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Spain Lawyers

When buying a Spanish property, it is vital that you use a qualified lawyer in Spain. The legal system in Spain is different to that of any other European country, and its complexities can sometimes baffle buyers who try to 'do it themselves'.

What are the costs?

Lawyers in Spain generally charge 1% of the property price for their services. This may appear expensive, but it's best to treat this as an important investment to safeguard your funds and to provide peace of mind.

Who should I choose?

Your Spanish lawyer should speak your native language, but be based in Spain. He/she may be recommended to you by your agent, or you may have been referred to your lawyer via friends or colleagues who have bought a Spanish property in the past. The lawyer should be independent, not working for the vendor or developers.

What does the lawyer do?

The lawyer will liaise with you during the course of the purchase, reminding you when payments are due and checking that contracts and deeds are all in order before signing on your behalf or asking you to sign the documents.

Between paying your reservation deposit and signing private purchase contracts (normally a period of thirty days), your lawyer will check the contract to ensure that the property you are buying is free of debt, legally owned and that bank guarantees are in place to protect your funds in the unlikely event of the developers going bankrupt. Once the lawyer is happy with the contract, he/she will then ask you to transfer your funds to their client account in Spain. We would advise using a currency exchange specialist if you are a citizen of a non-euro country.

Once the lawyer has received your funds, together with the signed contract, your payment will be forwarded to the developer of the vendor. The signed contract will set out when further payments are due, and will also include a forecasted completion date.

Before arranging completion of your Spanish property, your lawyer will check that the description and measurements of the property match those provided and promised by the vendor or developer, and that a licence of first occupancy has been granted (in the case of off-plan properties). Once the lawyer is happy with the property, he/she will ask you for the funds due at that point. Many people will use a Spanish mortgage at this point (further information is available in our Spanish Mortgage section).

Do I need to be in Spain to sign these documents?

When buying a Spanish property, you can arrange a Power of Attorney with your lawyer in Spain. This document is signed by you and gives your lawyer power to act on your behalf in relation to the purchase of your property, meaning that he/she can sign documents on your behalf. This means that there is no need to personally be present when contracts or deeds are signed.

What else can my lawyer in Spain do for me?

Lawyers in Spain are accustomed to people from all over the world buying property in their country, so they understand how difficult the process can at first appear.

Your lawyer can assist with making wills, opening bank accounts, arranging utility contracts and direct debits, arranging property insurance and liasing with developers regarding 'snagging' issues. Your lawyer in Spain may also be able to provide useful introductions to Spanish mortgage providers and lenders.
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