Practical Issues When Selling Spanish Property
Should you be in the situation that you wish to sell your Spanish property this guide will cover the main points that you need to consider – from estate agents to lawyers and from taxes to utility bills. The aim is to aid anyone starting from scratch who perhaps isn’t sure where to start and isn’t aware of the pitfalls to avoid.
Advertising the Property
Anyone who has spent any time in Spain will have seen the ‘Se Vende’ signs protruding at various angles from houses and apartment windows. These ‘For Sale’ signs signify a property that is for sale privately by the owner.
Many local Spanish people tend to at least try this method in effort to avoid estate agency fees. That is the main benefit from going down this route but on the negative side only those that would pass the property will be aware that it is for sale.
Another possibility that has proved popular in more recent times has been to advertise the property over the internet. Of course this has the potential to reach a much larger audience though you are depending upon the effectiveness of the website chosen to market the property. Some of these companies offer their services for free while others charge.
Of course another, more traditional method would be to contract a local estate agent to market the property.
As previously mentioned the biggest downside of this is probably the fact that the agent will charge a fee though it is worth pointing-out that this will normally be a portion of the sales price and therefore they have to be successful in order to benefit.
During the boom-time it was possible for estate agent to charge as much as 18% of the sales price! As a result of the current slowdown and competition from internet based marketing models mentioned previously, margins have come back down to earth and it is quite normal to be quoted a fee of anywhere between 3% and 5%.
One thing to be careful about when dealing with an estate agent is the possibility that they will request that you sign an exclusivity contract i.e. that you will not contract any other estate agent or company to market your property.
While you can, without doubt, negotiate a lower commission rate if they are given exclusive rights to market the property this has to be balanced against the benefit to be gained by being able to market the property across a number of agencies and internet sites.
Any contract, be it exclusive or otherwise, should clearly state the commission fee the agent will charge for successfully marketing the property.
One of the main benefits of contracting a local estate agent is the possibility of them being available to show the property when you may be out of the country. They will also know the best forms of local marketing such as which papers to place adverts in. But you would be advised to ask them what forms of marketing they will be using to market your property to get a better idea.
The Closing and Payment
Once an offer has been made and accepted on the property then typically the buyer’s lawyer will carry-out due diligence checks on the property. Assuming no issues arise, the next advisable step is to prepare and sign what is known as a ‘deposit contract’.
This involves a deposit being paid by the purchaser which effectively grants an exclusive right to purchase with a date being fixed for the purchase to be finalized.
Should the sale not go through due to a change of heart on the part of the purchaser then their deposit, often 10% of the purchase price, is lost. Should the failure of the property transfer be caused by the vendor then they are obliged to pay the purchaser 20% i.e. double the amount of the deposit.
Once again assuming that everything happens smoothly the next important date is ‘the closing’. This is a meeting that will include any or all of the following: the purchaser, the vendor, their legal representatives, the bank representatives and the notary.
The notary is required as the purchase deed is a public document and requires a notary to formally witness it.
At the closing stage it will be necessary to sign the public deeds of ownership though it is sufficient for your lawyer to be present if they have full power of attorney. Payment is made typically with a bank guaranteed cheque though it may be possible to use the notary’s escrow account.
The public deeds will contain a detailed description of the property as well as contain the details of the purchaser, vendor, the price, form of payment and any other relevant conditions.
Recent Advocate Abroad property lawyer reviews as added by clients directly to the Wufoo client survey platform:
- Daniel Spitzhorn, SpainTuesday, August 14, 2018Miguel in Oviedo helped us during the process of buying a flat in Asturias. He was just brilliant!
- Tracey Iliffe Bradley, UKTuesday, August 14, 2018Rosa 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.
- John Ryan, Derby, EnglandWednesday, August 08, 2018A perfect relationship between client and professional. Nothing was too much trouble.
Went over and above his job and more. I would only use his services if I need legal services. I were very lucky... to find Jose first time round.
