6 Legal Issues When Buying Property In Europe

Property law can differ from country to country in comparison to the UK. Within Europe, this difference can scale from small differences to greater ones. Here are 6 legal issues that could arise when purchasing property in Europe.

After Brexit, buying property in Spain won’t cost you any more money. The same applies to other countries throughout Europe.

1) Overcoming legal documentation and linguistic barriers

When dealing with estate agents abroad, concerns surrounding issues with communication and understanding legal documentation can quickly arise. One way in which you can help yourself overcome this obstacle is by hiring a legal professional to assist you.

It might seem strange at first, involving lawyers in the purchase of property, however it is a necessary step if you wish to understand the process in its entirety, and avoid any communication issues.

Moreover, a legal professional will also be well versed in the business etiquette and practises required when purchasing property, and will guide you in avoiding any unfavourable surprises that may arise.

2) Make clear the total cost of purchasing the property

It can be overwhelming at first when faced with the various fees and costs of purchasing a property abroad. This is why it is so important to understand the process and shed light on any hidden fees that may apply. Clarify from the outset any costs involved, including lawyer’s fees, purchase tax and registry fees.

3) Securing funding from a third party

If you are funding the purchase of your property from a third party, for instance a mortgage, then it is crucially important to secure the funds required before agreeing to any purchase. This way, you can avoid any issues that arise should the payment from the third party be declined. 

4) Paying a deposit on a property

Make absolutely certain that you want to purchase the property before investing any money into a deposit. Be aware of all the necessary information surrounding the property, ideally procured by your lawyer, before you proceed. You may need to pay your lawyer for this, so do be aware of these costs as well. Once you have received this information, you will be able to proceed and commit if desired. 

5) Surveying your property purchase

It is considered good practice to enlist the services of a professional property surveyor before you purchase a property. The estate agent may discourage such practice, however it is much better to be aware of any issues with the property before you pay a deposit or purchase it. 

Estate agents in the country you are considering purchasing a property in may only consider reporting on an issue when a serious fault has been detected, so it is useful to have the property independently surveyed.

6) Check for any property ownership fees

According to realting.com, property deeds vs. application of ownership to Land Registry are some of the big differences from country to country across Europe. Aside from fees concerning bills, i.e. Gas, electric and water, there may be payable annual property tax, as well as non-resident fees. Make sure to research these fees and ensure they will be manageable moving forwards.

Purchasing property abroad is an exciting, albeit detailed process, where doing extra research on the property and any associated fees can pay dividends down the line. Understanding the laws surrounding property purchase, which vary from country to country, will put you in good stead for making a great purchase, safeguarding you from potential pitfalls.

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