Buying a property in Spain – vital information for your lawyer
Of course, most Spanish conveyancing lawyers do not visit the properties that their clients want to buy. That is unusual and not really considered a part of their duty.
However, over the years, I have increasingly made it a habit to visit the Spanish properties that my clients wish to buy. This is because sometimes the state of a property does not match that on the Title Deed registered at the Spanish Land Registry. Typically, this could occur if a house has been extended without the Spanish Land Registry having been informed about the extent of the works done and the alterations made (which may have been performed illegally).
Of course, your Spanish conveyancing lawyer will not know if the Title Deed to the house you want to buy is correct with regard to its Land Registry description unless he has either seen the property concerned or been given a very detailed (and accurate) description of the property.
So, if you are interested in buying a house in Spain then always provide your lawyer with a clear and comprehensive description of the property – how many floors and rooms, whether it has out buildings, a swimming pool etc. It is also a good idea to give your Spanish lawyer some photographs.
Obviously, if you are not sure that you can provide a good and detailed description then it is a good idea to ask your Spanish conveyancing lawyer to visit your intended property. This was your lawyer can check the reality of the property against what is described in the Title Deeds.
Incidentally, I am prompted to write this as recently a client of mine wanted to buy an old town house in a village close by to Gandia called Rótova. On the Spanish Land Registry information, the property my client wanted to buy as shown as a single property. However, when I visited the property to check it against the Title Deeds I found that the owner had divided the property into two floors (using an external staircase) as though it was a block of apartments. This was not apparent on the Spanish Title Deeds and it turned out that the work had been done illegally.
So beware when buying Spanish property to make sure that your Spanish conveyancing lawyer is properly briefed about the actual reality of the property itself. A ‘clean’ Title Deed is one thing but it is quite another to make sure that the reality of a property tallies with the Title Deed at the Spanish Land Registry!