Buying a house in Mallorca – Do’s and don’ts

Read this recommendations if you are interested in buying a house in Mallorca, a list of what to do and what to avoid from local experts.

Buying a house in Mallorca

Buying a house in Mallorca won’t be free of some usual obstacles, that is always the case everywhere: the main problem here is facing one of those hidden and tricky issues that may turn your purchase into nightmare. Having spent many years advising house buyers in Mallorca on their conveyance, it can become a little disheartening to see the same mistakes being made again and again by non-locals.

This article deals with main Do’s and Don’ts for a safe landing on the Mallorca property market.

Sometimes these are relatively minor issues that are resolvable easily enough – once you are prepared to wade through the infamous local bureaucracy! However, other problems are much more serious and I have seen some unfortunate people being ruined financially by an ill-informed house purchase in Mallorca.

Below I have laid out some tips on avoiding some typical problems that tend to arise when buying a house in Mallorca as well as other more important matters to consider, that must be taken care of before proceeding with the exchange.

 

  1. DO ensure that the house complies with all the local planning regulations. It is not unusual to find in Mallorca houses, outbuildings, pools, porches etc… built without the relevant municipal licenses, which can represent a serious issue for the potential buyer – such measures that could be taken by the authorities range from a ban on renovating the house or to do any more works on it, to a huge fine or even a demolition order.
  2. DO request an inventory of furniture and a snagging list. If the house is sold furnished and, in particular, if you are paying extra for this, then our advice is that you request a detailed inventory of all the items that will be sold with the house. Likewise, and since properties are often sold as seen, we strongly recommend that all our clients get the house inspected by an surveyor so that this professional can ensure that it is in good condition and/or can draft a snagging list for any defects that should be fixed before the purchase -ie, stains of humidity, broken tiles, a/c not working properly etc.…
  3. DO request a “Nota simple” or Land Registry certificate. A land registry certificate is a document issued by the land registry where the house is registered. It not only contains a description of the house or the land where it is built on, but also a list of the mortgages and charges attached to it.
  4. DO inspect the house one more time before the purchase date. This is highly advisable. Although real estate agents often offer this service at no cost to the buyer, since they are mostly paid by sellers, it is always a good idea to confirm with them, directly or through your Spanish solicitor “abogado” that the house is sold in the same condition as when you visited it.
  5. DO NOT pay any money or deposit in advance before due diligence and before the signing of a deposit/option contract including all purchase conditions. During many years of practise as a lawyer I have seen people often advancing money to the vendor “to secure the house” before even knowing its condition or charges that might be attached to it, or before having reached an agreement on the final purchase price. It is also highly advisable to have the deposit transferred into an escrow* account, with most of the Public Notaries in Mallorca providing this service for a small fee.

    *What Is Escrow?

    Escrow is a legal concept describing a financial instrument whereby an asset or escrow money is held by a third party on behalf of two other parties that are in the process of completing a transaction. Escrow accounts might include escrow fees managed by agents who hold the funds or assets until receiving appropriate instructions or until the fulfillment of predetermined contractual obligations. Money, securities, funds, and other assets can all be held in escrow.

  6. DO NOT buy a house for which a mortgage is required before your loan has been approved by your bank. When a mortgage is required to complete a purchase, we strongly recommend to sign an option contract subject to mortgage approval, so that the purchaser may recover the deposit or withdraw without penalty in case that for some reason the mortgage application does not go through. We also recommend exploring your financial options with your bank to have all the information that is required before considering buying a house in Mallorca.
  7. DO NOT assume that real estate agencies will work for you or will assist you throughout the whole purchase process. Whilst most of the real estate agents in Mallorca are experienced professionals and know the market and the sales/purchase process very well, and they normally do not mind giving the buyer some advice, they are usually instructed by vendors. So, if you are not the vendor, if you do not have an estate agent working for you exclusively, and if it is the first time that you are buying a house in Mallorca, we strongly recommend that you use your own solicitor on the island.
  8. And finally, DO NOT sign any document that has not been previously translated to a language that you understand. Note that English is not an official language in Spain, so the vendor is not obliged to translate any contracts or documents produced in Spanish or in Catalan (also known as Mallorquin) into other languages.

Finally, it remains only to be said that with the correct advice from an experienced local solicitor there is no reason why buying a house in Mallorca should not be a relatively simple process!

Related reads, recommended: Property Taxes in Mallorca – Inheritance Taxes in MallorcaBuying Property in SpainSpanish inheritance tax.

