Buying a New Build / Off-plan property
When people imagine their dream home in Spain, some think of a traditional Spanish property (a resale) while others prefer the blank canvas of a new build that they can put their own stamp on. This article is for those choosing the off plan route.
If you choose a new build, there are important differences in the purchase process compared to buying resale. Here are some top tips.
An independent lawyer who speaks your language
Choose a lawyer that is experienced, knows the area and that is independent from all of the other parties connected to the transaction. Also make sure they are proficient in your native tongue as they will need to translate the contracts and other important documentation associated with the purchase for you.
You will pay for your off plan property in stages. Typically a deposit, then staged payments and the balance on completion. Your lawyer will make sure that the builder will grant a bank guarantee for each payment. This ensures your money is safe in the event that the property is not completed.
What your lawyer does on your behalf
The role of your property lawyer is to protect your interests at all times. Within this duty of care they will undertake the following legal tasks connected with your off plan purchase.
- Obtain and check that the builder has the correct Building Licence from the Town Hall known as ‘La Licencia de Obras’.
- Check for a detailed building description and a list of the materials to be used ‘Memoria de Calidades’. This stipulates the quality of the building materials used in construction of the property e.g. bricks, insulation, tiles and paints.
- Collect the plans of the property and of the complex (if an apartment) known as ‘Plano de la Vivienda y Plano de la Urbanizacion’.
- Obtain the new build deeds and the architectural certificate known as ‘La Escritura de Obra nueva y Division Horizontal’.
- Ensure that the final completion certificates are provided for your property and the complex known as ‘Certificado de final de Obra’.
- Submit the habitation certificate at the Town Hall and receive their stamp of approval, known as ‘Declaración Responsable de Primera Occupation’.
- Ensure that the building company has a 10 year insurance guarantee with an insurance firm for any structural defects arising known as ‘Seguro Decenal’ This is the UK equivalent of the NHBC certificate.
- Obtain proof of installation of the lights and water known as ‘Boletin de Agua y de Luz’.
- Arrange registration of the property (the catastral model) in the SUMA office so the Town Hall can begin working on processing the council tax. Don’t be surprised if you don’t receive a SUMA bill immediately – it can take up to two years!
- After all of the above is completed, the builder attends the notary and signs over the deeds as completed ‘Final de Obra’. Once this is done you can go ahead and sign the deeds (or your lawyer can if they have Power of Attorney) to complete and hand over the keys to your new Spanish property. Congratulations!
Sun Lawyers has been helping expats to buy nee an off plan properties in Spain for nearly 40 years. The law firm is largest on the Costa Blanca and covers an area from Valencia in the North to Murcia in the south. To contact us for a free first consultation email email@example.com