Do’s and don’ts on buying a house in Spain
Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt, March, 25. 2019
Marbella-based lawyer Raymundo Larraín gives us a few light-hearted tips on buying a home in Spain.
Article copyrighted © 2019. Plagiarism will be criminally prosecuted.
By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Director of Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers
8th of April 2019
Springtime is upon us. It is again that bright season of the year where flowers bloom, bees dart around doing whatever it is they do, and real estate agents are busy dusting off glossy house brochures with a big smile on their face. Scores of buyers will now be booking flights to Spain with a view to acquire their perfect dream house next to the sea.
With this in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to write this short amusing article to clue up buyers, so they do not trip themselves over in pursuit of their bolthole under the sun.
Hire a qualified registered lawyer (abogado)
I know, I know. I just had to add this shameless plug in the first place.
No, a Spanish Notary is not your personal lawyer and will not look after your interests. He’s there to ensure taxes are paid, period.
No, a lender does not susbstitute a lawyer and much less defends your legal interests on taking on a mortgage loan. No, they do not do a due diligence on the property title. A lender is there to give you a loan, period.
Beware of intruders who claim to be lawyers or law firms but are not registered to practice. Within the last year alone, I’ve come across three such interlopers. Unlike lawyers, they don’t have professional indemnity insurance and lack the legal qualifications to practice. I see plenty of such outfits advertising themselves regularly on popular expat magazines with glossy ads peddling their conveyance ‘services’. They will label themselves with all sort of fancy titles such as: consulting firm, legal consultant, iuris consultant, jurist, legal executive, legal advisor, legal assistant, paralegal etc.
In Spain it is very simple, you are either a lawyer (abogado) or you are not; there is no in-between. Always ask the person you are dealing with for their Law Society’s practising number and verify they are indeed registered to practice. Wrong assumptions lead to expensive mistakes.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do
I know, we have all been there. You come to Spain and you think some things are stupid and you could do them much better in your own way. Perhaps, perhaps not. The point is that there are rules in place you ought to follow; if you skip them nonchalantly, you are only setting yourself up for a nasty fall.
Follow the 3 L’s: Look, listen and liken
This is not your turf, it is a new world you’re braving. Take your time to look around where you picture yourself living. Visit the property during the week and over the weekend, by day and by night. Listen to what neighbours and natives have to say about the place. Compare the pad you fancy with other similar properties and areas. If all adds up, go for it. You only live once.
Don’t pay any money in cash
Would you seriously pay in cash a home in your home country? So, why do it in Spain? This only benefits the person asking to be paid in cash, it does not benefit the buyer in any way. When you come to sell the property later on, you will be hit by a massive capital gains tax bill. Under-declaring is illegal, it is stupid; don’t be a muppet.
Don’t be pressurized to sign
The never-ending sun, the sweltering heat, the cool sea breeze, the enticing beach sunset with a mojito and a saxo playing, all them nice piña coladas you drank late into the night, the soft-spoken agent gently cooing into your ear promises of wealth and capital appreciation; all these things play tricks on our minds and make us lose the plot when we get off a plane in Spain. Unlike timeshare, there is no cool-off period when you buy property in Spain. Holding deposits are normally non-refundable (unless your lawyer words it). If you wouldn’t rush ahead and sign on the dotted line in your home country, don’t do it in Spain. Focus, breath and take you time to commit before you sign any binding document giving away your life’s savings. Don’t let the big lights dazzle you, you will be spoilt for choice. It's a buyer's market.
Don’t cut corners
“Jack knows how to cut through all this red tape.” Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t. Don’t try to outsmart local procedures by cutting corners; it is a one-way ticket into a world of pain. If you would follow set procedures in your home country, why on earth are you trying to skip them in Spain?
We offer the most competitive fees in the market.
Conveyancing – Buying fees on application
We are specialized in conveyancing
Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers, small on fees, big on service.
Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers is a law firm specialized in conveyancing, inheritance, taxation and litigation. You can contact us by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by telephone on (+34) 952 19 22 88 or by completing our contact form to book an appointment.
"Me ha bastado pensar que la naturaleza pertenece a los niños para reanudar mi batalla encaminada a la conservación de la fauna.” — Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente
“I need only remind myself that Nature belongs to our children’s morrow, to give me strength in the battles to come in defence of wildlife conservation.”
Félix Samuel Rodríguez de la Fuente (1928 – 1980). Was a Spanish precursor of what is now branded as ‘ecologist.’ The son of a reputed Notary, he was expected to dutifully fall in line and follow on the wake of his father’s footsteps. But following social conventionalisms were not really his kind of thing. He would heed his calling and would go on to become a naturalist and a broadcaster defending what he thought mattered most - Nature and the endangered wildlife. He would become world-renowned for his much-acclaimed tv series El Hombre y la Tierra (1975 – 1980). His unique and masterful voice, coupled with images of an unleashed Nature the likes we had never seen before, bewitched Spaniards, and other nationalities, for decades to come. His everlasting legacy would be to nurture and imbue in generations of young viewers a love and passion for the defence of Mother Nature. He had a particular fondness for wolves, which at the time had been driven by Authorities to the point of total annihilation. Decades on after his death, young generations of ecologists, who grew up watching his show, are now steadily bringing back again wolf packs into a land which was once their rightful domain. He would tragically meet an untimely death aged only 52 in a plane crash. He is credited as the father of Spanish environmentalism and there isn’t a single town in Spain who does not pride itself in having a street or plaza named after him. So much for social conventionalisms, eh?
Article also published in Spanish Property Insight: Do’s and don’ts on buying a house in Spain
Legal services available from Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers
- Conveyancing – Buying
- Conveyancing – Selling
- Non-Resident Income Tax (Fiscal Representation) from €90/year
- Holiday Rentals Accounting Service (HRAS) from €100
House Hunting in Spain – Interview with The New York Times. June 2015
Resurgent Spain: Málaga Sees Strong Sales – Interview with Mansion Global (The Wall Street Journal). December 2015
Buying Property in Spain from a Private Seller (Resale Property) – 21st of February 2017
Buying Property in Spain from a Developer (Off-Plan Property) – 8th March 2017
How to inspect an off-plan property overseas – Q&A with The Sunday Times. July 2017
Buying Property in Spain – 10 Reasons to Hire a Lawyer – 8th November 2016
Non-Resident Taxes in Spain – 8th December 2015
Non-Resident Income Tax – 8th December 2017
Please note the information provided in this blog post is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice. This article may be posted freely in websites or other social media so long as the author is duly credited. Plagiarizing, whether in whole or in part, this article without crediting the author may result in criminal prosecution. Voluntas omnia vincit.
2.019 © Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt. All rights reserved....