advice needed on builder asking for 50% upfront fee prior to starting work

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10 Dec 2020 13:29 by crostrad Star rating. 90 posts Send private message

Hi all, just got quoted price for repair work on our old house in valencia. Last time we visited was october 2019 -health/covid + stuff means unable to visit since then. Recent bad weather has resulted in roof damage + internal damp damage. Got a quote for the repair work from a registered builder.

Researched on t'internet and he looks legit. Is it normal to ask for 50% upfront ( bank transfer) prior to starting work ?

Any advice would help - knowledge /ability of spanish is low

Thanks, Ray





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10 Dec 2020 14:57 by Kavanagh Star rating in Oil Drum Lane Newcas.... 979 posts Send private message

Kavanagh´s avatar

He could be the kindest, most honest, trustworthy builder in Spain but if he goes bankrupt your 50% upfront payment will probably disappear. Upfront payments to builders are common but always have risks of bankruptcy, bad workmanship and even scammers.

You would need a genuine bank guarantee in place to avoid the risk of losing your upfront payment; however Spanish banks reputation of honouring guarantees have been dubious.



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



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10 Dec 2020 17:18 by crostrad Star rating. 90 posts Send private message

Thanks for that advice Kavanagh.

We feel a bit out of touch with things spanish at the moment -we don't have any contacts over there so don't know if 50% of the total cost  ( which would be  2000 euros approx,so upfront would be 1000) is a reasonable sum to put up - and risk waving it goodbye if bankruptcy beckons. I'm minded to ask if he'd go for a lower % and see what the result is.

Thanks again, Ray





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10 Dec 2020 22:11 by GuyT Star rating. 492 posts Send private message

If the job is only €2 000 in total....it's only likely to take a day or two...and since you are neither in Spain and don't have any contacts in Spain...what are the arrangements to sign off on the work and pay him the balance? I ask because it's likely he is more concerned with getting paid than you are about waving goodbye to your deposit. I'm not sure that banks are in the business of guaranteeing the performance of casual builders....but for sure to set it up would cost a lot more than the €1 000 in question and take you well into 2021.

 





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10 Dec 2020 22:58 by TFiLondon Star rating in East Sussex. 17 posts Send private message

Can you look for a local building surveyor/ property manager to oversee and project manage the work?

Might add 10% or so to the cost but at least you will get a professional to monitor ongoing work, agree any material costs and advises on value of works to date and agree stage payments until completion.





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10 Dec 2020 23:03 by crostrad Star rating. 90 posts Send private message

Thanks Guy T - all input is very useful. Payments are to be via bank transfer with videos of completed works provided before we make final payment. Just thought that a 50% upfront was high - but as I mentioned before  we're out of touch with current prices. ( much of our time is spent saying " How much????" in a high voice!)





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10 Dec 2020 23:30 by crostrad Star rating. 90 posts Send private message

Thanks TFiLondon.This is all good information, gives us some ideas to work on.





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11 Dec 2020 10:59 by Kavanagh Star rating in Oil Drum Lane Newcas.... 979 posts Send private message

Kavanagh´s avatar

The whole situation regarding prepayments and deposits for anything are a matter of trust and good faith. They are regulated by the legal justice system but the regulation is only as effective as the authorities enforce the justice system.



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



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11 Dec 2020 18:11 by Marksfish Star rating in Vera, Almeria. 2571 posts Send private message

Marksfish´s avatar

Is the upfront payment for materials? For such a low value job, I would have though the builder would have purchased them on account, so no upfront payment. We had some building work done and agreed to purchase the upfront materials from the builders suppliers ourselves (he ordered, we paid) and then pay the labour charges on completion.





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11 Dec 2020 22:35 by crostrad Star rating. 90 posts Send private message

Hi Marksfish,thanks for the input. We've now got someone there who is going to keep a check on progress, send us videos of completed work for our approval before final payment.

Difficult for us stuck back in uk, poor ability in spanish, - who knows when we can travel without agg.( both elderly and frankly p*!!** off with the current situation) it's what I would call "a distress purchase"  - like when the tyres wear out on your car just before the mot is due.

The roof is damaged and water has got in and caused ceiling/wall damage, so it's got to be done.

As Kavanagh posted earlier it's a matter of trust and good faith.

So, we've given the o.k for the job. Will post results here (good or bad) in the future. Thanks to every one for the ideas - it's all helped - as will this glass of Jack Daniels honey.





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18 Feb 2021 11:17 by mariadecastro Star rating in Algeciras (Cadiz). 9324 posts Send private message

Legal Questions? Speak to Maria Direct

Hi Crostrad:

How did all go?

Cheers

M



_______________________

Maria L. de Castro, JD, MA

Lawyer

Director www.costaluzlawyers.es

El blog de Maria



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18 Feb 2021 13:01 by crostrad Star rating. 90 posts Send private message

As promised - a short update on how the work progressed. First phase was 5 days and finished just before the cold weather and local lock down kicked in. Our agent sent us multiple pictures and a couple of videos of work in progress/completed.

Looked o.k (not easy when not there in person) - so we said go ahead with the rest of the work. Big gap due to weather and lock down, but then we received completion of work confirmation and picture proof ( Feb 8). Everything looked good so we agreed to final payment.  Our agent has now - with our agreement - slightly increased the asking price, may as well give it a try (we can dream).

We intended to use the same money transfer biz. for final payment ...but when I logged in to my account I got a message saying account locked, no new transfers allowed. Tried a few more times got a "account being reviewed"

No reply to my emails, so I opened account with another company and made the transfer. I've sinced used the new company to make transfer to our spanish bank account with no problems - so they will be my future provider.

Thanks again for all the advice given back in december.





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18 Feb 2021 14:38 by mariadecastro Star rating in Algeciras (Cadiz). 9324 posts Send private message

Legal Questions? Speak to Maria Direct

Excellent!



_______________________

Maria L. de Castro, JD, MA

Lawyer

Director www.costaluzlawyers.es

El blog de Maria



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18 Feb 2021 15:22 by crostrad Star rating. 90 posts Send private message

Only thing is, seeing pictures of the house ( not been able to get there since November 2019) we're starting to feel homesick for the place ...





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