real estate lawyers in spain
Are there any good (and honest!) English-speaking real estate lawyers in Spain and how do you find one?
When buying a property in Spain, it is perfectly possible to do so without employing the services of a lawyer and to leave the legal side in the hands of the real estate agent - hoping that s/he is honest and trustworthy!
However, the real estate agent s main aim is to make a sale, and it is far better to have your own representative check over facts and contracts.
Any reputable estate agent would be more than happy to have you verify his information through your own lawyer.
Even if you are selling a property in Spain and the estate agent is trustworthy, it is still better to employ your own lawyer to check over sales contracts, methods of payment, etc.
For most normal property purchases, the services of a general lawyer should be more than adequate and, if you are in an area of Spain where large numbers of foreigners settle, you are sure to find several lawyers who speak English - among other languages.
So ... how do you go about finding one?
real estate lawyers in spain - finding one
The word abogado means lawyer, solicitor or attorney.
Consulates maintain lists of lawyers who speak the language of their nationality.
The American and British consulates, for example, should be able to provide you with the names of lawyers in your area who speak English.
Be aware, though, that they are not recommending these lawyers as the best available - only as lawyers who speak your language.
Nevertheless, it is a good place to start with in your search for a lawyer.
Next, you could ask long-time foreign residents and Spaniards in the area - especially people in business - if they know of any good English-speaking lawyers.
If you are new to the area and do not have contacts, spend a few days frequenting small local businesses - bars, hairdressers, etc - and see if they know of any.
Chat to people who have bought property and find out who they used.
If your Spanish bank has many English-speaking clients, the bank may well be able to suggest someone.
Should you have cause to visit a local English-speaking doctor, dentist etc ... ask them.
By now, you should have been given quite a few names. Have any of them been recommended by several people? If so, they are the ones to go for!
real estate lawyers in spain - costs
Lawyers fees can vary widely in Spain, just as they do in most countries.
Handling a property purchase may cost you as little as 500 euros or it could run into thousands of euros if the lawyer discovers complications that need sorting out.
A rough estimate for property transactions would be one per cent of the amount involved - although many lawyers will try to charge more.
It is always best to ask in advance and try to establish an agreed fee or percentage before continuing.
The Colegio de Abogados publishes a booklet each year, listing approximate/minimum fees for various services. A few examples are:
Property Purchase - one per cent of the total price.
Residence and work permit - 150 euros for a married couple.
Disputes over money - 5 to 10 per cent, depending on the amount.
Preparing a will - minimum of 100 euros plus 60 euros for the notary.
real estate lawyers in spain - how to complain
If you are seriously displeased with your lawyer and feel you have grounds to complain, what is the procedure?
There is a law society in Spain called the Ilustre Colegio de Abogados (Illustrious College of Lawyers!) - a professional organization which watches standards.
It has branches in each province and you can complain directly to this body about the activities of one of its member lawyers.
Lawyers can be fined, disbarred and even imprisoned.
It always helps to have an agreement, written and signed by your lawyer, in case you ever need to complain.
real estate lawyers in spain - notario
Apart from an abogado or lawyer, you will probably come across a number of other legal advisers whilst in Spain.
If buying property, one of the first you encounter could well be the notario.
The notario - or public notary - is a public official and cannot be employed to act for you in quite the same way as a lawyer, although he can give useful advice.
His main mission is to make sure that certain matters are officially noted and registered.
Most foreign property purchasers first come across the notario when they sign the property contract at his office.
The notary or your lawyer then passes the contract to the Property Registry for inscription.
The original of the property contract - the escritura - stays in the notary s office, although you will receive an authorized copy.
He will ensure that five per cent of the purchase price is withheld and paid to Hacienda when property is sold by a non-resident.
The notary also keeps original copies of Spanish wills made before him and is useful for drawing up most types of contracts.
real estate lawyers in spain - gestor a
A gestor a is - basically - a licensed administrative office and can save you a lot of time and trouble when handling paperwork and forms, usually at a fairly reasonable price.
The gestor has no official powers, but s/he must pass an exam and is licensed by the authorities as a professional with a Colegio where you can complain if you receive unsatisfactory service.
There are both large and small gestor a offices - something to suit everyone, from the private individual to a large, complex business.
A gestor is useful when obtaining residence papers, renewing tourist licence plates, doing tax returns, or for the licensing, administration and book-keeping of a new business.
real estate lawyers in spain - asesor fiscal
Your asesor fiscal (literally meaning fiscal adviser) is basically a chartered accountant, and s/he will come in handy if you have a business or investments in Spain.
Good luck in choosing your legal advisers ... be they gestor as, notarios, or real estate lawyers in spain!
List of lawyers on the Costa Blanca.
Buying property in Spain.
Letting property in Spain.
Working in Spain.
Starting a business in Spain.
Spanish education system.
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