We’re now a couple of months into lockdown in the UK, with similar situations in place throughout other countries. Plans have been on hold and now we find ourselves wondering that this will mean for the future.
The Spanish second homes market has also been affected and, as such, Spanish property lawyers Fuster & Associates have shared their guidance.
They have highlighted that the construction market, along with all other non-essential areas of activity, was at a standstill for weeks during Spain’s lockdown.
However, the market started up again on 13th April, Fuster & Assiciates reports, with restrcitions and procedures in place to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
Where does this leave buyers?
David Fuster, Founding Partner of Fuster & Associates, comments: “The coronavirus pandemic has surprised many of those who were previously happily on track to fulfilling their dream of buying a second home in Spain.
“In some cases, it has stopped the process entirely, while in others it has made moving forward with the purchase far more difficult, leaving many future owners worrying about their options.”
The Spanish property lawyers have found some future buyers are beginning to question their decision to buy in Spain. However, others seem just as determined to make their overseas property dream a reality.
David Fuster says: “It’s still perfectly possible to purchase the home of your dreams here in Spain. Buyers just need to take additional precautions to ensure the quality, safety and efficiency of the purchase process.”
Having a good lawyer is key to a safe purchase process
The firm points out that a good lawyer can help you to find a property that has been quality approved and assure the buyer that all legal requirements for sale have been met.
Disruption to the completeion timetables of homes under construction will be unavoidable. Buyers considering signing a contract and making payments at this stage should consider hirng a lawyer to increase the security process and protect their investment, they say.
A bank guarantee can also provide a level of protection, as long as the property developer has a construction licence. The firm states that if a deposit was paid prior to the licence being in place, a decent property lawyer will be able to obtain other safeguards.
Before signing the deed, an inspection visit is customary
This is usually the case, but domestic travel is still severely restricted and international travel not an option at this point in time. However, some vendors are likely to have set up a system for online virtual tours. Fuster & Associates also adds: ” Others are making an annex in writing to the deed so that the process can move ahead with the promise of resoltion of any issues taking place after this execeptional situation has passed.”
Another issue that has arisen due to travel restrictions, especially with resale properties, is that both the buyer and the seller must fulfill obligations stated in the contracts that have been signed. The law firm points out that if they don’t formalise the sale, the buyer could lose their deposit. If the seller back out, they will have to pay the desposit amount to the would-be buyer.
David Fuster comments: “The problem with this is that the buyer may find that the seller is abroad and unable to get home to hand over the keys. Likewise, the seller may need to take furniture out of the property before the sale completes but find themselves unable to do so.”
In such a situation, they suggest that the parties agree on an extension to the deposit contract, which can be done through a private agreement between both parties.
Invest time in research during the lockdown
The final suggestion they make is that buyers who invest their time in research during the lockdown can be well prepared for when travel restrictions ease and they can visit their preferred property to make a firm decision to purchase. Estate agents have plenty of tools at their disposal when it comes to enabling would-be buyers to find out about properties online.