Be confident when buying or selling property in Spain.
Simple ways to avoid problems when buying Spanish property.
Everyone wants to keep their costs down when buying or selling a property in Spain. It’s understandable that prospective Spanish property owners want to ensure that the buying process takes as little from their hard-earned savings as possible. However, it’s a fine line between cutting your costs and risking that the transaction isn’t completed properly.
Too many Spanish home buyers have found to their cost that the savings they thought they’d made have left them vulnerable. For example, that the utility bills haven’t be transferred into the new name or that arrangements haven’t been made properly for tax to be paid. Unpaid taxes, such as IBI (council tax) can create problems for the future. Ultimately you might find that you not only have back tax to pay but fines and interest as well.
So what can you do to make sure that everything is properly in place for your new purchase? Using the right professionals is the answer. In this article we look in more detail at the roles of the estate agent and solicitor in Spain.
The estate agent
The estate agent may well be the first professional who you have contact with when purchasing your Spanish property. If you are buying a property then it is likely that they will have been selected by the seller. Only recommended and recognised estate agents should be used.
You should be aware that estate agents are not regulated by law in Spain. If the estate agent is a small enterprise they should be a member of a professional association such as Agente de Propiedad Immobiliaria (API) or Expertos Immobiliarios. You can ask to see the agent’s registration number and have it checked if you’re not sure. If you are buying a new property check that it is an established developer and that the property has a building guarantee.
Don’t let yourself be pressurised into buying a property. It’s the job of the estate agent to convince you that the property you are considering represents a good deal. Don’t take what they say at face value. You should take your time and make sure you return and visit the property as often as you want to, reassuring yourself that it is the home for you.
In some cases the seller may have more than one estate agent dealing with their property. This is not unusual but do check that the different agents aren’t advertising the property at different prices. Obviously you will want to purchase at the lowest price if this is the case.
The solicitor The estate agent may well try to convince you either that a solicitor isn’t necessary and they can process the sale for you or that they should select the solicitor themselves. Remember it is your choice. You want to safeguard your interests and not just make it swifter and simpler for the seller.
It is very important that the legalities are completed by a competent solicitor. They should be reputable and independent with qualified lawyers who specialise in Spanish property law. You should feel confident that they will work with you in a clear and transparent way.
You should have your own representative who is looking after your interests when the contract is exchanged. Choose a solicitor who you can communicate well with in your native language and who will keep you fully informed.
Once you have engaged a solicitor they should make a thorough search of the land registry to make sure that everything is in order. They will check that all works or modifications are legal and that there are no debts held against it.
Your solicitor will check that the estate agent is properly authorised to act on behalf of the client. He/ she will ensure that the contract protects your rights and your money. Don’t part with your deposit until you have had the draft contract checked. Your solicitor will prepare for the signing of the Title Deed, represent you at the Notaries and register the property with the Spanish Land Registry.
Making sure that you have engaged the right professionals who have your interests at heart is a vital part of the buying process. However anxious you might be to secure your bargain don’t allow emotion to run away with you and neglect the need to make sure that the paper work is done and your home is securely yours.
This article is based upon the information supplied in our property conveyancing handbook; ‘Buying a property in Spain’. If you would like your own free copy of the handbook you can access it from: