Those of you who have been following this little escapade closely will have spotted that I mentioned the on-line access to the property register (for those of you that missed it, it´s in the post entitled Glossary) which can be done considerably cheaper yourself than involving one of the many third parties who seem to have no shame in charging you up to 10 times what it actually costs to get a copy of the, arguably, most important document going when it comes to buying a house in Spain, a Nota-Simple (when I actually get my hands on one of these little beauties I shall do a post dedicated to it)
Let me digress for a moment.
It is a well known fact, to those that know it, that when you actually, really, really get round to buying a property you gather in hallowed silence and with bated breath (in case someone should pull out or something go wrong at the last minute) at the Notaries office and sign a document called an Escritura and hand over your cash. That´s it. Job Done. The place is yours! Wrong, wrong and thrice wrong.
It is not until the original of this document (and the one you get to take home is stamped Copia-Simple and ain´t worth the expensive paper it´s printed on) is submitted to and registered with the Registro de Propiedades that your title to the property is ensured. This may, in the immortal words of Captain Scott, ´Take some time´.
Anyway, the extract from this register, which in Spanish law is the ultimate arbiter of the legal status of a property is called a Nota-Simple, such a simple name for such an important piece of paper. Those of you who have read a little more of this blog will know that I am, just a little, fixated on this, apparently, simple note because, as yet, I have yet to see one.
But back to the story in hand.
Where was I ?
Ah yes, castigating organisations who take advantage of peoples ignorance in order to earn themselves an easy buck. Well let me tell you, in this particular situation, there´s no need to fall foul of this despicable trade in licit knowledge. And ´por que´ I hear you ask. It goes like this:
Go onto the Registro website https://www.registradores.org/registroVirtual. Click on ´how to subscribe´ and then fill in the on-line form (all in English by the way if you use the 'languages´ option to switch). Click on Okay and you will then be told to ... print out the contents of the screen and fax it to them.
Yes, you read that right FAX. Now, having an home office setup somewhat more up to date than Bernie Madoff´s dealing room, I don´t have a fax machine any more and those of us using broadband internet connections cannot send faxes directly from our computers (I know you can do it through third parties but that is neither here nor there) so I decided to cut out the middle man and deliver the printed form (complete with the requested copy of my passport) by hand to my local office, the idea being that I could drop in my request for the Nota-simple I was looking for at the same time and thus kill two birds with one stone.
So off the the office I trotted (before 2pm because it´s August and they only work mornings) no queue, no waiting, talked to the nice young lady at the desk, handed over the forms and smiled sweetly. She took one look at the papers and her eyes went blank, she called over two of her colleagues whose eyes also lost their shine.
All three looked at me and said “what´s this?”
“It came from your website”, said I, “look it´s printed right there”
Further perusal of the papers. Time passes. Light dawns.
“Ah”, said the clever one, “You want to access our information via the internet?”
“Yes, you´ve got it”. I sighed in relief.
“Then you need to look on our website”, said she and wrote down the address, on a post-it note, which she then stuck to my piece of paper containing... the address of the website.
I decided it might be easier to say nothing more on the subject and just fax the form anyway. But before I went I had another brain teaser for them.
Pulling out a page from the copy escritura I had, I pointed to the Registro stamp and asked them to confirm that this was, indeed, their stamp, they replied in the affirmative. Good start.
I then asked if they could pull up the information on this property, also affirmative. Looking good.
Then it fell apart, they seemed to think that the top line was the name of the Registro office, I told them 4 times that the office was Huercal Overa and that Cantoria was the name of the area in Almeria, but that didn´t stop them looking Cantoria up in their directory and being surprised when they couldn´t find it, but eventually that sunk in, was it doable? Once again affirmative, well could they email the results to me? Ah, no. If you make a request in person you must pick up the results in person, the email option is only if you make a request on-line. Back to stage one.
Somewhat disheartened I dropped into an internet cafe on the way home and faxed the pages to the number given.
Imagine my surprise when upon sitting once again behind my beloved keyboards I found an email from the Registro saying that they had received my fax but the passport copy was illegible and could I send it again. So what did I do? I scanned the pages into my machine, and sent them as an email attachment back to them. It´s supposed to take 6 working hours for my account to be activated so I´ll need to wait until Monday to see if that has done the trick.
Update: Whilst writing this I have received another email saying that the scans I have sent are unreadable and could I send them again, which I have duly done after reformatting them into jpeg. But at least it looks like the email option might work.
Further Update: During the writing of the update (above) have received a further email informing me that my account has been activated. Wait one whilst I test it out.... It´s a little tricky deciding which of the many options to use to perform the search as there is no information on the screen to say exactly how to fill in the search forms. Used the ´other data´ search and will see what I get back. Watch this space.
Oh, and the quoted price of 3 euros has gone up to 9 (plus iva) but that may be because I chose ´legal´ rather than ´other´ information. We will see.
He, He, this is like waiting for your birthday cards to arrive.