What is the Role of a Lawyer in a Real Estate Transaction?
To represent your interests and ensure the “letter of the law” is followed in the transaction to achieve successful completion and settlement.
Real estate transactions in Spain can be straightforward if you have the right team on your side. The right lawyer and real estate agent can make the world of difference and streamline your entire buying experience.
Why Do You Need a Good Lawyer to Buy Property in Spain?
The official Government department for land and property registration is the Spanish Land Registry, known in Spanish as “Registro Catastral”. Property registration at the Land Registry is voluntary, unless you purchase your property with a mortgage, then registration is obligatory. And because registration is voluntary, not all property details are visible on the Land Registry. The need for thorough due diligence is why it’s vitally important to have the right team experienced in Spanish real estate transactions to act on your behalf.
The role of an experienced lawyer is to ensure there are no hidden surprises, and good lawyers have the know-how and experience of where to look. Without such knowledge, the legality of build is often hidden in plain sight. Experienced property lawyers know that possession of a notarized title deed registered with the land registry does not constitute proof of legal build.
What Do Real Estate Lawyers Do?
In Spain, a real estate lawyer will act on your behalf to ensure the transaction is finalized without incident and in accordance to the law. More importantly, a real estate lawyer will perform due diligence to ensure your property is one-hundred percent legal, debt free and as per the title deed recorded with the Land Registry. If the property is not recorded with the Land Registry, the real estate lawyer will perform checks to ensure there are no property liens, boundary disputes, ownership claims, outstanding taxes, property and land details match registered details at Land Registry, no legal proceedings initiated/pending against property for planning law contraventions, building restriction, current legal build status and no valid tenancy agreements yet to be terminated or reach end of term.
If you’re buying off-plan, you’ll need a real estate lawyer to ensure the developer has insurance in place to cover damages causes by potential structural defects. Your lawyer will also help make safe payments during the transaction by way of escrow account. Your lawyer should also confirm that the property has been certified as completed by a registered architect.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Review a Real Estate Contract?
Technically no, if you are fluent in Spanish and conversed in contract law, you can review your own real estate contract. If you are unfamiliar with contractual law and Spanish is a second language to you, it may be prudent to hire a lawyer to ensure what you are signing is indeed fair and reasonable, as represented, and meets local Spanish laws.
If you’re buying property in a managed compound your lawyer will investigate any monthly owner community fees currently due or expected due.
How Much Does a Real Estate Attorney Charge?
Depending on the complexity and length of the process, the lawyers’ professional fees can range between one and one and a half percent of the purchase price.