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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Out of the blue, an interested buyer has surfaced for my house!

Much as this is a very pleasant development, I'm now getting very nervous about what comes next. If an offer comes, of course I'm expecting a derisory opener but will do my best to beat him up(wards). ;)

I'd be interested in any advice from people who know the system or have experience of selling here. As a widow and a foreigner, I feel rather vulnerable. We've all heard horror stories and they say people lose all morals at times like this. I have arranged for a local agent to guide me through the sale, if it comes off, for a fee.

The 'buyer' is a successful businessman, one could say a 'chulo' whose confidence is getting me worried as he seems to be used to calling the shots. I understand there is a minimum amount, compared to the valor catastral, that one is expected to sell for, otherwise perhaps receiving a tax bill for a higher, presumed, selling price. In these crisis times, however, my price is getting pretty close to that value! I have been heavily advised against anything illegal. I worry about Cypress-like problems appearing overnight just as the cheque is banked - should I consider opening several accounts pronto, to benefit from banking guarantees? I'm sure there are other aspects that I haven't considered...

Any thoughts most welcome, thanks!
 

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Hello

I'm not sure why you've contracted an estate agent to help you, what you need is a good solicitor/lawyer/abogado to act on your behalf.

You'd help not only yourself but the potential buyer enormously if you got all your paperwork in order ready to show the potential buyer. This would be -

1/ The title deeds to the property or escritura. Check to make sure that the property is described accurately and that you are legally entitled to sell the property.

2/ Get the ayuntamiento or town hall to issue a certificate that all the tax payments such as IBI etc are all paid and up to date.

3/ Check to see how much plusvalia or local capital gains tax is liable on the property when it is sold. The seller usually pays this but sometimes the buyer will pay it. It's worth knowing what this amount is and who will pay it when you commence price negotiations.

4/ Get all your utility bills paid up to date with proof and confirm that they will be paid up to the point the property changes hands.

If you get all this information ready to show the buyer when price negotiations start, the buyer will not only be impressed by your efficiency, he will also realise you're serious about selling the property and reaching a mutual selling price.
 
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OK it's a while since we sold our flat, but from what I remember, we downloaded a contrato de arras from the internet, modified it until both us and the buyer were happy and we signed it. This contract included the agreed price and deadline for the transaction. The buyer had to leave an agreed amount of money and if they broke the contract they lost it, and we broke the contract we had to pay back double I think. I can't remember the details.

Yes people do lose all morals in this process, or rather they get stressed out, stop trusting each other, imagine the other party is screwing them, try to screw them back, etc, etc. I highly recommend getting a lwayer to handle this for you, and refer the buyer to them. Do not enter into any verbal agreements with the buyer.

yes the ayuntamento has a list of prices for properties and they will fine you if they think you are selling the property on the cheap. There has been more than the usual controversy over this since the crisis started, since many people genuinely buy/sell houses for prices lower than the figure on the list, and they are left with the options of either over-stating the price to the notary so it is in line with the ayunatmentos value, or they declare the true price and risk being falsely fined. Most people do the former and end up paying more tax to the ayuntamento than they should. Be prepared to grit your teeth.

Regarding the banks, I believe the bank guarantees are for €100k, so yes it could be worth holding money in more than one account. Maybe a big foreign bank like Citibank could be a good option.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the input so far. I got my energy certificate before the June 1st deadline. :)

I went to talk to my local notario late this morning - he handled the will/inheritance for me a few years ago - and has proven to be a friendly advisor. I got a list from him of the documents required and have them all ready. He told me that the ref. no. on the IBI bills can be used to obtain the price that has been determined for the property value by the local government (as opposed to the valor catastral). Does anyone know if there's a site for people to check that or is it only something that the 'powers that be' can look up? As I understand it, selling under that price is what may cause problems with the authorities. I will go to the ayuntamiento on Monday to check the plusvalía; will the length of time I've owned the house bear any relation to this?

I had a long meeting with the potential purchaser this morning and will be consulting with family members over the weekend. :fingerscrossed:
 

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Thanks for the input so far. I got my energy certificate before the June 1st deadline. :)

I went to talk to my local notario late this morning - he handled the will/inheritance for me a few years ago - and has proven to be a friendly advisor. I got a list from him of the documents required and have them all ready. He told me that the ref. no. on the IBI bills can be used to obtain the price that has been determined for the property value by the local government (as opposed to the valor catastral). Does anyone know if there's a site for people to check that or is it only something that the 'powers that be' can look up? As I understand it, selling under that price is what may cause problems with the authorities. I will go to the ayuntamiento on Monday to check the plusvalía; will the length of time I've owned the house bear any relation to this?

