Advice on Buying a property

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26 Mar 2018 18:16 by theline Star rating. 83 posts Send private message

I am planning to buy a house in Spain with my partner. We've found somewhere we really like the look of, and would really like to make an offer. 

However, before we do so, we'd like to cover ourselves as much as possible (given the number of horror stories we've read).

My partner thinks that the (Spanish) bank will do a full survey as part of the mortgage agreement (which we'll have to pay several hundred euros for), however with this amount of money I'd need to be 100% sure. 

Another thing I noticed after taking a look at the catastro website, is it although the house and the land themselves are there and all officially registered (which is the main thing), there is a very small outhouse/shed (of a few square meters) which looks like it hasn't been registered properly. Personally I'd be happy to just knock it down if anyone raised an issue with it, but obviously I'm worried that if we bought it we could also be liable for some kind of hefty fine somewhere down the line for illegal construction.

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26 Mar 2018 21:24 by Kavanagh Star rating in Oil Drum Lane Newcas.... 1075 posts Send private message

Kavanagh´s avatar

Had you thought about going to see a Lawyer.

There is enough in the world for everyone, but not enough for the greedy!

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27 Mar 2018 13:06 by windtalker Star rating. 1769 posts Send private message

Rent before you buy... don't look at buying as a investment....the likelihood of loosing money when you try to  sell on is extremely high.

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27 Mar 2018 17:54 by acer Star rating. 1424 posts Send private message

As virtually always "rent before you buy" is the safe approach, as stated by Windtalker - the market has been bouncing along the bottom for 10 years or so and there's no clear reason to think that'll change.  So no rush.

If you buy an older property in an established area, the risks are modest.  Buying off-plan, or a property in the sticks is usually where problems occur.

When you decide to make your purchase don't rely on the bank, a solicitor, the estate agent, the town hall, or one any person.  Make sure you retain control and read and understand every document and part of the process. 

Kavanagh's advice is not good.  Most solicitors work in a different way in Spain to what you might expect - in short they don't do many of the checks.  If you are unsure you can do  a lot worse than downloading the Law Society template to use as a checklist, it's all the same process. 

But be aware, solicitors in Spain do not consider themselves responsible, nor does the "duty of care" expectation, or legal responsibility apply.  I actually had one solicitor of a firm in Mazarron tell me that he admitted he had cocked up but I was a foreigner and no hope of any recourse against him.

All instructions to solicitors should be in writing, often all communications from them is verbal, which of course can be dangerous.  Don't ever let your selection of a solicitor be influenced by the selling agent.  Always ensure your appointed solicitor checks for any debts on the property, which you will otherwise inherit.  Again all this should be in writing - I found that despite requests my solicitor did not do so, so I was obliged to confirm their verbal comments back to them!

Don't be too put off, but take it slowly, remain suspicious, don't trust anyone and you'll be fine.



Don't argue with an idiot, he will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

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27 Mar 2018 18:44 by Roberto Star rating in Torremolinos. 4536 posts Send private message

Roberto´s avatar

Excellent advice from Acer. Kavanagh's advice (to employ a lawyer) is not bad per se, as you should employ one of your own choosing (not the agent's, not the bank's) anyway if you're unfamiliar with the whole process, but as Acer says, they work differently to British lawyers: I have always said that Spanish lawyers will generally answer all your questions - but will not tell you what questions you should be asking. So as Acer says, proceed with caution & trust nobody. If you're unsure about this house for any reason - walk away. There will be others.



"Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please"

Mark Twain




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27 Mar 2018 20:26 by Kavanagh Star rating in Oil Drum Lane Newcas.... 1075 posts Send private message

Kavanagh´s avatar

Acer, I agree that my advice is not always good, but at times it is the only sensible advice in the circumstances to be given. Not being able to trust the honesty, reliability and competency of a Spanish qualified lawyer is true and only demonstrates the cowboy land Spain is. Spanish lawyers treat the whole justice system and their clients as a meal ticket, but at times you have no alternative, or do you think new members would be better advised on EOS of what action to take in complicated legal matters. I doubt EOS has professional indemnity insurance covering some of the nonsense posted.

There is enough in the world for everyone, but not enough for the greedy!

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27 Mar 2018 23:53 by hugh_man Star rating in Kent/Roda . 1593 posts Send private message

hugh_man´s avatar


Don't be too put off, but take it slowly, remain suspicious, don't trust anyone and you'll be fine.

Best advice on anything to do with Spain.

Yes asl a lawyer but make sure you ask the questions you want answers to, there is no responsibility to check anything not asked.

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