Welcome to the frequently asked questions about legal matters when buying property in Spain
We have listed below the questions most frequently asked about legal matters by our clients. If you have any questions not listed below, please feel free to contact us by email.
Can I negotiate on the purchase price and conditions ?
Once you have chosen a suitable property, the purchase price, terms and conditions are discussed with the vendor. Your offer may be subject to a mortgage, or you may require a delayed completion. This must be stated at the time of the offer. We can recommend a lawyer who can help you with this process.
Do I pay a deposit to the vendor ?
A deposit is not normally paid direct to the vendor, but to the selling agent or lawyer representing you in your purchase. The minimum normally required is in the region of 3000 euros, but may be greater for the higher-priced property. This reservation deposit is paid by cash or credit card, and will reserve the property until contracts can be exchanged and 10% paid over.
How do I choose a lawyer to represent me ?
We can recommend a number of different lawyers who can represent you in your purchase. They will speak in your native language, can be reached by phone, fax, and email, and are happy to ensure that your purchase is as trouble-free as possible. A lawyer will provide legal guarantees that the purchase of your property is free from any debts or charges, and that all fees including electricity, water and community fees are paid up to the day of completion.
When are the contracts exchanged ?
Upon acceptance of the offer by the vendor and payment of the reservation deposit, the next step is to exchange private contracts. This normally takes place within about 14 days. Your legal representative would have made steps to make sure the property is free of debt or problems as above, and the private contract will set out the agreed selling price and the date of completion at the notary. It is normal practice at this stage to pay 10% of the purchase price.
What is a notary ?
A notary formalizes the sale of a property; they check that the title deeds and purchase are in order before the final payment is made, and the purchase document signed. The notary will then fax a copy of the purchase document to the local land registry office, and the final registration of the documentation normally takes around 2 months.
What if I change my mind ?
You are committed by the signing of the private purchase contract, and if you choose not to complete the transaction you will lose your 10%. If you have not reached this stage of the purchase all you will lose is your deposit.
What are community fees ?
Community fees generally apply to properties that share benefits e.g. community swimming pool(s), general maintenance, gardening and security. These fees are set by a president and committee who are voted in at an AGM (Annual General Meeting) every year.