Deposit to estate agent.

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04 Mar 2020 13:40 by TexTucker Star rating. 10 posts Send private message

We are from Sweden and are in the process of buying a property in Ciudad Quesada. The British estate agent has stated we must pay him the 10% deposit or no property purchase. Being Swedish we do not know the procedures in Spain. We have a Spanish lawyer and the best answer we can get from him is a shrug of the shoulders. Will our deposit be safe and guaranteed; is there any regulation in Spain of who can handle clients’ money?

Any advice would be welcome.





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04 Mar 2020 14:14 by baz1946 Star rating. 2177 posts Send private message

Don't / never hand any money over to any Estate Agents in Spain, if you get a shrug of the shoulders from your Spanish lawyer think how he would be if you had to put a hard question to him.

Change your lawyer, dump that estate agent or in the least say 'No way', there are more of both in Spain, and more go bust and disappear all the time.

 


This message was last edited by baz1946 on 04/03/2020.



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04 Mar 2020 14:25 by windtalker Star rating. 1665 posts Send private message

If you need to pay a holding deposit ...this is normally around €3,000 and it is paid to your lawyers on the understanding that all is well with your purchase...Do not hand any money over to a Estate agent.





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04 Mar 2020 16:13 by TexTucker Star rating. 10 posts Send private message

We thought it might be risky. Do Spanish lawyers have any independent legal responsibilities in advising clients? Are they regulated? The lawyer was recommended by the estate agent.





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04 Mar 2020 17:13 by mariedav Star rating in Ciudad Quesada. 1062 posts Send private message

And there's the problem, The lawyer was recommended by the estate agent. 

If at all possible, use an independent solicitor. The ones the estate agent uses will have their best interest at heart not yours. They will only get your business once but will get business from the estate agent many times. An independent one should work for you, not the estate agents.

 





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04 Mar 2020 17:32 by baz1946 Star rating. 2177 posts Send private message

 The lawyer was recommended by the estate agent.....Thats even worse, it's fair to say not all lawyers in Spain are bad one's, cant say who is legally responsable as all you speak with seem to think they know all the laws and rules inside out, especially when it comes to yourself having big money to spend, are they regulated, yes they regulate themselves, if they can get away with it then they have regulated it.

You will find a reputable lawyer, just a matter using your eyes and ears as to how they conduct themselves...Hopefully.

 





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04 Mar 2020 18:14 by TexTucker Star rating. 10 posts Send private message

It would seem we may have had a lucky escape by posting here.  We have not handed over any money to the estate agent because we were suspicious. Not sure where the idea of having big money comes from. The estate agent said deposits for all purchases in Ciudad Quesada and surrounding areas were always paid to the agent, the shrug your shoulders lawyer seemed to agree, would this be classed as misconduct by the lawyers regulator? Or is there no such thing in Spain. In Sweden he would be struck off.

Perhaps buying is Spain is not worth the risk if you cannot trust a so called regulated lawyer.

Maybe we are asking too many questions and should go back to Sweden.

 


This message was last edited by TexTucker on 04/03/2020.



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04 Mar 2020 19:15 by acer Star rating. 1361 posts Send private message

If you work on the basis that there is little meaningful regulation in Spain on anything you will be not far from the truth.

It's not usually worth speaking with the few regulatory bodies anyway.  They don't take their role too seriously.

In your situation you really should not pay any monies to the Estate Agent.  There are a few reputable solicitors around, including Alicante.  I believe I'm right in saying that the British Consular office in Alicante has a list of approved firms - some advertise on the website.  No guarantee - but likely to be more independent than the firm suggested by the Agent.





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04 Mar 2020 21:13 by Mrsubby Star rating. 75 posts Send private message

The general rule is you pay a 3000 euro deposit to secure the deposit and no more.

use an independent lawyer who has interest in you, not the estate agent.

if the estate agent is not happy with you, move to another agent,watch out for the estate agent taking you to furniture shops, they are on commission 

 





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04 Mar 2020 21:18 by TexTucker Star rating. 10 posts Send private message

We did spend some time researching this website before joining and posting. We realise that most posts are where something goes wrong and good events are not always reported, but never thought Spanish lawyers were so corrupt and unregulated. Who is Alicante? We are Swedish so the British Consulate and it’s lawyers subscription list is irrelevant to us.





