Ask any expatriate in the Canary Islands why they moved to that location and nine times out of ten they will cite the weather. Tenerife in particular has a lovely climate. While in the winter Europe skids to a halt under a blanket of snow, Tenerife is still warm with the slightest of breezes to remind expats of colder climes back home. It's not surprising then that so many people consider Tenerife to be one of the most desirable locations to which to retire. The warm dry climate is kind to old bones and of course, the kids love it. In fact for many years Los Cristianos on the South coast was a popular destination for sick patients to recuperate and gather their strength. For those who do dream of retiring to Tenerife , there are some things to be wary of regarding purchasing real estate on the island or indeed anywhere in Spain. For one thing, although Spanish laws may appear similar, they are not at all the same as those in the rest of Europe. For example, in Spain debts stay with the house or apartment; they are not fixed to the previous owner. This means if the seller has run up thousands of Euros in tax charges, community fees or utilities, these bills would be attached to whoever bought the property unless they are cleared before the purchase goes through. To ensure that there are no nasty surprises the property buyer must ask for a document called a Nota Simple. In the UK, one would expect to receive Title Deeds for the property. In Spain, the corresponding document is the Escritura. This must be formalised by a Notary and any Withholding Tax (should the seller not be resident in Tenerife) has to be paid at the Hacienda. As your estate agent will advise you, Transfer Tax is 6.5% of the sale price unless the property is new where there will be 5% IGIC (Canarian VAT) to pay and 0.75% Transfer Tax (ITP.AJD). Lastly, the new buyer has to have his name recorded at the land registry and all the bills then need to be transferred into the name of the new property owner. There are other things to watch out for when buying Tenerife property, particularly that the property you are buying is legal. In some cases, houses that are on rural land may not be 100% above board. The Spanish government is not averse to bulldozing illegal properties to the ground and fining the owners - so it is very important that anyone interested in purchasing a house in Tenerife seeks the advice and support of an experienced and professional estate agent.
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