When buying an overseas property, it's vital that you get reliable independent legal advice before you purchase a property. Instructing an overseas property lawyer will be an additional cost, but this needs to be factored in to your figures. Using a lawyer when buying abroad is probably even more important than when buying in the UK.
An independent lawyer (not one recommended by a developer or who is in some way involved in the transaction) will help to inform you about possible problems and issues, and protect you from future problems with your new home. Your lawyer will conduct revelant searches, translate documents, check licences and ensure the property has been built legally without any legal claims on the property from a third party.
Typically, lawyers fees will be between 1% - 2% of the purchase price, although can vary by country or property price. Don't be tempted to scrimp on legal costs - following the right process now could save you a lot of trouble down the line!
Alessandro Gaglione of Studio Legale Internazionale Gaglione shares his tips...
Earlier this month, it emerged that some UK owners who have taken out Swiss franc mortgages with a well-known Cypriot bank (which cannot be identified here for legal reasons) are being served with writs if they have defaulted on their loans, according to Neil Heaney of Judicare, a company specialising in the recovery of property and land investments abroad.
What is the latest news on Cypriot title deeds? This month Savvas Savvides of Michael Kyprianou & Co. reports on Cyprus’s big issues
Our experts answer your legal queries: I am hearing more and more about fractional ownership – not
all 100 per cent positive – so what are the things I should really
I’m interested in buying an apartment I’ve seen on a new
development in Fethiye. The project is nearly complete but some of the
communal areas and facilities still need to be built. Given that there
have been problems with some developers leaving projects unfinished –
not only in Turkey, but in a number of countries – and considering that
Turkey is not within the EU, what can I do to protect my money if I were
to put a deposit down on the apartment?
After 20 enjoyable years on the Costa Blanca, my mother recently
passed away. The villa she lived in was in her name but she hadn’t made
a will, so I am now in a bit of a quandary as to who actually owns it. I
have no siblings and the only other family my mother had is a younger
sister who is still alive, living in the UK. Understandably, I want to
ensure all the necessary paperwork is in order. My intention is to keep
the property for holidays with my family. Any advice as to what I should
do next would be very welcome.
I’ve heard that lifetime loans, or Hipoteca Inversa, are available in Spain? Is this true and who are they suitable for?
We answer your legal queries: We cannot afford the final payment due on our terraced
bungalow in Spain, which is €128,000 (£113K) including all fees. The
developer has not defaulted in any way and I’ve been in touch with them
on numerous occasions to see if they could give our money back without
going through the courts. However, all they do is tell me to get a
lawyer but we cannot afford to pay out €5,000-€10,000 (£4,420-£8,850)
for this. Also, I understand the value of the property has fallen to
around €98K (£87K) – we bought in June 2007. Any advice welcome...
Stefano Lucatello, joint senior partner at the International Property Law Centre, shares his advice on the value of a solicitor in European purchases and signing reservation contracts.
Our experts answer your legal queries: I heard that if you rent out a property in Mallorca for more than 12 weeks you must register with the tourist board. Is this correct and how do the authorities check you are registered?
Our experts answer your legal queries: I keep hearing the word “iskan” when discussing property with
agents. What is this and why is it important when I buy property in
Peter Esders, an international law expert, shares his experience and answers some questions on buying repossessed properties in Spain, French notary fees and renting out Spanish property.