Each year, many of the millions of tourists who spend their holiday in Spain decide to buy a property in their destination country. However, when investing their savings in Spain, they often act whilst still in a holiday mood, and make major decisions without due care and attention.
In almost any language, the term ‘tourist’ leaves a slight aftertaste in the mouth. Airlines offer their cheapest tickets under the heading ‘tourist class’, while in every country that survives on tourism – and Spain is no exception – tourists are seen as easy prey who are only in town for a short period of time and can easily be taken for a ride. This image of the typical tourist, whom it is easy to hoodwink and escape unpunished, is largely down to their poor language skills and lack of knowledge of the local customs, but also because tourists are on holiday, of course, and want to enjoy their short time away from home and are therefore relaxed and less vigilant. As a result, they do not act with the same amount of care as they might in a similar situation at home.
Purchasing a property always involves a large outlay. In many cases, sums are invested which represent many years of saving. Such a decision should be given the appropriate degree of protection and made with as much information as possible on the potential legal and financial risks. Sadly, as lawyers, every day we see how foreigners are conned when purchasing a property and lose their money as a result of failing to seek advice. Often, people think they don’t need any advice, but then comes a rude awakening. The cost of an independent consultation is minimal compared to the often hidden dangers when signing a contract of sale for a property; and such advice can only be independent if it has no connection with any other professionals involved in the sales contract.
Carlos Prieto Cid – Lawyer