I had a long meeting with the potential purchaser this morning and will be consulting with family members over the weekend. :fingerscrossed:
Hi,
My husband handled all the paperwork when we bought our house as I was pregnant at the time and my mind was definitely not on house buying. Also, it was 20 years ago, but I just wanted to say congratulations on finding a buyer as you had said that you'd had the house on the market for a long time, and I'm sure you just want to get shot of it, and also that I think what Chopera is saying is what we did too.
 

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Ive just sold our villa, and have been through the process. I would advise against taking on an estate agent ... you wont need him, and it will cost you dearly unless you agreed a special price with him. Engage a local solicitor at best. Dont let the buyer pay the estate agent .. payments only to the solicitor. You should get a 10% deposit now from the buyer. If he pulls out, then you keep it. If you pull out you have to pay him double the deposit
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have not taken on an estate agent - I've done all the advertising myself but have spoken to someone in the property business with knowledge of the buying process and MAY use his services as an advisor.

A deposit has been discussed, also a compra aplazada, fully notarised and with legal guarantees. Having never heard of such a thing before midday, I have read about it this afternoon. It appears to have been very common before hipotecas and is coming back in these current times. Since I will be downsizing, indeed renting for some time at least, it may well suit me. I would also be rid of the bills that running a large house and garden entail.

comprar casa sin hipoteca — idealista.com/news/
 

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I have not taken on an estate agent - I've done all the advertising myself but have spoken to someone in the property business with knowledge of the buying process and MAY use his services as an advisor.

A deposit has been discussed, also a compra aplazada, fully notarised and with legal guarantees. Having never heard of such a thing before midday, I have read about it this afternoon. It appears to have been very common before hipotecas and is coming back in these current times. Since I will be downsizing, indeed renting for some time at least, it may well suit me. I would also be rid of the bills that running a large house and garden entail.

comprar casa sin hipoteca — idealista.com/news/
Ah, thats good. Estate agent cost us a pretty penny, but at least they sold it.
If you have a solicitor or not of course is your own choice, I personally just felt happier if I know that everything is above board and recorded, and for the small cost involved it will be worth it for us :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It's all go. Just realised it's Friday 13th, hope it doesn't all fall through!

There's a possibility that payment to my UK account will be more acceptable to my buyer and it could be a way he'll be able to pay the full amount in one go. Since it's Friday evening (naturally) and I can't see anyone now until Monday, does anyone see any disadvantages in this for me? If all is above board and declared, would any taxes liable be higher or different?
 

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There's a possibility that payment to my UK account will be more acceptable to my buyer and it could be a way he'll be able to pay the full amount in one go.
Just watch the € to £ exchange rates. It might be better to hold it in euros until you're ready to exchange it into sterling. Although having said that the euro is quite strong against sterling at the moment and the reports I'm reading suggest a weakening of the euro but when that's going to happen no-one knows!
 

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It's all go. Just realised it's Friday 13th, hope it doesn't all fall through!

There's a possibility that payment to my UK account will be more acceptable to my buyer and it could be a way he'll be able to pay the full amount in one go. Since it's Friday evening (naturally) and I can't see anyone now until Monday, does anyone see any disadvantages in this for me? If all is above board and declared, would any taxes liable be higher or different?
You are going to allow someone to transfer € to £ to your bank account with no control of the rate of exchange or fees?

No .... get it paid to your Spanish bank account and use someone like HIFX to transfer it.

The feeling (by the currency experts and reports) is that the € / £ is going the wrong way for you at the moment and as
the UK economy gathers momentum (which it seems to be), it can only get worse for a while. If you dont need the money then you can leave it in a Spanish € account of course if you want to risk that, or maybe open a € account with a UK bank and transfer it over.

Therefore if you have a time scale and you are sure the sale is going through it might be a good idea to buy a forward contract with HIFX to secure the rate of exchange so you dont lose anything.
 

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It's all go. Just realised it's Friday 13th, hope it doesn't all fall through!

There's a possibility that payment to my UK account will be more acceptable to my buyer and it could be a way he'll be able to pay the full amount in one go. Since it's Friday evening (naturally) and I can't see anyone now until Monday, does anyone see any disadvantages in this for me? If all is above board and declared, would any taxes liable be higher or different?
Would agree 100% with Stravinsky.
I've also been watching sterling for some time and I think it's about at it's best over the last 7 months, currently £1.194 to the €
Don't let anyone paying you dictate the timing when it goes into Sterling as you could lose out a lot.
Be safe. Do what Stravinsky said about using a solicitor and get paid with bank draught, personally I wouldn't give someone buying from me my bank details if I didn't need to!
 

