We receive lots of queries from visitors enquiring about lawyers fees in Spain.
We always recommend use of a lawyer when purchasing property here, but do advise our users to be wary of two things:
Never ever use a lawyer recommended to you by the estate agent that showed you the property you are purchasing. The job of estate agents is to sell property, not to protect your rights as buyers. And they will inevitably recommend a lawyer known and regularly hired by them, who will naturally protect the sale rather than your rights. It is very important to find an independent lawyer.
Lawyers fees. We have heard all sorts of fees charged to buyers who have little idea of average solicitor fees in Spain and so can easily be overcharged. Bear the following facts in mind
Some lawyers charge a percentage of the purchase price as their fee (anything from 1 to 1.5 percent). So, the more expensive your property, the more you have to pay, even though size and price do not necessarily mean more work.
Some lawyers charge another fee on top of the percentage, which they call a “documents fee”. We had a message recently from one Euroresidentes user whose lawyers wanted to charge him 1 percent + .75 percent “documentation fee”. He was going to be charged a total of over 2500 euros, which was about double the average price for lawyers services in the area of Spain where he was buying his house.
Other lawyers charge an hourly fee, which can range between 100 and 150 euros per hour, depending on the law firm. House transactions do not actually entail much work for a lawyer in Spain. The paperwork is very straightforward and experienced lawyers will need no longer than a few hours to check everything.
If you are getting a mortgage with a Spanish bank, the bank lawyers will usually check the deeds and property register themselves, and a small fee will be included for this in the mortgage set-up costs.
This does not mean that you should not hire the services of your own lawyer, but it is something to bear in mind.
We would advise all property buyers in Spain to take the following steps:
- Find a good, independent and recommended local lawyer who has thorough knowledge of the area in which you are purchasing your property. Ask your local consulate – staff there may be able to help. Alternatively send an email to Euroresidentes (firstname.lastname@example.org) specifying where you are looking for (or have found) a property to buy, and we will forward the name of a local reputable lawyer experienced in serving the needs of non-Spanish property buyers.
We have a long list of lawyers who have been successfully hired by Brits who have purchased real estate in Spain (See this testimony received from a recent satisfied customer: Recommended lawyer in Costa Tropical).
- Once you have found a recommended Spanish lawyer, agree on the fee before you do anything else. If you decide to be charged a fee based on an hourly rate, ask for an estimated number of hours before you agree. If you are lucky to have more than one recommendation of independent lawyers, get two estimates and compare them.
- Don’t use a lawyer recommended to you by the property vendor, whether it is a private sale or an estate agent. In both cases the priority of the vendor is to sell as quickly as possible and at the highest price possible. The buyer’s interests however are to ensure that this is a legal sale, that the property itself is legal and sellable, the price is fair, the paperwork is correct, the vendor is in a position to sell, legal services are charged according to local rates and, very important, that the property is in no way under threat from local urban policies.