All around the world, 90% of property sales are said to be completed through a real estate agent. However, there are still many homeowners who try to sell a house on their own. It’s what we usually call FSBO (For Sale By Owner). It is easy to spot their ads on the windows of a building or on a bus stop when touring around Spanish cities. The common intention behind this procedure is to try and save on the broker’s commission, since many real estate companies take high percentages on a property sale. In the same way, a potential buyer can try to acquire a property at a cheaper price. Nonetheless, buying a house or a flat is a big investment and a tricky process, in which trust and transparency play a central role.
There are several aspects worth considering in such situations: for example, buying directly from an FSBO can be risky if the seller isn’t familiar with the applicable procedures, especially if it’s the first time the person is selling. So if the person selling the property doesn’t know exactly what he is doing, you could end up missing out on some the necessary steps and paperwork. Read more about the basic steps for buying property in Spain in the following checklist.
Moreover, if you are the one to buy without an agent, the seller’s representative could end up receiving your commission (apart from the seller’s commission). Besides, real estate agents will know the market value of a property and what prices you can expect. In any event, performing thorough research, comparing prices and getting a second opinion can help you build a realistic idea.
What is absolutely necessary in both cases – whether you buy through an agent or directly from an FSBO – is hiring a professional lawyer – one for each of the parties participating in the transaction. It is the only way to make sure all procedures are completed properly. Once you start working with a lawyer, the instructions will be normally confirmed to the client in writing, together with some information relating to the costs of the particular transaction as well as an estimate for the solicitor´s legal fees. The solicitor will make searches and enquiries that are appropriate to the particular transaction. Also, the solicitor will need to have access to title deeds in order to check that the seller owns and is entitled to sell the property and that the are no outstanding charges. All documents will have to be examined in detail to ensure that there are no matters adversely affecting the property. Various other documents may need to be checked to make sure that there are no local authority notices, which affect the property. Finally, the lawyer will inform the client in writing to let him know if there are any problems with the property and explain all the significant points. Last but not least, the solicitors will deal and prepare draft contracts to buy or sell the property and translate any necessary details into English.
Should you need further tips and advice for buying property in Spain, do get in touch with Legal & Tax Help. We are an English-speaking law firm based in Malaga and Costa del Sol, specialised in property conveyancing, inheritance tax, residence for foreigners, self-employed tax declarations and most legal and financial aspects of relevance to foreigners and expats living in Spain. For any questions and enquiries, don’t hesitate to contact us either by phone or e-mail.
The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues.