Buying a Spanish Property 

Buying property abroad
Whether you are planning to purchase a holiday home or relocating to Spain, at Nockolds Solicitors we have the necessary expertise and the legal knowledge to guide you through the process of purchasing property in Spain so you can be reassured that you proceed with confidence. 

We appreciate that the purchase of property abroad can become very stressful and for that reason, our International department provides Spanish legal services customised for British clients. The fact that we are English solicitors and Spanish lawyers ensures that we offer independent legal advice with the highest level of client care in both English and Spanish matters. 

The Steps to Purchase Your Spanish Property

We always recommend instructing your independent lawyer as soon as you have identified the property that you are interested in purchasing. The idea is that he or she can complete the due diligence searches before you make any payments towards the property. If you instruct Nockolds Solicitors, we will carry out extensive searches on the property and let you have a report with our findings so you can make the decision as to whether or not you want to continue with the purchase.

If you want to proceed, we will prepare a power of attorney and ask you to sign it before a local Notary Public in the UK. This way, we will be able to sign the completion documentation on your behalf without the need for you to travel to Spain. We will also prepare a deposit contract setting out the terms of the purchase and we will transfer the deposit payment to the other party. You only ought to make a deposit payment at this stage of the transaction, not before your lawyer has completed the due diligence searches on the property.

Once we have agreed the completion date with the seller, we will obtain your NIE certificate and open a Spanish bank account for you. We will then attend the completion meeting before the Spanish Notary Public and deal with the payments of taxes and the registration of the property in your name. Our intention at Nockolds Solicitors is to offer a hassle-free service that you can trust.

Points to Consider When Purchasing Property in Spain

The key areas to look at when purchasing property in Spain will vary depending on whether you are purchasing a resale or an off-plan property. You can find below some of the points to be considered on both scenarios, although we strongly recommend that you always engage the services of an independent Spanish lawyer. 

Resale Property
If you are interested in acquiring a resale property, it would be very important to confirm that the sellers own the property and that the estate agent has the necessary authority to market it for sale. The next step will be to find out if there are charges registered against the property and to establish if the property was built with planning permission. This is very important especially when you are purchasing property in rural areas.

If you are purchasing a property which forms part of a complex, you will become a member of the community of property owners and you will be bound to make payments towards the upkeep of the communal areas. These mandatory contributions are known as community fees. It is of course very useful to find out the monthly or quarterly amount of community fees before proceeding with the purchase. 

It is also important to determine the financial position of the community of property owners, as if there are many property owners failing to cope with their community fees, this may result either in the poor maintenance of the complex and the subsequent depreciation of your property, or in the significant increase of the community fees in the near future, which may put off any potential buyer if you decide to sell your property.

Off-Plan Property

Under Spanish law any property developer must provide a bank guarantee in relation to any payment received towards the price of the property. This means that if for whatever reason the property developer fails to conclude the project on time, or if the development is left unfinished or it is unfit to live in, the property developer must refund the monies received and, if that is not possible (for instance, the company went bust), the bank guarantees a full refund to the buyer.

It is worth noting that although there were laws in place with effect from 1968 (Ley 57/68) requesting any property developer in Spain to provide bank guarantees, this was something that was systematically ignored over the years. In order to ensure that the buyers of off-plan property are fully protected, the Ley 57/68 has been replaced by Ley 20/2015 de Ordenación, Supervisión y Solvencia de las Entidades Aseguradoras y Reaseguradoras, with effect from 1 January 2016.

The new Law sets out the following obligations for any property developer in Spain:

  • To secure under a bank guarantee the refund of the amounts paid plus the legal interest on those amounts, if the property is never built or delivered on time.
  • To pay the amounts received into a special bank account opened with a bank or building society. This account must be a separate account from the developer’s other bank accounts. The funds in this special account must be exclusively used for expenses related to the particular development.
  • The purchase contract must reflect that there is a bank guarantee or insurance policy in place and the name of the bank or building society holding the amounts received towards the price.
  • The property developer must provide the buyers with the documentation confirming the bank guarantee when signing the purchase contract.

If you are purchasing off-plan property in Spain, we will ensure that the property developer complies with the obligations listed above and that any payment that you make towards the property is therefore fully guaranteed. 

Post Completion Mark

We can also assist you with all of these matters.

  • Connection of the utility services
  • Submission of the 1st return on your property
  • Setting up direct debits with the bank. 

For further information on buying property abroad and to find out how we can help you, please contact our International Law Team on 01279 755777 or get in touch with Javier Jurado, Spanish Lawyer (Abogado) of our International Law Team by emailing jjurado@nockolds.co.uk.

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