When buying a property, it is important to be aware of unforeseen situations that do not form part of the normal buying and selling process.

Apart from the sale and purchase of property with which we are all familiar, there are special situations of sale and purchase which, because of their characteristics, differ from what is generally known.

These include:

  • The purchase and sale of another person’s property
  • The double sale of a property
  • Purchases with a reservation agreement
  • Purchase and sale with a back-to-back agreement

Buying a property is an important step in a person’s life, as it represents a significant investment and long-term commitment. In this respect, it is essential to understand any unusual situations that may arise.

In this and subsequent articles, we will explore in detail the key aspects of this type of property purchase and sale, with the aim of providing a comprehensive guide for those facing these potential conflicts.

In this article we will explain what is meant by the sale and purchase of another person’s property.


I.- Elements to be taken into account in all property transactions


Before explaining these particular situations, it is important to recall what must be taken into account when buying a property:

  1. Research and due diligence:
    Before embarking on the purchase of a property, it is essential to carry out a thorough investigation of the property. This includes verifying the ownership of the property, checking any charges or encumbrances that may affect it, checking its legal and planning situation and other relevant aspects. Due diligence is essential to avoid future setbacks and to ensure that the purchase is carried out in a safe and transparent manner.
  2. The negotiation process
    Once the initial investigation has been carried out, the negotiation process with the vendor or his representatives begins. At this stage it is important to clearly establish the terms of sale and purchase, including price, method of payment, delivery terms and any other clauses relevant to both parties. Legal advice is essential to ensure that the buyer’s interests are protected at all times.
  3. Formalise the contract:
    Once an agreement has been reached with the vendor, the sale contract is formalised. This document must contain all the details agreed during the negotiations, as well as the guarantees and obligations of both parties. It is advisable to have the contract checked by a lawyer specialising in property sales to ensure its validity and to protect the buyer’s rights.
  4. Administrative and legal formalities:
    The purchase of a property involves a number of administrative and legal formalities that must be completed in order to complete the transaction. These may include obtaining certificates of indebtedness, paying taxes and fees, registering the property in the appropriate registry, etc. It is important to follow the instructions of the professionals involved in the process to the letter in order to avoid possible complications.


II.- Buying and selling another’s property


The purchase and sale of another’s property occurs when the seller is not the owner of the property and sells it.

For a sale to be valid in Spain, the seller must deliver the property and the buyer must pay the price, but there is nothing to say that the seller must be the owner of the property.

So what happens if I have bought a property and the person who sold it to me was not the owner of the property?

There are several situations:

  • If the seller manages to obtain the title to the property and then transfers it to the buyer, the sale is valid.
  • If the seller does not succeed in obtaining title to the property, it depends:
    a) If the buyer also knew that the seller was not the owner, the seller must return to the buyer all the money paid by the buyer in the sale.
    b) If the buyer did not know that the seller was not the owner of the property, he can claim not only the money paid for the purchase, but also damages.
  • There is also the possibility that the seller does not acquire ownership of the property, but offers the buyer the possibility of living in the property, and the buyer lives in the property, knowing that the seller is not the owner of the property, and over the years acquires ownership of the property by usucapion (art. 1930 of the Civil Code)

With regard to the sums to be returned to the buyer in the event that the purchase of the property cannot be completed, the courts have established as a criterion both the return of the sums paid, together with interest, and the return of an amount corresponding to the current valuation of the property.

In some cases it has been established that the sale of a property in joint ownership by one of the spouses without the knowledge of the other spouse is considered as a sale of property belonging to another spouse and the spouse who was not aware of the sale has the right to claim an annual refund within 4 years of the dissolution of the marriage.

Likewise, in the case of a sale by a co-owner of a property in joint ownership, the total nullity of the sale or the nullity of the sale may be established according to the rules for the sale of the property of another person.



In conclusion, the special situations that may arise in the purchase of a property are a complex task that requires a methodical and professional approach to ensure its success.

The assistance of property and legal experts is essential to ensure that the purchase is carried out safely and efficiently. With proper planning and a proactive approach, buying a property can be a rewarding and enriching experience for all parties involved.

At Quikprokuo, we will guide you through the entire process of buying or selling a property and provide solutions to any problems that may arise along the way, please contact us.