Finding a reputable estate agent to help you purchase a property in Lanzarote is the most important aspect of buying a house on this Canary island. As a foreign buyer you will need to have someone on the ground to steer you through what can be a complex procedure, especially if you are still resident in the UK or another country outside of Spain.
One of the most compelling reasons why this is an essential step is that properties belonging to local Canarian families often have very complicated ownership, having become part of an inheritance. In these circumstances, every member of the family who may be entitled to some of the proceeds of a sale will also have a say in how much the property should be sold for and even whether the sale should go ahead.
It does occasionally happen that individual family members are unable to reach an agreement on the conditions for a sale and so the house remains empty, unsold and unused. This accounts for many of the older properties you may see around the island which don’t appear to be habited.
A good agent will therefore be able to check that the paperwork relating to a property is correct, that the escritura, or deeds, actually correspond to the building that is being offered for sale. This is important because anyone seeking to get a mortgage to part fund a purchase will find that the bank will only lend against a property which has the correct paperwork. A dwelling that has been built without permission on rustic land, for instance, cannot be used as the basis for raising a mortgage.
Even if the paperwork is all in order, your agent will then also be responsible for steering the purchase through, liaising with the seller and checking that the individuals who stand to benefit from the sale are all in agreement well before any date at the notary is arranged. Any snagging problems, such as what is included in the purchase and checks to ensure that all the utility bills and local rates are up to date are also undertaken by the agent. These additional points are equally pertinent, as once the property is legally yours you become responsible for any outstanding debts that apply to the property.
Reputable agents are far more likely to go to the trouble of having professional premises, good local contacts and should also be able to steer you in the right direction if you require the additional services of a lawyer. They really will take the stress out of the process of purchasing a house in Lanzarote.