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BEWARE OF ILLEGAL PROPERTY SOLD BY THE BIG AGENCIES
Posted: 06 July 2007 12:37 PM  
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Total Posts:  9
Joined  2006-08-15

A leading local Costa Blanca newspaper published in English, has reported on the situation regarding many houses built by Technologia Urbanista and sold by the Atlas property sales company. Many buyers still have no legal title to their house despite having paid in full and having lived in them for some time.

The owners are trying to take action to legalise their situation but are being fobbed off by promises from the builders which are not being kept and by Atlas who want to wash their hands of the whole situation despite earning many hundreds of thousands of Euros in sales commissions.

The builders have lots of other unfinished projects blighting the area and it is reported still have mortgages on the sold properties, despite having received their money in full from the buyers.

Buyers must beware of dealing with these large companies who seem to think they can do what they like and are happy to take peoples money and make promises, but do not follow the law which is to sell only legal property with full planning permissions. Only this will guarantee the buyers do receive their title deeds (escritura) and all the other important papers on the completion day in the notary’s office in full accordance with Spanish law.

As has appeared many times on this site – do your research and don’t trust the big glossy ads. Only deal with people who have been recommended to you by fully satisfied clients.

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Posted: 06 July 2007 10:22 PM  
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Total Posts:  1694
Joined  2005-12-05

hi there. I’m curious to know of you’ve had problems like this yourself or if you’re just posting fear mongering messages here.

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Posted: 07 July 2007 11:42 AM  
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Total Posts:  760
Joined  2006-06-26

Although not my original post - I believe this to be true. I also saw the article printed in the Coastrider (which is available online) not that you can always believe everything that you read in the press but on this occasion the article was well researched.

Although we have never sold this builders houses we do know of people who have bought them and have been disappointed with the finish of their properties and the legalities. I understand that many agents will now not offer them and in fact many of their projects do seem to be at a standstill.

As we always say on this site - it pays to do your research!

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Rob
Best Choice Villas sl
http://www.bcvillas.com
Selling legal property on the Costa Blanca

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Posted: 12 July 2007 08:37 PM  
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Total Posts:  85
Joined  2007-05-17

Atlas stopped dealing with TU some time ago because there were legal problems with properties.

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Chris
http://www.freeadsspain.com

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Posted: 13 July 2007 08:47 AM  
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Total Posts:  760
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Yes I believe that is true. But unfortunately they were selling them and now their clients have serious problems which under Spanish law they should be helping to resolve.

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Rob
Best Choice Villas sl
http://www.bcvillas.com
Selling legal property on the Costa Blanca

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Posted: 07 September 2007 12:46 PM  
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Total Posts:  760
Joined  2006-06-26

To add further insult to injury it now appears (according to the local papers) that the same builders - Technologia Urbanista - have enjoyed the advertising and promotion via the Torrevieja football club but have not paid their sponsorship fees. The team is therefore facing bankruptcy.

Neither does there appear to have been any resolution to the illegal property problems or progress on their other projects. In addition other big agencies and solicitors are being implicated.

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Rob
Best Choice Villas sl
http://www.bcvillas.com
Selling legal property on the Costa Blanca

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Posted: 14 September 2007 12:22 PM  
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Total Posts:  760
Joined  2006-06-26

I agree that having a mortgage gives you another confirmation of the legality of a property - although we always offer the relevant building licences etc to the client to have independently verified if they still feel uncertain we always suggest this as an alternative and we highlight this option on our web site.

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Rob
Best Choice Villas sl
http://www.bcvillas.com
Selling legal property on the Costa Blanca

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Posted: 27 September 2007 08:08 PM  
Tourist
Total Posts:  1
Joined  2007-09-27

We bought our house through an agent and obtained a very substantial mortgage through the agents recommendation using one of the largest banks in Spain.  however our house is illegal and the developer, estate agent, solicitors and our mortgage lender must have known this as the paperwork that was required for the purchase, ie. habitation licence, was not issued and still hasnt been issued which means we could not get a connection for electricity or water.  the bank are now trying to bankrupt us even though we have handed ownership of the property over to them and vacated the house nearly 6 months ago. This property by the way,was our only property and having vacated it as we could not continue to live without proper utility connections, we are now effectively homeless.
So I would say that any individual thinking of buying a house or flat in or around Puerto de la Duquesa or Sabinillas should think very carefully about the colour of the agency logo.  Green is not always a lucky colour in Duquesa and beware of local builders/developers that drive big mercedes cars!!