 

Related Services

2 Lawyers Offering Property Purchase Services in Mallorca, Spain

Testimonials for our Property Purchase service
  • Matt Hardy
    Matt Hardy, Mallorca

    I thought Rosa was first class. Always helpful, always knowledgeable, and got the job done. I would highly recommend her.


    Also very nice to work with, easy to talk to with a great attitude.


    Nov 09, 2020
  • Gemma Pitt
    Gemma Pitt, Mallorca

    Our experience in using Rosa has been flawless. She has been incredibly responsive and helpful from day one.


    We couldn't be more happy with her service and we look forward to many more years of help and support!


    Feb 03, 2020
  • Stephen Brown
    Stephen Brown, Palma de Mallorca

    Great communication with Rosa and good advice around what can be a potentially complicated property market on Mallorca.


    I had no idea about the importance of a cedula de habitabilidad and how difficult it can be getting water and electricity connected with out one.

    Our experience of estate agents on the island is not great but thankfully Rosa has kept us right through out our property search and in obtaining our NIE numbers. We are very grateful for her help.


    Nov 13, 2019
  • Tim
    Tim, Mallorca

    I have recommended to a few friends who now use Rosa. Most profesional which is a rare in Spain. I honestly cannot think of any part of the service I would improve.


    Sep 13, 2019
  • Gian Piero Staffa
    Gian Piero Staffa, Antigua

    Rosa was extremely helpful in assisting me buying a house in Maiorca.


    The transaction was not without issues due mainly to spanish bureaucracy and Rosa handled all of them very professionally.


    Given language problems and distance from my residence I will never regret having chosen her as my Lawyer in Palma and I have already recommended here services to other prospective buyers.


    Jul 22, 2019
  • Xavier M W
    Xavier M W, Mallorca

    I highly recommend Rosa, she is very professional and thorough and her communication was superb throughout.


    Her English is also first class. Thank you for all your help.


    Jun 29, 2019
  • Mr Olsson
    Mr Olsson, Mallorca

    Rosa spoke English more or less fluently. Very satisfied with the service provided.


    Jan 07, 2019
  • Ian
    Ian, Mallorca

    Rosa is helpful and very easy to get on with. She knows many other people in the Mallorca property and legal sectors and I'd recommend her.


    Her English is very good and there were never any language problems on either side.


    Jan 07, 2019
  • Paul Hutchinson (Mallorca)
    Paul Hutchinson (Mallorca)

    I did a little bit of research before appointing Rosa to handle our property purchase in Mallorca, but quickly realised I’d made a great decision.


    From beginning to end, she was highly communicative, helpful and friendly and I can’t recommend her highly enough.


    Jan 05, 2019
  • David Roots
    David Roots, England

    We were very satisfied with the service we received. Rosa dealt with the matter in hand promptly and efficiently.


    Oct 01, 2018
  • Tracey Iliffe Bradley
    Tracey Iliffe Bradley, UK

    Rosa dealt with everything efficiently and promptly and went beyond our expectations by helping us to open a Spanish bank account and deal with other minutiae.


    Aug 14, 2018
  • Neil Linter
    Neil Linter, London

    Cristina immediately understood our requirements and was essential in guiding us through a very tricky process.


    Jul 24, 2018
  • Tracey and Mike Iliffe Bradley
    Tracey and Mike Iliffe Bradley, Colchester, United Kingdom

    From our very first contact through to the end of our purchase, Rosa surpassed all expectations.


    She was helpful, efficient, always quick to return our communications and a pleasure to deal with. We have already recommended her services to a friend.


    May 29, 2018
  • L Marshall
    L Marshall, London

    Rosa was excellent. Very efficient and professional.


    Responsive and always available. Extremely helpful - we did not understand the process and she guided us through.


    We would not hesitate to recommend her.


    Mar 28, 2018
  • Tim Burley
    Tim Burley, Mallorca

    A very strange phenomenon with lawyers in Spain - she was working for me rather than just trying to line her own pockets!


    Dec 15, 2017
  • Bruce and Susan Moore
    Bruce and Susan Moore, England

    Great responsive and assured service


    Oct 31, 2017
  • Bruce Moore
    Bruce Moore, United Kingdom

    Complete confidence and removed any hassle from the process.


    Even better was the willingness to provide follow up support and guidance. A great service!


