In this article independent Lawyer Martin Hayes of SWAN Partners Gives Spanish Legal Pointers to Americans on Buying Valencia Property Safely
USA Discovers ValenciaThe hidden gem of the Mediterranean that is Valencia has been discovered by America. There are a number of reasons why Valencia has come to American attention over the last number of years. Some say that it is down to the major sporting events that have been held here such as the Americas Cup, Formula One and presently the Davis Cup. Others say it is due to the city’s new popularity with cruise ships and super yachts.
The real draw is its authentic Spanish flare, fantastic value for money and the rich multifaceted cultural experience it offers in abundance. Valencia has also come out of the traps of the economic crisis fighting. Keen property investors have come to learn that the property prices in Valencia remain competitive in European terms. There has also been a realization by American investors that the “bang per buck” offered here is simply not comparable with similar destinations in the USA. Ease of travel, visa programs geared directly towards American retirees and the fact that Valencia is a little over five hours travel time from New York means that God’s Waiting Room can not only be avoided but entirely substituted by a continuously dynamic and cultural rich lifestyle.
The above is all positive so what’s to know when buying a property here in Valencia? Over the coming weeks, I will be publishing short and to the point articles aimed at exploring the Spanish property purchasing experience and factors to take into account from an American prospective. In this way Spanish property buyers from the USA can have clear expectations and thereby ensure that they approach their Spanish Property Investment in the correct manner.
In short, the following pointers will be explored:
Use Reputable Estate Agents that Speak Your Language and Understand Your Culture
Many Americans assume that the real estate sector operates in the same way as in the USA. There are in fact many key differences that make it absolutely essential that you research your agent fully. Unlike in the USA, real estate agents are not regulated. What you assume to be the norm in the USA is not the norm in Spain. Take the correct steps and check to see that they have a consistent and established presence in the market. Take time and study their website and do not be afraid to ask for testimonials. A good agent will have absolutely no issue providing you as many as you may require. When you arrive to Valencia meet the agent in their offices and get a feel for how they approach the listing and purchasing process. In basic terms, take the time before you travel to Spain to establish that you are dealing with the right agent.
Use a Reputable Lawyer
Due to the fact that the real estate sector is not regulated it is fundamental that you have a lawyer working for you to protect your interests and ensure that all aspects of the transaction are transparent. The lawyer should be able to communicate with ease in both English and Spanish. He or she should be able provide you with clear and full explanations of each part of the transaction. Again, it is important to establish that the lawyer has sufficient resources in terms of his or her firm to ensure that you get the attention you deserve throughout the transaction. The lawyer should be able to explain the contractual process in detail with ease and be frank and open as to issues of concern as and when they are likely to arise.
Understand the Contractual Process
Simply put – do not sign any document until you fully understand it and its legal implications. All too often ill-informed buyers will sign a document thinking that it is a simple reservation when in fact the document limits their rights as purchasers’ rights in a fundamental manner. The best way of ensuring that your purchase goes smoothly is to ensure that you fully understand each part of the contractual process involved. Unlike the USA, there is no standard model purchase contract. In all cases it is absolutely advised that a proper due diligence of the property is carried out before you are completely bound to the purchase. This is normally achieved by signing a reservation contract that is subject to legal enquiries and structural survey. Your lawyer should be consulted immediately when you have chosen your property and talk of contracts commence.
Understand the Property you are Purchasing
As in the USA, properties come in all types, shapes and sizes. The approach that must be taken and the factors that you must be aware of from a purchasers’ prospective will differ greatly depending on whether you are buying a Valencia city center apartment, a beach apartment, a villa on a Spanish urbanization or a Spanish country property. Your agent and lawyer should give you practical and technical information to ensure that the property you are considering is the right one for you.
Ensure that Urban Planning Enquiries are Completed
Just like in the States, it is absolutely critical that your lawyer carries out enquiries in the town hall to ensure that you are not taking over someone’s else’s problem. A good lawyer acting on your behalf will be able to establish whether or not there are any major red flag issues in the very early phase of the transaction before you are fully contracted to purchase the property.
Understand the financial Aspects
There is no understating the importance of ensuring that you establish a good working relationship with a Spanish bank from the onset of the process. Your agent or lawyer should be able to put you in touch with a bank that offers services in English and complete online banking so that you can maintain full and complete control of your account in Spain. Likewise, if you are considering a Spanish mortgage, only work with mortgage brokers that are familiar with US client profiles and speak English with complete fluency. It is also key that you use an effective currency broker so as to ensure that you are getting the best USD – EURO exchange at all times.
Many of the above points will be explored in a manner geared towards USA buyers in the coming weeks. In the meantime, feel completely free to contact us with any questions that you might have on the above.
Contact; Martin Hayes on firstname.lastname@example.org
SWAN Partners April 2018
Contact; Conor Wilde on email@example.com
Founder/MD of Found Valencia Property (Realtors Valencia Spain)