Unfortunately, the residential property sector in Spain has traditionally held a poor reputation in terms of professionalism, transparency and customer service. In particular the Valencia region, incorporporating the Costa Blanca and the Costa del Azahar, has been depicted very badly in the international press in recent years.
The sale or purchase of property in Spain can be particularly daunting for most foreign nationals, not only because of language and cultural differences. Marow Chartered Surveyors has been operating in Valencia for 10 years and during this time we have been able to observe at first hand the mechanisms, customs and culture of the residential property sector in this region.
So, who can be trusted? There are some professional and ethical estate agents (inmobiliarias) although it is true that the vast majority do not operate with the same professional standards or ethics that many Northern Europeans would expect. Unfortunately, the same could be said to apply to many lawyers in the region, although perhaps communication difficulties could be a factor in some cases. Over the years we have met many disillusioned foreign nationals who feel that they were let down during the purchase of their property in Spain – some would go so far as to say deliberately misled. In all of these cases it is true to say that none of the affected parties had commissioned a survey of the property during the purchase. In all honesty, would a Survey of the property have assisted these people?
Marow Chartered Surveyors is a firm that is regulated by RICS. The Chartered Surveyors who work for us are bound by the same RICS code of ethics and practice as in the UK or indeed, any other part of the world. We can be trusted to offer professional, ethical and impartial advice in relation to all property matters.
We understand the importance of the technical due diligence (survey) in the purchase of a residential property in Spain. Only RICS Chartered Surveyors have access to and detailed knowledge of the types of surveys to which UK nationals will be familiar – Building Condition Reports, Homebuyer Reports and Building Surveys. We recognise that some of the standard report formats that are used in the UK do not readily translate for use in Spain, not only due to language differences but also due to the differing construction materials and methods that are typically used in residential property in Spain. Clearly all references to UK Building Regulations are also irrelevant.
At Marow Chartered Surveyors we offer a range of Surveys that are specifically designed for residential property purchases in Spain. They have been developed in the knowledge that most buyers require additional guidance relating to legal issues, and the technical inspection of a property is fundamental in identifying matters that should be addressed by your Legal Adviser. Apart from the usual services associated with a technical inspection, we also take an approximate measurement of the constructed area of the property because it is very common for there to be discrepancies in the legal documentation – whether the Catastral Registration (Land Registry) or Escritura documentation (Title Deeds) – that may not be readily identified by a lawyer. Unfortunately it is often the norm rather than the exception where older properties have been altered or extended without amending the legal documentation. Swimming pools or outbuildings may have been added to properties without the relevant permissions. Physical plot boundaries may not correlate with the Land Registry documentation. Please do not think that apartments are exempt from such issues – we have inspected an apartment that had been extended into an adjacent building! With the best will in the world, most lawyers are unlikely to identify many of these issues because they rarely visit the property.
Our aim at Marow Chartered Surveyors is to ensure that every client is properly and fully informed prior to purchasing a property. We help you to select the appropriate survey for your needs so that you can understand exactly what you are buying, and ultimately purchase the property that you thought you were buying. We prompt you to ask the right questions of the owner/estate agent and your Legal Adviser. Generally speaking, if you want to be properly informed, you need to ask the relevant question.
Don’t leave it to your instincts.
Marow Chartered Surveyors. Property. People.