Pleasures and Perils of Buying in Spain
A dream for many ! If your thinking of buying a property in Spain then there is a raft of
things to consider - its a learning curve to say the least! We all see the dream on "Life in the Sun"
but there is reality to take into account.
Many buying in Spain will be new to the country and may not have carried out any homework to acquaint
themselves with Spanish law and procedures and many buy without knowing "the full story".
After an experience of property ownership in the UK for example, it can really be a brainstorming experience.
For those who intend to buy with the support of a spanish mortgage, to be aware that the application for a
Spanish mortgage is not quite as customer friendly as the UK process. Its true that Spanish mortgages are
available to both non residents and residents of Spain and now at least the terms of the mortgage document
are written in English - its still a minefield and we have to honestly ask how many of us read through and
understand those terms before signing. Its good sense to acquaint yourself with the costs associated from the
outset ie any valuation fee, the application fee itself and, of course, the general terms of the mortgage ie the
interest rate as well as the consequences in the event of missing a mortgage payment. Its a good idea to shop
around to get a feel of whats out there before you take the step. A point to be aware of is that the price paid
and stated in the deeds signed should not be less than the valuation given by the bank (and bearing
reference to the catastral value). This is important to avoid the risk of the Hacienda claiming unpaid taxes as
they could rightly say that the property was purchased for less than its true value. The worst case scenario of
such a situation would mean requiring the payment of outstanding tax, interest and penalties and which sum would
have to be obtained from your own resources.
What about the potential of buying that "bargain property" for cash - well the same applies in that the
price paid should not be less than the catastral value of the property. Also a point to realise is that ALL
the price paid must be stated in the deed (Escritura) - any competent professional would advise that no
monies should exchange hands between the parties.
There is also the importance of being aware that your legal adviser will carry out certain enquiries and checks
about the title to the property and its background of ownership - once the deed has been signed a buyer
inherits any liabilities from the seller - and its true sometimes that the seller may not be aware of the same.
The above scenario can be said to have relevance also in the purchase of UK property and it is well known the
consequences of "buying at an undervalue" and the potential adverse consequences thereof. However, buying in
Spain is a different experience - its crucial for any buyer to arm themselves with independant and honest legal
advice from the outset to appreciate each step before it is taken.
For this and other legal aspects ie Wills (Spanish and English) and inheritance advice and much more, if you
have any queries please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring my mobile 0034 634 053 976
to arrange a consultation to start the ball rolling.
Shirley Ann Fisher FCILEx, UK Lawyer & Commissioner for Oaths, Camposol Business Centre, Calle Madrid 19,
Sector A, Camposol, Mazarron, Murcia 30875, Spain