There are a lot of similarities between the European countries of Britain and Spain, but a lot of differences too. The use of a lawyer in a property transaction is one of the differences. Spanish people tend not to use a lawyer for conveyancing whereas a British buyer wouldn’t make a move without one. The Spaniards explain this by saying that most Spaniards have a relative or friend who can do a perfectly good job of helping them and save the lawyer’s fees. Spanish lawyers tend to charge 1% of the purchase price. Of course, VAT must be added to that.
It is generally accepted that a British buyer of Spanish property would be foolish indeed to enter into a transaction without the advice of a fully qualified lawyer. The question is whether to use a Spanish lawyer who speaks some English or a British lawyer who understands Spanish law.
There are arguments for and against for both options. In general, British lawyers do not know a great deal about Spanish law. There are specialists who do, but the chances of finding one close to where you live are slim. You will therefore need to communicate with them mostly by telephone, email and letter. You will need to use the same methods if you engage a Spanish lawyer, but there may be a problem with language.
British lawyers will say that they are more careful of their client’s needs. They have a strict regime and will make sure that the client fully understands every angle of the transaction. They say that Spanish lawyers do not have the same level of regulated client care and even if things do go wrong, it is very difficult to get anything done about it. Recent history and property scandals show that the British lawyer may have a point. There are many instances of Spanish lawyers Avvocato in Spagna being cavalier with their advice and in some cases, even working for the developer!
On the other hand, British lawyers are notoriously slow. Many property transactions during the British property boom collapsed because the lawyer on one side or the other simply did not act fast enough.
The British say that their fees are lower for a comparable job than the Spanish lawyer. It may be correct that a conveyancing solicitor dealing with a purely British property transaction may be much cheaper than the Spanish equivalent. This does not necessarily follow through to a specialist who is an expert in Spanish law.
The Spanish lawyers say that due to new government regulation and laws, much has changed in Spain over the past few months. They say that the British lawyer could not possibly be able to keep up with all of the recent changes in the different regions of Spain. They probably have a good point there. A great deal of change to property regulations in the Spanish regions is taking place. It would be a difficult task to stay up to date with all of them and on this point the Spaniard may well be the best option.
From this it can be seen that the British person intending to buy property in Spain needs to do quite a bit of groundwork before they engage a lawyer. An on-the-spot lawyer will be completely up to date on recent changes. He will personally know government officials if there are small problems to be ironed out and he has his reputation in his local area to maintain.