Who is the rightful owner?
A common mistake of foreigners who wants to buy house in Spain is that they think that one the owner of the house is the one who signs a contract with a buyer. This is totally incorrect. The most important thing one needs to know before proceeding with the real estate transaction is if the person, who sells the property and signs the documents is actually the real legal owner. And that there is no mortgages and debts on the house or on the land.
You should request a copy of escritura (= title deed) from the person who wants to sell his house. In this document stays who is the owner, the official address and registration of the property listed as they are registered in the property registration office registro de propiedad. It is advisable to give this copy of the escritura (= copia simple) to a legal adviser (such as your lawyer or your gestor) and ask him to examine these details in the property registration office registro de propiedad and then in the cadastre catastro (more on this later).
Registro de propierdad
It’s dangerous to do it on your own. Additional research in the property registration office registro de propierdad is a must. In order to determine who the owner is you can request the registration certificate Certificación registral or a statement of the relevant property registration office registro de la propiedad about who is the owner.
Your lawyer can apply for you to the property registration office registro de propiedad and cadastre catastro to do the further investigation. The authorities will then provide with full details on the property. The things to discuss: the boundaries of the plot, the current owner, co-owner, mortgages, debts, loses or additional value, transfer taxes, and other taxes which have to be paid.
The first cadastral survey should find place before the final transaction in order to avoid problems at a later stages. Is everything in order, you can go on further with the seller. You need to discuss other things with him, such as the payment of local taxes, agreement on old and unpaid telephone-, energy- and other bills and discuss the final price.
The transfer of ownership will thus take place after registration of the contract in the register office.