Houses for sale in SpainWhen Survey Spain are asked to carry out a pre-acquisition survey of a property, it’s usually after it’s been marketed for some time and been inspected by the potential buyer at least twice. There will have been others looking round the property, reading the agents details, driving round the neighbourhood and selecting lawyers and estate agents.

The house will have been cleaned and tidied again and again, and there may even have been a Home Stager employed to bring the property to a decorative state where it is attractive to most. There will have been agents spending hours describing all the properties features in ‘breathless’ prose and they and friends advising on the price. The sellers, in between cleaning and tidying the house once again, will spend sleepless nights swithering, “will we, won’t we”, over a hundred minor and major decisions.

So, all should be perfect when we come along. I don’t mean the condition of the house as, except for the minor points, that’s usually on the basis of, “What you see is what you get”, and hopefully the surveyor won’t see too much wrong. No, I’m thinking of essential paperwork items. 

What’s brought it sharply to mind is a valuation I’ve just completed, where the house is being offered for sale for many millions. It’s been on the market for ages. “I wonder why?” Physically, it’s in great shape. Yes, a little damp here and there, but that’s par for the course.

Surely it couldn’t be that on the Nota Simple it’s stated to be single storey, 700 sq m, whilst it’s actually 2 storeys plus basement and over 1,500 sq m? The mortgage valuer has to value to the lesser of the Title area or the actual size, so any mortgage offer will be based on a property half the actual size.

Or perhaps it’s that no paperwork is provided to show that the property has permissions for the extra area and, to make matters worse, much of the garden and pool is within the Ley de Costas restricted use zone? The absence of a decennial structural insurance policy for the building additions, which means that the property can’t be sold without it until 10 years after the work? Or even that the mandatory Energy Certificate isn’t available, which automatically means large fines for the owner and agent if the authorities happen to look at the marketing of the property?

What are the owners and agents thinking? It will take months to sort out the paperwork on all of these and if they do have a potential buyer prepared to wait, their offer to buy will be subject to getting the title registered and that will only happen when all the papers are in place. So, the buyer will look around at all the alternatives and it’s probable that they’ll decide on somewhere else where they can buy now, cleanly and sure of what they are getting, rather than their dream ‘pig in a poke’ house as described above.

So, before primping up the house to sell, make sure that all the paperwork is in place. Yes, it will cost to do so, but it’s going to have to be done anyway before a sale and the expenses in running costs, interest and tears as yet another buyer walks away are all an avoidable waste.