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Blog post copyrighted © 2018. Plagiarism will be criminally prosecuted.
By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Director of Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers
10th of August 2018
If I were paid a pound every time I’ve heard this line from someone, I would be a multi-millionaire by now. Now that offplan property has kickstarted again, I am witnessing more and more repeat mistakes from last property’s boom that led whole families to lose their life’s savings.
Some buyers are duped into thinking that only because a lender or notary is involved in their purchase, they are going to run a full due diligence on the Title to make sure it is clean and above board – crass mistake! This is one of the points I raised in my article: Buying Property in Spain – 10 Reasons to Hire a Lawyer.
This serious error of judgement, made by countless buyers who are purposely misled by parties not interested in there being a ‘pesky’ lawyer involved, may lead you to lose ALL your money/savings.
If this were true, we wouldn’t have dozens of thousands of offplan buyers from the previous property boom litigating at courts to claw back their life savings on buying off-plan property. Just read any expat newspaper to pick up on the glossy ads promising you to recover your offplan deposits. I can almost assure you that in 100% of these cases a bank was involved financing the conveyance.
If you think for one moment a Spanish bank (or notary public) does the work of an independent lawyer, you need therapy.
Banks are not going to check if there is a Building Licence issued, they are not going to bother to request Bank Guarantees securing all your stage payments (including the initial holding deposit), they are not going to ask for a Licence of First Occupation, they won’t do a snagging list, they are not going to disclose problems affecting the land, in some cases they don’t even check if the land is owned by a developer, they won’t bother to check if the house (or parking or storage) are the ones you actually signed up to buy, they won’t check if the size of the property, or its characteristics and materials are the actual ones you paid for, etc.
Banks and Notaries each have their own role, and that does not include acting as your own personal solicitor safeguarding your legal interests – that is not their role. Lenders act for profit and notaries are civil servants that ensure taxes are paid to the government. Don't delude yourself into thinking these professionals replace a lawyer's job, because they don't.
If you think lawyers are expensive, just wait until you start dealing with lenders unrepresented – good luck with that!
Bottom line, if you are buying property in Spain, whether offplan or resale, you should retain the services of a competent law firm to help you wade safely through the minefield. My advice is that you need to instruct your own lawyer on buying property, regardless if it is Larraín Nesbitt Abogados (LNA), or any other lawyer of your choosing. You will thank me later.
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