Essential steps in buying a Properties.


Before signing the public title deed, notaries draw up a contract that must take into consideration key issues that might affect the buyer and/or the seller, such as:

1. Who signs in behalf of the seller: In the case of a developer, the administrator or the attorney of Information´s signature is required. If it is a sale between individuals, all owners must sign. If it is a marital or family dwelling, the signature from both spouses is needed.

2. Debts outstanding: It is imperative to make sure the house is free of all charges. It must be determined whether it has a mortgage, if it is being foreclosed or there are any pending embargoes, or if there is a lien from the community association for any outstanding charges. You can request a "Nota Simple" through the Property Registry which will inform you as to the status of the property, or do it through a notary. Sometimes, you will have to request a specific document called "Certificado de Legalidad Urbanística" from City Hall in case there is any type of issue that does not appear in the property registry. 

3. Community fees: Before any purchase, make sure that the house is up to date with all payments and expenses, since in certain cases the law requires the buyer to take care of them. 

4. Price: The price and payment method must be clearly established. Do not accept an offer that falls below the true value of the Properties, or pay amounts that are not reflected in official documents. This goes against the law and may have further consequences. 

5. Arras: When the private contract is signed, an amount is usually given as part of the payment of the total price (“señal”) - which is basically a small down payment that indicates that both parties have entered into a contract. The most common are what is called the "Penitenciales", which allows a buyer to breach the contract before signing the deed. If the buyer is the one who breaks the agreement, then the buyer will forego the aforementioned down payment, while if it is the seller who backs out of the deal, the seller will have to return double the amount of the down payment. 

6. Sale costs: If both parties do not come to an agreement, or if the contract indicates that costs must be payed as "the law sees fit", the legislation of the autonomous community in question will be applied. However, the private document usually establishes who will be responsible for such costs, including what the buyer must pay for, except the surplus which, by law, must be paid by the seller. When a purchase is done through a developer, it is illegal for the buyer to assume expenses that must be paid by the seller. 

- It is not mandatory to have a public deed from the purchase of a Properties, unless a mortgage is taken out to finance it. However, the vast majority of citizens choose to go to a notary for the transaction to be legally sound. 

7. The public deed is a gesture of mutual trust: The participants in the transaction declare before a notary their willingness to buy and sell under the conditions of set forth by the agreement. The notary, a public official, attests or authenticates the claims in the deed so that neither party can deny to the other party what is being stated in writing. A Public Deed is considered to be privileged evidence before the courts. 

8. The Public Deed provides legal coverage: The notary is not only an agent of contractual faith. His professional performance assures the legality of the contract by verifying and certifying that the items included in the private document conform to the current law. 

9. During the signature of the Public Deed, the notary, among other things, 1) verifies the identity, capacity and legitimacy of seller and buyer; 2) brings to light any liens or debts that weigh on the house; 3) confirms the payment of all community fees, or 4) requests proof of payment of property taxes (IBI). 

10. Energy certificate: It is also required to present the energy certificate of the property when signing a deed before a notary. Should that not be available, the notary would not move forward with the signing. 

- Some of the steps to be taken once the deed has been signed are as follows: 

11. Payment of taxes and registration fee in the official Land Registry: If you are going to take care of these affairs on your own, you might want to check with the notary for certain deadlines to avoid penalties or loss of rights. You can also ask the notary to handle these steps, in which case they will register the deed electronically  with the Land Registry. At a later date, you will receive an authorized paper copy of the official deed with all supporting documents and invoices. 

12. Utilities: Do not forget to put any utilities that pertain to your new Properties, such as electricity and water, under your name.  

13. Documentation and invoices: It is advisable that you keep all purchasing documents, supporting documents, guarantees and original invoices for the acquisition of the Properties with your records.



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