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05 Mar 2020 08:05 by windtalker Star rating. 1665 posts Send private message

Is this property that you like already built..or is it off plan..





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05 Mar 2020 08:24 by acer Star rating. 1361 posts Send private message

It's very wrong to say "Spanish lawyers are corrupt" - they are most certainly not!   But most have considerably lower professional standards than you would expect from their counterparts in northern Europe.

I mentioned the British Consulate in Alicante as your query related to Ciudad Quesada, which is, I believe, located in that province.  Their website is open to all.  If it is still produced, a copy of their approved list will be available with a little effort.  

We're all different, but personally I reckon my original purchase in Spain was one of my best decisions of my life. 

I'm reasonably conversant with the basic pitfalls in conveyancing, but there are differences in Spain and I've still had my fair share of issues with Spanish solicitors and their lackadaisical ways.    Most Spanish solicitors do not confirm anything in writing (other than the draft contract).  So one tip is to confirm everything to them - by letter, not email.

It's very easy to fall into the trap of lowering your guard and relying on your solicitor to undertake the necessary checks, but if you remain diligent yourself, ask questions and confirm the answers in writing, you are likely to be OK.





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05 Mar 2020 09:23 by TexTucker Star rating. 10 posts Send private message

The property is about 25 years old. Out of curiosity we did check the lawyers list at the British Consulate this morning, and guess what, Shrug Shoulders is on it.

We are in Sweden at the moment and totally reliant on our Spanish lawyer for legal advice and guidance, we thought that was what we were paying for. Might it be a good idea to engage a Swedish solicitor to oversee the Spanish lawyer?





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05 Mar 2020 09:29 by ferrotty Star rating. 18 posts Send private message

We have just sold ours but awaiting rest of deposit to take that to 10% of property price, with us we were paid a deposit 5000 euro to take it off the market into OUR bank account, now pending surveyer report which I believe only very minor issues we await the rest of the deposit approx 55,000 which will be paid to OUR bank account via the lawyers, it does not go to Estate agent.





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05 Mar 2020 12:29 by acer Star rating. 1361 posts Send private message

Well TexTucker I did say "there's no guarantee". 

In fairness to "shrug shoulders" he did just that!  If he was corrupt he would have told you to pay the Agent, so perhaps you should count your blessings.

I doubt if using a Swedish lawyer if viable for various reasons - but it would certainly  do no harm to ask his opinion.

As you're buying an older property the "formalities, licence checks" with legality of the build etc should disappear.  The focus is more on the vendor, things like extensions and debts on the property which should be straight forward.   But you need to be alert and don't allow your solicitor to take short cuts or make assumptions.

For example, a while ago I bought a flat and was shown around the property including the parking space and storage cupboard I was told were included in the sale.  But when I received the draft contract for the purchase from the Spanish vendor, via my solicitor, the cheeky Herbert had not specified the the parking space and storage cupboard.  If we had completed the sale at the Notary I would effectively  have been short changed! 

Caveat emptor is alive and kicking in Spain.





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05 Mar 2020 13:21 by TexTucker Star rating. 10 posts Send private message

We admit we may have been a bit harsh in using the word corrupt. We are confused what we are paying a qualified Spanish lawyer for and what his responsibilities are to his clients, if any.

Years ago there was common advise to British Citizens to employ a UK solicitor to oversee a Spanish lawyer because they were untrustworthy, especially with illegal builds and black under the counter money where the Notary, the Agent, the Bank manager and the lawyer all organised it or turned a blind eye, most of the time the client did not have a clue what was going on, but would be liable.

Perhaps just employing a British or Swedish solicitor if that’s possible may be the sensible thing to do. Why pay good money to a could not care less Spanish lawyer and have to check everything they do, or more appropriately everything they cannot be bothered to do.

The whole thing has become overwhelming to us, where we come from we have never experienced such a shambles in professional standards and responsibilities. 


This message was last edited by TexTucker on 05/03/2020.



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05 Mar 2020 17:13 by acer Star rating. 1361 posts Send private message

I understand your comment re the conveyancing system in Spain, but none of us can change it.  I suspect that many Spanish solicitors will not appreciate the massive difference in standards either.

I don't believe employing representation from another country is viable - there will be licensing restrictions and insurance issues.  Also they will lack local knowledge and need to deal with the local Notary and Land Registry.

For me buying a property in Spain was one of the best decisions I've made.  You just need to be far more vigilant, not be rushed and put everything in writing to your solicitor.  Over the years I've bought and sold many times in Spain and cannot think of one letter I've received!   It's a very different culture.





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05 Mar 2020 17:53 by TexTucker Star rating. 10 posts Send private message

Thank you acer, but we find it difficult to come to terms with paying a Spanish lawyer good money to do a lackadaisical job that their regulators seem to have no interest in it's members professional conduct and ability. It’s a poor example of the Spanish legal profession and the country. But who really cares, no one I suppose, it’s just how it is. Is Spain suitable to be part of the EU? We have our doubts.

Congratulations acer and anyone else who have managed to buy and sell so many properties in Spain whilst paying out good money from their own pockets for a lackadaisical lawyer and mostly doing the job themselves, that is clearly something of an achievement, although we are not sure where that leaves any new Expat who expects the same legal professional standards found throughout other EU countries. If we were buying in Nigeria or Somalia perhaps we would expect Spain standards.

We have since been back to the estate agent and he has stated he alone must receive the none refundable deposit as it covers his commission if the deal falls through for whatever reason. We did ask him if he had the statutory complaints book we have heard about, but he says estate agents are exempt.

 

 


This message was last edited by TexTucker on 06/03/2020.



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06 Mar 2020 10:44 by baz1946 Star rating. 2177 posts Send private message

TexTucker, a couple of points with your latest post.

Understand Spain is very different when it comes to house buying, we have Swedish friends who have a house in Spain and never heard them complain about the way Spain works with house buying. 

Spain has for years accepted the way everything is done in Spain, in truth don't like it, don't buy, seems to be the only option.

No idea how Sweden works to buy,  tell you honestly the UK solicitors need a rocket up the nether regions sometimes over the way they can do things, so Spain in my mind isn't alone on that one.

Boasting from some who have done the job themselves seems a bit harsh, sounds like you have had a PM or two telling you it can be done with no need for solicitors, suppose it can, but a well known saying is 'A person who represents them selves in court has a fool for a client', bad enough having a bad solicitor, but if things did go wrong who do you go to?

I have bought and sold, always used what I believed to be decent solicitors (Had one tiny problem) then got a bit pricy, so for the last one I changed to a Norwegian Lady, who did all the legal work and sold the house, all I can say is she was absolutely fantastic in every way.

Fact is look, check, ask questions...And the last thing to leave your hand be it your money.

Good luck.

 





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06 Mar 2020 16:52 by TexTucker Star rating. 10 posts Send private message

This problem is almost a disease in some counties.

To one person it means nothing (shrug shoulders) lawyer as long as he gets paid he does not care, €1 short in payment he goes berserk.

Whereas ‘shrug shoulders’ clients deposit and total purchase are meaningless to him, why should he care if his clients lose everything.

That is why regulation and regulators were set up, to strike him off for not giving a professional and complete service, but it seems the Spanish Bar Association think the whole thing is a laugh, and sadly ‘shrug shoulders’ and the rest know it.

If any government fails to implement laws, rules and regulations that it is prepared to fully implement it has failed to protect its citizens from chaos, abuse and corruption. It would seem a lawyer can do as he/she wants but you need permission from the town hall to change a light bulb. Has the world gone mad?


This message was last edited by TexTucker on 06/03/2020.



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