February 21, 2005 at 12:44 am #51035
Hi Mark saw you on Place in the sun, you obviously appear to know what you are talking about, i am really interested in relocating to Spain but when you hear some stories it frightens the life out of you, I have been doing some web surfing looking at the price of properties etc and I have attended a couple of property exhibitions but i don’t want to tie myself to one estate agent. when surfing i came across a company called the Spanish Property Register who appear very professional and who seem to be able to take you from a-z have any of your colleagues had any experience of them and do they do exactly as they say on the tin sorry to be so long winded ❓ [/u]
February 21, 2005 at 3:57 pm #58079
Thanks for your question.
I’m familiar with their website and the overall package of services they offer is coherent and would be of value if they deliver as expected. However to date I have not had any personal experience of them and haven’t spoken to any clients who have. So I have had neither positive nor negative feedback on them. Having said that my overall impression from their website is generally favourable.
If you do go ahead and use them just make sure that you find your lawyer from a different source – never use a lawyer recommended by the company you are buying from. A good lawyer looking after your interests should keep you out of harm’s way, regardless of which property company you use.
If you do use them please would you let me – and therefore all the other visitors to this webiste – know how it goes. Satisfied clients are the best way to identify good companies.
February 22, 2005 at 12:12 am #58080
Thanks Mark for your prompt response, as you say their website appears to market them as very competent professionals, it is just that using their services can incur expenses in the region of 2,000 to 2,500 euros dependant on the services you require of them. It is not an insignificant amount but if they are as good as they say it may be money well spent. The difficulty is engaging them without a recommendation ❗
March 9, 2005 at 10:55 am #58092
I recently bought an apartment from a company based on the costa del sol. There are alot of good deals out there because there are investors taking very small profits on the properties they bought 2 years ago just to wash their hands of it. I was a bit dubious about dealing with an agent at first, but the property they found for me was around €100,000 less than the builder was selling the same unit for!, and the completion of the property went through very smoothly. The companies website is *****. I would definetely recommend having a look at the site, it is very informative and they did treat me very well. I used the lawyer they recommended and again I have no problems in recommending them. The lawyer was called Fernando del Valle from De Valle Abogados based in Marbella.
March 23, 2005 at 7:41 pm #58111
The above post is not very appropriate in this forum as you really plug a company. However I have decided to leave it in because it will help me to point out several things that people buying property in Spain should most definitely NOT do. However I have sniped out the web address in the above post because you can’t mention companies by name. As is clear from the instructions this forum IS NOT FOR COMERCIAL POSTS.
Now lets examine what you say. First of all you plug the selling agent – please don’t in this forum.
Then you say that you used the lawyers recommended by the agent, as if that was a good thing, which it most definitely isn’t. YOU SHOULD NOT USE YOUR ESTATE AGENT TO FIND A LAWYER.
Then you say you are more than happy to recommend the lawyer – the Marbella lawyers Del Valle Abogados – recommended to you buy the agent.
Fernando Del Valle, president of this firm, and a bunch of his underlings have just been arrested in the biggest money laundering scam in the history of the Costa del sol, make that in the history of Spain. They stand accused of fiscal misdemeanours, money laundering and falsifying public documents.
March 24, 2005 at 12:25 pm #58112
I think what you said was totally unfair to the real estate company mentioned. Fernado del Valle was indeed arrested recently for money laundering, But how was I to know this? Apparently he has been trading for almost 30 on the costa del sol and he was a very well respected lawyer in this area.
I thought this forum was set up to share good and bad fortunes we have encountered whilst buying or looking for a property in Spain.
It is NOT a comercial post as you point out, I simply was just sharing my experience with the forum.
Have you bought a property in Spain Mark??
Obviously you have been stung by the estate agents pressure sale and by their bent lawyers?
March 24, 2005 at 2:12 pm #58113
Well done Mark for pointing this out. I also suspect the posting by RedDevils who seem to be plugging a company that takes fees up front but then does not deliver as Patricia has already pointed out.
Purchasers should on no account use agents’ so called recommended lawyers which we found out the hard way and to our cost.
I am now receiving numerous phone calls and emails from agents in Spain who seem desperate to generate sales in what is now a very slow market down there and highlighted recently by several leading newspapers here. Maybe the ‘bubble’ is about to burst so people should be extra wary of any hype by agents and lawyers.
April 1, 2005 at 1:58 pm #58130
My grandmother used to say
“Trust no man and damn few women !”
April 4, 2005 at 2:49 pm #58136
I am very interested as a reputable agent what I supposed to do when a client asks me to do when they want to be recommended a reputable law firm to use for their property purchase.
At we have a recommended panel of law firms whom we have used over a number of years. We have never recommended the Del Valle Law Firm as they did not fit our criteria of lawyers.
However, having established a high degree of trust with over 8,000 people who have bought property through in the past 7 years, don’t you think that if we are reputable, we are in the best position to nominate one of up to a dozen law firms.
