How 'house reputation' can affect the sale and purchase of property in Spain
According to the Cambridge English Dictionary “reputation” means the opinion that people have about someone or something.
So, the house reputation is the opinion that people have about a house. This is not a widely known concept here in the UK, but in Spain, the house reputation can be key to decision making on buying and selling a house. Here, AIPP legal member Jordi Mauri Sole explains the consequences of ensuring the house you buy or sell has a good reputation.
Conveyancing and House Reputation
If somebody wants to buy a house with a specific reputation (i.e. no crimes committed in the house) this is considered a condition of the purchase, meaning the purchase could be cancelled if the buyer finds out that the reputation is different than the one desired.
The contract should state specifically this condition. Conditions in contracts are very well regulated in Spanish law.
Essential for the buyer
A buyer can also state that a good reputation is an essential feature of the house they are looking to buy. This works in a similar way to having a specific condition as above, but legally could have a different outcome in the case of a cancellation.
Finally, Inherent Vice is another legal term that can see the reputation affect the consequences of a purchase. If the house is later found to have a condition that makes it not fit for purpose, which was not disclosed at time of purchase, the buyer can also ask for cancellation or compensation respectively. The ‘vice’ or hidden problem has to be significant, and proved to have existed before the purchase of the property took place.
There is also a statute of just six months from purchase of property to apply for a cancellation of contract or compensation for this condition. After this time legal action is no longer available.
Disclosure and Good Faith
A good estate agent, with professional values, ethics and a credible reputation, should disclose anything in their knowledge about the property that they deem relevant for potential buyers. They will also mediate in the event of an issue between the buyers and sellers to achieve an agreement.
That said, much of this is taken in good faith, which is both a principle and a guide but difficult to hold accountable.
The only way to ensure you have recourse (should a specific requirement not be met) is to have it in writing in a contract, which has been accurately recorded by a legal professional. This is often the only way that a situation can be remedied if an issue arises, as the law is very specific in its language.
Buying a house is a very important decision and investment. If you have a particular requirement, no matter how strange it may appear to others, ensure your lawyer or solicitor is aware of it. The way it is documented could prove to be critical in the long run.
Thank you for your time and attention and I hope this information is of use. You are very welcome to share if you liked it. You might be interested in these other posts: breach of contract (i), breach of contract (ii), conveyancing, penalty clause, or taking a property off the market.
Our thanks to JMS Lawyer for this article. Jordi Mauri Sole can be reached here.
Jordi Mauri Solé is a practicing lawyer, member of the Bar Association of Orihuela (Alicante), license No. 1182. He graduated form the Universtity of Tarragona and Master in Advocacy Fundesem Business School (Alicante).
After gaining experience in the UK, where he lived and was active for more than one year, returned to Spain, practicing law in Barcelona and later in Alicante, advising European and extra-European citizens in all aspects of litigation in the civil, criminal and administrative law.
He has a network of collaborators that allows him to offer a full range of legal services that any individual or small company could need.
There are some fundamentals you MUST consider before you start on your journey to purchasing a property in Spain. Download our free buying guides for a road map for your purchase (scroll below) and read the points below!
Choose your agent wisely. AIPP (Association of International Property Professionals) members have all signed up to a strict code of conduct and are covered by the UK Property Ombudsman which makes for a much safer buying environment. You can search their properties by clicking the ‘Search Property‘ link here or at the top of the page.
Know your budget before you start your search. The Alliance recommends using a specialist overseas mortgage broker such as AIPP member Simon Conn who can assess your current situation and advise on what kind of mortgage would be available to you.
Lock in your exchange rate. With the markets a little volatile, it’s wise to protect your budget. By choosing a currency company who can offer you the best rate and fixing it with a forward contract you need not worry about political or economic factors influencing your purchase power. The Alliance works with Clear Currency. Hear what they have to say:
Engage the services of a fully independent lawyer. Your lawyer should work on behalf of YOU and YOU only – not the seller or developer or agent. You can search for an AIPP member lawyer here.
Seek advice on your tax, pension and wealth management requirements. By speaking with a specialist you can ensure your financial affairs are in the best order to limit your liabilities and future proof your income. The Alliance recommends speaking with international financial advisers Blevins Franks.
Speak to those who have gone before you. Join the Alliance of International Property Owners and gain access to our private members only forum where you can search and connect with members with properties in Spain and other areas you wish to know more about (and right now it’s free to join!)