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  What you should know when buying Abroad

When you have chosen a property of your liking from the portfolio offered to you by your real estate agent, you will sign the usual “reserve” or option to purchase agreement and pay money in advance as a deposit. When the first down payment is accepted by the Vendor, the purchase/sale becomes firm.
By this time, your agent must have obtained a document from the Land Registry to verify that prima facie the title appears to be in order. You are advised to choose a Lawyer, normally your own agent will recommend someone reliable with regard to conveyancing and it is very important that this Lawyer has a fluent knowledge of English.
Your Lawyer should then do the following:

  • Issue a search in the Land Registry to ascertain that the property is owned by the person, who is selling it and whether there are any debts on it, a mortgage for example.
  • Confirm that all taxes and utility services are paid to the date of signing.
    Arrange an appointment at the Notary’s office for the signing of the new escritura (deed).
  • Arrange with your bank for the relevant cheques to be made out for the balance of the purchase price.
  • Keep in contact with the Vendor, either directly or through your agent, with regard to the progress of his sale.
  • Accompany you to the Notary

At the Notary your Lawyer needs to:

  • Check the documentation before signing;
  • Ensure that all cheques are made out correctly;
  • Receive the cheque for any retention made on the price, where applicable; to be paid to the tax office on behalf of the Vendor, with regard to capital gains tax;
  • Arrange for the payment, on your behalf, of the purchase tax;
  • Taking the new escritura to the Land Registry and ensure that the property is recorded in your name in the said Registry.

Finally, your Lawyer can arrange for other complimentary work, such as obtaining your NIE (identification number), needed as a foreign purchaser, and where utilities contracts are concerned, i.e. water, electricity, telephone, etc., he will be able to tell you what you have to do. He can also provide tax and fiscal advice, and organise Spanish wills.

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