‘Off Plan’ Purchase Agreements

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    • #51082

      This is a great web site and is helping us approach property aquisition in Spain with a great deal of conficence in eventually making the right decision.

      We are considering signing up for an ‘off plan’ 2 bed one bath apartment on a golf resort in the Murcia area with completion due late 2007. We have seen the standard purchase agreement that everyone is expected to sign with the developer. However, although we were provided with (non-contractually binding) plans of the apartment (albeit only in square metres) the purchase agreement does not give the total square meterage of the apartment nor of the terraces (which form a substantial part of the attraction of this particular apartment) let alone the dimensions of the rooms etc. According to this agreement we would “become the owner of the apartment number xxxx located in the building xxxx together with the parking lot of the same number of the apartment. Attached is an approximate summary of the apartment” – and here we are provided with a list of the specifications (“ or similar”) of the fixtures (but no plans or dimensions).

      Whilst we have every faith in our agent, we are not so comfortable with the lack of commitment as to what we are exactly going to get for our money. What are we buying? We know the proposed square meterage of the apartment (according to diagrams/plans we were given when visiting) but as there is no such plan or diagram of the apartment incorporated into the purchase agreement it is a bit disconcerting. The lawyer we would use, recommended by our agent although apparently very trustworthy, has already handled numerous other purchase agreements for this resort and the Murcia region, and can therefore vouch for everything being above board as they have already checked everything out. But are we the only people who are concerned that the standard purchase agreement is not detailed enough??

      Furthermore, this resort is inland amongst the orange groves and appears to be on greenbelt land. We are told that the developer owns the land, that they have planning permission, but that the paperwork is sitting in the town hall awaiting the “stamp”. Is this an obvious indication that they are still without planning permission? Furthermore, could they even get planning permission if it is in a seemingly rural area (albeit close to a motorway)?

      As far as we can make out the company seems to have a good reputation but their lack of detail as to what we are going to end up with is somewhat disconcerting although at such an early stage in the development of the project (the site is currently being levelled) this might be understandable.

      We will be going over shortly to either agree to move forward or not at all. We’ve paid our reservation fee (which is refundable up to 30 days) however we don’t feel we have time to look around for our own lawyer – it is so much easier to use the agent’s lawyer who seem to have a good reputation. Are we being a bit naïve? Comments or advice form anyone most welcome.

    • #58230


      From my experiences and those of others, you would be well advised to find your own lawyer although it seems easier to use the agent’s recommended one. Resist this if you can and ask for a bit of time to find one, or, ask for your refundable deposit back if they pressure you. Mark may be able to recommend lawyers too, and ther are some in the UK who have ties with Abogados in Spain who can assist.


    • #58232

      Dear Nora,

      The information you have been shown about that complex you are intending to buy in is just so basic. Nevermind if you trust the agent and his lawyer, if legal problems come out later on after buying there are many chances that the nice agent will not want anything to do with it. Once they get their commission……

      The completion date is still so far in that development that the risks are higher than usual, so for peace of mind you should now ask for your reservation back, you don’t have to give any reasons, come back later with your lawyer and the reservation if you still want to buy.

      You should look for your own lawyer, Spanish Property Insight gives the directions of a great lawyer in Alicante , Juan Bertomeu, I am sure he will be able to recommend a good lawyer in Murcia.

      You are entitle to get so much information and documents (regarding the apartment and the complex) when you sign a private contract with a developer, the list wouldn’t fit in this reply !, the minimum to start dealing with them is: copies of the land deeds, copy of the building license, a bank guarantee to cover you in the event of the developer failing to start …or complete the building, copies of the proyect both for communal and private areas of the complex, exact date both for starting and completion of building, etc, etc.

      Now you probably understand why you need your own lawyer….

      I hope this advice helps you, kind regards,

      Jose Maria Sánchez Alfonso
      Abogado / Lawyer
      Costa del Sol, Málaga.
      tel. 952479268

    • #58235

      Hi Nora,

      José María has covered the most important points so I don’t need to add much. Just proceed with caution and make sure all the paperwork is in order before you pay or sign anything.

      And just remember that a good relationship with your agent won’t count for much should the purchase be a problem due to insufficient detail in the plans and spec, so insist on detailed plans and specs before you commit. When buying off-plan all you get for your stage payments at the beginning is some paperwork that specifies what the developer’s side of the bargain is. Looked at this way you can see how important it is, from your point of view, that the paperwork is sufficiently detailed to nail down the developer’s commitment.

      You might find the off-plan buyers’ guide useful. You can read it here:



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