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  1. NEVER part with any money upfront and do not be pushed into buying. If you are told that other buyers are flying in later today, or any other such rubbish, to force you to pay a "holding" deposit on the building you are viewing - walk away!
  2. NEVER buy anything that has a hazy description such as land advertised as "Investment" this means it will never get planning for anything, and all you can do is grow Olives or Almonds on it.
  3. Take care with land that is advertised with "Water and Electricity nearby" it normally means "quite a distance away". It costs a fortune to run and connect rural services and odds on - the "nearby" will be miles away. Even If there is an electric pylon on the plot, it may not have any spare capacity for your project. If there is no town water to the site and you are told that well water is available, make sure that there is water on the land and that the local authority will grant you a license. In times of water shortage it would be unlikely an application for a "pozo" would be granted.
  4. NEVER agree to pay for property or land part cash and part sale price on contract, even if you are told it is traditional. It is illegal and you will regret it when the local government find out, especially when you come to sell.
  5. NEVER use the same solicitor as the seller or one who the builder or seller, introduce you to, it normally ends in tears. The solicitor may not have any obligation to you if things go wrong.
  6. NEVER take the sellers word for it. In many cases it isn't what it seems. Make sure your legal representatives check and then double-check. Take a person who speaks the language to the council offices and check again. Get it in writing, and then get a notary to confirm the details and attest the document.
  7. "Restoration project" or "Requires some TLC" usually means derelict, so be warned.
  8. "Possible build 250m2 House" usually means not a chance because if there was any possibility, the seller would register a project and he could sell the plot for a lot more.
  9. "Project approved for *** " rarely means what it says. It may be genuine, but in a lot of cases the project has timed out and will not be renewed. The project may be for only a % of the claim, the rest would be illegal.
  10. Many new-builds are illegal; over-sized or on land not designated for dwelling. Even on land not belonging to the seller!

(By Chris Thorpe for Timber Engineering Europe may not be copied or reproduced without permission.)

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