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Arguing about all sorts: the third year of our Spanish adventure

This account of our life in Spain is loosely based on true events although names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. I have tried to recreate events, locales and conversations from my memories and from my diaries of the time. I may have also changed identifying characteristics and details of individuals such as appearance, nationality or occupations and characters are often an amalgam of different people that I met.

If the casa is so great, why don't we buy it?
27 March 2014 @ 16:10

So three months down the line, when I'd forgotten all about the casa I'd shown Layla and that Simon had turned down, Pepe rang to say the sale to the Dutch woman had fallen through and did we know anyone else who might be interested? It was now April and it seemed that Adrian's curiosity was getting the better of him.
‘If it’s so good, maybe I should take a look at it,' he said, when I got off the 'phone to Pepe. 
'But you said you didn't want to even think about buying any more property.'
'I've changed my mind. Can't I do that? I fancy a project, and this could be the one.'
I felt it was amazing that three sets of people had had the chance to buy it and they'd all let it slip through their fingers. 
As soon as Adrian entered the house and stepped out into the back garden, two days after the call from Pepe, like me he could immediately see how great it was. We offered the asking price on the spot. We then told our lawyer, Ingrid and she took on the liaison with Pepe, aiming to gather all the necessary paperwork. It was exciting to think we'd have such an interesting project to get our teeth into in the September.
However, it wasn't long before Ingrid rang to say she ‘strongly advised’ us against the purchase.  There was no escritura. Apparently the man had owned the house for 50 years but locals often didn't bother to have title deeds drawn up and she thought it was just too risky to go ahead. Pepe had told us the seller was at death's door (he was actually to live for several years afterwards) and had three children, one of whom wasn't speaking to the other two. The daughter who was liaising for her father said they were unwilling to have title deeds drawn up as this would cost them a thousand euros and they were worried that if the sale fell through, they could have wasted this money.
'Tell them we'll pay for the deeds to be drawn up at the same time as we put the 10% deposit down,' I suggested.
But the daughter also refused to accept the 10% deposit as if they, for some reason, could not then go ahead (if the father died in the middle of the process for example and the errant brother refused to sign), she was worried they'd be liable to refund the 10%, plus an additional 10%.
'Draw up a contract which says they wouldn't have to pay the extra 10%,' I said to Ingrid (God, we even had to do the thinking for the lawyer). But the daughter wouldn't agree to that either. In the end, we handed over a thousand euros to legalise a house that didn't belong to us, and whose owners could then decide to sell it to someone else if they wanted. Ingrid strongly advised us against this course of action and said we should abandon the purchase. We ignored her.
Even after the sale had then gone through in the August, there was a further complication. We now had to publish our ownership of the house in the Ayuntamiento (that is, have a piece of paper with the details pinned up in a glass cabinet on the wall of the reception area at the town hall) and invite anyone who felt like it to challenge our ownership of the house within a two year period. This meant for example that as were about to completely gut the house, install electricity, plumbing, do the plastering, lay floors, install a kitchen and bathrooms, extend it, put on a new roof and install a swimming pool, at a cost of over 70,000 euros, theoretically we could be doing all this work for the potential 'challenger.' It was a calculated risk as we had got Ingrid to get all of the immediate neighbours to sign that they recognised the ownership of the house as being the seller's and to agree that the borders were correct. 
And in fact nobody did challenge it during the next two years and it turned out to be our best investment in Spain (goes to show you shouldn't always listen to lawyers).



Like 1


johnmcmahon said:
28 March 2014 @ 15:29

you mean you bought without a habitation certificate ?

madre de dio !

eggcup said:
28 March 2014 @ 16:36


midasgold said:
29 March 2014 @ 08:01

Hi Eggy,
You are a very brave lady. You took the risk and it went well.
I love guys who have the guts to make things happen. Most
people do not have the balls. Good luck.

harddunby said:
29 March 2014 @ 08:26

The property market is still in turmoil and the way the EU is progressing it looks as though it will become more difficult to extract your money out of the Spanish system because simply, the Spanish Government wants your money but doesn't want it to leave Spain again.

eggcup said:
29 March 2014 @ 10:25

Thanks Midasgold. Yes, I think there are too many scaredy-cats about. When it comes to your finances, you take a risk if you spend your money and you take one if you leave it in the bank. It has to be a calculated risk, based on common sense and, as they say about gambling, you should only risk what you can afford to lose.
Harddunby: I'm not sure what you mean. How can the Spanish Government prevent us from taking our money out of the country if we sell a property (apart from the tax they receive on the sale)? Is there something I don't know that they've got in the pipework?

lifeinvejer said:
29 March 2014 @ 16:38

So at the end if your story is the house fully legal with a habitation certificate et al ? The reason I ask is to understand whether you have a fully legal house or an impaired asset. Round my way there are lots of semi legal houses and prices reflect that.

eggcup said:
29 March 2014 @ 19:06

Yes, there is a habitation certificate, but we've sold a country house without one, no problem. I don't believe you can ever get them without mains electricity and agua potable, but I may be wrong. There seem to be no absolutes in Spain.

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