Closing the deal on our new home

January 4, 2023
Last edited on July 13, 2023

This article is a continuation of Finding our home in Spain. Closing the deal on our new home is the final piece about our experience buying property in Spain. 🙂

Doing the money transfer

Our money was in a bank in Estonia. We were informed that we could only pay for the house with a cashier’s check from a Spanish bank (check the property buying process), which would require us to move the money to our newly opened bank account in Spain. We knew that moving a large amount of money would be a lengthy process. As far as my experience goes, any money transfer above 10k takes days and questions about the origin of the funds, some e-mail exchange and verification on the bank’s side, as part of their compliance with anti-money-laundering policies.

To give us time to complete this transfer, we agreed to put in the reservation contract a period of two months for the completion of the transaction. The reservation itself was for 30 days; 2 months was the time to complete all payments, go to notary and give signatures. It was February 10th or so, and the contract stated that the final date to sign the deed was April 11th. We paid the deposit, got the nota simple, contacted the lawyer (the same as for the previous house), and started working on the money transfer.

The lawyer said yes

The lawyer gave us the green light – there were no debts or legal problems regarding the apartment. We informed the real estate agent and proceeded to pay the 10% of the amount, so that the Contract of Arras would be signed. To our surprise, the money transfer was concluded in record time, just two days – just as our goods had arrived in the port, in mid-February. Perfect, right?

Closing the deal on our new home
Oh, yeah, this is the place! Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels

But the sellers were far and away

No, no, not perfect. There was one major problem: the sellers were not available. They didn’t live in Spain and did not want to come before the final date of the reservation contract.

This meant that we were locked in a contract but could not have an apartment until April; we had no place to put our goods and take them out of the harbor; Hubby would have to work on back-breaking conditions for two more months, on top of the one he already had; we would stay on an vacation rental for two more long and costly months and we could not progress on concluding documents that required a permanent address – such as the padrón.

We did try to reason with the sellers, and we knew there is a way to conclude a transaction without being present – they would need to issue a power of attorney to someone in Spain to conclude the sale on their behalf. It is a relatively simple process, that would require them going to a notary and writing a text qualifying a third person (the real estate agent, for instance) to sign the deed according to what is agreed on the contract.

The money would be deposited on their account only, as the cashier check was personal; the representative could only do what was stated in the contract, which stated their ownership and right to the payment. The sellers didn’t agree to that.

Brice, our hero

We insisted a lot (hubby is persistent, and I was too) and gave the real estate agent, Brice, a lot of work. The owners were adamant: they wouldn’t do a power of attorney, they wouldn’t let us in before the conclusion of the sale (we tried that too, since the delay was on their side) and they wouldn’t give us the padrón, which would allow us to be able to enroll Kiddo in a public school (enrolling is a process that happens only in March, as far as we knew back them). 

Brice, though, managed to convince the sellers to allow us to put our goods in the apartment, which would bring some relief; this way we could take the boxes out of the harbour and into their final destination, which definitely meant one less problem.

A brief hope

We moved our goods in. A few days later, Brice called us informing that the sellers were complaining that we had moved in way too many boxes and that this was disturbing their stay. We were hopeful – they are here?! Let’s conclude this sale!!! – but no, they were not interested in concluding it until the very last possible day. They were in Spain to enjoy their stay, not to conclude the sale.

And now they were annoying Brice and us, and demanding compensation. They said they expected it would be a small amount of boxes, despite the fact that we were moving in and were bringing our goods through sea. To be honest, I also thought it would be less than the 198 boxes that came in – because we were not bringing most of the large pieces of furniture and the US side mentioned it was a small amount of goods – and we packed all the boxes in the room they designated for it, upstairs, except for 3 packages that could not fit through the stairs.

1,2,3, Fight!

We refused to give compensation. We were already spending extra due to the vacation rental extension (by the way, the Airbnb owners were adorable and quite accommodating in extending our stay) and we thought the sellers request was unfair giving the situation.

One would expect that people trying to sell an apartment – and they had been trying for at least 6 months, according to Brice – would conclude the transaction as soon as possible; instead, they were delaying it as much as possible, to our expense. It felt cruel.

More women in politics, please.

This situation persisted and defined much of our stay in Spain from mid-February to mid-April. On the day of the signature of deeds, Hubby was already so pissed at the sellers that he couldn’t look them in the eyes or exchange polite words; neither did the husband-seller. Me and the lady-seller were much more able to keep things civil, though. Just a thought: the world needs more females in leadership positions; I bet there would be less wars.

Kiddo behaved perfectly. He was promised to eat at Burger King after the conclusion of the sale if he behaved, and that boy, that usually speaks for five people, didn’t say a word and barely moved during the whole morning that the deed’s signature took. He did get his sandwich, fries, ice cream and candy after the outstanding behavior.

Last minute complications

A whole morning, you read it right. Some last-minute complication raised due to the fact that one of the sellers had lied about their residence situation in Spain. You see, an important detail of the property buying process in Spain is that Spanish residents pay less taxes upon the sale of a property than non-residents, and the amount we should pay to them would be different had they not lied. At the notary, though, we already had a cashier’s check done, so the amount could not be changed. A cashier’s check requires an appointment to be made, it is not easy to cancel or change; it would take days to redo, in the best case.

Therefore, make sure that the seller really is a resident if he says so. Some transfers of money were made on the go, to balance the situation. It took a lot of explaining and accountants calling until the sale could proceed, because the amount stated in the notary deeds was different from what we had in the check, and the notary was less than happy about that. I guess if the sale was not let to happen on the last possible contractual day the situation could have been dealt better.

Home, smoked home

Closing the deal on our new home
Photo by Photomix Company on Pexels

Keys in hand, burgers in belly, time to go to our new home. We arrived there to find out that the sellers were quite heavy smokers, and did so in every one of the rooms – possibly as a revenge for the boxes? It took a long time until the smell dissipated completely, and I’m talking months.

But life was improving, nevertheless. The weather allowed for all windows open the whole day; we were glad to unbox our 198 little treasures; Hubby’s back was healing, as well as his business, and we were glad to explore our new neighborhood.

We got used to finding life hacks to save space in the kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms, and we are getting good at it. We enjoy our big terrace and gorgeous view, and even think the apartment is a bit luxurious for that. There are some renovations we want to do, and we are glad that in time, we can adapt our home to us. Closing the deal took longer and was harder than we thought, but we are in love with our new home.

Next: 10 unique features of the Spanish housing

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