Pressure for a Deposit to Reserve the Property
When a buyer finally finds his dream property either through an estate agent or directly from the vendor or developer he or she usually comes under immediate pressure
It is at this stage that you can avoid making a first fundamental mistake. Do not give in to the sales pressure techniques of the agents. Remember they are trained to use every trick in the book to get you to sign or hand over deposit money.
Firstly, never give any reservation deposit funds without having a signed reservation deposit contract relating to the money transfer and, no matter how trustworthy or respectable the agent or developer might be, do not sign anything unless you have it checked by your lawyer. The contract is needed to protect your rights to the deposit money and guarantee its return should your lawyer discover something untoward with the property, or in the event that the vendor changes his mind. The reservation contract will give you legal rights to enforce your the return of your money in such circumstances. A common "headache" for buyers is fighting for the return of the deposit money when the property is not sold to them or when they do not proceed due to a problem with the property.
Secondly there are some Lawyers whom you should not to use.
Do not use the vendors or developers lawyers, nor the lawyer recommended by the estate agent. Such lawyers cannot be independent because of the clear conflict of interest. Their real clients are the vendors or their agents which means that they might be reluctant to find a problem with the vendors contract or property. Finding a fault might upset the vendor or agent who is supplying them with clients, and so "bite the hand that feeds them so to speak".
Spend Time finding a Suitable Independent Lawyer before you find your Spanish Property
While looking for your Spanish property it is a good idea to start looking for a Spanish Law firm in the area of Spain in which you are going to buy.
Check out the law firm for its suitability. Ensure that the lawyer in the firm is actually a qualified Spanish Lawyer (Abogado). You can do so by asking to see his law society identification card and then double-check it with his local Law Society.
Unfortunately this is necessary because there are actually people working as lawyers when they are not or/and who are not registered with their law society, therefore not licensed to practice. Unregistered lawyers are not protected by professional liability insurance, so should you suffer a loss due to negligence or bad advice there will be no guaranteed fund for your compensation. On a practical level, you need to check the Spanish Lawyer's level of verbal and written English to ensure that everything will be explained clearly to you.
Once you have found your lawyer independently, you will be in a much stronger position when the agent or buyer asks you for a deposit or asks you to sign a reservation contract. You can quite simply give them the contact details and tell them to fax or email the reservation contract to your lawyer.
Once your lawyer has checked and advised you to sign, then and only then sign the contract. Some Reservation Contracts contain terms that bind you to clauses in the purchase contract which may be detrimental to the buyer's interests.
If you follow this advice you will greatly reduce the risk of legal problems arising during your Spanish property purchase and avoid the stress and legal costs of rectifying any mistakes later.