Do I really need a lawyer to sell my house?

This topic contains 9 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Chris Nation 1 week, 1 day ago.

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  • #218264

    macgd016
    Participant

    I have read up on the sales process for houses in Spain and it all looks very straight forward. In the uk I have on occasion acted for myself when selling property but have also used solicitor’s. My natural inclination is to use a solicitor but as ive been quoted 1% of the sale price for what would seem to be little more than agreeing the wording of the sales contract I am concidering doing it myself.

    Has anyone done this themselves?

  • #218463

    Hi,

    Sorry if I answer you being a lawyer.
    I’m going to be fully sincere.

    Selling a property is not as risky as buying a property.
    I will ALWAYS recommend to hire a lawyer when buying a property. We do a lot more than agreeing the wording of the contract. We – at least I do – check the land registry, check the situation in the town hall (urban planning), check the situation of the community of owners (problems, “derramas”, hidden issues, etc.), ask the seller for all the documents that are needed and useful for my client, agree the wording of the private contract, review and make sure that the tittle deed (escritura) is correct, advise about taxes, file the form for “plusvalía”, get in contact with the community of owners to notify the purchase, receive the plusvalia form prepared by the Patronato and make sure that the client pay on time (here, in Marbella, you have to wait for the Patronato to send the payment slip between 3 to 6 months) and always provide my clients with post-sales help to make sure everything is perfect.

    When selling a property, the convenience of hiring a lawyer will depend on each case, except in the situation when the buyer has his/her own lawyer. In the last scenario, the advice is always to have your own lawyer as well.
    In any other case, my advice is to think about it as when you are asked about taking an insurance policy when travelling abroad. If nothing happens, you feel that you have wasted your money. If something happens, you are really happy that you decided to take the policy.
    If everything goes smoothly, the buyer doesn’t ask for anything unusual, the property is in the centre of the town and has all the documents, you have clear what forms need to be filed in the administration, etc. then it may happen that lawyer was not so needed in the end and you could have done the selling without him/her.

  • #218588

    Chris Nation
    Participant

    The seller of my flat did not use a lawyer. The onus seemed to be all on my side, as the buyer, to get all the information and the details straight.

    If there had been any problems after completion I can only imagine that the vendor would have said “Not my problem. Caveat emptor”

    Is there a solid basis in Spanish law for nailing a seller for misrepresentation? Many a tear has been shed by buyers who have found it not to be the case.

  • #218590

    Chris Nation
    Participant

    Two cases in which misrepresentation works in England and Wales. Would they fly in Spain?

    1) The boatyard on the Tamar, Devon, at the time I went to book a mooring for my sloop, had been sold, I was told. Contracts exchanged at £650k.

    The buyer pulled out. The seller sued for breach of contract. The buyer counter-sued for misrepresentation.

    About 5-6 years later the case was awarded to the buyer. Mind you, by then he’d had a heart attack and the seller had had two strokes.

    2) The appalling situation I have with my next door neighbour – her dog, actually – the barking, the howling for hours on end but principally the horrendous filthy stink from the fact that the dog is in there 24/7, never taken out. Ever.

    An English friend asked me whether the seller of my flat should not have declared a ‘difficult’ neighbour!

    Well, it’s the law now in England and Wales but in Spain? When the seller turns out to be the brother of the neighbour?

    I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry …

  • #218606

    Mark Stücklin
    Keymaster

    The whole justice system in Spain is underfunded and overloaded, so it moves very slowly, with makes it more expensive to pursue a case of misrepresentation. Basically, you don’t want to go there.

    The neighbour and dog, sorry to hear about that situation – is that in Spain or the UK?

  • #218614

    Chris Nation
    Participant

    Regrettably, Mark, it’s in Spain.

    Back in May, when the police responded to a call from my Gestora, they summoned the bombers to go through the door, and what they found prompted them to call the animal welfare people.

    The animal squad were just about to leave with a dog and a cat when the son of vecina turned up and vouched for the care of animals. The animal squad left without them.

