Not there yourself? This is how the completion of a new building in Spain goes

In times of corona, it is more common for buyers to be unable to attend the completion of their new-build property. This article will therefore explain to you the different steps of the delivery of a new build property in Spain. This with special reference to the case where you are not on site yourself.

Step 1. Drawing up a notarised power of attorney

First, you will authorise your representative, for example Confianz, to sign the deed of sale. You will do this through a notarised power of attorney. This can also be used to apply for the NIE numbers.

You can have a notarised power of attorney executed in three ways. This can be done in Spain, in front of a Spanish notary. This is often the cheapest way. The second option is to have a power of attorney executed in Dutch before your own Belgian notary. The disadvantage is that you still have to have this power of attorney translated by a sworn translator. Finally, you can have a multilingual power of attorney executed by a Belgian notary who speaks Spanish. No translator will then be involved.

What is important with a power of attorney is to include enough restrictive clauses in it so that your representative cannot just take all actions.

Find more information on notarised power of attorney in Spain here.

Step 2. Administrative delivery

Once the house has been finished, the administrative handover can take place. In the first instance, the architect declares that the house has been built in accordance with permit (Certificado de final de Obra). The municipality will also confirm that the property was built in accordance with housing standards. This is done through the conformity certificate (Declaración Responsable de Primera Occupacion). The conformity certificate is necessary to provide initial connections for water and energy (Boletin de Agua y de Luz), as well as for later holiday rentals. Once these things are in place, the protection of the bank guarantee.

Then the final step happens: the description of the new property at the Registration Office (similar to the service Legal security in Belgium). In the process, the property is given a description and number, creating an individual title that can be sold. This registration is done via a separate notarial deed (Escritura de Declaración de Obra Nueva). The property is then formally finished.

However, this does not mean that the property is 100% legally in order. Indeed, there are still a number of important points that need to be put in order before you can safely execute the deed of sale. Consider registering the property in the Spanish land registry To get a cadastral value (valor catastral) to be awarded. The promoter should also take out the 10-year liability insurance. If you buy a flat, a basic deed will be drawn up. This basic deed is usually passed simultaneously with the registration at the Registry Office.

Step 3. The provisional completion of new construction in Spain

Only once the above legal points are in place will you set a deed date and provisional completion can take place.

By provisional delivery, in this article, we mean the delivery between buyer and promoter. A few days before the deed date, you have the right to inspect the property yourself or appoint a third party to do so. If you cannot be present yourself, the estate agent will inspect it for you. Often via a video.

The broker will also make a snagging list on. This is a list of completion points. If several items are not in order, or there are major defects, the deed is deferred. If there are minor remaining points, often poor workmanship, the promoter fixes these defects, as soon as possible. This can legally still take place after the deed has been executed, although of course we prefer that all residual points are put right before deed. However, you cannot simply delay the deed if there are minor problems with the workmanship.

Step 4. The execution of the deed

After you have approved your house or flat, the deed of sale can be signed. This is done by your representative via notarised power of attorney. By deed, you will also pay the balance of the purchase price via a Spanish bank cheque. So in practice, you deposit the necessary funds in the Spanish trust account, from where bank cheques are made out.

Your representative will receive the keys and the specifications/as-built pan (Libro del Edificio). In this folder or USB, you will find all administrative and engineering information about the construction. Your representative or broker can keep the documents or send them to you.

Step 5. Transferring utilities

After deed, you will be the owner of the property. Utilities can then be connected. Be aware that it will take around 15 days before you will effectively have water and electricity. Payment of the utilities is usually made by direct debit. In some regions such as Costa Blanca, this can be done through a Belgian bank. In other regions such as Almeria, you will need a Spanish bank account.

Do you need a Spanish bank account?

Step 6. Warranty periods for defects

A common question from buyers who could not attend the sale deed concerns the warranty periods. After all, these people often cannot move into their new flat or house immediately. And then they cannot identify any defects themselves, such as those that become visible after the utilities are connected.

There is a warranty period of one year for defects relating to workmanship. For defects affecting habitability, e.g. heating, electricity, humidity, defects compromising safety, etc., there is a time limit of three years. The ten-year-old liability applies to the structural defects of the building such as the roof, foundation, load-bearing walls, etc.

After two years after the defect becomes visible, the warranty lapses.

An example. You are buying a new-build flat on 15 May 2021. You cannot be present at deed. You do not arrive at your flat for the first time until 20 September 2022. You find that the boiler is not working properly. You immediately report this to the promoter. In this case, the warranty period is three years. So the problem falls within the warranty period. You also have two years to enforce any claim in court, namely until 20 September 2024.

As soon as you notice a defect, report it to the promoter as soon as possible. If the promoter does not make repairs within a reasonable time, you may take further action.

Read more about visible and hidden defects in property in Spain.

Step 7. Co-owners' association

If you have bought a house or flat in an urbanisation or apartment building, there is also an association of co-owners. You will find the rules between the co-owners in the internal rules of procedure. This document is mainly important to know whether or not you are allowed to holiday let. In addition, the regulations state the rules for, for example, adding to your terrace. Often, the co-owners only draw up regulations during the first general meeting of co-owners.

Read more about the importance of co-owners' association in Spain.

Decision: completion of new construction in Spain

At the completion of a new building in Spain, it is best to be assisted. Especially when you cannot be present yourself. The administrative aspects of a safe purchase can be handled by Confianz, but the inspection of the property is up to you or your estate agent. If there are any defects, it is important that you report this in good time to all parties involved so that we can take action accordingly.

Here you will find the complete buying process of new construction in five steps. Are you considering investing in Spain? If so, feel free to get in touch.

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