Legal advice when buying in Spain


Legal advice when buying in Spain is crucial. Whilst the buying process is relatively safe like all countries it has its idiosyncrasies and will not reflect totally the purchase legal requirements of your own country.

Do you need a Spanish Lawyer who is based in the area of the purchase

Whether you appoint a Solicitor who is based in the area you are buying in so, if you buy in the Costa del Sol appointing a Marbella lawyer, or you chose one out of the area the most crucial aspect of appointment is, are they independent and not linked to any other party in the purchase, are they able to communicate effectively in your language, will you get the legal protection required, and what is the cost of the transaction.

Most Lawyers in Spain who undertake property transactions only work within the area in which you are purchasing. There are some benefits to this as things like travel costs are not incurred but it does not necessarily mean you are getting the best possible legal advisers available to you.

Some lawyers will work across Spain either via regional or national offices or from one base. It is equally possible to give sound and professionals advice on matters relating to buying in Spain whether you are based near the property or not.

All information that is required to check the legal aspects of the property you are buying are available from departments that can be accessed remotely. More important than being on the spot is that all checks are undertaken with a high level of due diligence.

What are the possible benefits of appointing a Lawyer in Spain remote from the purchase

On occasions the reverse of appointing a Lawyer in the area of Spain you are buying in can be of benefit. If the area of purchase has urban infractions a local Lawyer who does not believe these will ever become an issue for you may decide not to mention them. Whilst this often done with a level of knowledge about the risk a Lawyer outside the area is more likely to raise with you the situation and explain the potential risks than one who does not believe you will be under risk.

How much do Spanish lawyers cost

Most Lawyers in Spain and those working out of well known Cities or tourist areas like Costa del Sol normally charge a percentage of the purchase price plus disbursements and IVA. On average you can expect to pay around 1% of the purchase price for the conveyance work to be undertaken. What is not always made clear at outset to potential clients are the areas that the 1% does not cover so what they will class as disbursements versus conveyance work.

It is not also always clear how much of the work you are paying for will in fact be undertaken by a qualified lawyer in comparison to a Para legal. The use of Para legal’s for administration work and certain searches is normal in all law practices worldwide but in Spain the use of non qualified legal assistance can sometimes run over into covering areas of Law that the Lawyer should really be advising on. This may include checking of the legal square meters, urban infractions and advising clients of any subsequent risks.

Are there other options to the percentage of purchase price fees

A service that offers a fixed fee for the conveyance work removes uncertainty of what your final bill will look like and may be a better reflection of what level of legal work needs to be undertaken by the Lawyer.

A cheap quote particularly on a lower priced property does not mean you will receive the attention and due diligence you should expect during the legal stages in the purchase process. Many of the legal searches and legal checks that must be undertaken have the same level of time and cost applied to them whether you buy at €100k or €1m. This means working on a percentage of purchase price overly penalizes on a cost basis those buying at the higher end of the property market but equally brings into question the level of expertise applied to a purchase at the lower end of the property market.

For every client whether they are buying in Spain at the cheaper end or not the buyer will be putting into the purchase a large amount of their hard earned cash which they do expect to put at risk by a poor conveyance job during the purchase process.

Should legal fees be the same no matter what the purchase price is in Spain

There are of course areas in which it is important in a large purchase that matters are covered off that will add extra cost to a standard conveyance. It is for instance essential if buying a large property to ensure the square meters being bought reflect what is registered at land registry. This a problem that is more likely to be in existence on a large Villa than on a standard 2 bed apartment in an apartment block and issues are less obvious to be picked up just from paperwork that will be checked.

Any outstanding infractions, fines etc will be disproportionately high on a larger property and it is open to more potential issues. It is therefore relevant for the costs on a large purchase to be higher than those for a more standard property but to have 1% across the board does not really work at either end of the spectrum.


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