    Oct 31, 2017
  • A & AC
    A & AC, Surrey, England

    We bought a house in Ibiza and Cristina showed immediately a high degree of professionalism and deep knowledge of the whole process - from the initial offer to the final completion of the purchase.


    She also dealt on our behalf, with registering us with the utilities companies (Water, Electricity) and other things, for which we were really grateful.


    Cristina is a lovely young lady, always ready to help and very polite and her written and spoken english is so very good that there were never any communication problems. Our queries were dealt with quickly and, when needed, she offered explanations, suggestions and alternatives.


    All in all a very pleasant experience; we told her we wanted to retain her as our solicitor in Ibiza for any future needs and she readily accepted.


    Aug 21, 2017
  • Nick Boyd
    Nick Boyd, Scotland

    Rosa was excellent. Very responsive and proactive throughout the property purchase process.


    She made it all very simple and stress free.


    Aug 18, 2017
  • Matt Hardy
    Matt Hardy, Palma de Mallorca

    From the start I found Rosa excellent.


    Really helpful, bilingual, quick at getting back to me, punctual, really knows her stuff, and a lovely person to work with.


    Would always use her again and highly recommend her.


    Jul 30, 2017
  • Gillian Cook
    Gillian Cook, UK

    Cristina helped us with every aspect of a complicated house purchase.

    Cristina was understanding, very responsive, she went out of her way to help us. She also often was available outside of normal working hours. Nothing was too much trouble. The service was great value for money also.


    I have recommended Cristina to others, and would happily do so again. Cristina has recently undertaken some further work for us. Excellent service.


    May 07, 2017
  • Simon Drury
    Simon Drury, Porta Pollença

    Rosa was extremely professional and helpful and made the process of buying a property from the UK very simple.


    Not only did she walk us through the Spanish legalities of the purchase but she also helped us get our new home set up with utilities, furniture and even a car purchase. Rosa did everything so that when we arrived we could move straight in.


    Without Rosa’s help it would have taken us months and months to get through the legal system. I would highly recommend her services.


    Jan 24, 2017
  • David Roots
    David Roots, Manchester

    The transaction process was conducted efficiently. Communication was frequent and clear.


    The fees were fair and reasonable and the lawyer was responsive, professional and helpful, particularly in explaining and translating documents written in Spanish.


    Sep 23, 2016
  • Goran Natev
    Goran Natev, London

    She did everything in her and the law’s power to resolve my problem.


    I definitely would use the same lawyer again in the future.


    Sep 13, 2016
  • Anna Skelton
    Anna Skelton, Alaro

    Rosa was bilingual and I found her to be extremely helpful – she couldn’t have done more for me.


    I was very satisfied with the service and I will definitely use her services again in the future.


    Mar 10, 2016
  • Diana Baden Hellard
    Diana Baden Hellard, UK

    Rosa was efficient, straightforward, hard working and a pleasure to deal with.

    We were extremely happy with the way she acted for us both at the time of our purchase and since on an on-going basis.


    She was professional, highly responsive and careful in her dealings with us. Her grasp of English is fine, anything it lacks is made up for by her enthusiasm and helpfulness. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her.


    Mar 02, 2016
  • Trevor Ralph
    Trevor Ralph, London

    I thought Cristina was friendly, approachable and completely professional, whenever I had a question about what was happening she answered my call or e mail quickly and found a resolution. She has been willing to assist me in all aspects of my purchase which has been really helpful to me coming from another country.


    I would have no hesitation whatsoever to recommend her to anyone that needed a lawyer and I would most definitely use her again if I need a lawyer in Spain.


    Oct 30, 2015
  • Graham Shaw
    Graham Shaw, Mallorca

    The level of detail and helpfulness were perfect, maintained contact throughout our negotiation period and had everything in place prior to signing the property deeds at the Notary.

    Returned calls were immediate as the lawyer became available.


    Value for money was also perfect, with costs individually presented with no hidden charges to surprise us.

    I will be recommending this Lawyer to my friends and colleagues.


    Dec 15, 2014
  • P.H
    P.H, Switzerland

    I got immediate responses to any questions I had, this alone would be enough for a good evaluation.


    However, Rosa was also patient and understanding throughout, and went out of her way to make sure I understood everything. I also thought that she was very good value for money.


    Perhaps I would have sometimes liked her to be a little more forceful…but this was probably due to me being emotionally involved in the situation. However, I do believe that she got her way in the end and I was always satisfied with her work!


    Nov 24, 2014