The buying and selling of a property is probably the largest transaction that most people undertake in their lives and can be stressful, especially when buying or selling abroad.
Generally speaking, the purchase process has three steps. The first step is the reservation of the property, the next step is to sign the Private Contract and final step is Completion when the buyer and the seller sign the title deeds ‘Escritura de Compraventa’ of the property in the presence of a Spanish public notary.
There is a long-held principle in English property law of caveat emptor or “let the buyer be aware”. Buyers must accept the property in the physical condition at the time of completion.
If you are buying a property in Spain, you probably heard about of the type of problems that can arise if the proper checks are not undertaken. In the UK a conveyancing protocol exists which most solicitors adhere to with the same standard guidelines.
This is not the case with Spanish conveyancing where no such “protocol” exists. Therefore do not assume that even the most basic checks will be carried out for you.
Prieto Solicitors will proceed to carry out with all the necessary searches and investigations of the property with the relevant authorities in order to ensure that the property you are buying is in perfect legal conditions and free from any charges, debts or encumbrances. Also consulting the relevant planning files at the Town Hall, such as building licence, first occupation licence, environmental adaptation, technical suitability, future planning development of the surrounding area, etc.
Our law firm will carry out with a site inspection of the property to check brightness, ventilation, orientation, etc. and will provide the seller a questionnaire so as to answer enquires concerning different matters like neighbours, noises, damps, etc.
Moreover you should need to use a surveyor to certificate the property conditions (water, electricity, pipes, etc.,) and the size of the estate in order to compare with the original title deeds, land registry and revenue just in case of the seller must to amended some of this issues before completion.
If you are selling a Spanish property, there are tax implications which need to be considered. Following completion we will be able to calculate whether you are entitled to any tax rebates. Any claims for tax refunds must be made within strict time limits otherwise the reimbursement may be lost.
We strongly recommended to choose a local independent lawyer specialized in Spanish land law and tax matters when you are buying or selling property. You should ensure that those involved in the transaction are qualified professionals who have an expert knowledge of the legal system providing all the information you need to understand the process, options, costs and timescales from the outset.
On the other hand, your lawyer must be independent from the real estate agent and promoter in order to avoid conflict of interest, registered and practising with the local bar association (Colegio de Abogados de Malaga) with by professional indemnity insurance in case of negligence.