Thank you jose
- Delbecq, FranceFriday, August 03, 2018Cristina, is extremely professional, fast, responsive understand and explain well, she always found appropriate solutions and provide good advices.
She know how to deal and negotiate, and look self...-confident, and make you feel less stress, you can trust here.
The value for money is good, and she is up to date with technologies (mail/google app etc… very practical).
It was a pleasure and a great luck to found here and have here at my side for my case. For anything, i should need a lawyer she will be the one I’ll work with
- Mohamed Nasir, EnglandMonday, July 30, 2018My lawyer Carmen is a nice lady ,very professional. I would like to be her client again if I need a lawyer in the future.
- Neil Linter, LondonTuesday, July 24, 2018Cristina immediately understood our requirements and was essential in guiding us through a very tricky process.
- Mr David P Robson, ValanciaThursday, July 12, 2018My lawyer Francisca offered value for money and was very helpful. Will use her again.
- Richard Day, London and BarcelonaThursday, July 05, 2018My initial call to your service desk was responded to by Oscar very quickly.
I appreciated his time as I outlined my issue, a problem with the building community and administrators. At the end of ...the call he provided clear guidance on next steps.
Furthermore he quickly turned around the issue with an excellent drafted response for which I could not of hoped to be better worded. It was comprehensive and aligned perfectly with what I felt was needed.
Excellent value for money and most definitely I would highly recommend Oscar.
- Søren Aabel Hammer, MalagaThursday, July 05, 2018Beatriz was professional and quick to respond. Would definitely recommend to friends.
- Niall Purdie, BarcelonaMonday, June 25, 2018Anna helped me purchasing my house, she was knowledgeable and professional throughout. I would recommend using her legal services.
- Peter & Anita Bradshaw, Leeds, EnglandMonday, June 18, 2018We could not be more happy with the service we received from Jaime.
He responded immediately to our enquiry and it was clear from the outset that he fully understood our position. It was vital tha...t Jaime acted quickly in this matter and he did so in a highly professional and competent manner, providing us with clear and concise updates throughout.
We found Jaime to be very polite and approachable and we believe his fees to be very reasonable. We would genuinely not hesitate to recommend his services.
Before contacting Jaime, our previous experiences of Spanish Lawyers had been appalling - in fact we needed Jaime's help to resolve issues which previous Lawyers had created. Our only regret is not finding Jaime sooner!
Thanks so much for all your help Jaime.
- Tracey and Mike Iliffe Bradley, Colchester, United KingdomTuesday, May 29, 2018From 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.
- Rl, AlicanteThursday, May 24, 2018Felt very comfortable at all times. Nothing was too much. Understood everything mentioned in our meeting. Very reasonable rate, money wise.
- Cian O'Grady, IrelandTuesday, May 15, 2018We bought a property in spain and Lidia assisted us through the buying process.
She was very professional and reassured us throughout the process.Her english was very good and we felt that we got ...good value for our money.
- PJU, Torun, PolandWednesday, May 09, 2018Béatriz responded quickly to any queries I raised, with easily comprehensible answers.
Her fee was very reasonable and she proved to be a very personable and approachable person when we finally m...et at the Notary.
- Geraldine King, IrelandMonday, May 07, 2018I was extremely happy with Pedro,and Ana. They were honest,and answered my queries promptly.
Pedro had to evict my squatter tenants, and then organised an estate agent to sell my apt. This agent un...dertook renovating the apt, and got me a good price.
Pedro and his brilliant co-worker Ana finalised the sale and I received the money into my account, without me ever setting a foot in Spain.(Power of attorney).
I will be recommending Pedro to friends, who are going to sell their apartment in Torrevieja. I highly recommend him.
- George Salib, LondonMonday, April 23, 2018Jose Antonio was very professional and has assisted me in every step of the purchase of my flat in Alicante.
He also assisted me by advising of the most suitable area according to my needs. His com...mitment and dedication is excellent.
Jose Antonio was very easy to approach and happy to help in any way he can.
I will definitely recommend him to my family and friends.
