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How to Find a Good Lawyer and The Questions You Must Ask

By: Mike Davis

This is probably the most important step and should be one of your first priorities if you are serious about buying a house in Spain. Seek the services of a good lawyer, before you start the hunt. Why? Because with Spain currently still experiencing a property boom, and the market favoring the seller, it is important that you are ready to act quickly, to avoid any disappointment, should that perfect property present itself. A lot of house hunters start searching first and then worry about other things later. Considering that this will be a large investment of your time and money it is important to start off with your paper work in order first.

Your lawyer should be an independent professional who will protect your interests, and should be someone with whom you are comfortable with in terms of service and of course price. He or she should be fully conversant with both Spanish and U.K law.

Your lawyer or Abogado must be fluent in English as any badly translated contracts can, and have in the past rendered them useless, and can lead to a whole host of problems and some massive headaches in the future.

It is very important that you never sign any documents without getting your lawyer to check them first. This may sound like common sense, and it is. But picture this scenario: You’ve decided to buy a property in Spain but you are not entirely certain what you want . So you decide to start looking, ‘just to get a feeling for the market' You are with really nice agents and they have a great deal that has just come in that morning,a perfect property at a very low price. So you rush off to view it. And guess what,it’s the one. But you haven’t arrange a lawyer yet. "That’s not a problem",say the nice agents,"all you need to do is place a deposit to reserve it, then we can take it off our books immediately (so no one else will snap it up) and then your lawyer can check the property and legal stuff later." So you go ahead read and sign the deposit contract, under the premise that you only are reserving the property.

But this isn’t true, and the contract can have clauses that bind you to adverse terms in the main document that you receive at a later date. If you were to do this then you could well have a problem getting your deposit back later, should your lawyer find something that may make you not go through with purchasing the property. So get a lawyer in place before you start your search.

Check that the person representing you is actually fully qualified and is a registered member of the Law Society. He or she should be happy to give you their registration number for ‘the Colegio de Abogados’ which you can and should double check. If you should have any problems then you can and should complain to them. Also, by using a register lawyer/solicitor you are covered in the unlikely event that they make a mistake or act negligently. Register lawyers are covered by professional liability insurance, so you would be able to take action against them, knowing that the fund exists to compensate you if your lawyer is found liable.

An added bonus would be whether your lawyer can advise you on the various forms of property ownership and the associated taxes. It is however advisable to get the advise of a specialized financial advisor or accountant.

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