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Would agree 100% with Stravinsky.
I've also been watching sterling for some time and I think it's about at it's best over the last 7 months, currently £1.194 to the €
Don't let anyone paying you dictate the timing when it goes into Sterling as you could lose out a lot.
Be safe. Do what Stravinsky said about using a solicitor and get paid with bank draught, personally I wouldn't give someone buying from me my bank details if I didn't need to!
The €was around 1.15 a short while back, and has been steadily rising since. I couldn't get date confirmations for the finalisation of our sale for a few weeks, and in effect the delay cost us about £3k :-(. Thats why its better to buy forward under the present circumstances, as the better the Uk economy does, the worse it will be for someone selling euros to buy sterling
 

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...as the better the Uk economy does...
You mean the better they can make it look rather than what it actually is? Nothing has fundamentally changed with the UK economy for it to have improved. A couple of zero point x increases in GDP mean nothing. It's all smoke and mirrors again I'm afraid.

Want proof? If the UK economy really is improving, why are they continuing to steadfastly refuse to raise interest rates when they know they must?

It's not improving.

But I digress. I agree with your point re euro to sterling. Why is it strengthening? Because there's no reason for the euro to be as strong as it is. In many ways the Eurozone is in a worst mess than the UK economy is there was no logic as to why sterling lost so much against the euro. It's now just resetting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
If I received payment in the UK I would demand sterling. If the exchange rate worsens, at least the house is sold and not, perhaps, still dropping in price. One loses money in the bank or in the bricks.

Someone has suggested to me that many eyebrows would be raised here as to why I had received payment outside of Spain. Surely that is irrelevant, if I have done everything legally? Surely only the person who has sent the money might have something to worry about? If I get the money in the UK and transfer it over here, all declared, I don't see how that might be problematic? Why do these questions always crop up over the weekend! I have a consultation arranged with a lawyer/accountant on Monday but I just want to go over all possible questions beforehand. At the end of the day, I'm willing to go some way to secure my buyer but not too far!
 

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If I received payment in the UK I would demand sterling. If the exchange rate worsens, at least the house is sold and not, perhaps, still dropping in price. One loses money in the bank or in the bricks.

Someone has suggested to me that many eyebrows would be raised here as to why I had received payment outside of Spain. Surely that is irrelevant, if I have done everything legally? Surely only the person who has sent the money might have something to worry about? If I get the money in the UK and transfer it over here, all declared, I don't see how that might be problematic? Why do these questions always crop up over the weekend! I have a consultation arranged with a lawyer/accountant on Monday but I just want to go over all possible questions beforehand. At the end of the day, I'm willing to go some way to secure my buyer but not too far!
Well ... that depends if you have sold the house in sterling or euros. If you have sold in € and then you are dictating the rate of exchange to make a sterling figure you require then you have to assume the buyer is going to be happy with this.

Also you must remember that before that even happens, plus valia local tax has to be deducted and if you are non resident 3% witholding tax has to be deducted. That is done at purchase and the buyer will deduct it from your sale price in Spain. The buyers solicitor will not let it happen any other way because he will be liable for the witholding if Hacienda dont get it.

You mention above about the house value dropping. If the rate of exchange changes to the worse then that indeed means in effect your house price HAS dropped. The buyer will still be expecting to pay you the € price (if thats what you sold in) less the deductions
 

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If the money was eventually going to end up in a sterling anyway, then getting paid in sterling would be a good idea since you should be able to exchange without a spread and with no comission. If you are worried about currency fluctuations then you can try fixing the price in sterling now, or asking for 50% in sterling.

I doubt if you will be able to get the money paid directly into a UK bank account though, since I think both the exchange of contracts and payment has to take place in front of the notary. This can't happen if the payment takes place overseas. Normally there are respresentatives of the buyer's and seller's banks there - although that may be for when mortgages are involved only (if it's a cash payment then they might not be necessary). However you can open a sterling account with a Spanish bank and still receive the money in sterling. However you will also need to establish an exchange rate for declaring the equivalent price paid in euros to the notary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I have received advice this morning from a professional on the costas (or territorios ocupados, as my suegro calls them:D) as nobody in this neck of the woods seems to have the relevant knowledge.

He opines that there would be no problem having payment go to a foreign account as long as this is declared. I have been resident in Spain for many years and everything would be fully declared. I've been to the tax office and ayuntamiento this morning also - occasionally not having a job has advantages.

As I understand it, the deposit will be paid by bank draft locally, with the remainder in sterling. I wonder how best to ascertain the rate of exchange? The prevailing bank rate on the day of transfer?
 
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