- Duncan Martin, Wolverhampton, EnglandFriday, April 20, 2018Lidia, was extremely helpful and patient throughout the process.
She was very attentive and responsive and explained everything in detail.
Lidia represents excellent value for money and the so...lutions she recommended were very beneficial, especially as you hear and read about a lot of horror stories on the web.
Lidia was the best legal representative i have employed and i will always use her where Spanish legal affairs are concerned.
- Pernilla, LondonFriday, April 13, 2018We had excellent service from Esther at Advocate Abroad when buying a property in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria.
Esther speaks both Spanish and English, and is very friendly, professional and genuine. ...She took care of the whole purchasing process and explained all the steps for us, including giving advice on Spanish bank account, NIE numbers etc.
We are very pleased with all the help we have received and can highly recommend Esther. Thank you so much!
- L Marshall, LondonWednesday, March 28, 2018Rosa 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.
- Robert Scott, UKWednesday, March 07, 2018First class service. Rosa's professionalism, advice and patience were all exemplary! Keep up the good work. Will certainly recommend the service to friends!
- M Pearce, MarbellaMonday, March 05, 2018Miguel was extremely helpful, he couldn't have done more:
Always kept us updated on the progress of our purchase
Always responded to emails in a professional and timely manner
Always explained to... our understanding all aspects of the legalities about the purchase
Very approachable,courteous and professional
So much better to deal with than UK property lawyers!
- Andrew Bullen, UKFriday, February 16, 2018Rosa was very professional at all times when dealing with me. Her English was second to none and she always kept me informed of progress via email promptly.
I wouldn't hesitate to use Rosa in the ...future for any legal issues I have.
- Tamara Reeves, AustraliaThursday, February 15, 2018Anna was very knowledgeable and had prior experience dealing with English clients. She spent a lot of time explaining information and I was never rushed.
I have continued to use Anna since my firs...t meeting as I trust her judgement and know that she will look after my best interests.
- Lisa Jones, UKThursday, January 25, 2018Kristina was extremely helpful throughout the process of buying my property in Spain. She was very easy to reach at all times and very professional. I would highly recommend Kristina to anyone buying ...a property in the area.
- Jackie Acres, UKThursday, January 25, 2018Miguel is fantastic, his English is superb. He responds clearly and concisely and always quickly too.
He is helpful and approachable and has always answered all my questions very thoroughly. He’...s very polite and an absolute pleasure to deal with.
I hope he never retires!
- Yuka Mizota Lockey, Kent, UkMonday, January 22, 2018Olga responded promptly and efficiently. She was accommodating in terms of arranging meetings. She was really knowledgeable, diplomatic when dealing with our estate agents and was dedicated to our int...erests.
All my family found Olga very approachable, professional and we were grateful to have someone who could explain and guide us through a process that is foreign to us.
- Norman McElroy, Northern IrelandThursday, January 18, 2018Erardo was very professional, always available and most courteous in all the dealings I had with him. I would be happy to recommend Erardo to anyone.
- Gearóid Foyle, LondonFriday, January 12, 2018Emma was bilingual, helpful and always happy to assist. In particular, I appreciated her approachability and understanding. I would definitely use her services again.
- Larry Karns, ValenciaWednesday, January 10, 2018Inma is a very approachable, open and knowledgeable professional.
She is available to meet with us on short notice, is attentive to our needs, answers each of our questions fully and provides appr...opriate legal solutions.
Inma is bilingual which has simplified communication and avoids misunderstandings. Her fees are definitely value for the money paid, and we will continue to seek her professional services.
It is worth highlighting the point that it is advisable to contract the services of a lawyer for the sale of such an important and costly asset as property.
There can be many terms in a typical deed of sale-purchase of property and such terms can assign responsibility for the payment of taxes such as the sales tax on one or other of the parties, regardless of who is typically responsible for their payment.
Therefore to avoid the possibility of unwittingly accepting responsibility for taxes that you are not liable for or indeed agreeing to any other disadvantageous terms, make sure to have a qualified lawyer assist you with the sale.
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