Advice on Solicitors - Cash Purchase

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18 Oct 2012 22:34 by boggey79 Star rating. 32 posts Send private message

Hello 

I was wondering if anyone could offer up advice on making a cash purchase in Murcia. We have instructed a solicitor and we are due to complete in 2-3 weeks. They have asked us to transfer the full balance into a client account 1-2 weeks in advance of completion. I know in the UK you can check the details of a solictor with the Law Society. How can I be sure our money will be safe with the solicitors?

It's such a large amount of money for us...we want to be sure it's safe.





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18 Oct 2012 22:53 by juansheetisplenty Star rating in Cartagena. 278 posts Send private message

juansheetisplenty´s avatar

 If you are uncertain, do you have a Spanish bank account? Why not transfer there first and have a bank draft ready to complete if you are worried. Will you be there in person to complete? Beware that the banks there will charge for receiving more than Euro 50,000. I would also suggest that it depends on who referred you to this solicitor. I know the area well. It would also depend on the area you are buying, i.e which municipality. You need to supply more detail,

Saludos

Juan

 





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18 Oct 2012 23:21 by eggcup Star rating. 567 posts Send private message

Well, I've never heard of paying the money to anyone weeks in advance before and I've bought several properties and pieces of land in Spain.  I wouldn't do it.  I only let the money change hands on the day of the purchase at the notario.   Why would the money need to go in your solicitors' account?  It should go from your account to the sellers.  And unless there is some clause in the contract, don't be rushed.  If it takes a little while to set up your own bank account, like Juansheetisplenty said, then do that first.



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19 Oct 2012 07:27 by 66d35 Star rating. 243 posts Send private message

Well, I've never heard of paying the money to anyone weeks in advance before and I've bought several properties and pieces of land in Spain.  I wouldn't do it.

 

Same here. We have always had the draft from our Spanish bank in our own hands right until we exchange it at the Notary.

 





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19 Oct 2012 08:27 by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5245 posts Send private message

 

Usually a non-returnable deposit is paid when the Compraventa is signed (Exchanging contracts).  In that contract the completion date is specified. (So I do not understand your 2 to 3 weeks).
 
On the the day, if the buyer is present (not  by proxy) he/she hands over the balance at the time the final contact is signed in front of the notary.  That can be cash (that was the old practice) or a Bank certified cheque (bankers draft). 
 
It is still I believe not uncommon for  part of the sum, that above the declared price, to be handed over, in cash, too, although not blatantly in front of the notary.  He / she usually 'looks the other way.'
 
Unless you have your solicitor act for you by proxy,  there is no reason whatsoever to give the money to your solicitor.
 
PS  I have never ever used a solicitor to buy or sell, but that's another matter.

 





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19 Oct 2012 08:54 by boggey79 Star rating. 32 posts Send private message

 Thank you all for your assistance on this matter!

Here are some further details on where we are right now...

The property we are purchasing is in Puerto De Mazzarron. When the offer was accepted, we imediately setup a bank account with Santander and instructed a solicitor (PALs solicitors) on the 24th of September. PALs were recommended by the estate agents (Mercers, Campasol). I am buying with my parents and none of us had NIE numbers. Yesterday we were informed that the NIE numbers had arrived and that we should prepare to transfer the funds.

We also originally planned to have the funds transferred to our Spanish account first and to arrange a bankers draft on the completion date. The only reason we had second thoughts on this was the prospect of paying more bank charges from moving the money. Obviously we feel much safer with this arrangement, we were obviously not thrilled about having this money in limbo with the solicitors while we arrange flights to Spain to sign the completion contract.

Thanks again for all your help!

 

 





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19 Oct 2012 09:00 by 66d35 Star rating. 243 posts Send private message

No. 1 rule here when purchasing.

Never use a solicitor recommended by the estate agent/seller.

Get independent recommendations from people with no connection to the transaction and no financial interest.

It can even be worth using a solicitor from outside the immediate area.

 

 

 


This message was last edited by 66d35 on 19/10/2012.



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19 Oct 2012 09:30 by mac75 Star rating in Valencia. 408 posts Send private message

mac75´s avatar

 Definitely don't deposit the cash in the solicitors account. You can't trust anyone these days. Transfer to your own bank account and pay on the signing of the deeds at the notary and as 66d35 says have everything checked out by an independant solicitor. Spain is famous for back handers between lawyers, estate agents, and God knows what else. You shouldn't be handing over "cash" full stop. Always a bank certified check - bankers draft.



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19 Oct 2012 09:32 by eggcup Star rating. 567 posts Send private message

I also would never use lawyers recommended by the estate agents - they are not independent.  Like John, for many of our purchases we used no lawyer at all, but came to bitterly regret it when we later came to sell as not everyone is as easy-going as we were, and they did use solicitors who then requested things that it took us years in some cases to sort out.  It might be too late now to change lawyers.  Be aware of one thing though, which is that if you have a translation of the contract into English and the Spanish contract is different, it is the Spanish one that stands in law (the English one would be irrelevant if you had a legal dispute over it).  Once, when we were selling, we had the estate agent (whom we had known for years and instructed to sell our property) read out the English version of the compraventa on the 'phone to us and then when we spoke to our lawyer who was standing next to her and doesn't speak English she told us that there was a clause in the contract that the agent had not read out and which had been omitted from the English version, committing us to do any work on the house we were selling that the purchaser requested over the following 12-month period!  We of course insisted it was removed, but wouldn't have known about it unless our independent Spanish lawyer had told us.



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19 Oct 2012 09:55 by formentera costa Star rating. 369 posts Send private message

 Hi,

just out of interest, we have our property for sale.

when and if it sells what percentage does a buyer 

pay as a deposit.

also who holds the deposit, is it the estate agents

or the solicitor



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19 Oct 2012 10:02 by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5245 posts Send private message

 

Usually it is 10% but it is negotiable.
 
It would be for you, maybe with the buyer, to decide who holds the money.  After all. it is your money.
 
I have sold several times, always without a solicitor, and I have always had the deposit.   
 
Once the comraventa (contracts exchanged) is signed each side is bound by it.
 
If the buyer drops out they loose the deposit. If the buyer does so he/she must repay the deposit plus an equal amount.

 





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19 Oct 2012 10:17 by formentera costa Star rating. 369 posts Send private message

 hi johnzx

thanks for the quick reply

just need a buyer now !!!!!!!!!!



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19 Oct 2012 10:18 by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5245 posts Send private message

19 Oct 2012 10:46 by boggey79 Star rating. 32 posts Send private message

 I'm afraid it's a bit late in the day for changing solicitors now. I appreciate we may be paying over the odds, but we are first time buyers in Spain and higly risk averse. I'm sure the estate agents will get a nice kickback but I'm primarily interested in whether the lawyers will do a thorough and complete job. Mercers seem to be a professional outfit and although we know less about PALs (the solicitors), they do appear to have been around for several years.

I will certainly take heed of all the good advice here, particularly with transferring on the day and bringing in an independent translator to check the contracts are identical.





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19 Oct 2012 10:51 by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5245 posts Send private message

The only way you can be sure a solicitor does a good job is if you get no problems later.  The problem is by that time it is too late. 

Many of the people who are having problems now with property they bought,  had 'real good' lawyers acting for them, or so they thought.

You pays your money and you takes your chance !
 





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