If you do a google search on buying a property in Spain I have no doubt you will find a veritable avalanche of information. Quite aside from the commercial ones, by property agents and the like, there are hundreds upon hundreds of others. These will be news items in online papers, postings on expat forums and indeed blogs like ours.
Many of the non commercial type will be tales of doom, gloom and strife. Whoever said "Bad news sells best. Cause good news is no news." * was right. Over the years I have read and seen many reports of what can go wrong when you buy in spain. Of course, as in any country, some of the reports showed genuine cause for grievance and my heart goes out to those concerned. However I have so often read tales of woe from people who seem to have left their rational thinking self back in UK.
I do not intend to go into the whys and wherefores of what can go wrong or what idiots people can be. All I want to point out is this, would you buy a place in UK without a solicitor, would you sign a paperwork you could not read, would you flout planning laws and plead ignorance, would you think a business person was a social service, would you expect their services to come free. Would you buy a property without thoroughly checking out the area? Then bearing in mind you are looking in another country, would you expect everything to be done as it is in UK?
If the answer is yes to all the above what can I say. Hands up, cannot say I have not been guilty of making some mistakes but hey I am a grown up and take responsibility for my own foolish actions!
So, headline grabbing horror stories aside, IMHO you need to: Have a good solicitor who knows about the type of property you are buying. Some have never dealt with country properties for example. This can be a complicated area and requires specialist knowledge much the same as some places in the Highlands of Scotland. Choose an agent who has been around for long time and is well established in the area you want to buy in. Remember big is not always better, the first place we bought was through a huge company that had just gone public, they disappeared overnight. Better someone who lives in the area and may well become a neighbour. Then of course ask loads of questions and it may be advisable to stay in the area for a fews weeks to get a feel for the place.
Right now there are some fabulous bargains to be had on the Spanish property market theres no doubting that. That aside always always proceed with caution, then there is much more chance you will get just what you want.
* think it was from the film "Ace in the hole"