A few notable differences in the sales processes of other countries:
Brits are used to being provided with a structural survey and often the contract would be dependent on a satisfactory result. It may seem strange to a UK buyer that this is not normal in Spain and therefore many may wish to undertake their own checks or instruct a surveyor to do it for them. Being able to recommend a surveyor who speaks both English and Spanish could be beneficial.
‘Gazumping’ is a term used in the UK when a seller reneges on the sale agreement in favour of a different buyer. Until the exchange of contracts there is nothing legally binding to stop this happening meaning buyers may lose out on a substantial amount of money if they’ve already paid for surveys and legal fees. It may be worth reassuring your buyer that this can’t happen in Spain without the seller being penalised.
Buyers in France are legally committed to the purchase very early on, simply by signing a preliminary sale and purchase contract, or “compromis.” After this, they cannot withdraw from the sale without penalties. You may find that French buyers are extremely cautious about signing a reservation contract without all the details having been ironed out.
In France, there are obligatory diagnostic tests that must be done before the initial contract can be signed. These include things like the presence of lead, asbestos, termites, state of the electrics etc. but this does not include a structural survey.
Due to the lack of housing stock in Denmark, foreigners are restricted by law from purchasing property unless they make the country “the centre of their life”.
People in the US don’t always use a lawyer when buying a house. But the buying process in Spain is “very similar to the USA”, reported Thomas who purchased in Almunecar, Granada and spoke to Beth about his experiences in episode 19 of our podcast. “The one big difference was that in Spain there is a tax that the buyer pays and it’s like a sales tax. We didn’t know about it until the last moment. So, that was a chunk of change that we had not expected.”
While it’s more common to rent than buy in Sweden, the purchase process is so quick it is often faster and easier to buy a property than rent one.
Property visits tend to take place on Sunday afternoons, can last up to an hour and are nearly always held in groups. Properties are sold by bidding based on a price set by the estate agent. There are no legal regulations meaning the price can increase rapidly. A contract is signed by the buyer and seller once the seller is satisfied with the price. The only legal document is the contract and the whole process can take just a few weeks or even as little as one week.
Since all countries have their own nuances in terms of legal and taxation issues relating to property purchases, it is understandable that foreign buyers might find the process difficult. By trying to understand the areas that most commonly cause confusion, you will ease your customers’ worries and help them get a good night’s sleep again. Which means when it comes to it, you’ll be in an excellent position to clinch that sale.
No matter which country your buyer comes from, it is good practice to advise them to appoint their own independent lawyer who speaks their language and is familiar with Spanish property law.