I’m new to these forums, so please forgive me for any mistakes…
Basically, my wife and I agreed to purchase an apartment whilst on holiday last year. After several discussions with the estate agent (who advised that we didn’t really need a solicitor), we eventually appointed a solicitor for peace of mind. Prior to appointing the solicitor, I’d asked them to confirm all of the charges that I would occur, so as I could budget accordingly for them and not come across any nasty surprises etc. So, after we’d deposited a large amount of cash into a Spanish bank account, we eventually signed for the property (end of October 2012). Within the first week after the contracts were exchanged, the solicitor informed us that there was a chance of an extra charge from the tax office – as the price we’d paid for the apartment was below the ‘Cadastral value’ of the property – he estimated this to be €1,000. It was explained to us that this money may not even be asked for, but the tax office had up to 4 years to request this money from us. Needless to say, as we were at point of no return for the purchase, we were less than impressed with the Solicitor and Estate Agent for not informing us of this at a much earlier stage.
We then received a ‘final statement’ from the solicitor. Within this statement there were charges for transferring money from one account to another – these charges were never detailed on the initial quote that we received from the solicitor and came as a total shock to us, they total over €500.
I’ve also just received an email from the solicitor stating that ‘the Tax Office requires from you the payment of’ approx €1,800.00 – the tax difference between the purchase price and the Cadastral value of the property!
Can someone please let me know:
Is what’s happening to me legal i.e. can extra bank charges be applied, without any prior notification. And, do I have any options with the extra tax that is being requested – especially as the first I knew about it was after the contracts had been signed and the purchase money etc. had been paid.
Please let me know if you require any further details from me in order to answer the above. It seems to me that there has a been a distinct lack of information supplied at early enough stages in the purchase procedures – and when it has been supplied, there’s not a great deal I can do about it. If I’d known about these additional amounts earlier, then this would have affected the offer that I’d originally made for the apartment. Or is this common practice?
I think your big mistake was buying a Spanish property last year. It has probably lost 20% in value by now. Property prices will continue going down in Spain for at least the next five years and will go off the edge of a cliff when Spain eventually leaves the Euro. Why the hurry to buy a property in Spain. The Spanish government is broke and is desperate to squeeze as much money from people as possible and an easy target for the Spanish taxman are homeowners especially holiday homeowners. With tax receipts falling because of the collapse in the Spanish property market the Government and regional authorities are desperate for cash and they are going to raise their local version of the council tax (annual property tax), they will come after your savings and investments, eventually all middle income brits who have settled in Spain will end up broke.