The importance of deeds in Spain

Why are deeds of purchase and sale signed before a Notary Public in Spain?

The deeds are granted because the intervention by the Notary produces special effects which benefit the citizen, and in particular the buyer. The formalization of the purchase and sale before the Notary in Spain avoids any litigious connotations, grants irrefutable proof of the purchase and sale and opens access to the Land Registry. Thus the vendor is also protected because it is really his only proof that he no longer owns the property and is therefore no longer related to it regarding taxes for example.

Can someone be an owner without deeds?

Yes. Neither the title deeds nor the Land Registry is compulsory, but if the operation of purchase and sale is concluded before the Notary Public, a series of benefits, as previously stated, are gained, which make it very recommendable to proceed with the granting of public deeds, despite the costs involved.

Is it compulsory to register in the Land Registry that I have purchased a property?

Once the deeds have been granted, it is recommended to log them with the Land Registry for the inscription of your property. By means of the deeds at the Notary Public you acquire the property, and by registering them at the Land Registry you protect the property you have purchased. Furthermore, the registration will make a future sale easier as it gives the object legal safety and guarantees for the potential buyer. And if you need finance by a mortgage, the inscription in the Land Registry is compulsory.

What happens if I lose my Escritura?

Nothing. It doesn’t affect the property. The owner remains the owner, however his position changes depending on any of the following situations:

Situation A: The property has NEVER been registered.

  • If the property has never been registered, and the deeds have been lost, you will have to apply through the corresponding legal organizations to have the possession and ownership recognized. A property that is not registered can still be sold, but whoever buys it is not entirely protected and this is why it is recommended to register the property correctly to avoid future amendments which would hold up a possible sale. The property is worth more if it is registered in the Land Registry.

Situation B: The property IS registered.

  • Maybe the access to the property took place just before we purchased, or maybe there were several transmissions prior. In any case, the previous deeds will have to be reformed in order to register the deeds of purchase and sale in our name, notwithstanding that if the previous deeds aren’t found (they weren’t registered) we will have to apply before the legal bodies.

Situation C: The property is registered in our name.

  • If you have lost the deeds (Escritura), do not worry, they can be recovered without trouble. It’s as easy as applying to the Land Registry by means of an extract (nota simple) and this will show the name of the Notary and date of purchase enabling us to go to his office (or the office of replacement Notary) and order a new copy.

In conclusion, a correct conveyance operation on a property will always involve the signing of deeds of purchase and sale after the situation of charges and encumbrances has been verified and the subsequent registration at the Land Registry indeed concludes this highly recommended process.

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