Blakemore Walker

Chartered Surveyors & Legal Consultants in North Spain

Tel : (0034) 985 556 142

UK : 07752 686 936










Avoid the Pitfalls! by taking the proper advice

In Spain the system for purchasing property is different from the U.K. The contracts in Spain can be signed at an early stage and many people do sign too early. If you wish to purchase a property in northern Spain, often referred to as Green Spain or the Costa Verde, there are important regional issues to consider as well.

The terms of a contract to purchase a property in Asturias, for example, will differ from neighbouring Cantabria or Galicia. Sign what may appear to be an innocent piece of paper registering your interest in a property and you could be committing yourself to a purchase you can ill afford; fail to take the appropriate advice and you could find yourself with legal and financial problems.

Whether you are purchasing a new chalet, or an old stone cottage in need of renovation, or an apartment on the coast, it may have been constructed without formal regulation and in northern Spain in particular there has been a history of varying methods of construction built to differing standards.

Commissioning a survey of a property from a qualified surveyor should always be considered before committing to a purchase. A survey can save you both time and money and can be used in the negotiating process.

The most common approach to the purchase process is to agree a preliminary contract (contrato privado) which should contain a number of routine clauses including the amount of deposit to be paid. Once signed, this will give the purchaser certainty in proceeding without the fear of being gazumped and in the rare cases when a higher offer is accepted after the contract has been signed, then compensation is due.

It is recommended that full searches and investigations be carried out prior to signing the private contract. Standard checks include investigating the planning status of the property, whether or not the seller is the registered owner; and whether it is being sold free of mortgages or other charges. Checking the property description and boundaries is particularly relevant in the north of Spain as many properties are unregistered having been passed down through the family generations. The formal transfer of the property is made in the presence of a notario by the signing of the deed of sale (the escritura).

Taking professional advice will ensure that your investment is sound. Please contact us to discuss our home buyer and survey packages.

Clive C. Robbins BSc (Hons) MRICS Managing Director

© Blakemore Walker 2004