If you're planning to buy a property in Spain, it's never too early to start looking for a lawyer to represent your interests throughout the transaction.
Even if you haven't found your ideal property yet, it's worth lining up an independent, qualified lawyer who will be able to help you.
Independent Legal Advice
Once you've decided which area you want to buy a property in, you should find a lawyer who can act for you, even before you find your perfect home. This is really important, because the services of an excellent lawyer is critical to the success of any purchase of a fully legal, sound, Spanish property, devoid of any potential liabilities.
It's also worth noting that if you have a lawyer in place (and the funds to buy or a mortgage in principle) an estate agent will consider you a serious buyer, which could help you when negotiating the final price of your property.
When you do have an offer accepted you will need an independent lawyer in place just as you would when buying a property in the UK, and you should never sign any documentation before having it examined by your legal professional.
Finding the right lawyer
When looking for a lawyer, make sure that you find one who is:
- Fluent in English
- A specialist in conveyancing
- Completely independent of the seller/developer and your estate agent
- Fully insured to a public liability premium well above the value of your purchase (always ask to see the policy)
What your lawyer should do
Your lawyer's fees will typically be around 1% of the purchase price - once you have commissioned the lawyer to act on your behalf they will advise what to do next, but the tasks they will perform include:
- Inspecting any paperwork or contract before you sign it, whether it relates to the property or not (i.e. banking, building works etc.)
- Arranging surveys and valuations
- Helping you to open a local bank account
- Obtaining an NIE
- Checking the property is registered at the Land Registry and obtaining a copy of the land search or ‘nota simple’
- Ensuring the property has a license of first occupation, that confirms the property has been built as per the planning permission, and checking that the boundaries are clearly identified
- Checking the property is registered for local rates known as ‘impuesto do bienes inmuebles’
- Asking to see recent utility bills and check what individual meters are in place e.g. water and electric
- Assessing the taxable value of the property - the level at which the tax authorities will accept for transfer taxes
- Ensuring there are no outstanding charges or mortgage against the property or that any in place will be satisfied by the sale
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