So let us start from the beginning... Just so you are aware of the basic buying process before you go any further. I will be helping you with your search for a property. Once you have found a property that you like and decided that you want to go ahead and make an offer on a property I will forward the offer on your behalf. You can offer whatever you feel is comfortable for you and your personal circumstances but I will advise you based on feedback that I already have from the vendors. Be aware that Spanish vendors are not normally as open to offers as other nationalities. Some vendors may have mortgages on the properties and will need to cover their costs. Due to the crisis from 2007 onwards, many vendors will already have reduced their asking prices by up to 50% of the price that they may have paid. A general rule of consensus is to offer between 5-10% less than the asking price. Though every case is different. Some vendors will only accept the asking price. At this point, it is normal to state any requirements as to what is to be included in the purchase such as furniture etc.
After negotiations and on the agreement of a figure for the purchase between yourselves and the vendor it is normal in Andalucia to sign a reservation deposit that is first checked by your lawyer and to then place a reservation deposit of either 3000 or 6000 euros depending on the price agreed and the requirements of the agents involved. In most cases, this money is transferred or paid to the lawyer acting on your behalf. It will then be held in an escrow account or passed on to the agent or developer when your lawyer is satisfied that the paperwork is correct. Once the vendor has signed this contract they are obliged to remove the property from the market. Some contracts have penalties in place others do not you will need to check with your lawyer. You can request that the contract is subject to certain conditions such as: subject to a mortgage approval or subject to a survey etc.
When the property is reserved for you then your lawyer will start all the searches and check the documents to make sure that the property is owned by the said vendor, is duly registered and legal. That there are no debts or charges on the property, the catastral value and the services that are in place.
It is often helpful for you to provide the lawyer with as much information about the property as possible such as information sheets from the agent and photos.
An inventory of what is included in the sale can be drawn up at this point and added to the contract.
In many circumstances, little things come to light at this stage that can in most cases be rectified between the lawers. It is important to use a reputable lawyer that is experienced in the type of property that you are purchasing. This process takes about 2 weeks in general. If a mortgage offer is necessary it can take up to 6 weeks as a bank valuation will be required.
Once the lawyer is content with everything he will prepare a private purchase contract to be signed at the notary. This is the binding contract in which both parties agree to the sale/purchase of the property. Both parties agree on a date of completion - which can be anywhere between 1 to 4 months in general. At this point, the purchaser pays the vendor 10% of the agreed purchase price minus the reservation deposit.
Finally, on the agreed date for completion, the new title deed is signed upon completion in front of the Public Notary and the keys are handed over. If you have applied for a mortgage the mortgage title deed will also be signed in front of the Public Notary upon completion.
You lawyer will then ensure all of the following:
The above information is just a general idea of what happens from my experience. For full legal advice, you will be able to have a consultation free of charge in most cases with the lawyer of your choice before you make any commitments or sign anything.