“Kathleen, I just joined Lief Simon’s new service of Global Property Advisor, and I am in need of some specific advice on the purchase of a property I just visited in Spain, along the coast near Marbella. I took a tour of the property and I liked it so much that I made an offer to purchase. The real estate agent has recommended their attorney, and, as a first step, he gave me the name of his attorney and I was instructed to wire the fee, about 10,000 euro, to the attorney to begin the process of purchasing the property.
“I am favorably impressed with the agent I spoke to over three days while visiting the property, but I am not overly impressed with his choice of attorney. I have just looked through your Rolodex and I did not see any listing in Spain for one of your contacts. I do not like the practice of using the seller’s attorney to act on my behalf in the purchase of any property. For this reason I am writing you today for advice on selecting an attorney who will work for me. The agent who I am dealing with understands my concern and is willing to work with my own attorney. If you can be of help in this matter, I would greatly appreciate it.
“Please allow me to tell you a little about myself. Way back when International Living brochure first came out and you were the editor and then the publisher, I was a member. I guess you could say I was a charter member. I can remember eagerly awaiting your brochure each month. As you know, way back then it was delivered by mail as the Internet had not even been invented yet.
“I became addicted to world travel at a very early age. I joined the U.S. Air Force, and I was stationed in Turkey in 1971. Every opportunity for travel I would go and seek new and exciting places to visit. At that time it was easy to catch a military hop to almost any place if you wanted to travel. At government expense I pretty much saw the world. Traveled to Beirut, Greece, and practically all over Europe. Travel was my passion—and it still is to this day.
“Very early on, while reading about the real estate opportunities available throughout the world through your brochures I knew that one day I would be able to retire to live out my golden years in some far-off land. You might say this has been my dream pretty much all of my adult life.
“Recently I decided to stop dreaming and make it a reality. I have attended your seminars all over the place: Ecuador, Costa Rica, Panama, and Belize, just to name a few. I have researched all the places in the world mostly with the help of International Living when you were editor and now Live and Invest Overseas.
“I am now turning 70 and am very close to retirement, and now I am in a great position to put into practice all of the research and planning. Now I am finally entering the world of international real estate investing. The first property I have is chosen is in Spain. This deal is probably the best one I have ever seen, and, getting back to the beginning of this letter to you, I am asking your help in finding a reliable attorney.
“I hope the length of this letter is ok with you. I think this will be the beginning of a long and reliable partnership between the two of us.”
–Joe F., United States
Thanks so much for getting in touch and for reading all these years. I appreciate your loyalty and your custom, and I admire your adventuresome perspective.
I forwarded your e-mail to our primary property contact in Spain, Barbara Wood, and this was her response:
“My lawyer in the Marbella area, who has worked for many of my clients, is Miguel Peral Cortés: email@example.com. He speaks and writes very good English. I will let him know he may get a contact.
“Do I understand right that your reader has been asked to send 10,000 euros to begin the process of purchasing a piece of property? The normal process would be to make a small deposit for a property to be removed from the market to give time for the lawyer to make the necessary enquiries. This varies depending on the price of the property. At the lower end it might be 3,000 euros up to about 6,000 euros at the upper end, 1 million euros plus. Once the contract has been agreed, 10% of the total price is due, less the amount already paid as a reserve.”
I hope that information is helpful… and I wish you all the best with this first overseas property investment. I look forward to the chance to meet you in person somewhere sometime soon.
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