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I have placed an offer on a property without escritura, is it a recognised practice?

Civil Law

Antonio Flores Vila

26th of June 2001

Q. I have placed a deposit on a property and am going out to close the deal. Given that the house is an old house which has been in a family for several generations there is no escritura and so we are drawing up a private contract and upon signing I shall pay the outstanding balance. Is this practise recognised as I have been told you should not buy a property without an escritura?


    A. You should, on completion, have the property transferred to you on a public deed and complemented by what is called ´acta de notoriedad complementaria de titulo publico´. This is a procedure to register the property in your name in the Land Registry and it requires you to provide the Notary with several documents as well as two witnesses (the seller will bring them) who will declare under oath that to the best of his knowledge the seller is the owner of the property.

    Many people buy property without escritura, this is not a major problem, as the sellers are normally the owners for many generations back. Fraud is rare in these situations, I have never personally come across any case.

    However, you will definetely need a lawyer to prepare completion, gather the necessary documentation and a register the new deed in your name.

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