Buying property abroad is not an undertaking you need to embark upon lightly! It is not wise to assume that the entire purchase process will follow the foundations we’re used to ‘back home’ and generally speaking there are generally a completely new set of rules and regulations, traditions and draws in to learn, understand and watch out for.
The country is perfectly no exemption and has a complex web of laws and legislation relatively designed to trip up an unwary real estate buyer. This article has a look at three key areas that a potential property consumer should be at least aware of before signing on the sprinkled line for that dream Spanish home.
Firstly there’s a ‘tradition’ in The country for purchasers to try really hard to but illegally assist the seller in reducing his overall capital gains (or profit) tax liability. rafleys The vendor will ask for a far reduced sticker price to be written into the purchase contract and for the buyer to essentially make up the difference between the contract price and the actual price in cash.
This has been a tradition in The country for many years; theoretically it doesn’t affect the purchaser, it certainly doesn’t affect the seller and what the tax authorities don’t know can’t hurt them, right?
This process is highly illegal and Spain’s new socialist government have initiated great down on money laundering and tax evasion and these concerted efforts are targeting the property market in The country.
Of course many potential buyers scanning this will simply assume that if asked to do something illegally all they need do is point out that the new crackdown could cause investigation, penalties, a good lengthy the penitentiary term and the vendor, est agent and solicitor active in the transaction will step back and accept that exact figures are entered into the contract and taxation be paid accordingly.
Unfortunately the truth for those who refuse to act relative to the vendor’s wishes can be far different to the above planned ideal scenario. Quite often the seller backs out of a sale if he cannot get his way and the buyer seems to lose their dream property in The country and possibly their deposit as well.
So, what should someone hoping to buy property in The country do if up against such a situation? If he or she accept the vendor’s demands and pay a brown paper bag filled with 500 Euro notes? If they do then the price they apparently pick the property for will be the price against which any future profits from the resale of the property will be compared for their capital gains tax purposes. Therefore if the consumer ever wants to market the property they too will need to insist that their buyer also believes to using a lower sum entered into the contract otherwise they’ll be responsible for the extra capital gains taxation! Someone somewhere along the line is going to lose out just ensure that it’s not you! Even if you have your heart set on a particular home in The country I would strongly recommend you don’t just act illegally even if that means you risk losing the property.
Think for an extended time and extremely hard as to what you’re being asked to do and the potential legal and long term financial consequences rather than your short term thrill at securing that dream home in The country.
The next point that is worthy of due attention is the fact that there are many unregistered and inexperienced estate agents operating in The country. The fact that anyone can become an est agent on the Costa del Sol for example has led not only to mistakes in the purchase process being made, but dishonest individuals setting out to exploit foreign buyers.
When looking for an est agent to represent your interests find one with a strong and positive reputation... a reputation they will do everything to protect and therefore one who is unlikely to want to offer you anything less than catastrophe class service. Furthermore, find a representative who speaks English and Spanish! It is imperative that your agent understands every minute point about the property, contract, terms and conditions and correctly pertains this information to you.
Many est agencies recommend lawyers to their clients when it comes to contract discussions, searches etc. Be aware that a solicitor referred to you because of your agent may be more inclined to do something in the agent’s best wishes rather than your own. Why? Because the agent likely makes reference for the better of business to him therefore he will do his far better maintain that relationship first! This is of course not necessarily the case, but you might be better advised to find an impartial lawyer through the recommendation of friends and trusted third parties who have already had significant or at least similar transactions with said lawyer.
Finally, changes in land laws in The country have been introduced in Valencia and most recently Andalusia and these changes are ‘a good thing’ theoretically, but the stuff of nightmares for many foreign buyers in the parts of The country affected by the legislation.
Theoretically the laws have been introduced to protect countryside land, garden land, to prevent over development and also to stop private owners from reducing development. But the laws have been badly implemented, they’ve been taken advantage of and there are many cases of foreign residents convinced they may have been targeted unfairly for their nationality.
The complexities of the law seem open for model and in Valencia so many private buyers have suffered at the hands of developers applying legal issues that the european union recently decided legal issues uncommon. As a result a new version of it has been selected and is awaiting the Valencian parliament’s passing of computer.
In Andalusia many foreign owners of countryside land on which these were hoping to build a home have lost out to the new laws which restrict the development of such land. It is absolutely a case of buyer beware, and even more important it is a case of the buyer doing their complete homework before making any solid plans for that dream home. If you have in mind purchasing a ruin or shabby building for redevelopment or you have in mind building from scratch on an empty plot make sure in advance that permission will be granted and that your lot in The country can and will sustain the ambitions you have for it.