Despite the concerns of Brexit, Spain is still the most popular destination for British people to buy properties. It is also one of the best countries to currently invest, as not only is it a great and friendly country (I may have a biased opinion here) with a great deal of sun, but also prices are probably at their lowest point with great opportunities for buyers. It is the time to negotiate a good deal for your holiday home and start your Spanish property adventure.
However, make sure you are safe whilst entering the Spanish market and do not hesitate to contact our team of International lawyers, including dually qualified lawyers, who will be able to assist you from the outset, in particular in relation to Spanish law matters.
A few top tips may be helpful once you decide to make the Spanish investment and these are below:
- Location, location, location
It is important that you pinpoint the purpose of the property you wish to buy so that you can establish what type of property will be better for you.
If you are thinking about renting the property our, you may prefer to be closer to the town centre or a beach and not in a rural location, which is most likely only able to attract tourists in the peak season.
You may also want to consider how easy is going to be selling the property if you need a quick sale at some point. A property which can appeal to both Spanish and foreign residents may be quicker to sell. You should also take into account the facilities provided in the area as these may attract a wide range of potential buyers.
- Instruct a Spanish qualified legal adviser from the outset
Always instruct a Spanish qualified lawyer from the beginning, even before you found your dream home. Your legal adviser will be ready to answer any queries you may have when you are viewing a property and respond to any concerns you encounter.
Make sure your legal adviser is fluent in both Spanish and English. It will be a great benefit if your lawyer is also qualified in England and Wales, so he/she will have the necessary knowledge on English law to explain to you any steps in the Spanish conveyancing with an equivalent one, which you may be more familiar within the UK. English solicitors will also have the benefit of being regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, therefore giving you extra trust which you are unlikely to obtain with purely Spanish lawyers.
Any lawyer you instruct must be independent from the seller or estate agent, to avoid any potential conflict of interest.
Your lawyer will be able to assist you from the beginning of your purchase, advising you on any documentation which you may be asked to sign, any sums you may be asked to pay and also doing the necessary checks such as investigations with the community of owners, checks for debts and future expenditure and checks with the titles including existence of charges and rights of way. They will also be able to contact the local Town Hall to carry out the appropriate searches. Therefore, it is important they have a very good knowledge of the language, cultures and the way the administrative offices work in Spain.
- Check the overall cost of your purchase
Your legal adviser will be able to give you an estimate of the costs you are likely to incur from the outset. This will assist you in understanding some of the initial costs and expenses of purchasing a Spanish property.
The costs you are likely to incur may vary depending on whether the property is a resale property or a new development. You will need to pay taxes for the purchase, as well as third party expenses such as the Notary Public fees and Land Registry fees, among others.
There may be extra costs during and after the purchase process, such as a surveyor fee, bankers’ cheques commissions, property insurance and ongoing tax liability in Spain merely for owning a Spanish property.
- Be aware of Estate Agencies
Please be aware of the role of the estate agents. Although they will try to appear helpful, they have a contract with the seller to sell the property and a commission is paid by the seller, as it is the case in the UK. Therefore they may try to convince you at some point to protect the sale at all costs and not always in your own interest.
Never agree to pay any money without making sure there is a contract in place which has been checked by your legal adviser, and definitely never agree to pay any money just to make an offer. Any deposit you pay should be agreed once the purchase price has been accepted by the seller.
Unfortunately, there are many estate agents who are still taking advantage of people due to their lack of knowledge of the Spanish system and they try to pressurise them to make payments or close a deal without the buyer or their lawyer having made the appropriate checks.
- Currency / Mortgage
Because you will be most likely carrying out the transaction in Euros, it is recommendable that you check your options in respect of the currency exchange. There are companies specialised in currency exchange which may be able to assist and with whom you are likely to save money in commissions with a better exchange rate.
Also, if you need a mortgage, there are specialised international mortgage brokers who may be able to assist you in choosing the best deal for you. It is important that you understand the terms and conditions of the mortgage agreement in full before going ahead, so your lender must explain any documentation you are asked to sign.
- The impact of Brexit
With the uncertainty we face on the Brexit front, it is difficult to know which changes will be made. Even if there are some changes, the impact is unlikely to be significant and you should never give up your dream of buying a property abroad.
Time will give us some answers as to what changes will be made, however, the most likely impact may be in respect of tax liabilities. As a non EU member citizen, you may be liable to pay higher level of ongoing taxes in your Spanish tax return which you are obliged to file every year as a non-resident who owns a property in Spain.
Another impact of Brexit is likely to be in relation to inheritance taxes. Upon your death, inheritance tax payable by your non-resident beneficiaries is also likely to be higher if United Kingdown is not an EU member state, as they are likely to lose the tax reductions which are currently available in some regions to EU members.
Whatever you do, you must do your homework beforehand to make sure you are totally happy to invest in a foreign country and, over all, you must enjoy the process.
Our International Department with bilingual dually qualified lawyers in Spain and England and Wales, will be more than happy to act on your behalf and try to make the process enjoyable from start to finish.
If you have any queries in relation to your Spanish adventure, please do not hesitate to contact Carmen Calvo-Couto on 01273 223208.