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Posted: 20 November 2007 02:16 PM  
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Total Posts:  760
Joined  2006-06-26

According to this weeks Costa Blanca News(paper) the saga continues with Technologia Urbanistica quoted as owing 786,163 Euros to the Spanish treasury department.

The further bad news for their buyers is that some houses have been embargoed by the tax man in lieu of debts.

This was discovered when several of the ¨owners¨ went to the land registry and discovered via the Nota Simple that their properties were embargoed.

Which can only mean the houses were never in the buyers names in the land registry in the first place.

The story will probably now make headline news.

I wish to confirm that none of our clients are affected as we have never sold for this builder.

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Rob
Best Choice Villas sl
http://www.bcvillas.com
Selling legal property on the Costa Blanca

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Posted: 27 November 2007 05:03 PM  
Tourist
Total Posts:  9
Joined  2006-08-15

Given there has been almost 700 hits on this item I thought it worth posting the latest info supplied by the local Brit newspapers.

Some of the people caught up in this scam have contacted the UK Trading Standards office which seems like a good idea given the big agencies involved all run those enticing exhibitions every week in the UK.

It also seems that not content with the huge profits made out of these unfortunate trusting people, the agencies have not even paid their salesmen who are also now trying to get legal redress.

As many of these ‘buyers’ have paid their IVA tax, which presumably cannot have been paid to the government as the houses are not registered to these people, perhaps the bad guys in this sorry saga can be bought down by the tax man - like another famous gangster - Al Capone.

I really fail to understand how that (long ago) BBC soap, El Dorado, set in Spain failed to take off given there is so much material around !!

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Posted: 29 November 2007 01:14 PM  
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Total Posts:  760
Joined  2006-06-26

I was in the Land registry office in Orihuela this morning and got chatting to 2 British guys who were there trying to get a copy of their Nota Simples. I asked them whether they were caught up in this business and they said yes they bought houses from Urbanista -  and they wanted to see what the register said about their houses. As it was their first visit to the registry I gave them some help (which queue to stand in etc.)  and wished them good luck!


If the salesmen you mention sold illegal houses then whether they worked for a large agency or not they have personal liability for their actions.

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Rob
Best Choice Villas sl
http://www.bcvillas.com
Selling legal property on the Costa Blanca

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Posted: 01 December 2007 01:22 AM  
Expatriator
Total Posts:  235
Joined  2007-04-25

ROBI…

...any chance you would consider opening an estate agency in Granada, because…

HERE THERE BE MONSTERS!!

I enjoy reading the advice you give to people posting and it’s good to see someone involved in the sale of properties who has the knowledge to back up what they say and seems to be genuinely interested in the welfare of clients and property buyers.

KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK grin

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“Dedicated to making your Spanish house a home”

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Posted: 03 December 2007 03:53 PM  
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Total Posts:  760
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Hola Heath1974

Many thanks for your feedback. Much appreciated.

Thanks for the invitation to open up in Granada – I love the area (great for walking!) unfortunately I don’t think I will be able to convince The Spanish side of Best Choice Villas sl to relocate.

Regrettably there be Monsters everywhere and they come in all types including some we do not expect i.e. solicitors and even bank managers.

From my first post I have always tried to separate the fact from fiction, out of date info and other spurious rubbish born from rumour and speculation (doubtless fuelled by a few Mahou´s!) Hopefully some of my posts have helped people stay out of trouble.

This site does provide some great information and as I have said before many Spanish government web sites are very informative and often in English.
If not cut and paste into a language converter.

The Monsters will get their day of reckoning – but of course some people have to suffer the misery of their actions in the meantime.

People must do their research and take professional advice from recommended sources. Then perhaps the monsters would not have it all their own way. The property market has slowed down at the moment so doubtless they will move to pastures new. Or are they the ones offering to send me millions everyday on the Internet? (If you don’t know what I am talking about you must have a better Spam filter than me!)

The law is changing introducing much more regulation into the world of property selling. Horses and stable doors springs to mind but of course the Spanish know their rights and did not need so much consumer protection.

Well nobody promised everything in Spain would be perfect or did they?
(Answer probably depends on which Monsters property exhibition you went to)


PS Good luck with your business – you have a good www site!

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Rob
Best Choice Villas sl
http://www.bcvillas.com
Selling legal property on the Costa Blanca

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Posted: 03 December 2007 05:44 PM  
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Total Posts:  235
Joined  2007-04-25

Great post ROBI.

