There are various stumbling blocks when buying and selling property in Spain that can cause headaches for non Spanish speakers.
Jonathan Eshkeri from E&G solicitors in Spain explains the golden rules about buying property in Spain and the potential pitfalls.
The Role of the Estate Agent
Estate agents introduce purchases to sellers and if you see a property that you want to buy, you should go on to seek independent legal advice before you agree on a price, as there are a number of potential hurdles for non-Spanish speakers or those who are unaware of local customs and laws.
The Role of the Lawyer
An independent lawyer can help to represent you when you buy property in Spain.
While an estate agent may tell you that you do not need the services of a Spanish property lawyer, there are a number of reasons why it’s important. If you are a non-Spanish national, you may struggle with the necessary linguistic skills as well as an understanding of Spanish business culture and practices.
Ultimately, if you were buying a property in the UK, you would instruct a solicitor. You should do the same in Spain.
The Total Cost
You want to clarify the total cost of buying property in Spain.
The common costs include;
- purchase tax
- notaries fees
- property registry fee
- and any legal fees paid to your lawyer
There may also be other miscellaneous expenses for which your lawyer will be able to advise you.
It’s important that you don’t listen solely to the estate agent in this case, because they may just be acting on behalf of the seller.
Be Sure You Can Afford It
If you are reliant on a third party to fund your property purchase through a mortgage, then it’s important you don’t agree on the purchase until you are certain that your funding is secure.
When and What To Pay
Your lawyer can make all of the necessary enquiries relating to the property on your behalf and you can delay any negotiation on price until you have received the results of all enquiries.
A surveyor can also help you with your property purchase.
They should have the required experience and knowledge to make sure you’re less likely to miss anything that may be structural. They prepare a report and identify any problems such as cracks or walls that aren’t straight – basically anything that may cause you a financial headache further down the line.
It’s common to buy a property in a development in Spain with shared areas such as gardens, pools and parks. Double check your property is not likely to have a service charge that is raised to compensate other owners.
Annual expenses can also be hidden.
Fees can include service charges, property tax, non-resident income tax, wealth tax as well as utility bills such as electricity, water and gas.
You should be fully aware of these before you commit to your purchase.