Property News: Be careful when handing over your prized possession

Just say no: Don’t get shut out of your own property. Credit: Nancy Lehoux


CONGRATULATIONS, you have finally found a buyer for your Spanish property. Before you get carried away you should now instruct a lawyer to represent you in the sale, particularly if you are non-resident in Spain.

It is an exciting moment for sellers who can breathe a sigh of relief after having waited for years on end to sell. However, some buyers can take advantage of a seller’s good faith and request the house keys ahead of completion at the Notary. These buyers have only paid a small deposit and can give a whole list of reasons to access the property before paying the balance.

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The fact is that when you hand over your keys to someone, you are handing them your possession. This has serious legal repercussions. It awards them an array of legal rights that basically shuts you out of your own property. In order to regain access, you will have to go through a law court.

What’s worse is that they have only paid you a fraction of the sales price; they never completed things at the Notary. It could take several years of protracted litigation to have them physically evicted by bailiffs from your home. In the meantime, you’ve spent a lot of money in lawyers and legal proceedings, lost countless opportunities to sell to other legitimate buyers and your place has probably been trashed by your would-be buyer. Let alone all the stress and aggravation this has brought you and your family.

In closing, never hand over the keys to your property before you sign on the dotted line of a sales deed witnessed by a Public Notary and are handed a big fat cheque for the full sales price.


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