I think the difference comes in whether an agent takes a “kick back” or commission for an introduction to a law firm, we have never, ever done so, we believe that to do so would be unethical, indeed immoral.
We also believe and have an agreement with any law firm whom we introduce clients to that they must at all times respect the individual and thier best interests, if a property or a purchase is not correct then they should advise the client indepedently of this, and inform ourselves also.
has a high, high percentage of business through referrals, and we view this as being because of the independent nature of advice and referrals that we give in terms of lawyers, banks and developers.
We also have taken off our list of recommended lawyers a number of firms who have perhaps not best represented our clients interests in the past, mostly in terms of adequate follow up or promptness and accuracy of replies.
I think therefore that if we are reputable, if we are trustworthy, then actually we are in the very best position to recommend lawyers, and also the lawyers themselves know that if they don’t meet our high standards and expectations of their service to our clients then they will receive no future referrals.
Doesn’t that make sense?
Or are all real estate agents to be tarred with the same brush? I do however agree in large part with all of your statements in general.
Hope you can make sense of this.
My best regards
April 6, 2005 at 9:20 am #58139
I think that the most important thing is first of all the location of a property. Of course a real estate agent can help you in finding a property. But you should really know what you want, what kind of property and where it should be located. If you are looking for a property where you can live permanently, then of course you would like to have a shopping centre not too far away. A clinic with doctors who speak your language should be reachable. Perhaps you would also prefer that your property be close to the sea and maybe not too far away from the airport. Is it just for your vacation or do you see it as an investment as well (will it be easy for renting it all through the year)?
What is important for you or your guests: a golf course, a marina, tennis courts, spa, lovely city with concert hall and so on.
We bought villas on the Mar Menor Golf Resort in Murcia on the Costa Calida very close to the Mar Menor.
The resort is guarded 24-hours which is important these days.
The property builder is building 5 other resorts as well with 5-star hotels, spa, sports centre, restaurants, commercial centres, schools and a clinic.
There is a steady rise in prices in the Murcia region.
If you want to visit the resort to get an idea, just let me know. We will be in Spain again in May.
Kind regards from sunny Vienna,
P.S. Just by the way I would like to sell one of our villas (3 beds).
PPS. You can’t trust anyone in these days… so be careful and check before signing something.
April 6, 2005 at 10:33 am #58140
You make a valid point.
However first let me explain why I have removed your company name from your post. I’m trying to keep this forum from becoming another one of those commercial billboards that so many of them end up as. The only way to ensure that companies don’t end up cluttering this forum with self-serving plugs (often pretending to be satisfied clients) is to make it clear that all company names will be deleted. I know you were making a point, but the point still stands with or without your company name, and I don’t want companies plugging themselves on the back of a discussion in this forum. I’m sure you understand.
Now turning to your point. What’s an agent to do if a client needs a lawyer and asks for a recommendation? Tell them to go and sort it out themselves or help them? It should surprise no one that you put clients in touch with a solicitor. However as you will know, in a small minority of cases estate agents have undeclared commercial relationships with the lawyers they recommend, which compromises the legal service that the client receives. As always the bad behaviour of a small minority affects everyone else. In many cases the buyer won’t know who the bad apples are and so in my opinion it’s best not to take the risk.
But my message isn’t in fact aimed at estate agents (who I can’t reproach if they recommend a lawyer when asked to do so); it’s aimed at the buyer. What I am saying to buyers is “don’t ask your estate agent to put you in touch with a lawyer, ask someone else”. Lets face it it’s not that difficult to find an English-speaking lawyer in Spain without having to resort to your estate agent. A quick search online will turn up hundreds. There are adverts in local newspapers and magazines. There are recommendations from others. And with a bit of initiative a buyer could contact the local Colegio de Abogados and ask for the contact details of English-speaking lawyers – I think they provide this information. And of course people can find a lawyer here at Insight in the resources and solutions section. For the record I have no financial interest in recommending the lawyers that I do.
On the whole I don’t look favourably on estate agents who make a real song and dance of the legal solutions they provide / facilitate. Estate agents earn commissions on sales and that’s a very powerful incentive that can distort their behaviour against the interests of the buyer. In an ideal world you keep your estate agent completely separate from your lawyer so that you can be sure there’s no hidden commercial relationship between them. Because in a (small) minority of cases there is a relationship and buyers have suffered as a consequence. Estate agents are not in the legal business so they should have no problem with clients finding their own lawyers. It should make all parties feel more comfortable.
Should all estate agents be tarred with the same brush? Absolutely not. There are many excellent estate agents providing an invaluable service to their clients. However some of your peers have put greed before integrity and in a business that involves clients spending a large part of their life’s savings that is just unacceptable. The challenge becomes how to distinguish the good from the bad, how to distinguish the professional and ethical (of which there are many) from the unprofessional and unethical. As we all know, size is no guide. It’s a difficult one.
April 7, 2005 at 10:45 am #58146
To eliminate any chance of agents working hand in glove with ‘recommended’ lawyers the best advice is to choose your own and there are many good lawyers with offices in the UK too who can expedite matters just as quickly because of their associates in Spain.
