Looking After Your Interests
Once you have worked out your budget, and you have made sure that you have all the necessary funds for buying your new property then it is time to make contact with the seller, and get in contact with good legal representation. Your legal representative, whether a lawyer (Abogado in Spanish) or a legal adviser (Asesor in Spanish), will begin the buying process by doing a thorough search of the property you have chosen. This is to make sure that the seller actually owns the property, along with property searches at the local property register.
The Spanish legal system is very different to the legal system in the UK when it comes to buying property, so your choice of legal representation is of great importance to you.
You should seek guidance throughout the whole process from either a specialist in Spanish law or an Asesor. An Asesor is not a lawyer but is an administrator who works in a privately run office that deals with matters of Spanish Bureacracy (and at times it can seem endless), and matters to do with property issues (including buying property, and selling property), and tax declarations.
In addition to this, at the outset of your purchase, the point of contracting the services of a lawyer or Asesor (legal consultant), you make certain what services you are paying for. It has been known for some legal firms to cut a few corners during the conveyancing process, and this has led to disastrous results for the buyer. Some of the nightmare stories you have heard on television and read about in the press are true. Be encouraged, these scenarios are not the norm, and many people buy property, and sell property without problems, all the time. I can´t say often enough how important your choice of Legal representative is. When choosing your Asesor (legal adviser) or lawyer, our advice to you would be to do your homework, and do it thoroughly. Make contacts, ask around when you are researching the area of the property that you are considering buying, and above all ask the names of reputable real estate agents, ask for recommendations for legal representation. Ask about any experiences that other people have had, negative amd positive, while buying their property. This will help you decide whether to choose an Asesor (legal adviser) or a lawyer, and will give you in the process a good list of names to choose from. Remember that when xhoosing an Asesor or lawyer, that word of mouth recommendations really are the best.
You need also to make sure that you cover a wide range of issues with your lawyer or Asesor (legal adviser), in addition to the purchase contract, and property searches. For example, if you do not receive advice on who should own the property then ask for it because this can have implications with taxes, and inheritance issues.
The law in Spain, and Gran Canaria is generally pro consume,r and legislation exists specifically to protect the buyer, when they are purchasing a new build property. In Spain, and Gran Canaria this is called buying off plan. The legislation is to protect the buyer from the property developer going bankrupt during the building of the property or the completion process. This is achieved with a bank guarantee. This called "Aval Bancaria". The law requires the property developer to guarantee the amount of the deposit paid by the purchaser plus an annual interest of 6%, this can be achieved either through a bank guarantee or via an insurance policy to the same value.
If you are buying a new build property, then your lawyer or Asesor (legal adciser) should make certain that evidence of the bank guarantee or insurance policy is obtained at the time you sign the contrato de compraventa (private purchase contract - this is the contract that commits you to buying a property). Your lawyer or asesor (legal adciser) should also make certain there are arrangements in place to guarantee the future staged payments that you will make to the property developer during the construction of the property. This is extremely important for you as the buyer. Without this you may find that the only guarantee you have is for the original deposit. This could obviously leave you compromised, exposed, and with an increased risk of losing your hard earned money.