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Spanish notaries

Spain isn't exactly the UK and so it is with notaries. In these two countries their functions differ. Signing a purchase agreement and receiving the deed are like in the UK, done in the presence of a notary but then again that's exactly where the similarities end.

You'll have to determine yourself if the papers before you are genuine and valid. Once more the job is yours to investigate if the salesman is fully authorized to sell you your desired property.

Within and without the Escritura

The notary will ask you how much of the actual sales price you want stated in the official documents (the Escritura.) A sum of 15% cash changing hands here is not an exception. Officially this is prohibited but unofficially it's pretty much the way the cookie crumbles. It's of course up to you to decide whether or not you want to join the Spanish in one of their favorite pastimes, tax evasion.

Costs previous owner

Another thing the notary will not check is whether parts of the house have already been sold to someone else and if the mentioned land is actually part of the deal.
What is also worth mentioning is that outstanding bills for, for instance, garbage collection, local taxes, electricity gas and water due to previous owners can easily become yours to pay. Make sure the previous owner has paid all the bills before you sign. If you choose to make use of a purchase broker he'll sort these things out for you. You can also hire a gestor, the costs for these services are modest and the assurances you get are worth every penny.

Extra service

What you may expect but don't always get you can solicit as extra service from your notary. Ask him to immediately fax the purchase agreement to the local authorities with the request to call back as soon as the fax is received.
This 'confirmation' to the notary will pretty much guarantee that the property cannot be quickly sold to another party. A law against these sorts of practices has recently been passed but it's still up to you to make sure it will also apply to you.
Prevention is better than cure!

Never say in hind view: "I just didn't know!"

HipoteCasa will enable you to look before you leap and save you from expensive mishaps!

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