It can come as no surprise to those familiar with real estate in Spain to know that a number of rural properties throughout the country, particularly in Andalusia, were built without planning permission. The issue of how best to deal with these properties has plagued the Spanish authorities as well as causing anxiety for buyers and sellers of Spanish property for many years.
While it is certainly fortunate to be able to purchase a primary or secondary residence with funds that you already have in your bank account, many people who are able to do so opt to finance the purchase in part by borrowing from a lending institution, often a bank, secured against the property that they are purchasing. Applying for a mortgage in the UK is relatively straightforward. Many of us have done so at least once, if not multiple times.
It is only natural that first time buyers of property in Spain are uncertain of the route to completion of the transaction. Spanish laws and business practices are often a long way from what one would expect in the UK, although when analysed carefully it becomes clear that with a few notable exceptions the actors involved in a Spanish property transaction are not entirely dissimilar from those one would expect to encounter in one’s home country.
Home is where the heart is, and what better way to create a home in Spain than by sharing the property with friends and family from the outset? For this reason, it is not uncommon for a number of family members or a group of friends to buy property in Spain together. For most people this is an arrangement that works well for all involved, but there are risks involved and for that reason, it is important to consider the options before you proceed.
We Brits often have a love hate relationship with the Mediterranean climate. We love the sun, but we are often not so keen on the heat. Blue skies cheer us up, but the antidote to the warm side effect of the blazing sun is a lovely blue pool to dive into when the thermometer seems as if it is about to burst. In fact, a pool is almost always an essential requirement of anyone buying a property on or near the Spanish coast.
If you buy on a development then there will always be a communal pool, but if you are considering purchasing a detached house on a plot, then you will be broadening your options if you consider building your own pool, whether because no pool has been built at a house that you fancy, or because the pool already built there is not exactly what you were after. While building a whole house from scratch is a bit of a task in Spain, even for a native Spaniard, building a pool is not quite as onerous and is far less likely to go wrong.
From 2018 the inheritance tax rules in Andalucía will undergo radical changes as the new regulation on inheritance and gift tax comes into force. The new rules will, effectively, exempt many estates from Spanish inheritance tax as well as meaning that, in certain circumstances, gifts from parents to children are not taxable.
When buying an apartment in Spain, or a house which forms part of a development, you will often hear talk of a “Communidad de Propietarios” or “Community of Property Owners” and the service charges that can form part of the running costs of owning a property in Spain. What is this mysterious “community”? And how does it impact upon you as a property owner in Spain?
It is natural for anyone to want to pay less tax. This is so whether in relation to income, capital gains, inheritance, or any other taxable amount. At home in the UK we tend to take the advice of qualified accountants, or tax lawyers, who guide us as to the most effective method of calculating our dues without paying more than we are obliged to pay.
Outside of the UK we may be tempted to throw caution to the wind and take whatever route appears to be the cheapest, if at least someone who seems to know what they are talking about, suggests it to us. In Spain, that is certainly something that happens all too frequently.
In Spain there are three principal circumstances in which people try to save tax in ways that are either unlawful, potentially prejudicial, or both.
E&G Solicitors in Spain is delighted to announce that we will once again be exhibiting at A Place in the Sun Live this May at Kensington Olympia, London.
We are very pleased to be continuing our relationship with the biggest overseas property exhibition in Europe and look forward to meeting people looking to realise their dream of acquiring a place in the sun.
Almost anyone who purchases a property in England or Wales will entrust the legal aspects of the transaction to a solicitor, either a specialist conveyancer, or a general practitioner, but in any event a qualified independent legal adviser protecting the interests of the purchaser. Only people with previous experience of property purchases and considerable knowledge of property law ought to contemplate handling their own transactions and even then it makes little sense to do. That is because by engaging a solicitor not only should you be guaranteed that the purchase will be handled competently, but if a professional adviser makes an error that causes the purchaser damages, there ought to be a professional indemnity insurance policy to cover the loss.
The same principle applies to buying a property in Spain. Before you make any payment either to a seller or to an estate agent you need to engage an independent Spanish lawyer to advise and assist you in respect of the purchase. If you make any payment before you have received advice then you risk losing the money paid if you do not proceed. In England or Wales you would not make any payment to an estate agent to ensure that the property is taken off the market. In fact, you would be extremely surprised if an estate agent asked you for a payment.
I thoroughly recommend them. E&G Solicitors in Spain are the fourth Spanish-based legal firm I have used in 7 years. They are competent, effective and given the high quality of care and the advice they give, they are inexpensive. In my experience, their service is on a par with some of the best international law firms at half to a third of the price.