Buying International Property: Why hiring an expert local firm

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Buying International Property: Why hiring an expert local firm

2018-10-17T16:36:51+00:00 28 June, 2018|

Experience shows that international Buyers can misunderstand the property buying process in Spain. Most international buyers misjudge the costs involved and are unaware of property professionals’ responsibilities and the Spanish conveyancing terminology can cause confusion.

Understanding these issues from the outset becomes critical to improve the chances of a smooth transaction.


Finding the Right Property

The Spanish real estate market is overcrowded. The immense offer of properties normally leads to confusion and most Buyers don’t know where and how to start.

The objective is clear: finding the right property meeting virtually all the Buyer´s requirements while keeping the sale price within budget.

Surfing the internet is the first option, though this can become an exhausting work with very few (or none) findings.

Contacting a local Real Estate agency seems to be the perfect alternative. However, this is not always the case, especially in bustling areas like the Costa del Sol. Why? The reason is simple: the market is not only saturated of properties but of real estate agencies. Recent research highlights that one 1 out of 4 companies set up in the Costa del Sol in the last 12 months is a real estate agency.


Market Saturation = Poor Service 

For too long, unprofessional agents with no qualifications have been able to operate in the sector and advise homeowners as they undertake the most important purchases and sales of their lives.

Of course, this doesn’t apply to all real estate agencies, thought the truth is that it has become steadily more complex to find trustworthy professional agents with a truly valid skills.


Instructing a Reputed Law Firm for Search and Completion

Buyers now have a third alternative: to hire all-inclusive services from local international law firms, covering from expert brokering services to all the legal and tax implications related to the transaction.

That is, hiring a market specialist such a law firm to steer the conveyancing process, from finding the right property among those most suitable in the market while helping at every stage of the transaction, from legal pre-sale investigations to tax and post-completion formalities.

At Fitzwilliam, our local branch in Marbella is top ranked for providing clients with all-in conveyancing services at a non-surprises fixed fee of 1% of the purchase price. From viewing properties and finding your next home, to finalising your mortgage and the completion of sale, our team will be on hand to advise you every step of the way.


Why are Law Firms so Well Positioned to Find a Property?

We are based locally where you most need us. Our extensive network of contacts in the field (from direct owners to qualified agents), together with our legal expertise, makes us able to ensure that we can find the best property meeting your criteria. We search and find properties, carefully separating the wheat from the chaff.


What Happens After we Find the Right Property?



Once our real estate lawyers have reached an agreement with the Seller, who has accepted an offer on the property and has agreed on the sale, it’s time to carry out the legal process in order for the property to change owners legally.

At Fitzwilliam we will receive title and contract papers from the Seller’s solicitor. We, acting on your behalf, would then:

  • ensure that good title is being given (the Seller is in fact the registered owner of the property);
  • examine any rights or restrictions that may affect the land;
  • check the terms of the lease if it is leasehold property;
  • make enquiries about the owner’s use and enjoyment of the property;
  • ensure that the Buyer is happy with the arrangements for the purchase;
  • organise various searches on the property with public bodies such as the local authority, assess the search results and report to the Buyer with the findings; and
  • deal with the mortgage offer and conditions, if a mortgage is required.


Reservation Agreement

If everything is in order and the Buyer is happy to proceed, the transaction can progress to signing a Reservation Agreement.

This is where the Buyer reserves the right to buy the property for a period of time.It is only from this point in the transaction that the Buyer is legally bound to purchase the property. Up until entering into the Reservation Agreement, the Buyer is free to withdraw from the transaction without penalty.

The completion date agreed between the parties will appear in the Reservation Agreement. Upon signature of this agreement, a deposit is usually required to be paid to the Seller. This is traditionally 10% of the purchase price.

If applicable, at this point we would request mortgage funds from the lender so that they arrive in time for the completion date.

Prior to completion, our team would carry out a last-minute priority search at the Land Registry to protect your interest in the property and to ensure that no last-minute problems have occurred with the title to the property.



At the agreed date and time, we would accompany you to the Notary where you will sign the transfer deed in ours and the Notary´s presence. Keys will be provided at that very same moment so that you can move into your new property.

Should you preferred not to attend to the Notary we would appear on your behalf by means of a Power of Attorney. This is a notarial document which allows us to sign on your behalf pursuant to the agreed terms. This is a simple document that can be signed before any Notary abroad.


Post-Completion Formalities

After completion has taken place, we will arrange payment of the Spanish Transfer Tax.

We will also deal with the application to the Land Registry to register the transfer of ownership of the property into your name. We will also deal with any notice of transfer or notice of charge that is required to be sent to the Seller.


Should you be interested in buying or investing in real estate property in the Costa del Sol, get in touch with us and we will be delighted to help.