Checking Your Chosen Property
Once you have chosen your property, and you have selected your Asesor (legal Adviser)or lawyer, then the work begins.
Before you sign anything, the property you have chosen must be thoroughly searched. If anything is missed at this point, you could be buying the property, and a lot of trouble for the future. The very worst case scenario could be that your new property will be demolished, and there will be nothing that you can do to prevent it, and this could happen without you receiving any reimbursement. The outcome is that you lose the property and you hard earned money.
There are a number of formalities, and checks that must be carried out on your behalf. The first step is to check the name that appears on the title deeds, to confirm that it was built with planning permission, and that it definitely exists. That might sound a little strange but you would be surprised. Further, and more detailed checks should focus on the legal description of the property, it´s boundaries, and that they are in complete agreement with what you think you are buying.
All Spanish property must be registered in the name of the owner at the Registro de la Propiedad. This is the Spanish equivalent of the Land Registry. Only the registered owners are able to legally transfer ownership of a property. An investigation of the property register will show who legally owns the property, and it is their names that must be on the Contract to purchase (Contrato de Compraventa). Your Lawyer or Asesor (legal Adviser) will make sure that this is the case. The only exception to this rule is in the case of a vendor being an especially appointed agent to carry out the sale, for example, a sale that arises following a death. A property can be sold by a third person or an agent, but only with a legal power of attorney. If this is the case, your lawyer or Asesor (legal Adviser) should obtain and verify a copy of the power of attorney. Any money paid to anyone other than the legal owner, that does not have a legal power of attorney may be lost.
Your lawyer or Asesor (legal Adviser) should carry out further checks to make sure there are no outstanding mortgage payments, or debts levied against the property. These debts, if they exist are called Embargos in Spanish.
If, after the checks have been carried out, debts or outstanding mortgage payments are discovered, your lawyer or Asesor (legal Adviser), should make sure that steps are taken to ensure that these sums are paid in full before the legal transfer of the property takes place.
It has been known in the past for buyers to lose their Spanish property because previous mortgage arrears, and loans taken out against the property have not been paid in full, and cleared off the register.
Your lawyer or Asesor (Legal Adviser)should also check at the property register, details of any building restrictions applying to Planning consents, building permits, road construction or extensions, have been complied with. Particularly in the case of a new build. Your Asesor (legal Adviser) or lawyer should also check that any fines that have been charged by the local authority, have been paid in full. As we mentioned before, if planning for a particular development was not granted it will be viewed as being illegal and could in the worst case scenario be demolished.
If you are buying a new build from a developer, then your Asesor (legal Adviser) or lawyer, after completion has taken place, should make certain that utilities, especially water, and electricity are connected to the property. That there is adequate sewage disposal, and that all costs for the installation of the infrastructure roads e.t.c. have been paid. At this point in the process, your Asesor (legal Adviser) or lawyer should be able to advise you on the likely costs of your new property. For example Community charges.
If you have not done so already, you will need to get an NIE number. You will need this number to purchase your property. If you do not already have an NIE number (and your Asesor (legal Adviser) or lawyer should have checked, then your Asesor (legal Adviser) or lawyer can help you with the necessary paperwork to obtain one. This number will be vital to you because you will need it to open bank accounts, contract telephone services, get electricity, work, and even get married. See the page on Registration in Gran Canaria,
If you are looking for a good Asesor (legal Adviser) or lawyer, you may need to look around, although in my experience, word of mouth recommendations are invaluable.