Final registation of the title deed can take several months. With a new-build property, obviously completion can take a lot longer, and the payments are split over stages of the build process, and the developer should provide bank guarantees against each payment. This protects your payments in the event the developer fails to complete the property or goes bust. Finally, make sure that you have insurance for your property, ensure all service contracts are in your name telephone, water, electrics etc.
Just as in the UK, you can authorise someone normally your lawyer to act on your behalf with regard to your legal matters in Spain. This is often wise, as travelling to Spain to sign documents can become inconvenient or mean that you miss an essential signing date through ill-health or travel disruption.
A Power of Attorney can be either general or limited to a specific function for example, the signing on your behalf of the escritura Deeds to your intended property. So, apply for this as soon as you start looking for a property.
Currently, you must apply for your NIE number in person although the rules on this tend to change from time to time; your estate agent or lawyer, who should help you. You can purchase Spanish property very quickly, if you are a cash buyer and you have an NIE number. Certainly, it is not unknown for the Spanish in particular to see a property and be the owner with full access later on the following day. However, this is not the way to proceed for any foreign buyer and you should never rush to buy — or be rushed.
Rather, you must always allow your lawyer and building surveyor ample time to do their proper investigations. A good estate agent will help you in your search for a property but it is important to remember that just like in the UK, they represent the seller. You need your own representation in the form of an independent lawyer that you choose. Needless to say there are many estate agents operating in Spain, of all nationalities, with British agents or agents with English language ability common in most coastal areas.
So, finding an agent with whom you can communicate is rarely a problem. But finding a good one is key to your success. Throughout many areas of Spain registration of an agent is not compulsory and, even in the areas in which it is obligatory, the industry is considered unreliable. Does the agent belong to a professional association such as the AIPP aipp. Under no circumstances should you ever sign any document from an agent without your lawyer present or having reviewed it first.
So what should you expect of your agent? They should be proactive, know the local market thoroughly and be prepared to spend extra time with you offering all sorts of general advice and assistance.
Anyone who takes ages to get back to you on your first inquiry does not bode well for the search ahead. Estate agency commissions vary widely across Spain but tend to be high as the agent does do a lot more for the overseas buyer than a typical UK agent. In general, it's common for sellers to pay an agent commission, but this percentage can vary depending on where you're looking to purchase.
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