    Of course, vecina reappeared and everything resumed as before – barking, howling and ‘insalubridad de una inmeuble’ Not half.

    In UK the RSPCA would have acted on what they saw for themselves, on the night, and not on a promise, from a third party, of future good behaviour by the owner of the animals.

    The director of my building’s management company told me that animal welfare law in Spain is “nothing like that in UK, not even close”.

    I am deeply anxious that more vapourous assurances to the office which issued the denunciación will result in the same outcome as before. No change.

    I am surprised that they have not contacted me, as the next door neighbour, for details of any other relevant issues.

    For one thing, when the dog occasionally escapes downstairs to the lobby it invariably plants a barker’s nest which vecina never, ever cleans up. I pick the deposit up in a bag and hang it on her front door handle …

    Nobody else in the building has, to my knowledge, made any noises about this situation. They are either elderly or owe community charges or both. I suspect Franco-era heads-below-the-parapet mentality lingers on.

  • #218626

    The issue about dogs is not a case of misrepresentation in Spain. But that doesn’t mean that there is nothing you can do.

    We are talking about health issues related to noises and smells.

    So, if I were your lawyer, I would check all the laws in your Town and Comunidad Autónoma about health issues and animal protection.

     

    Also and meanwhile, I would request the Community of Owners to take action as this neighbour is incurring in what it is called “actividad molesta e insalubre” and it is against article 7.2 LPH.

    The Community should issue a request to the owner of the apartment to make sure noises and smells stop (if it is a tenant, the request should be sent to the owner of the apartment).

    If neighbour doesn’t change his attitude, the owner can be taken to court.

     

  • #218636

    Chris Nation
    Participant

    Thank you for that info. Most useful – I hope – and very good of you to suggest it.

  • #218676

    Mark Stücklin
    Keymaster

    I am sorry to hear that Chris. Hell is other people.

    We have a similar situation on the ground floor where the tenant is borderline senile squalor syndrome, which is also called Diogenes syndrome I think. She used to have three boxer dogs too, and never ever cleaned up after them, though thankfully the dogs have now gone. But if you go into her home the rubbish is piled up to the roof. I worry that it might bring vermine into the building, but beyond that it does not bother us. No smells as we are two floors up on the other side of the building. But we have thought about talking to social services about her.

  • #218677

    Chris Nation
    Participant

    Mark, there are these people. For some reason fathomable only by a cave-dwelling pandit sri guru swami xxxxananda, looking into my past lives, I seem to have come to moorings alongside such unfortunates more than once.

    I suppose a more prosaic analysis would say, “it’s the properties you choose. Always going for a bit of ‘added value'”

    Your neighbour and mine are clearly in need of assistance from social services/mental health but as I have been told, here in VLC the budgets are blown and the services virtually nonexistent.

    I do feel for these people, living in a twilight world of filth & chaos, physical and mental, often with hordes of animals. The stability of the human mind seems a precarious thing.

    But I have to say, in my position and yours, I go for a solution which relieves me of sharing it.

  • #218857

    Hello Macgd,

    The sort answer is no, you don’t need to hire a lawyer on selling property in Spain.

    Is it advantageous to hire one? Most certainly, specially if you are a non-resident.

    I have written this short article listing 8 real-life examples of those who bravely decided not to hire one and learned very bitter and costly experiences as a result:

    http://www.larrainnesbittabogados.com/article.php?id=184

    On selling, only a lawyer can provide you with two valuable services:

    • Tax mitigation. Lawyers can offset both the associated purchase costs as well as the refurbishment expenses on your property to reduce your tax burden as much as is legally admissible (contingent on the vendor supplying us with the original invoices).
    • Non-resident’s 3% sales refund: claiming back the funds withheld by a buyer on account of a non-resident seller’s capital gains tax liability (if applicable).

    Only a lawyer can provide you with the two above, saving you a sizeable amount of money.

    Feel free to contact our law firm and inquire a conveyancing quote on your matter.

    Regards

    Raymond

     

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