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Why I recommend a lawyer when buying a property in Sotogrande, Spain

Most of my clients employ the services of a lawyer when buying a property in Sotogrande. This is very wise. It is also wise to have a lawyer when selling your property as many of the requirements the buying lawyer will request may not be easily available. So what should a lawyer be doing for his or her fee? Below is a list of the most common topics they should be investigating. Note this is not exhaustive and there may be many more I may have omitted.



  2. The lawyer should also carry out the following check


What does legal due diligence entail?

When buying a holiday home everyone wants to be fully reassured that the property is legal and that what you are paying for does not have problems! Due diligence is the process your lawyer will undertake to ensure this is the case. This entails:

  • Checking all ownership details of the property.
  • Finding out if there are any charges such as mortgages on the property (and if there are that they will be discharged on completion)
  • See if the property is burdened with rights of occupation….rented on a long-term basis for example.
  • Check if there are any rights of way through the property.
  • Verify if there are any town hall planning requirements or impositions
  • Check that the property described at the Town Hall is the same as the one at the property registry.
  • Verify that the annual local property tax (IBI) is up to date.
  • Verify that community fees are also up to date.
  • Verify that a first occupation license has been issued in respect of the property.
  • Ensure that the correct persons will be signing the sale deed.
  • Verify that the property has adequate planning.
  • Check that the service charges are up to date.
  • Your lawyer will negotiate the details of the transaction including responsibility for payment of costs of the transaction. These can be either based on normal practice (law) or by other mutual agreements.

The lawyer should also carry out the following check

  • Contact the Public Works department to check whether the property is subject to or affected by within any compulsory purchase plans for possible construction of roads, bridges and other public works.
  • To check for any public rights of way. Unlikely inside Sotogrande, but not if outside a resort.
  • Check with the Water Authority to verify whether the property has any obligations for rights in respect of aqueducts.

Thereafter the lawyer will prepare the purchase deed and any mortgage deed if necessary and will organize for completion including the discharge of any existing mortgage.

After completion, which involves attendance at the Notary, the lawyer should arrange for payment of taxes and changing utility contracts to the new owner:

  • For new properties (houses, apartments, townhouses) 10% VAT
  • For plots from Developer or Company-owned land- 21% VAT
  • For re-sale properties the transmission tax…. currently 7% in Andalusia.
  • Tax on capital gains on the property, if selling.
  • Pay the municipal capital gains tax, if selling.
  • He will pay for the registration of the purchase at the land registry and notary fees.
  • Change or transfer utility contracts to the new owner.

Personal Thoughts 

Everyday sales are being made in Sotogrande. The process is not complicated, however other than with building plots I do not think I have ever made a sale where everything was 100% perfect. By that, I mean all checks and verifications made by a solicitor have been fully satisfied.  Issues I have come across vary from undeclared extensions to failure to pay a community invoice. All anomalies must be addressed before completion at the notary. This is not difficult to achieve but can sometimes be less than timely. Your lawyer should give you full comfort before you sign.

I recommend Gonzáles Sánchez & Partners, with whom I have been working for many years. I invite you to see the interview I did with Antonio Sánchez, where he tells us about some of his many functions as a real estate lawyer.


NB: Property tax - (These tax rates are correct when this blog was published and can vary. Please check with your lawyer for current rates for the particular property you may be interested in buying)

The above list is not exhaustive and should be read as such. Please consult your lawyer for details.



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