Many of our readers are planning a property viewing trip to Spain. How exciting! And a little nerve-wracking too, finally choosing a home after years of planning. So what are your viewing trip need to knows?
When you’ve been planning your property purchase in Spain for a long time, getting to the business end of the dream can be a time when nagging worries start to surface. We spoke to leading Spanish property lawyer, who explained your legal need to knows to protect yourself as you step onto the plane for your viewing trip.
How long do the legal processes take?
If you want to own a property in Spain by early 2021 – or even by the end of the Brexit transition period – you will need to book your viewing trip. The legal processes take a minimum of 45 days. It takes that long to organise certificates, legal searches, the notary etc. But assuming no issues, it won’t take longer than 45 days either. The kind of issues that can delay matters are homes out in the countryside because we have to involve an architect.
When should we see a lawyer?
As soon as you decide to buy! Then your lawyer can start planning everything ahead and talk it over either online or over the telephone. It’s really important to consult a lawyer before you’ve found a property and signed anything.
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What are buyers normally worried about?
Not understanding how it all works, on things like the legal processes, tax, etc, means you’re immediately out of your comfort zone. That often makes people frightened to make a decision. So the best thing to do is clear up all the questions at the start. The role of the notary can also cause confusion, for example, but this is also something that your lawyer will organise on your behalf.
Is buying in Spain safe?
Yes! Nothing will go wrong so long as you employ a property lawyer. Planning permission, for example, used to be an issue but is now under control 100%. Your lawyer won’t release any money to the vendor until everything is checked.
Where in particular should we be careful?
Get legal advice from the start and they will do the worrying for you. For example, seafront properties need a special permit, but it’s easily arranged and doesn’t affect the cost if the lawyer knows from the start. New-build and off-plan properties used to worry people too, but again, there are strong legal protections that ensure buying these is safe too.
No matter how nice the agent and rapport you’ve built up together on your trip, it’s better to use the lawyer’s own form and contract
Should we sign a reservation contract?
If you find the property you love and are asked to pay to secure it, just send the details of the estate agent to the lawyer and they check it all over. No matter how nice the agent and rapport you’ve built up together on your trip, it’s better to use the lawyer’s own form and contract, which protects your interests.
We would get a survey in the UK, what about Spain?
A good property lawyer will have a qualified architect to do this for you. Moreover, they will instruct them with what the report must cover and the report will be legally binding.
What happens about inheritance?
By the time many British people have the wherewithal to buy in Spain, they can have a bit of baggage! For example, they may be an unmarried couple with children from previous relationships. The important thing is to have a Spanish will in place. Then if they are buying 50% each they just state in the Spanish will that they give 50% to the children of each person. It costs less than €300 to make a Spanish will before the notary.
Download your free guide: Your Property Viewing Trip. It has all the help, checklists, tips and info to help you stay in control when buying in Spain.
What extra costs are there?
Total buying costs will depend on the region. However, you should generally allow 11 or 12% on top of the purchase price. Don’t forget too, that you’ll need to transfer your currency.
Should we worry about Brexit?
No, although you will need to take action. The important thing is to register if you can move here before the end of 2020. After that, there may be some paperwork but the government will not want to complicate things too much. It should be quite straightforward.
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