In the Villas & Fincas Country Properties Buyer’s Guide you can find all the information you need that is relevant to the process of buying a country property in Andalusia. In this guide we have stipulated the process in 6 simple steps for you. We specify the role that we play and the role that your lawyer plays. Do you want to know what the costs are of buying a country property in Andalusia? Click here.
Step 1: Negotiation
Now that you have found your dream home it is time to negotiate. We will assist you during the negotiation period. The negotiation process between parties, as well as the conditions of the sale, will be guided by Villas & Fincas. You will get all the help and advice from us that you may need. When the negotiation is finalised and both parties are satisfied, we will prepare a reservation contract. This ought to be signed by both parties. If you don’t have a lawyer yet, we can also recommend a lawyer from out network who has experience with country properties in Andalusia.
Step 2: The Reservation Contract
In the reservation contract you will find the specified sales conditions previously agreed upon between parties. The agreed purchase price, whether or not furniture is included, the time agreed to perform the legal and technical checks of the property, the ultimate date to sign the private purchase contract and the ultimate completion date always form part of the reservation. At the signing you pay a reservation deposit to Villas & Fincas client’s account. The property will then be reserved for a designated time (usually between 3 and 4 weeks) for the legal due diligence and technical survey to take place. Your lawyer will also draft the purchase contract. If during this time a legal or technical hazard is discovered, the 10.000€ reservation deposit will be returned to you.
Step 3: Legal Due Diligence & Technical Survey
What should you expect from your lawyer?
Firstly, your lawyer will provide you with legal advice at every stage of the buying process. You can also expect your lawyer to do a legal due diligence on the property. The legal status will be checked as well as whether there are any encumbrances or debts on the property. Your lawyer will assist in all kinds of formalities before and after the purchase such as: requesting tax number, NIE, opening bank accounts, etc.
What to do if you discover unexpected problems?
If anything unfavourable were to be discovered, your lawyer will advise the best way to deal with it or whether you should, in fact, proceed at all. In case of proceeding, your lawyer will draw up a private purchase contract, which states all of the conditions of the sale.
Simultaneously you can instruct a surveyor or technical engineer to perform a technical survey. They will perform a check on the structural soundness of the property, point out maintenance issues and can check the proper functioning of all services and infrastructure. In the case that severe structural problems or unexpected problems show up, this could be a reason to renegotiate, or in the worst case scenario, pull out.
Step 4: Private Purchase Contract
Your lawyer, in collaboration with the seller’s lawyer, will draw up a private purchase contract. This usually happens within 3 – 4 weeks after signing the reservation contract. This contract states all of the conditions of the sale. Next to the price and the completion date, it will mention the form of payment, possible documentation that has to be provided before completion and any other matter that has to be dealt with before completion. If furniture is included in the sale, an inventory will be drawn up and will form part of the contract. Finally the value, as part of the full price, will be established. At the signing of this agreement a 10% downpayment is required. The earlier paid reservation deposit forms part of this 10%. This deposit is non-refundable unless the seller doesn’t fulfil their obligations.
Once the private contract has been signed and paid, it becomes a binding contract. Therefore, if the buyer decides not to continue, they loose the previously mentioned 10 %.
If the vendor decides not to continue, they must pay back the 10% deposit plus an additional 10% as compensation. Depending in the type of contract the purchaser can take legal action to demand fulfilment.
Step 5: Signing the Purchase Deed
Completion will take place at a notary public. The purchase deed will be drawn up by the ‘official’ at the notary. Your lawyer overlooks this process, provides the correct information and will check the deed before you sign it. At the signing of the deed, the balance of the purchase price has to be paid. Most of the time this is done by bankers draft, although guaranteed bank transfers are accepted more often now.
Power of Attorney
If you can’t be present personally, you may leave your lawyer or a trusted third party a power of attorney to represent you at the signing. The power of attorney has to be a notarised document. The simplest way is to sign this at a Spanish notary during an earlier stay in Spain. If signed at a notary public outside of Spain it needs to be in Spanish, or has to be accompanied by a sworn translation in Spanish. All these documents need an apostille of The Hague.
Step 6: After sales
After completion, your lawyer will declare and pay applicable taxes and register the Title Deed (escritura) at the land registry for its incorporation. He or she will also ensure the change of name of the owner in the cadastre and on all the utility contracts. If you do not yet live in Spain, you may want to include these activities in the Power of Attorney, so someone can contract services and arrange payments on your behalf.
It is important to prepare for the purchase as much as possible in advance. Choosing the right professionals to handle the sale is essential. Furthermore, knowing in advance what costs and taxes are involved when purchasing a country property in Andalusia is particularly recommended. As such, you can avoid unexpected costs after the purchase. For a full overview of the purchasing costs please click here.
Villas & Fincas will assist you in all negotiations. We will confirm all conditions in writing to both parties to prevent misunderstandings. If you need a mortgage, please make sure you have a pre-approved mortgage with one or two banks. When your financial position is strong, it’s easier to make a good deal. Click here to read more about mortgages on country properties in Spain.
With more than 20 years of experience in real estate, Villas & Fincas has assisted many clients in the purchase. We hope to assist you in this exciting journey! Once you have bought your dream property you can finally celebrate your new home!
Please note this is a guide only. For legal and fiscal matters, we advise you to contact a specialist to assess your personal situation.
Danielle Ernstsen | 13th December 2022