So you’ve found your dream home in Mallorca. How do you go about finding a real estate lawyer in Mallorca you can really trust to handle things for you?
It’s easy to fall in love with Mallorca. So much so that many of us decide to invest in property on the island. When you’re doing your research into the legal side of things, it’s not difficult to figure out the basics. Finding a real estate lawyer in Mallorca you can trust is a little harder.
Like many of the good things in Mallorca, it all comes down to personal recommendation.
But first the basics
Although the legal process in Spain is different from many other countries, it’s pretty simple to understand.
If you’re not a Spanish resident already, you’ll have to obtain an NIE tax number – which your lawyer may well help you with – and provide certified copies of your ID. This is usually your passport.
Once you’ve decided to make an offer on a property, you’ll take out an ‘option contract’. This requires you to pay 10% of the full purchase price in advance and commits both you and the vendor. If you pull out, you may not get your deposit back. Should the vendor withdraw they normally refund your deposit as well as an extra 10% of the purchase price.
You’ll rely on your lawyer to do all the necessary searches to make sure the vendor actually owns the property, there are no debts against it and it’s completely legal. If you’re taking out a mortgage with a Spanish bank your lawyer may well be the person who makes a recommendation and liaises with them on your behalf. Your lawyer will also advise you on taxes.
Under Spanish law, you’re expected to be present with the official notary when final contracts are exchanged. All paperwork has to be correct and all monies must be paid at the same time. If you’re unable to be present, you can give your lawyer power of attorney to act for you.
As you can see, it’s vital to have the right real estate lawyer in Mallorca acting on your behalf.
Finding a trustworthy lawyer
Charles Marlow was introduced to Carlos Ripoll of Abogados Ripoll, the lawyer the company recommends to all its clients, by a local Deia architect. As Charlie Hill of Charles Marlow explains, ‘We were handling the sale of a property that had some legal difficulties and the lawyer working on the deal couldn’t answer the client’s questions. Carlos was recommended to us and he did an excellent job. He dealt with our client’s problems and now we don’t hesitate to suggest that people work with him. The reports he produces are the clearest, most thorough, I’ve read.’
Transparency and trust
Founded in 1955 by Carlos’s father, Abogados Ripoll is a family firm with offices in central Palma. The firm has been helping foreigners invest in the Balearics, including buying property, for over sixty years. Today, Carlos works with his son and brother. Between them they speak Spanish, English, French and German.
Carlos’s aim is to ‘help guarantee clients maximum peace of mind and transparency whether they’re buying or selling a property in Mallorca’. For Carlos, a lawyer must be completely familiar with the island’s environmental and planning laws to do a good job. It’s not enough to simply check the Property Register and Cadaster – the description of the physical space a property occupies and its boundaries.
This is particularly true of Deia and the northwest of the island, where the strictest planning and environmental protection laws apply. As Carlos says, ‘There are laws just for this part of the island and every Town Hall, including Deia, has different building standards from the rest. If a lawyer is not completely familiar with the urban planning policies of each Town Hall, their client might discover that part of the property is not legal or they can’t renovate or extend it. They might get an even nastier shock.’
Hiring a real estate lawyer in Mallorca like Carlos with a deep knowledge of the island who specialises in property, planning and environmental law is your best guarantee of making a good, safe investment. It also enables you to enjoy your island home in the sun with real peace of mind.
The contents of this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion or advice of any particular individual or entity other than the author at the time of writing. This article does not constitute legal advice and is intended as a basic guide and for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for taking professional legal advice suited to your particular circumstances. We recommend always consulting a qualified solicitor for professional guidance before taking action.