Too often Estate Agents in Spain will tell you otherwise, that you can only do things quickly through a lawyer in the region which is ‘rubbish’.
Strangely enough the lawyers suggested by Agents in Spain then suggest which Bank you should use so I am very sceptical of this continuous circle of recommendation and suspect kick-backs involved.
April 11, 2005 at 4:26 pm #58154
I agree with the general advice given in Spanish Property Insight, my long experience as lawyer especialized in conveyancing gives me a good base to advice clients and foreigners thinking of investing in Spain: do not take the lawyers recommended by real estate agents, find your own lawyer recommended by a friend or a neighbour, it is not so difficult to find one.
A) the main one: as a matter of principle the interests of an estate agent and a buyer are competely contradictory, the estate agent just want to sell a property ( and in many cases no matter how ) because they want their commision, and the bigger the commission the more eager for money they get. Commissions here are getting really abusive, and now a 10% , yes you have read a ten percent !, is considered normal, and this abusive commissions are even charged by “reputable and honorable agents” , the big ones included.
B) the buyer’s interests are quite different: to get a property free of charges, legal problems, clean title deeds, no big community problems, no claims or troubles with the council, etc, etc. Therefore if you pay your own lawyer he/she will defend YOUR INTERESTS and only that, no matter if the purchase has to be canceled or delayed.
C) yes , as someone has pointed in this forum, it can be suspicious if an estate agent recommeds a lawyer, simply because there can be a bussines relationship behind that, and that is no good for the buyer because that bussines behind can condition the relation between the buyer and his lawyer. But even if there is no bussines behind:
D) Just imagine what would happen if there is a serious legal problem during the purchase process: a truly independent lawyer has full freedom to say to his client not to proceed and choose another property or look in a different agency, a lawyer who gets clients mainly from an agency , especially the big ones over here, has to choose between his BIG PERMANENT CLIENT or his little client buying just one property.
Well, as I say to clients who meet me for first time planning a sale or a purchase: no matter if for any reason you don’t come back to me but please use your own lawyer.
Jose Maria Sánchez Alfonso
abogado / Lawyer
Costa del Sol
tel/fax .95.2479268, mobile619.886542
April 12, 2005 at 8:54 am #58155
It’s good to see some refreshingly honest views from the posting Independent as a lawyer.
The awful Estate Agents mentioned in the Sunday Times link recommended a law firm in Marbella whose senior partner was mentioned on a website http://www.crimeshare.com a play on Timeshare. He was a Barrister and involved in Timeshare scams and has now cleared off to Thailand. This Company changed it’s name not once but 3 times in 3 years or so, their 2nd Senior partner was involved in the Valencia Land Grab scam with the same Estate Agents and has now also gone. These same agents have been recommending Fernando Del Valle lawyers, the boss being involved in the money laundering scam and now jailed.
You have to avoid Agents recommended lawyers and the rip-off commissions charged by agents as mentioned by Independent.
May 3, 2005 at 12:25 pm #58210
Hi again Mark,
Just got your monthly update and perused several sections with great interest, but was slightly perturbed not to have had a response to my own mail about “Who and how to recommend a lawyer”, perhaps you simply have so many mails you can’t reply to them all, but I would have liked to know what you think our company should do in terms of referral of lawyers.
May 3, 2005 at 12:40 pm #58211
Ooops i did get a reply to my mail, i was reading the mails upward instead of downward.
Thanks for the reply, I appreciate the frankness of your site, and I have absolutely no problem with our company name being deleted, I didn’t respond to the site as a company per se, just a concerned individual working within a company.
For your reference, we love it when people have thier own lawyer, it is not a bother to us at all, it actually means we can get on with our own business, representing at first the vendor then the buyer, which we are more than happy to do.
As it happens we deal with literally hundreds of law firms given the volume of sales that we make – which interestingly are now 70% + resales as opposed to new development off plan, and therefore there are mostly at least two lawyers involved in every transaction, and given more than a hundred transactions every month, we obviously deal with a lot of law firms.
Again, we hope our reputation goes before us, in that the law firms are i would say very content when clients have chosen ourselves as thier agent, given that the lawyers accept our reservation contracts and conditions as standard, and know that we are a company interested in the client first and profit last of all.
The whole problem comes i believe from the kickback philosophy which we absolutely abhor, and also from the “i will get you this net, and take the rest…” practice by some agents.
let’s not despair totally though, things are changing, and if our company or any other becomes under any level of investigation then by goodness it will be up to us to hold our heads up and answer the questions truthfully and openly or suffer a deserved fate!
Look foward to future mailings from your site. And it is a pity i never got an e-mail about your reply being posted, so sorry i missed it first time around.
May 3, 2005 at 5:40 pm #58215
Hmmm, say what you like about your reputation but some of your clients wouldn’t recognise your company the way your describe it. In the past week alone several of your clients have contacted me and lets just say they’re not very happy, if they would forgive me the understatement.
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