##Could you tell us something about your language and legal background? I was due to complete my law degree, specialising in civil and property law, in June 1999, but just a few months before, in January 1999, with just one subject pending on my degree, I decided to go to England. At school and college I had studied French, and as well as wanting an adventure, I wanted to improve my English skills. I knew that if I wanted to be in business, the language I needed to master was English. What was only set to be a couple of months ended up being four years of incredible experiences in the UK, studying the language to a good business level, as well as working and interacting with international companies and teams of people from the UK and across the world. When I returned to Spain, I completed a few courses – however, the law is something that is constantly evolving, so in order to keep up-to-date, it’s a subject I am always studying.
What are the services you provide? As I mentioned I am specialised in civil and property law, which includes conveyancing, self-building, buying off-plan, new-build properties, boundary disputes, construction and structural defects. Basically, we deal with all possible legalities associated with buying or selling property, either as a home, or an investment.
Additionally, some of our clients require assistance with setting up all kinds of businesses, whether that’s bars, restaurants, or online companies, and in order to provide a full service for my clients, we also assist with Family Law matters. For example, I help my clients to draft wills to present to notaries, ensuring their wishes are protected under Spanish law. We handle rental contracts, deposits, trusts, power of attorney and valuations. I am the link between my clients and the professionals they need to deal with; estate agents, relocation companies, banks, surveyors, notaries and anything else in between.
I also have two partners – one is a specialist in Criminal Law, and the other is a tax specialist. We’re a perfect team as between the three of us; we can offer all the expertise and advice our clients need.
Can you help English-speakers looking to buy property in the Valencia area? I have been helping English-speakers to buy, sell and rent properties for over 15 years now. How time flies! I worked for a private company but even prior to that, I’ve always helped family and friends, both from within Spain and further afield, with rental contracts, accompanying them to the notary on completion of sales, as well as offering advice on how to manage their relationship with their estate agents, which can sometimes prove tricky if estate agents aren’t regulated. As a lawyer, I have a legal obligation and duty of care to protect my clients’ best interests, which makes me a more consistent and reliable person to assist people with property purchases. After a few years, I figured I should do it for a living, especially as my English was superior to many lawyers out there advertising themselves as English-speaking. You’ll find many advertise their English skills as ‘intermediate’ when in fact they are unable to hold a conversation. A good level of communication is vital when discussing the legal matters involved in property transactions. I realised I had all the skills necessary to help people to buy and that’s how my business was born. I love my work – it’s great to help people achieve their dreams of buying a place in the sun.
Has Brexit had any noticeable effect on your British clients? Brexit brought a long period of uncertainty, which is one of the worst things for business and for society in general. The British, and the rest of the world, didn’t know what was going to happen, and now that it has gone ahead, we’ve all realised that the world keeps turning! However, despite more barriers, borders (and paperwork!), the British will continue to travel and settle in other countries, because it’s in their blood! One thing I have noticed amongst my clients is that remote working is becoming more popular, and Spain is a fantastic place to do so. Many potential clients have asked me about Brexit, and whether it would affect them, and in what ways if they buy property in Spain. My answer has always been the same – I wish I had a crystal ball to know the answer for sure, but one thing that is certain is that nationality doesn’t affect your right to buy property in Spain. British people always have and always will own properties in Spain. What will be affected is the process of becoming a resident. Previous rules for members of the EU will no longer apply, but individuals are still able to apply to become a resident of Spain, just as those from Canada, South Africa, or China do, for example. I do not foresee any problems with Brits applying for residency. One handy tip for Brits in Valencia seeking advice – if you get an appointment at the police station in Patraix, (C/ Dels Gremis, 6, 46014) there is a desk set up specifically to help UK citizens with residency matters and they will be treated as EU citizens. This term could be extended.
Could you tell us about your hobbies and interests outside of work? I practice Tai Chi and have been doing so since I arrived back in Spain in 2002. I read an article about it, and it piqued my interest, and then by chance I went to visit a couple of friends I hadn’t seen for some time and in a rather magical moment, my friend’s mother appeared – or should I say glided into the room with a big smile on her face, just radiating positive energy. She said “I’ve just come from Tai Chi.”
I asked her whether she practiced and she told me she was the teacher! And there began my beautiful relationship with her and with Tai Chi.
Interview by 24/7 Valencia team
VIRGINIA DE LA CUADRA GALERA / ENGLISH SPEAKING SPANISH LAWYER – Abogada firstname.lastname@example.org / + (34) 680 438 775
G.V. Marqués del Turia, 20-6, 46005 Valencia – SPAIN http://www.delacuadragalera.com