Madrid.—Potential buyers of property in Spain were yesterday warned to avoid cutting corners when purchasing a home or holiday apartment. Estate agents, lawyers and property developers who offer ways to save money and speed up the Spanish conveyancing system may lead to purchasers ending up with hugely expensive headaches later on, the British Embassy warned.

Despite the well-known problems facing thousands of past purchasers of property in Spain, the Embassy is aware that there are still property industry representatives who are trying to tempt future buyers with apparently attractive methods to secure their dream homes more quickly or cheaply. Such offers may in fact be very bad value. “You should exercise extreme caution if an estate agent, promoter or lawyer urges you to cut corners to save money or time”, said Embassy property adviser Alex Brown. “The Spanish property conveyancing system is different to the UK. When you choose an estate agent, promoter or lawyer to help with your purchase, check that they are qualified, reliable professionals and have significant experience of operating in Spain and expert knowledge of how the system works.” Although the vast majority of British property owners enjoy life in Spain and have had no problems, thousands of British expats are facing some kind of legal problem with their homes, some because they were advised to cut corners during the purchasing process.

Many others are facing difficulties through no fault of their own, caught up in the complexities of Spanish planning regulations. “There is a wealth of information on the Embassy's UKinSpain website”, said Alex Brown. “We strongly urge people to check the advice in full, make sure they use fully qualified, reputable advisers throughout the purchase process, and avoid any kind of ‘dodgy deal' that could end up costing huge amounts of heartache and hard-earned money later on.” The advice comes as thousands of Britons head for the annual ‘A Place in the Sun' show in London from 30th March until 1st April, aimed at potential purchasers of property abroad. The show's website offers information about legal and tax issues when buying overseas.


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