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When buying a property, is it wise to pay over money without the advice of a lawyer?

Property Law

Antonio Flores Vila

24th of July 2001

Q. We have put down a £2000 deposit for an unbuilt property in ciudad quesada, next month we are to pay 40% of the cost, we have not engaged a lawyer as we have been told it will not be necessary until the final payment is due in December 2001 is this correct or is it unwise to pay over this money without the advice of a lawyer.


    A. It would be wise that you hired a solicitor to verify all aspects of the purchase. I will summarise the situations which I have encountered in my experience as a solcitor dealing in real estate (I´m no scaremonger!):

    • Buyer buys property with charges, encumbrances and other debts.
    • Buyer buys property that has never been registered.
    • Buyer buys a property with perfect clean title, registered, taxes paid up to date: however, the property they bought is not the one they had seen. They had relied on a description and some land registry details which simply corresponded to another property. They had no right of recourse.
    • Buyer hands over a deposit to someone purporting to be owner, and subsequently dissappears.
    • Buyer purchases a property with tenants living legally. They decided not to use their priority rights to purchase the property and substitute the purchaser, but they stayed in the house for a while, using the propection granted by the laws to tenants (Consequently, with the loss of potential income for not being able to rent out).
    • Buyer buys from developer and hands over 40% of the purchase price. The developer´s company is wound up, and the buyer is still litigating for his money back, together with several tens of creditors.

    As you can see, many things may wrong, all of which can be avoided by seeking sound legal advice. In my opinion, you should always look for an independent lawyer when purchasing property in Spain, and in your case, before you hand over 40% of the purchase price.

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