Do I need a lawyer to buy property in Spain?

Whilst it is not technically mandatory to have a lawyer to help you buy a property in Spain, there are many advantages and it is strongly recommended.

If you do not speak fluent Spanish, a good English-speaking lawyer in Spain will be of great use to help you navigate the Spanish property buying process as a foreign buyer and well as provide you with invaluable advice and support to ensure that you and your investment are protected.

How will a Spanish Property lawyer help me?

  • An English-speaking lawyer based in Spain will act as translator and interpreter for you, which is essential unless you speak Spanish fluently.
  • A lawyer based within the area in which you are looking to purchase can advise you with your purchase with their invaluable local knowledge. Often lawyers will have come across the estate agent and or the property before and will know of particular matters to look for.
  • Carry out all necessary searches for the property, such as checking whether there has ever been a planning breach, verifying that there is a License of First Occupation, ascertaining the taxable value of the property, whether there are any debt attributed to the property and more to ensure that any issues are resolved before you purchase.
  • Protect your position as a buyer by providing you with specialist advice to enable you to make an informed decision about the property purchase and make the necessary negotiations regarding any issues that arise.
  • Act as Power of Attorney, if necessary, so that all essential documentation can be signed on your behalf if you are unable to be present in Spain when the paperwork needs signing.
  • Having an acting Power of Attorney will be especially useful currently, with reduced travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic meaning it may be very difficult or lengthy to purchase a property abroad without the help of a lawyer to act of Power of Attorney
  • Help you obtain an NIE number, a Spanish identification that is required by non-Spanish residents buying a property in Spain. If your solicitor is appointed as Power of Attorney, they are able to obtain your NIE number on your behalf.
  • Draft all the documentation that is necessary to complete a property purchase in Spain, including preliminary contracts, draft deed of sale and deeds of sale.
  • Organise an appointment between yourselves (or your Power of Attorney), the vendors and local notario to complete the property purchase in Spain before the notario, during which the purchase deeds will be signed, registered at the land registry and the fees paid on your behalf.
  • Arrange for the transfer of utilities, such as electricity and water, into your name.
  • Prepares a will to cover your Spanish property once purchased.

Whilst you are able to purchase a property in Spain without the help of a lawyers, as a foreign buyer it is highly advisable to have one, as it can save a lot of time and complications for you. Also caution should be applied if the estate agent or seller tries to persuade you not to engage a lawyer- all the more reason to have one!

If you are looking into purchasing a property in Spain, we have multiple free resources for your use; including a guide to getting a mortgage in Spain, and various guides to properties in different areas of Spain, in popular destinations such as Mallorca, Costa del Sol, and Tenerife. For a comprehensive guide to the process, download our free guide to buying property in Spain.

How to find a good English Speaking Spanish lawyer.

There are lots of English-speaking lawyers in Spain, some better than others! Here our top tips on what to look for when instructing a Spanish lawyer to assist with your property purchase:

  • Independent: You should choose a Spanish lawyer is not in any way connected to the estate agent, seller or property developer. So steer clear from recommendations from estate agents, developer etc and find your own!
  • Registered: You should check that  your Spanish lawyer is registered with a Spanish bar association (colegio de abogados) . Ask for a lawyers registration number and which regional bar association they are registered with. Check it out before you proceed to instruct them.
  • Insured: Your lawyer in Spain should have professional indemnity insurance to cover the advice that they provide to you.
  • Experienced: You will also need to ensure that the lawyer in Spain has experience and expertise in foreigners buying property in Spain. There are additional steps and advice required for foreigners purchasing property in Spain. This is quite straightforward for a lawyer with experience you may encounter delays if the lawyer is not familiar with the process.
  • English-speaking: Your Spanish lawyer should be fluent in English (unless you are fluent in Spanish) so that you will be able to understand the advice being provided.

If you would like a recommendation for a recommended English speaking lawyer who encompasses all of the above we will be happy to assist. Please just contact us on 01244 478 911 or email info@totalbuyingabroad.com for free assistance and recommendations.

What else should I think about when buying a property in Spain?

As well as getting in contact with a recommended English-speaking lawyer in Spain, we advise first contacting an English-speaking estate agent in Spain to help you find your ideal property and organise your viewing trip (we can recommend a an agent to help you).

Once you have found your perfect property, and you are ready to make an offer and pay your Spanish Property Reservation Deposit or any other payment it is advisable to contact a currency specialist who can potentially save you a significant amount of money in the transfer of your funds into euros. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a recommendation of a currency specialist for buying property in Spain.

For more information about buying a property in Spain or for assistance from one of our recommended English-speaking Spanish lawyers and estate agents in Spain give us a call on 01244 478 911 or email info@totalbuyingabroad.com.

Article published: October 8, 2020