These ten essential questions for your Spanish conveyancing lawyer must be answered in writing. This is absolutely essential. Never allow your lawyer to provide you with just verbal assurances of the above and never neglect to get answers to all of these questions, as the answers will provide you with critical information about your property.
Of course, the questions below do not include everything that you should ask nor do they cover everything that your Spanish conveyancing lawyer should do (i.e. checking that there are no encumbrances or charges on your intended property, that all outstanding bills have been paid etc. etc.). However, they will provide a backbone of knowledge for you – and help you to make an informed decision as to whether to buy your intended property or not…
1. Is my intended property in Spain designated as Urbano (on designated building land) or Rustico (on agricultural land?
2. If the property is Urbano is it fully urbanised? I stress ‘fully’ urbanised, as a property that is not ‘fully’ urbanised can be subject to an infrastructure project, which could result in you losing a part of your land and paying very considerable money towards the infrastructure works.
3. Does the property have a Licencia de Primera o Segunda Ocupación (sometimes known as a ‘Cedula)’? If your property lacks this then you should be very wary about buying it!
4. Is there absolute clarity as to the plot size of the property, with the measurements of the plot the same on the Cadastral as on the Escritura (Deeds)? If they are not then do not sign any Escritura, until you know exactly the size of your plot.
5. Are the property boundaries shown on the Cadastral the same as for those shown in reality by existing walls and fences (you may need a surveyor to confirm this).
6. Has there been any alteration to the property or new buildings on the land, not shown in the Cadastral?
7. Does the reality of the property match that of the description in the Land Registry? You must describe to your lawyer exactly what the property contains – the number of bedrooms, sitting rooms, bathrooms etc. If the property has an under build that has been converted into habitable area, such as an apartment, then check that this has been properly registered with the Land Registry. If it has not then it may well be unlicensed and illegal, together with anything else that is not shown in the Land Registry for the property. Equally,
8. Is the swimming pool registered as well as licensed?
9. Has your lawyer obtained a written copy of the Plano Urbanistico relating to your property? Often this is not done and lawyers rely upon verbal assurances from a Town Hall which, of course, are not worth the paper they are not written on!
10. Exactly what does the Plano Urbanistico (the Town Hall plan) say regarding the property, its legality and any proposals/plans that will impact upon your enjoyment of your house and land?