PROTECTION MEASURES BEFORE THE PURCHASE OF A RUSTIC PROPERTY IN SPAIN
Although the majority of foreign buyers prefer to acquire homes in Spain in apartment buildings or in single-family housing developments in tourist areas, some prefer the “adventure” of building a home in a land further away from cities or more famous areas; or buying a house already built in a rural area. In addition, some of these properties in rustic areas are the perfect opportunity to establish a new business in a natural environment.
Many times this type of property may save you a lot of money, since the price of the land is usually cheaper.
But in return for this cheaper price, buying in these rural settings requires a greater investment in prior legal protection. This more complex legal study will not completely lose the advantage of the difference in the price of the land, but it is proportionally more expensive than what is normally necessary for the purchase of real estate in an already urbanized environment. There are several reasons for this greater legal diligence, and the precautions that must also be taken into account. We offer some examples:
- In these environments, the surface measurements of the lands within the Property Registry are often older and inaccurate, and therefore any land’s background must be studied very well and perhaps updated its measurement in order to know the true extent of what is being purchased.
- Sometimes, the buyer is offered a parcel that does not yet exist, but will be born out of a larger parcel. This leads to the need to check the legal norms that, in each region, can be applied to the minimum legal plots, and the uses allowed according to these areas. It is also necessary to take several legal steps (and they are quite technical) that must be carried out with detail and care at the time of legal segregation, to ensure that the property that is being purchased is properly protected. Some of these steps are slow intense, but they are always very important.
- It is important to take into account the existence of the legal mechanism of “usucapión”: it is the acquisition of property by uninterrupted possession during a period that varies according to the circumstances and the applicable regulations in each territory, and which may lead to buy land or parts of land that are no longer owned by the person who sells them, as they have not exercised their possession. The existence of these legal norms also requires being diligent in maintaining effective possession of the land from the moment of purchase, and being diligent with our obligations as owners.
- Furthermore, in some of these rural areas, some owners have not been particularly diligent to follow the legal procedures of successive estates in which these lands are included, since the prospects of selling them seemed distant. Therefore, it is important to check if these procedures are correctly carried out before paying all or part of the price.
However, many of these problems are in the process of being solved with the recent legal regulations that require a series of new technical measurements and updated geolocations to be provided when registering the sale of properties, which is leading to an accelerated solution process of these kinds of problems. But ours may be the first purchase since this rule is in force, and therefore we will have to remain vigilant on these aspects.
That is why it is always advisable for the foreign buyer to have good legal advice prior to the purchase of real estate in Spain, if it is about the purchase of land in more rural areas, it is completely necessary. The professionals at OTIS Advocaten can advise you.