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Barcelona Real Estate: 20 Tips for Buying

Spanish property sales picked up! As a traveler, perhaps you’ve visited the beautiful city of Barcelona. As a result, you love its world-class museums, restaurants, and easy lifestyle. So, you decide to purchase Barcelona real estate, as Clive and Karen did. That’s awesome, but as a foreigner, you need to keep in mind—buyer beware. In other words, it’s your responsibility to hire a knowledgeable advocate to look after your rights.

Foreigners Decide to Purchase a Holiday Flat in Barcelona

Before we get to the 20 tips you need to keep in mind for Barcelona real estate, we’ll share a bit about a couple’s story. Clive and Karen, like many others, decided to purchase real estate. And as is good practice, they chose an agent that spoke English. In this case, it was Casa Mona.

Since Karen and Clive weren’t fluent in the language and the legal intricacies of purchasing Barcelona real estate, they wisely retained a lawyer. What they discovered was that the process was much more complicated than they expected. For instance, they had to sign a power-of-attorney (POA) to ensure proper and robust representation.

As people who need a lawyer understand, it’s always best to have recommendations. It’s stressful enough to consider a Barcelona real estate purchase. But add to that, getting the right lawyer, it could get challenging. Still, Clive and Karen were fortunate enough to hire an English-fluent, albeit bohemian, lawyer. He turned out to be a fierce advocate for them.

Purchasing Barcelona Real Estate Comes with Inevitable Challenges

For Karen and Clive, buying property in real estate came with challenges. Fortunately, they had their lawyer, to whom they had given power of attorney, to represent them when they weren’t in Spain. Ultimately, the POA became essential because the papers for the flat weren’t correct. Also, they needed a surveyor to work with them to help sort issues regarding the apartment.

In short, the couple realized that it was vital to dot the I’s and cross the t’s. Moreover, it’s essential to have a lawyer who pays attention to the tiny details. And in the couple’s case, their attorney focused keenly on the details. Unfortunately, those who thought things could just happen were surprised by a fierce advocate representing his clients in every way.

20 Tips for Barcelona Real Estate & Properties in Spain

Again, foreign investors, such as an American buying property in Barcelona, quickly discover that real estate is complicated. It’s a fool’s errand for someone to think they could represent themselves. So, what follows are 20 tips any foreign buyer must keep in mind. It’s vital for Barcelona real estate, but also properties in Spain.

The Property Itself

When you look to buy Barcelona real estate or property in Spain, do the following with your lawyer or solicitor:

  1. A buyer should be aware of who’s the seller and who will receive the funds. In other words, ensure that the real estate owner is, in fact, the owner.  
  2. It’s also essential to know the legitimacy of the agency. In short, make sure the agent is an actual representative. Moreover, any down payments must happen to the right person, so check credentials.
  3. Make sure you know the charges on the Barcelona real estate or Spanish property. Meaning, know what they mean and if they can get cleared. Further, make sure charges and debts don’t have a higher value than the selling price. Otherwise, the equity is negative.
  4. Find out about the Cedula de habitabilidad, or habitation certificate. Without that certificate, you can’t rent or live in the property you plan to purchase.
  5. Also, get the Certificado energetico, energy certificate. Remember, it’s about the energy efficiency of the dwelling. And you don’t want to end up with massive energy bills.

More to Know About Your Barcelona Real Estate

  1. Further, you must know the state of the building. So, you need to see the inspección técnica de edificios (ITE). In short, it speaks to the building inspection. Also, it shows major information about the state of the building, capital expenses, and possible issues.
  2. And, when you purchase Barcelona real estate, you need to check the community meetings minutes. Also, you want to talk with the administrator to find out relevant information. For instance, you need to know if the group is solvent, what problems exist, projects, litigation against third parties, etc. 
  3. Of course, you want to go to the real estate property and check it. Ideally, it should get inspected by a surveyor. Doing so will tell you about the state of the building. For example, the community works, cleaning, cracks in the structure, etc.
  4. When you purchase Barcelona real estate, check that the size is correct. Ideally, Catastro and the land registry should have the same size. But, it’s not always the case. And in that case, it needs to get checked and updated. 
  5. Also, you have to make sure the property isn’t under a planning project that involves changes to it. Remember, the devil’s in the details. So, you want to get as much detail as possible.

Continuing Your Due Diligence

  1. Of course, you want to ensure no administrative irregularities exist. For example, illegal works. These things could affect the property and, therefore, the buyer.
  2. Also, you want to know the referencia catastral inserted in the land registry is the correct one. Further, you don’t want typing mistakes or errors.
  3. Moreover, make sure the address is current and correct. Yes, it could have changed at some point. And, if it did, it needs to get updated.
  4. And, you also want to verify that all bills and supplies are paid.
  5. Further, you need to know that the council taxes are paid up to date. 

Final Things to Keep in Mind for Barcelona Real Estate or Property in Spain

  1. What’s more, you want to ensure the community of owners’ fees are up to date.
  2. Also, you need to know if the sellers are Spanish nonresidents taxes exist. For instance, a compulsory withholding of 3% of the selling price exists. For Barcelone real estate, it’s called the Plusvalía municipal tax idem.
  3. Furthermore, be aware of a restriction of 2 years for the sellers after receiving the ownership from an inheritance.
  4. Ensure that third parties, spouses, or people with rights of use, sign and agree on the sale.
  5. Finally, check if there are tenants, squatters, etc. occupying the property. And know what their legal rights are to the property.

Again, these tips serve to give you information for Barcelona real estate or Spanish property sales. However, you must hire a solicitor or lawyer for buying real estate. Simply, too many details and legal issues could hinder your enjoyment even purchase of the property.

© 2021 Hugo Navarrete. All Rights Reserved.

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