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