Case Studies

We have dealt with many cases over the years that we have been in business, below are just a selection of them.

Our clients had found a house they wanted to buy and had introduced it to the agents they were dealing with in respect of other houses. Despite the fact this was a windfall for the agents, they added 12,000 euros to the price acceptable to the sellers. This was almost 12% of the price, against a local norm of 3%. The agents’ lawyers then produced a contract which would have been detrimental to our clients and they also proved reluctant to provide us with information and the relevant papers. Thanks to our efforts, the situation was clarified and the agent was removed from the process. The purchase was then progressed directly with the sellers, not only avoiding legal problems in respect of our clients’ title but also saving them a considerable sum of money as well.

Complications arose because there were commission-sharing estate agents in both the UK and Spain, neither of which trusted the other. There were also problems arising from the large number and small size of the several plots involved in the sale. And from the rights in favour of adjacent neighbours. Eventually, the sale was aborted when the buyer walked away from the complications and from the seller’s stubbornly obstructionist behaviour.

After the clients had bought their land, a (locally powerful) neighbour claimed that he had a right to buy it from them at the price declared in the escritura. This would have meant them losing not only the property but also many thousands of pounds. The claim was successfully rebutted.

The details of the land in the inheritance deeds did not correspond with those in the municipal plans. This might not have prevented the notary effecting an escritura but it would certainly have prevented registration of title without at least two years delay and considerable expense. The situation was regularised and the sale proceeded quickly to completion and registration.

Similarly, while the area of the land in this case, did correspond with the municipal plan, the details of the house didn’t. This is frequently so when unapproved house modifications have been made. Again, a relatively simple application to the municipal authorities avoided much post-purchase effort and expenditure.

In addition to the common problem of discrepancies between the title deeds and the town hall details, pre-escritura searches turned up a claim by a neighbour not only for part of the land being sold but also for a right-of-way over the property. All problems were successfully resolved, involving the use of an official surveyor.

The documents provided by the sellers did not include half of the land being bought. Additionally, the land fell within a zone where the Galician Land Bank has the right to take over the property before or after any sale. The lawyers of the sellers agreed to rectify the situation and to get a formal waiver from the Land Bank but they defaulted on both of these obligations and the buyers walked away from the deal.

The buyer came to us after he had signed both a [binding] deposit contract and given the agent an extremely wide Power of Attorney. Both documents had been approved by the notary even though they did not include the largest plot of land in the sale and even though the client was massively exposed to fraud. The Power was cancelled and the land situation regularised before the signing of the escritura, making registration of title a simple formality.

The client came to us with a contract which the estate agent wanted signing. This involved a deposit of 20% and gave the buyers no rights at all against the seller – or the agent – in the event of default or fraud. A proper deposit contract was arranged and documentation discrepancies eliminated ahead of the signing of the escritura. As is always the case, the sellers were willing to participate in the effort and cost of this ahead of the signing. They are rarely, if ever, willing to do this after they have got their money and [unregistrable] title has passed to the buyers under the notarised escritura.

Complications arose ahead of the escritura signing because one of the 3 inheritors and died and another lived in Venezuela. This meant getting notarised deeds from Venezuela – a lengthy process. Complications later arose because of rights in favour of the Galician Land Bank, because unapproved house modifications had been made and because the notary was obliged to retain a proportion of the purchase price because one of the sellers was resident overseas. All of these were satisfactorily resolved and the purchase was duly completed and registered.

The clients came to us after they had placed a deposit and agreed to significant stage payments on a house in construction. Severe problems arose when the sellers and their (related) agent refused to provide guarantees in respect of the significant payments envisaged, despite the fact that the accounts of the construction company were dubious. A two-deed solution was proposed by us, giving the buyers security for their investment and allowing the sellers to receive the moneys they needed to complete construction. Penalty clauses were also included in the deeds, which the builders inevitably fell foul of.

Problems arose at a late stage in this purchase when it became clear that there was a prior mortgage on the property which needed to be cleared. Additionally, there were difficulties because one of the sellers was resident overseas, a not uncommon situation in Galicia. All issues were successfully resolved before or at the signing.

The clients were buying a fourth floor flat and wanted assurances that their view would not be obstructed by another block of flats. This was obtained via enquiries with the local council, who took more than 2 months to provide documents promised within 2 weeks. As it happened, this delay coincided with the problems experienced by the builder in obtaining the various licences needed before we would allow the clients to sign the escritura.