Before diving into the Spanish property market, it's important (although strangely not mandatory!) to seek professional legal advice. This article tells you why.
Purchasing property in a foreign country can be a thrilling adventure. While it is easy to get caught up in the excitement, it is also essential to understand the legal landscape to ensure a smooth and successful transaction.
One of the unusual things about Spain is that there is no legal requirement to have a lawyer oversee a real estate transaction. In addition, the Spanish real estate market is unregulated and vendors are not obliged to give you all of the information about a property.
These two things combined can create a perfect storm where things can go wrong quite quickly!
In order to mitigate your risk, it is highly recommended that you work with a specialized real estate lawyer when buying property in Spain.
A real estate lawyer will:
1. Protect your interests and help you make informed decisions
2. Unearth potential problems such as issues with the title (deed), the physical property or with the sale contract
3. Give you peace of mind
Depending on your requirements, a real estate lawyer can assist with the following:
· Conducting all required property analysis – including technical surveys of the building and land.
· Verifying the legal situation of the property – looking into the ownership, property registry, licences, building permits, etc.
· Verifying whether there are any liens or debts on the property – if there are, the buyer can be liable for them.
· Reporting on the property costs and taxes – performing administrative checks for certificates, declarations, and tax receipts.
· Preparing documentation – compiling copies of the title deeds, property inventory, municipal tax and utility bills, community contributions, etc.
· Reviewing the sale contract – and making amendments as required.
· Finalising the sale – representing you at the closing meeting with the vendor and the Notary. It is at this meeting when the Notary prepares the new title deed and submits it to the Land Registry, the seller receives the final balance and you receive the keys to the property.
· Managing proceeds and taxes – calculating and ensuring correct payment of applicable taxes.
· Acting as a Power of Attorney on your behalf if required.
As you can see, there is a lot of due diligence and administration that has to be conducted in order to purchase a property in Spain. By engaging a reputable Spanish lawyer who specializes in real estate to guide you through the process, you will ensure that risks are mitigated and your interests are protected.