From many years ago, the Costa del Sol, has been desired by citizens of other countries within and outside Europe. Its climate, its cuisine, its openness to other cultures, a Phoenician heritage that distinguishes us from other parts of Spain, have made this area a clear objective for international tourism. In the case of Malaga, this attraction goes beyond the matter of coming for a few days in order to have some fun and relax far from home, encouraging the desire to reside definitely here.

Personally I feel being a very privileged person, among other things because I live together with people from many other nationalities. My neighbors, mostly, are from Scandinavian countries such as Denmark, Sweden and Norway. There are also French and English people and, of course, people originally from Málaga. This coexistence makes our daily life much more pluralistic than elsewhere. This mixture of cultures and traditions makes, step by step, all of us accepting and taking a bit of each of those neighbors, reaching an extraordinary coexistence.

We can say that the intention to invest on the Costa del Sol often becomes into the desire to fulfill a real dream. Many people who, in principle, are only looking for an investment for the future, when they meet «the product» they have decided to become such investment more into a long life project. Indeed, my experience as a Lawyer is that people who were originally interested in a cold and objective way to invest their money in this area, when they have been for some time looking for the ideal place, they realize that this project is not going to be in simple investment. However, my personal experience, also tells me that this project does not always work, becoming, sometimes in a real and painful hell. Trying to avoid it is only in our hands.

In the process of Real Estate investment, buying a property that will be used as a holiday one or even as our habitual residence may arise problems of many kinds. In many occasions once we have acquired a property we discover that some debts may be paid by us. Sometimes they are small amounts of many, but in other occasions we must face big debts (coming from the electricity or water supplies and other duties. Some other times, when in the Notary, we can not sign since some important documented is missing, or someone who should sign the transmission (according to the Spanish Law) has not been called. Normally we speak about some details that are beyond the knowledge of individuals (most of times they are problems that have arisen as a result of a recent change in the Law. Sometimes, it may come from a ignorance of the Law of some professionals not really specialized on Real Estate Law.

To avoid such a problem, first and mainly I would suggest asking for the services of a professional who will take care of every detail involved in the process. This should be a professional specialized in Real Estate Law. He will keep us safe of unpleasant problems that may transform a dream into a nightmare. This should not be a problem, since in the Costa del Sol we are plenty of Law Firms specialized in Real Estate Law, sometimes offering only this service. In our particular case, we, Pedro Quesada & Associates, although offering a complete legal service, we have specialized Lawyers dedicated, only and exclusively, to Real Estate Law. Personally I’ve only faced these problems described ut supra in case of local clients and Spanish people in general. Unfortunately, unlike the regular European client, our compatriots consider they do not need a professional to take care in this sort of processes, and when problems arise, it may be too late. It is really important to hire the services of a professional to watch, closely, that all steps aimed for the acquisition of a property are complied scrupulously avoiding troubles of different nature when taking possession of the property. This is probably the most important investment we will make in our lives. All cautions will not be enough in this occasion.

On the other hand, and before taking the final decision, in order not to have possible problems in the future, we should count on Real Estate professionals who will guarantee us a fine service taking care of us before, during and after the purchase. We should make it sure that there is a real place where to found them, an office and not only an email address. It seems that this is a truism, but the reality is that some people engaged in the Real Estate market, they prefer giving only an «on line» service in order to avoid expenses. But this may bring troubles in the future, in case of any problem related to our purchase.

Once we have decided on the desired property, and sometimes before meeting our Lawyer, it is really important to specify in writing through a reservation contract all the details that seem for us relevant, furniture include in the property, fixing imperfections, etc … It is important in order to keep it in mind in the writing of the private purchase contract which will preside all the purchase process. With these specifications in the reservation contract, the Lawyer is legitimated to write a contract according to our desires. In case the professional will not have proof of these specifications, it will be really difficult to include them in the contract and ensure its compliance.

Finally it is time to choose the best friend you will have for a period of time, probably, and if all goes in good order, it will become into a long life relationship, your Lawyer. It is essential to know personally the professional who will advise you about any questions or queries you will have, not only related to this investment, but also in every aspect of your life, that will seem relevant. Please, make it sure that it is a professional registered in an official Bar of Lawyers in Spain. This fact is especially relevant since it will guarantee you a sufficient liability in case of default of any kind or professional negligence.

Once you have chosen a concrete Lawyer, it is essential to provide him with all the information and paperwork you may have. It is very important, if possible, to have a personal interview with the Lawyer, in which you will specify the details related to the purchase (each purchase is a pretty different one) and will ask each question you may have in relation to it. Probably there will be a lot.

In case you may reside away from the property investment, even in other country, you would better sign a Power of Attorney no to have problems in the process. Though some questions can be solved by the Lawyer as a verbal mandatory, most of them will require a document sign before a Notary. In this case you can fully trust on the Lawyer. Despite having our permission to perform any legal business on our behalf, the fact of being registered as a lawyer with an official number of member of a Bar of Lawyers Association, as I said before, it grant certain obligations of best governance from the Lawyer that give you the possibility to claim in case he should not do his work tightly with the Law. This Power of Attorney will not only legitimate your Lawyer to solve some questions related to the process, but also will let him/her apply for necessary documents for the signing and many other need. It is absolutely recommended.

From now on, you can be sure the Lawyer will watch out for the process. I would advise you not to hurry the professional. His obligation is to ensure everything will be in good order the day of the signing of the Deeds, and some times they must take some time to get the necessary documents and cautions for it. When in a hurry, the professional may forget some very important detail. Of course, this does not mean you will not be informed of every step in the process, on time. Please, bear in mind the Lawyer is the first interested on completing the process quickly and effectively.

The second and very important document involved in the process is the private purchase contract. It is important to have access to this contract (called “Arras”). This contract will objectively determine all the purchase process. It includes all the terms agreed between the parties, deadlines, payment schedule, etc … It is highly recommended to review the contract before it is signed by your representative. In case you may not to speak Spanish, you should try to get a copy in your language to be sure of all the contents of the contract. Normally the Lawyer may provide you with a copy in your language. Otherwise, there are translators who may write a literal copy of the contract in your language. Our Firm offers this service for free.

Once the contract is signed you only have to wait for the day of the signing. The Lawyer will collect all the paperwork required by the Notary in order not to have any the day of the signing of the Deeds This day of the signing, you will obtain the keys and will be able to take possession of the property. In this concrete moment is when you will have to change the ownership of all the supplies (electricity, water, internet connection …). The next step will be the payment of the Transfer Tax, which consists of an 8% the price of the property and finally the registration of the property in the Land Registry.

Expenses related to the purchase procedure normally are responsibility of the buyer, except the local Capital Gains Tax that will be paid by the vendor. From this moment on, and as owners of a property, you must, annually, pay the Income and Wealth Tax.

At this point you will be the merited owners of a property on the Costa del Sol, which will give you a monthly income, a few happy holidays or even a different life.

For any questions regarding this issue or any other, please feel free to contact us or come over to our office (ask for a previous appointment). We will be happy to give you legal advise of any kind, with total confidence, and will try to find the most appropriate solution to your problem.

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