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The thought of dealing with the legalities of purchasing a property in a foreign country can be daunting. We at recognize this and offer the services of a local law firm to ensure all the legalities are covered. The legal services offered by the law firm extend beyond dealing with the purchase, conveyacing, searches and sale of a property. They can also arrange wills, set up companies and give taxation advice.

What follows is an excerpt from an article written on the subject of Purchasing real estate in Lanzarote, or any foreign country for that matter. Our thanks to the author for permission to reproduce it here.

Legal Advice on Purchasing Real Estate on Lanzarote

In the field of human behavior, there are countless actions and procedures which are closely related with the legal world, the future outcome of which can lead to critical consequences both in the short and long term. Therefore, the purchase of real estate, especially with an existing building or one with possibilities of permission to build, is an operation which always involves extreme consideration and concern.

Such an operation can be seen from two perspectives. Firstly the purchase of real estate may be done with the intention of its immediate occupation or secondly it might be seen as a project of investment and benefit. In the first case, the object of the purchase will become a private domicile, a home, or the location of the owner’s business or enterprise; in the other case, the property will probably be leased to a third party, against payment of a rent. Which ever the intention of the outcome, it will involve its own series of additional concerns.

In principle, then, acquisition of real estate is, by its very nature, a big decision with deeply routed and long lasting effects, as well as being quite substantial- economically speaking. The operation should be well thought-out, carefully examined and preferably backed up with expert professional help. Without doubt, this is considered the normal practice when the item to be purchased is located in ones own country, where factual and legal aspects are quite familiar, at least the fundamental ones.

Consider these questions:

Do you think that the purchase in a foreign country would follow the same proceedings or meet with the same obstacles as your own country?

Would you apply to a purchase abroad the same rules and steps valid for the home country?

The answer should always be no, because certain types of legal business or contracts can never be transplanted unchanged from one country to another.

This is especially important in the case of citizens from the United Kingdom or from Ireland. It must be kept in mind that the UK and Irish legal system and its laws are structured radically different to those of continental laws. For instance, the distinction between freehold and leasehold property, so essential in real estate law, does not exist in Spanish law. Here in Lanzarote like all of Spain property is considered freehold, since any obligation, liability or debt to be legally valid has to be clearly recorded in the Land Registry. There are as many substantial differences as regards regulation and practices, as there are similarities and close analogies. The difficulties become much harder still when you consider the language barrier. Frequently it happens that people try to achieve a risky solution, in the help of amateur interpreters, who may be full of good will but with scarce or superficial knowledge of the foreign language and of the technical expressions.

All this considered, a person should avoid in so far as possible the mistake of thinking that this kind of major decision can be entrusted to the discretion and interpretation of an individual no matter how much information he has collected.

A Person is advised also to disregard the generous advice and commentary from friends and acquaintances. To follow their wishes and good intentions, more often than not brings serious errors which can lead to what was initially seen as a purchase of a piece of land or of a home in a fantastically beautiful corner of the world here in Lanzarote, may become a combination of obstacles, a series of unforeseen problems and depressing failures.

Although with time and money these might get resolved, they unfortunately will have embedded embitterment or withering on those joyful expectations.

All of these above considerations are a clear invitation to a perspective purchaser in Lanzarote to always obtain the help of local professionals worthy of your trust with good references and a full knowledge of the necessary languages.

The argument is similar for the real estate agent, the architect, as well as the Bank managers and the lawyers. There should exist between the client and the professionals concerned a climate of sincere and willing collaboration to achieve the primary objective for a successful operation; at well as the fact that it is a good way to start making new friends in foreign lands.

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