I think something I come across too often is people using the solicitor that the agents recommend. For me, this is obviously not going to be in the best interests of the client. I think it always pays in the long run to have an independant “eye” cast over any dealings you’re going to get involved in, be they buying a home, starting a business, etc…

My bug-bear here in Granada is more to do with how customers are completely misinformed when buying older re-sale properties. In recent years, because property prices have risen so quickly, within Granada province, I would say that most of the “best” reform/investment properties have already been snapped-up, reformed and sold on, in the last five years. I still happen across the odd one or two, but they are rare in the extreme. By “best”, I refer to properties that are a) really cheap - b) require minimum work - c) have great views, surroundings and have huge profit potential. The “next” boom area for this sort of property in my opinion is Jaen, but beware as many of the agents have already cottoned onto this fact.

Nowadays it’s very difficult to get anything in this area under €60,000 that has “some” hope of reform if alot of money is thrown at it. My recent experiences are that some of the properties I work on would be far cheaper to knock down and start afresh than to reform. More realistic would be a that most houses of say, €50,000 - will most likely need the same amount spending on it again. Considering that you can build a 200m square house from scratch for around €90,000 - it does bear some thinking about, especially if you’re buying an 80m square village house to reform.

Most clients I speak to want the following doing to their elderly village house as a minimum:

New Roof
Full Rewire (Inc. Kw upgrade, “boletin”, contador, consumer unit)
Full Plumbing (Inc. pipework, drainage, contador, meter)
Floors Strengthened or Replaced Completely
New Windows & Doors
Re-Rendering Throughout

As an average alone there, you’re looking at at least €25,000 to €30,000 worth of work. Then cosmetic finishing work on top.

The problem in this is that agents locally are selling properties which need major work, yet not letting the client know what’s involved. They sell it and have a “it’s you’re problem now matey!” approach. By the time I visit a property to estimate for work, the clients are often quite shocked at what is needed, purely regarding structural and safety aspects, when they’re told a “lick o’ paint” or “some minor DIY” is all that’s needed. One agent I confronted actually said to me - “If they want to spend crap money, they get crap houses. It’s their problem - buyer beware! Nothing to do with me!”. I doubt very much when he was showing them the houses, he said “Ahhh Mr. & Mrs. X, here we have another CRAP house you’ll like for your crap budget…”

If there’s a funny side to this, it’s that in a twisted way it reminds me of phrases I used to see in estate agent windows back in Cornwall. My favorite was always “Sea Glimpses”.  wink  If you squint, hang off your chimney and swing clockwise a little…. LOOK!!! there’s the sea!!

Seriously though, it’s through this frustration that I set up an advisory service on my website. It’s aimed specifically at people buying older properties in my area, so that at the very least, they can have it checked BEFORE they buy it. Yes, I do charge for this service, but I believe that I can potentially save people alot of money and heartache in the long run.

My advice to many people buying older properties is to look at as many as possible. This way you will soon begin to understand some of the work that needs to be done to them, purely to make them habitable. I myself live in an old village property, which has been reformed with modern materials and techniques, but with sympathy to it’s age and surroundings. It has cost a considerable amount of time and money to do.

Get independant advice & estimates for work if planning to buy an older property. If the estate agent wants to sell it, and is worth their salt, they will I’m sure, let you have access to do this. Don’t let an agent put you off doing this.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK BEFORE YOU BUY.

I and many others on this forum, can’t say this enough!  grin

PS ROBI…

Shame you can’t get the missus over here!!  wink

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Visit our website - http://www.granadapropertyreform.com

“Dedicated to making your Spanish house a home”

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Posted: 15 January 2008 11:25 AM  
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Total Posts:  760
Joined  2006-06-26

It appears that the UK Trading Standards office are making some headway in this matter with the promises from Atlas International that they would be making a response to the people involved very soon. That’s good because many of them don’t have utility services now because their builders supplies have been cut off.

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Rob
Best Choice Villas sl
http://www.bcvillas.com
Selling legal property on the Costa Blanca

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Posted: 08 March 2008 01:33 PM  
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Total Posts:  760
Joined  2006-06-26

According to this weeks Costa Blanca News - this saga has had a breakthrough in that some of the urbanisations built by these builders (Technologia Urbanistica) have now been finished and the local town hall has issued the residents their Habitation Certificates (Cedulas de Habitabilidad) which means that they can get their services connected.

I was in that area (Orihuela Costa) last week and there seemed to be plenty going on - tidying up the parks, putting in new pipes etc.

Pre election fever maybe!

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Rob
Best Choice Villas sl
http://www.bcvillas.com
Selling legal property on the Costa Blanca

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