish property without using a lawyer.
Most would never dream of purchasing a house in their own
country without taking legal advice yet they stumble blindly
into the somewhat dodgy world of the Spanish property market
relying on nothing but the advice of an estate agent.
Now I'm not saying there's anything wrong with estate agents
(not all of them anyway!) but let's face it, their main task
is to secure the sale at all costs and earn their commission.
Your estate agent may be extremely knowledgeable about the
subject but his or her advice is in no way a substitute for
professional legal advice.
There have been countless high profile cases of unwary foreigners
being snared into buying properties which they later found
they didn't legally own (and that's after they parted with
Buying "off plan" from a developer can be a particularly
hazardous scenario if you don't have a water tight contract
drawn up before you hand over your first payment(more on this
in my next email to you).
You may be buying into a community of owners who have joint
responsibility for certain communal facilities such as the
swimming pool, gardens, security etc. You'll want to know exactly
what these responsibilies are, how much they're going to cost
you and what your rights as an owner will be within that community.
Communities are governed both by a national law in Spain and
by their own local rules and regulations. Your lawyer will
be able to spell it all out for you and to warn you of any
potential disputes or problems within a given community (such
as arguments over what colour the buildings should be painted!).
All the normal legal checks need to be done - with the local
town hall, for example, to ensure a 10-pin bowling alley and
all night disco isn't about to be constructed next door to
your dream home.
Your lawyer will draw up an initial pre-sale contract, handle
the payment of the customary 10% deposit and accompany you
to the notary for the final exchange of contracts.
And above all else, he or she will ensure that you end up
with a property which is legally yours, which is what you thought
it was and which doesn't come complete with a mountain of debts.
Find a reputable firm specialising in Spanish property law
in your own country or use a Spanish lawyer in the area where
you wish to buy. Most Spanish lawyers speak good English, especially
in areas popular with ex-pats, and if they're local to the
area they'll have the advantage of inside knowledge which could
Try to use a lawyer recommended by a trusted friend or colleague
if possible. Failing that, when you're in Spain pop into the
local pubs and clubs and ask for advice on good lawyers and
those with "wouldn't touch with a bargepole" reputations.
I hope you've found this advice helpful. Next I'll be
discussing how to protect yourself when buying a yet-to-be-built
property from an agent or developer.
5. Buying "off-plan" from and agent or developer.
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Estate - Property for sale in Andalucia.
a property in Spain - Ann's own site promting her book.
In Europe - European property portal with a searchable
database of properties to buy and rent in France, Spain,
Italy and Portugal. Includes for French, Spanish, Italian
and Portuguese properties.