The Purchase Process is the usual practice to present to my clients with details of the processes involved in the purchase of a property in Spain as outlined below. I will keep you updated throughout all the stages until completion. I will endeavour to protect your interests, with the guarantee that the purchase of your property will be carried out satisfactorily and within the law.
Please find below an overview on the basic steps to purchasing a property in Spain:
1. RESERVATION OF THE PROPERTY
During this phase we make contact with the vendor and draw up a document to reserve the property in your name, thus protecting your interests. A deposit must be paid in order to make such reservation valid and effective. This step is necessary to ensure the property is taken off the market and therefore not available to any other prospective buyers. However, in most of the cases the purchase pays the deposit and signs the reservation agreement with the real estate agency involved.
2. SEARCHING PROCESS
The legal searching process is necessary to guarantee that the property is free of charges, encumbrances and outstanding debts. I personally will carry out these searches in order to guarantee that the property meets all the legal requisites to be acquired. This process includes:
- Checks on all appropriate legal requirements: building permissions, occupancy licences, etc.
- Checks to verify that the property is free of charges, encumbrances and outstanding debts.
- Checks to confirm that the property is registered under the name of the vendor.
- Checks to confirm that the property is correctly registered and all the taxes paid in the Town Hall, and all the utilities, electricity, water, community property of owners, etc... are paid before the completion.
3. PRIVATE CONTRACT
A private purchase contract is essentially the same as contracts you will have signed as part of the transaction to buy property at home. It creates a binding agreement between you and the seller, establishes a completion date and sets out the terms and conditions of the sale.Some terms may not be explicitly mentioned in the contract because they are implied by the law governing transactions of this kind. The Private Purchase Contract is usually signed between two and four weeks after the Reservation Contract.In the period before you sign the contract your lawyer will have completed the legal searches that you need before proceeding to completion. He will have obtained a certificate (nota simple) from the Property Registry (Registro de la Propiedad), where information such as the owner of the property, encumbrances on the land and mortgages are registered.Your lawyer will also have been involved in negotiating the terms and conditions contained in the contract. In particular, he will have established a schedule for the payment of any outstanding debts connected with the property. It is essential that a formal agreement is established on the cancellation of these debts before proceeding to completion. This safeguards you as a buyer because if the seller reneges on the agreement you are entitled to withdraw from the sale and claim for damages incurred or deduct the debts from the sale price together with any related expenses.At this stage it is customary to pay a percentage of the purchase price. If you are buying a resale property 10% of the purchase price is usually paid.
4. COMPLETION (signing of Title Deeds).
A property purchase reaches formal completion when the Sales Contract (Escritura de Compraventa) is signed by both the purchaser and the seller in the presence of a Notary Public (Notario). A Notary is a public official who certifies that contracts are legal by checking that all the formalities involved in the transaction have been complied with. At this point the agreed sum is paid and possession of the property is handed over to the buyer.Unless the parties have agreed to vary the terms beforehand, the Sales Contract always states that the property is free from all charges and encumbrances, that there are no outstanding debts connected to the property and that the seller is handing over vacant possession i.e. there are no tenants or other occupants.If it is not possible for you to be present at this final appointment with the Notary there are two methods which allow your lawyer to sign on your behalf:Granting a Power of Attorney (Poder). This formally allows another person (either your lawyer or somebody else that you trust) to sign on your behalf. You can have this document prepared while you are in Spain by making an appointment with the Notary who will oversee all the formalities.
Alternatively, a power of attorney can be prepared by a Notary Public in your home country. This power of attorney will have to be legalised for use in Spain by having an Apostille certificate attached to it under the terms of the Hague Convention.
5. REGISTRATION & STANDING ORDERS
Once the Completion process has been finalised, I will take registry the property in your name at the relevant Land Registry. This process usually takes between 2 or 3 months.Finally, as well as overseeing the registration of your title deeds, your lawyer will also arrange payment of the various taxes arising from your purchase. In addition, he can help you to make contracts with suppliers of utility services like water and electricity and arrange for your bills to be paid by standing order from your Spanish bank account.Throughout the purchase process, I will also open a Spanish bank account on your behalf that will allow you to pay all utilities by direct debit.
6. POWER OF ATTORNEY & NIE
It is advisable that you grant Power of Attorney to me, which will authorise me to sign the final title deeds and carry out all necessary procedures. I will set up and assist in all matters relating to this process.If do not want to grand a power of attorney, you will have to be present in Spain to deal with the different formalities (NIE, open a bank account, signing Private Contract, signing the completion, standing orders, etc...)Finally, to be able to purchase in Spain and also pay the required taxes, it is essential that you have a fiscal identity number (NIE). We will be able to apply for it on their behalf, paying the pertinent taxes, using the Power of Attorney if you sign it. If I have not the power of attorney they will must to go to the police station in Málaga to apply for this number, because without it they cannot buy a property in Spain.
7. SPANISH WILLS
The execution of a will is not necessarily compulsory, however we do consider that it is advisable, because in the event of death of an owner of a Spanish property, having a Spanish will in place will avoid a long and costly inheritance procedure, which will be enormously simplified for the heirs, by means of signing a Spanish will.Therefore, although it is not necessarily compulsory, it is highly advisable
We understand what a big decision buying a property in Spain is and how stressful it can be, especially in a foreign country. We are here to make the experience a positive one for you. We look out for your interests, ensure you avoid any possible pitfalls and keep you informed at every stage of the process.