After 23 years of assisting Norwegians with the purchase of homes and land in Spain we can confirm that it is perfectly possible to invest your savings and purchase properties in Spain with absolutely no risk!
First and most important advice is Do Not Be In A Hurry! Probably, it has taken years to gather enough money to buy a house in Spain, and you should not spend it in just a few days. Take it easy. Spain is a very good place to invest your money and to spend most part of the year under the sunshine. But please be calm. The purchase of a property usually happens two or three times, at most, throughout a lifetime. It is worthwhile making this enormous investment with patience, security and calmness.
We realize that this is not always easy. Some vendors and some agents are extremely eager to close the deal when you have shown some interest in a property. The argument we always hear is that there is another interested purchaser eager to pay the deposit immediately so that if you wait too long you will lose the house. This has been always the same through the years. Even in times when the real estate sector was absolutely paralyzed in Spain. Moreover, we can say that, the fewer sales, the more pressure on buyers to sign the contract and make the first payment.
Keep in mind, that the first contract, the initial contract in which you make the first payment is absolutely binding in all its terms, price and conditions. Once that first contract is signed, you may not have the option to back out even if you discover that the house is not what you expected or, that there are some legal troubles affecting that property. The provisions in the contract might not be sufficient to cancel the contract and specially, to get your money back if the vendor do not agree with you. It may also be that the seller has made new constructions on the property, pool, garage or barbecue but that they never declared the new work done, and they do not appear in the title deed. You may face problems if you want to sell again and you are not able to add them to the deed because planning regulations have changed and it is no longer possible to extend the property legally. This is quite frequent.
Therefore, our advice is that before signing any contract or paying any moneys let a professional check ALL the legal conditions of the property, by asking for the information to the Town-Hall, Suma, Land Registry, Catastro, Community of owners etc. The reply from these institutions is not always as fast as expected. It can take days and weeks.
The provisions in the contract that the vendor will pay you back the money in case something is not in order, is not a sufficient guarantee. Your reason to not complete the purchase should be enough reason for you to cancel the sale. It may not be. Even more, the seller could compel you to buy even though you discover that you do not want that property.
The conclusion is that it is perfectly possible to buy in Spain without risk provided you engage a professional and expect it takes time to control the legality of the operation and draft a contract that is best in your particular case. Each client and each transaction needs its own particular contract. The professional, a lawyer, is the only one able to evaluate that the conditions in the contract cover all your interests.
We do not try to alarm you. On the contrary, we have assisted in thousands of transactions during more than 25 years with no unpleasant surprises, we just ask for time to do the job. Let the professionals work. Sometimes we have to not only fight against the vendor or the real estate agent but, also with our own client, eager to close the deal as soon as possible. We have a lot of responsibility if something goes wrong.
The main question is: What do you prefer?
- To risk that someone else goes ahead with the purchase (what happens very seldom, but may off course happen)? or,
- To risk your money and your peaceful dream? There are thousands of properties for sale in Spain.