If you have decided that you want to buy a property in Spain, you need to find as much information as possible to make the move as smooth as you can. When you buy property, you do not want to run into any surprises or additional costs. Fortunately, there are 10 rules that you need to know and use when you are buying property in Spain.
The Role Of The Real Estate Agent
In Spain, the estate agent’s job is to introduce a potential buyer to a seller. Once you have seen the property and are interested in buying it, you do not work through the agent. You will need to speak to an independent lawyer about the purchase and this must be done before you agree on the sale price.
Some Tenerife estate agents we spoke to make sure clients use an independent lawyer so that they are represented impartially during the entire process.
Why You Need A Lawyer To Represent You In The Purchase
When working with a Spanish estate agent, they may not tell you that you need to work with a lawyer to buy property in Spain. This will be true if you are Spanish and know how to make all the needed enquiries yourself. As a non-Spanish national, you will generally not have the linguistic skills or an understanding of Spanish business culture and practices which are very different to the UK. You would never think about buying a property in the UK without talking to a solicitor, so you should not do that in Spain.
Choosing The Lawyer For Your Spanish Purchase
When choosing a lawyer to represent you, you should look at their direct experience with Spanish property purchases. The fees should also not be extortionate, but you should never hire the cheapest lawyer that you find. You do not have to choose a lawyer who operates close to where the property is located as long as they have experience handling property purchases in the area.
Clarify The Total Costs Of The Purchase
You need to clarify the total costs of all transactions at the start. This will include the Notary fees, the purchase tax, the lawyer fees, the property registration fees and any additional expenses. Your lawyer should be able to advise you on these costs and you should not rely on the information from the estate agent. They are acting in the best interest of the sellers and not you.
Third-Party Funding For The Purchase
If you are going to be using third-party funding for the purchase, you need to be careful. You should not contemplate agreeing to a purchase until you are certain that you will be able to get the funding to cover the costs.
When You Pay A Deposit On The Property In Spain
You should not pay anything to the seller or the seller’s agent until you are completely sure that you are going to purchase the property. This means that your lawyer should have completed all of the proper enquiries and reported back to you about this. This will mean that you have to pay the lawyer a bit before you secure the property, but you will be in a much better position for the purchase when you do this. You can also delay the negotiation of the price until you have all of the results from your lawyer.
Getting A Surveyor For The Property Purchase
It is important to note that the property you want to buy needs to be surveyed by a professional who has the correct experience and qualifications. This is a very sensible thing to do, but you might find that some Spanish estate agents discourage this. Spanish people generally do not instruct surveyors to create a report unless there is an obvious problem with the property such as walls that are not straight or big cracks. However, you should still do this, but you need to know what to expect from the report that you get.
Find Out How The Development Is Run
If you are going to be buying a property with common areas such as pools and gardens, you need to ensure that your lawyer has the minutes of the last meeting of the Community of Property Owners. This will help you determine the extent the owners are actually paying the service charge for the development. You should not look at buying an apartment or house in a development where your service charge could be raised to compensate for other people not paying.
Find Out What The Annual Expenses Are Of Owning A Property In Spain
You need to know what the annual expenses of owning the property will be. This will include the property tax, the service charges, the non-resident income tax, water, gas and the wealth tax if applicable. You should not assume that all of the costs are going to be manageable and you need to ensure that you know what they are before you commit to the sale.
Ensure That You Know What Is Going On
If you have gone through everything with the sale and you are still not sure about certain points, you need to ask your lawyer to explain it to you. You should not assume anything and you have to fully understand everything. Once you have completed the purchase it will be too late for you to start asking about the points that you did not understand going in. If your lawyer is not able to explain everything to you, you might not want to use them.
A good estate agent will keep you informed and will explain everything that’s happening so that you fully understand what is going on and what you’re going to sign for.