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How and why buy a property in Europe

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  • How and why buy a property in Europe

    The purchase of a house in Europe can not only be a pleasure to spend a holiday, a reason to change his/her life or just a simple dream which becomes reality. It could also be viewed as an alternative investment for the money earned during one’s life even if the continuing weakness of the U.S. dollar is not an incentive for investors. The European real estate market, after previous problems, is growing in the last few years due to the world crisis of the stock exchange markets. That’s because it’s not safe to put our money in non- predictable situations when the investment in a property is generally considered not to be a risk.

    However, from this point of view it is necessary to consider taking the right steps when buying a property in Europe especially with the different legal system of civil law in which are almost all based upon the European legal systems (with the important exception of England). Let’s see how this works within the most important countries of the old continent.
    First of all, it has to be considered, theUnited States legal system does not draw a distinction between “Lawyers” who plead in court and those who do not, unlike all the civil law jurisdictions such as Germany, France, Spain and Italy, which distinguish between “Lawyers” and”Civil Law Notaries” .

    The “European Civil Law Notaries” may be treated in part as the “Attorneys at Law” of common law systems and not as the “Pubblic Notaries” who are simple authenticator’s lack of legal education. More particularly, it’s well known that in the US the Common law refers to law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals (called case law), rather than through legislative statutes or executive action. Therefore, there are no documents with public faith: the documents are authentic to “ruling to the contrary” and citizens to see confirmed their rights must always have recourse to the courts while the principle of civil law is to provide all citizens with an accessible and written collection of the laws which apply to them and which judges must follow.

    Overall, looking at this picture, the “European Civil Law Notaries” frequently undertake work done in common law countries by the Titles Office and other Government agencies. Finally if for instance a US citizen wishes to buy property in any of these countries, they require a German “Notar”, a French “Notaire”, a Spanish “Notario” and an Italian “Notaio”, who is necessary to authenticate transactions of real estate. In the European legal system the “Civil Law Notary” is a public official who is in a position of neutrality between the buyer and the vendor; this is the reason why he is not a substitute for a “Lawyer” who conversely will exclusively look after the interests of his client.

    Your “Lawyer” will protect your investment, provide you with legal assistance, and act on your behalf and from your side where the civil law notary has to be an impartial and neutral professional. Therefore, processing a purchase of a house in Europe, beyond the civil notary, is absolutely essential and highly recommended to entrust a “Lawyer” to protect your investment and your interests. In fact, the European conveyancing is surrounded by a lot of steps. To mention the most important to be considered should be the Due diligence service, the purchase proposal, the preliminary agreement, the deed of sale and the taxation of the purchase.

    Especially, it has to be noted that in the above mentioned European countries, having signed the preliminary contract requires that the final contract has to be signed as well. This means that the preliminary agreement is binding for both buyer and seller. For example, if you are going to buy a single unit of a big residential development you should pay attention to all the legal aspects involving the purchase. In this case, European real estate developers (well, their “Lawyers”) usually prepare a standard contract for all buyers: standard price, standard furniture, standard clauses.

    It has to be kept in mind that if you are a purchaser, you can get different conditions because it’s in your rights and in this you can be helped by your “Lawyer” who can translate for you all the documentation and, being familiar with real estate transactions, can also check the Land Registry Office to see the titles of ownership of a land or a house.
    Last but not least we consider the special case of Italy, touristic destination much sought by many Americans.

    The conveyancing, as regulated by the Italian Civil Code, is extremely safe assuming that the buyer will pay normal care and attention as generally required for an investment of this importance. Moreover, Italy is a founding member of the European Union and a member of the Euro zone. For these reasons the Italian real estate market does not suffer any crisis and in a couple of years many future building developments will be built in particular in southern Italy. On the other hand, it has to be noted that Italian Courts take a long time to reach a decision concerning litigation in real estate transactions. So much time that it can become very frustrating for the private buyer to wait for the sentence of the judge.

    Therefore, US or UK citizens who wish to buy property in Italy will need to engage a “Lawyer” who will have as goal the realization of contracts that cannot be challenged by anyone and that must be respected in every point. Your “Italian Real Estate Lawyer” will not only take care of the due diligence, but will help in the reservation offer or will draw up the preliminary contract or will advise on the taxi profile.

    The “Lawyer” if provided a power attorney, can also sign the deed of sale on your behalf in front of the “Civil law notary” and will perform all the steps necessary to buy a house in Italy. In particular, the lawyer will give you assistance in opening a bank account, in obtaining a fiscal number, a tax card, and in setting an Italian address.

    Finally, keep in mind that property prices abroad may be significantly higher than property prices in the US. In fact, the extra cost for the property valuation, the translation, the “Civil Law Notary” certification, and for the eventual mortgage loan may also be a large sum. However, from our point of view and according to the above mentioned reasons, there are good reasons to invest in European properties.

    For further information please visit our website zagamilaw dot com and feel free to contact us for requiring our legal assistance.

    Avvocato Paolo Zagami
    “Zagamilaw” International Law Firm
    Roma, Via dei Sansovino 6
    Reggio Calabria, Via degli Arconti 25
    New York, 122 East 42th Street
    UK Line: +44.020.32862319

  • #2
    Re: How and why buy a property in Europe

    I think it is very difficult to create a generic post about the legal processes in Europe. There are differences for each country.

    However, it is essential that you do buy a property through the correct legal channel. Get legal advice before parting with any money!
    Howard Farmer
    1st for Property Ltd
    Provence Property | Facts about France


    • #3
      Re: How and why buy a property in Europe

      I agree with francophile, I can only comment on the Spanish Market, here there are many differences as to the responsibilities of agents and Lawyers compared to the UK market, it is essential to get quality advice to guide you through the process.
      Real estate Barcelona Buying an apartment in Barcelona


      • #4
        Re: How and why buy a property in Europe

        I totally agree that the laws regarding property purchase differ very widely from one country to another and the original poster appears to have completely overlooked this fact.
        Cyprus laws for example are very different from Spanish or French laws despite all 3 of these countires being EU member states.
        Cyprus has its unique difficulties regarding issue of title deeds etc which many other countries do not seem to have. Wherever you buy, you should always make sure that the lawyer you use is fully conversant with the laws of that country.


        • #5
          Re: How and why buy a property in Europe

          Regarding Montenegro it is important to mention that you should have reliable agent when buying a property because it is necessary to check property status and verify its ownership before signing any property purchase contracts.

          Our realtors are in property business for decades and are experienced enough to guide you through the whole property purchase procedure from the property documents check up, preparing the documents necessary to finalize transaction, certifying the purchase with the Court and filing of your title with the Cadastre.


          • #6
            Re: How and why buy a property in Europe

            At this stage.... I believe you will always need a lawyer wherever you want to invest inf you do want to be rip off. A reliable lawyer I mean!


            • #7
              Re: How and why buy a property in Europe

              I agree a lawyer and a bit of local knowledge go along way no matter where youintend to invest!
              Looking for a large mortgage?


              • #8
                Re: How and why buy a property in Europe

                Indeed... better to work safely even if it cost a bit more. Unfortunately there are many Britons that where cheated in Spain by property cowboys. I am sorry it happened in my country affecting to home buyers who invested all their savings. It is not good for anybody... and those who run away with the cash should be jailed -including the corrupts and not only the developers


                • #9
                  Re: How and why buy a property in Europe

                  Well Good Luck!!!!!! Its a good idea to buy a property there,but buy a property through proper channel otherwise you can find yourself in trouble!!!
                  Builders in London