Housesinspain.com, Monday, 13 October 2014
Buying a property in Spain from the hand of heirs is often very worthwhile.
The children usually have no interest in the property that their parents bought in Spain in the 70/80’s. Most likely, they want the cash as quickly
as possible and the selling price is less important.
Sign the sales contract? Yes ... no ... Notary.
The property may have been put up for sale although the inheritance has not been completely settled.
You can, in that situation, safely enter into negotiations to buy the house. The preliminary contract can be drawn up and signed, but take an
additional provision that you go to the notary only when the inheritance is settled.
2 in 1 is not safe. You’ll end up with empty hands.
Often chosen in these situations, is the opportunity to settle the inheritance simultaneously with the transfer. It goes like this. First, the deed
of inheritance is presented to the notary, which is signed by the heirs (the sellers). Immediately afterwards, the notarial deed for the purchase is
put on the table. This seems harmless and is often explained as being risk-free by the vendors. Signing the inheritance deed is not enough; this
document must first be registered at the property register. Only when this is done, can you safely sign the purchase deed. It may so happen that the
legacy document, for any reason, will not be registered. In this case the house is still not in your name. You cannot do these two actions at the
same time. You’ll end up with nothing.
The action is for the selling heirs.
Often, there are missing documents so the inheritance cannot be registered.
Sometime, the heirs must first pay the inheritance tax payable. (Inheritance)
The action for the solution is therefore in the hands of the selling heirs. But, if the purchase price has been received, there is no incentive for
the heirs to look for the missing documents or pay the inheritance tax.
"I, the buyer, accept that the inheritance is not yet settled. The buyer chooses, for the sake of urgency, to purchase the property." This passage in
the deed covers the notary, so that later there is no redress if something in the inheritance goes wrong. Many translators, often the selling broker,
see the sentence and "accidentally" overlook it.
It can go wrong
If this passage is included, it is often dismissed as a formality. "This is just a formality, you can feel free to sign the deed." Have I heard a
selling broker say that with great conviction? Even though it sounds very convincing, it is certainly not a formality. The notary does not hedge for
nothing. He knows what can go wrong.
Step up and do not sign.
You get into this situation. It turns out that, when you get to the notary, the heirs are not yet on the property register as the legal owners. Step
up and do not sign.
Place a statement on paper.
Step up and let the notary put a statement on paper which states that you have appeared for the transfer. Record that you have not signed the
transfer because the selling party's legacy has not yet been settled. Set a time limit in which it has to happen.
The notary must send the deed of inheritance to the registrar and have it accepted, until then you have no guarantee that the property will be in
An official who is decisive is "el registrador." He will refuse registration if, in his eyes, something is missing or it’s not sufficiently
demonstrated that the heirs are the rightful heirs. This is independent of the fact that the notary has agreed the deed. The notary knows that. He
always puts the notorious passage in the document that I mentioned at the beginning, so that he himself remains unaffected. If the error is not
corrected, the house will never be registered in the property register in your name; even if you have signed the deed and paid the entire purchase
The moment you sign the notarial deed, the property should have been in the name of the seller (the heirs) on the property register.
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