During the preparation of a real estate transaction in Spain, property purchasers coming from the U.S. will face the lack of availability of Title Insurance in Spain.
Contracting Title Insurance during the property purchasing process in the U.S. is not only a guarantee of protection, but the most important one. It provides property owners with financial protection for their investment in the event of potential issues, covering among others, those related to title deeds or encumbrances to which the property is subject.
Consequently, the impossibility to obtain the aforementioned guarantee of protection, may be met with some mistrust by purchasers accustomed to the U.S. real estate system.
In this article, from MSG LEGAL as a law firm specialized in PROPERTY LAW, we would like to explain why taking out Title Insurance coverage to guarantee a purchase, is totally unnecessary in the Spanish real estate legal system for the acquisition of a property in Spain.
The current Spanish real estate system, based on close cooperation between the Notary Public and the Land Registry, provides maximum legal certainty for the acquisition of a property in Spain.
The Notary Public, appointed to perform duties as regulated in Spain, ensures among other matters, legal certainty; identity verification; information regarding property ownership; validity of the seller’s title to the property and information regarding encumbrances recorded at the Registry. Moreover, private documents in Spain (sale and Purchase contracts) cannot be recorded at the Land Registry. Therefore, the process of acquiring a property must always be formalized by signature of the purchase deeds before a Notary Public. This is required in order for the acquisition of the property and the new title deeds to be duly registered.
The Land Registry, which falls under the Ministry of Justice, is the Registry that plays the crucial role in the Spanish real estate system of ensuring protection of the rights recorded. That is to say, it is in charge of protecting the rights of property owners, and has the authority to issue documents attesting title deeds to be true and authentic.
What Title Insurance really provides for future property owners is financial security, Not legal certainty. By comparison the Spanish real estate legal system provides complete legal certainty by means of the intervention of the Notary Public and the Land Registry, and with the assistance of a lawyer with expertise in the field of Spanish Property Law. Always recommended to carry out preliminary investigative actions previous to purchase (the equivalent to the Abstractor Attorney Method in the U.S. system) and that in the same manner protect the interests of the purchaser throughout the entire process of purchasing the property.
Many other differences between the U.S. and Spanish property purchasing process systems, such as the absence of the Owner´s Property Disclosure Statement; the manner in which the Homeowners or Condominium Associations operate, and the requirement in Spain to grant public deeds for property purchases, make the intervention of an English-Speaking law firm specialized in the field of Property Law, essential for your peace of mind and protection.
At MSG LEGAL we can advise you throughout the entire process of purchasing a property in Spain, carry out the corresponding Conveyancing service which includes the elaboration of the corresponding Abstract. We can explain the equivalent elements and guarantees of the Spanish real estate legal system in comparison to those of the U.S. real estate purchase system, and request a Surveyor Report of the property from a qualified surveyor or structural engineer on your behalf, if you so require.
Please note the information provided in this article is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice.