Avoiding real estate scams in Spain
There are plenty of examples where -sometimes naive- foreigners became the victim of a real estate swindle in Spain. Don’t let these horror stories discourage you from realizing your dream in Spain! Not only do these crooked deals only represent a small minority of all real estate transactions in Spain, most of them can be avoided as well. Just take the following points into consideration:
- Be wary of realtors who ask for upfront payments
- Be cautious when you get a proposal where corners are getting cut. Often there is some sort of ‘urgency’ to the process.
- Check the companies you are working with. Check their credentials!
- Check whether there are any debts attached to the property (for example: a mortgage)
- Let an expert (for example: an architect or surveyor) check whether the building is structurally sound.
- Verify whether the entire building was constructed with the correct planning permission. Double check this in the land registry (Registro de la Propriedad)
- Last, but not least: be informed! Exploring this dashboard is a great starting point. If you can’t find your answers online, don’t hesitate to ask a professional!
Victim of fraud?
If, somehow, you did end up being the victim of some sort of deceit or swindle, know that it is never too late to seek advice from an attorney. You are not alone and there are some organizations that may be able to help you.
- Americans who became the victim of online real estate scams, can file a complaint through the Internet Crime Complaint Center
- Contact your embassy, they might be able to give you some guidance.
- UK residents can find help at different organisations. A complete list and explanation can be found on this website of the British government. (download file directly: Property Guidance - Property Fraud)
- If you somehow suspect that your lawyer was negligent and made some errors, you should file a complaint to the provincial bar association. If their answer does not help you, you can go to the national level.
- If you think that Spanish courts did not handle your complaint correctly, you can also file a complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary.