The appeal of buying an off-plan property in Spain is understandable: it’s a great way to invest your money. Not only do you pay less for a home that you normally would, but you also usually get a say in some of the construction and design aspects. There are a large number of both positives and negatives involved in the off-plan buying process that can be hard to navigate, so here are our Top 3 pieces of advice as well as a few pros and cons to have in mind.
TOP 3 RECOMMENDATIONS:
- Hire a qualified lawyer. This is our number one piece of advice. Up until recently purchasing an off-plan property was considered a high-risk investment, however Spanish laws have now been updated to protect the consumer and, providing you carry out all necessary due diligence, there is much less risk involved nowadays.
When buying off-plan, it is highly advisable that you have an experienced lawyer on retainer to help you every step of the way, from understanding complicated contracts to carrying out the before mentioned due diligence. Before hiring a lawyer, make sure they are registered to practice and work independently, i.e. that they are not connected to the estate agent or developer you are buying your off-plan property from, as they often don’t have the best intentions.
- Make sure your money is protected by insurance or a bank guarantee. Bank guarantees were created to protect off-plan property buyers when making the necessary installments, should construction be considerably delayed or if the development company goes bankrupt. Insurance policies serve the same purpose – to protect the consumer and ensure they will get their money back if need be.
However bank guarantees are only valid if the building project holds a Building License, which brings us to the next recommendation…
- Ensure all paperwork is in order. Is the plot of land registered in the Developer’s name? Is the land appropriately classified to be built upon? Has the Developer attained a Building License? These are the top three checks to carry out, and make sure you ask for proof of all of these permits.
We recommend you keep any and all paperwork related to your off-plan property purchase in a safe place for future reference, and to create a “snagging list” upon completion by going through any issues or problems that are obvious with the property so the Developer can proceed to resolve all listed problems.
PROS & CONS:
- Customizable design and modern materials . When buying off-plan, there are usually various aspects of your future home you can work with the Developer on and tailor to suit your style. You can also be assured that seeing as your home is a new-build, the most modern materials and designs will be used.
- Pay in installments. Rather than paying one large installment, you can pay smaller portions of the final price over the course of construction and therefore will have more time to organize your finances.
- Pay less. Developers understand that potential buyers would rather see the physical property before making a decision so, even though they will provide you with a preview design, off-plan properties will generally be substantially cheaper than already-built homes.
- Consumer laws in Spain have been updated. Horror stories of the off-plan buying process are in the past thanks to the recently updated Spanish consumer laws that have your back if anything goes wrong. In fact, builders and architects can now be held responsible for structural damages for up to ten years after completion of a build.
- You will need to navigate a substantial amount of paperwork. Contracts, bank guarantees, receipts, mortgage documents… This is the reason it’s best to hire a lawyer to ensure everything runs smoothly and no stone is left unturned.
- You will have to rely on the mock-up designs given to you by the Developer, as the whole point of off-plan property is that it isn’t yet completed. Once again, keep these plans in a safe place to consult at the time of completion and make sure everything is as promised.
- The completion date could be pushed back. Developers will often include a non-negotiable clause in the initial contracts stating that they can delay the completion date by a maximum of six months. This could be for any reason so you will need a lot of patience during this time!
- You might not be able to rent the property out. If you are buying to rent, either as short or long-term, make sure the region of Spain in which you are buying allows for this as regulations are different depending on the area.
If you are considering investing in an off-plan home in Spain and need a lawyer, the Premier Law team would be happy to help.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or +34 952 764 483.