Once you have found a suitable property to buy and your offer has been accepted, the buying process begins.
Whilst your lawyer will cover most aspects of the purchase (and we strongly recommend you use a qualified, experienced Spanish lawyer) it’s really important to know exactly what you need to make sure has been covered before you hand over the final payment for your purchase.
Here is a checklist of things you need to discuss with your lawyer before completing your sale.
Firstly, check that you have seen the Land Registry extract which can be obtained from the Colegio de Registradores (in Spanish, it’s called the nota simple which is available in other languages for a small fee). This document will tell you:
- The person(s) selling the property and/or land are in fact the rightful owners;
- There is no outstanding mortgage on the property that you could at some point in the future become liable for;
- There are no planning issues outstanding relating to the property.
Then you need to check that your lawyer has established the following:
- That the property you are buying is a legal build and had all necessary planning permissions granted at the time it was built;
- For new build/off plan properties, make sure that the property has been certified as complete by a registered architect and that it features in the local property register as a new build. This register will also carry details of any insurance against structural defects that may arise;
- Whether the plot or property has any building restrictions imposed upon it by the local council and that it complies with any restraints placed upon it;
- Has a recent full property survey been performed on the property? If not, we strongly recommend that you get one done by a chartered surveyor. This is not obligatory but is best for peace of mind and will flag up any issues before you are legally committed;
- The cadastral value of the property has been checked at the regional tax agency. The cadastral value is the value that the council has placed upon the property. This is the price at which you will pay tax upon the property, NOT the price you have agreed with the vendor. Your lawyer will be able to provide you with a cadastral reference number for your prospective purchase.
- A receipt for the vendor’s annual property tax (IBI) together with a council certificate showing that no rates are outstanding on the property;
- The cadastral certificate which shows the exact boundaries and size of your plot. Make sure these tally with the Land Registry records;
- The habitation certificate (cedula) that was issued by the council when the property was first inhabited. Without this, your property may be deemed uninhabitable;
- A receipt showing that all utility bills have been settled up to the date of completion;
- An up to date, professionally conducted energy efficiency rating. This became law in 2013 and must be provided by the vendor.
Finally, after completion, ensure that the escitura (the deeds), accurately reflect your property in terms of plot size and size of your property.
We feel this is a comprehensive checklist of legal issues you must address before you complete the purchase of your Spanish property. However, this list is by no means exhaustive and we recommend you discuss all aspects of the sale with your lawyer prior to completion.
If you have any questions about the points raised above or would like us to recommend an experienced Spanish lawyer in the area then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.