The moment we instruct the Geometra he will take the documents we hold for the house and after noting the reference details he will go to the Catastal office where details of every property and piece of land is registered along with any documents relating to them, he will collect the documents as they are on that day and run through certain checks.
1. Visual check. He will collect a map of the property and the land to see if it corresponds with the property we have for sale, ie has the house been registered is it showing on the map correctly are the outbuildings showing on the map how many lots of land are there, the shape and size of the land. All of this gives him assurance that what we have sold is what is owned by the sellers, each plot of land and building will have a number, this number will relate to another document that then goes into further details about the house/land ie what type of land it is (agricultural, building land etc etc) and full floor plans of the house.
2. Document to reality check. Very often we find that documents have not been updated over the years and even houses that do not appear anywhere on the maps, this kind of problem should have been resolved some time ago when the government told all house owners that they must register all buildings on their land and register what type of building it is, this was a way the government could then collect the correct taxes due on properties. In the past many people did not register houses or registered them as barns etc so they did not have to pay tax and provided the house was built before 1967 they could register them just before a sale, with the new rule this kind of thing should have stopped but even now many people have still not registered their properties or outbuildings mainly to avoid paying taxes. This is not something you should be concerned about because in most cases it will be resolved by the Geometra and paid for by the current owners, un registered agents have often been known to convince people to buy the property as it is (even if it is not on the maps) and stay quiet or told to register it afterwards, this is a very risky process as you will buy a piece of land only with nothing on it, you will receive no guarantee’s from the Notary, you may not be able to register it afterwards or at best you will pay thousands afterwards to register it. Our Geometra will ensure that if the maps and floor plans do not match the house as it is it will be rectified at a cost to the owners before anything is signed, all of these documents will be there for you to view before and after the work is done.
3. People check. The documents collected will also give details of all the current owners, very often there can be deceased people still on the documents, this happens because to take them off has a fee to it and most people will not do it unless they are selling, again this is not a problem to the Geometra he will simply register the death certificate and produce documents relating to who will be passed down the property and re register it in their name (paid for by the current owners). Anybody who appears on the document must be present at the final signing or have a power of attorney in place.
4. Debts. The documents will also allow the geometra to see if there are any debts or holds on the property, sometimes debts can be paid but still appear on the register in this case a simple document will cancel the debts and re register them as debt free, where a debt still stands the owners must pay it off before the final act can be signed so the Notary can give you the guarnatee that it is free from debt, there are certain scenarios where a debt can be paid off at the time of signing if the owner does not have the money to clear it beforehand, this is all done in the Notaries office and by his/her rule. If there are debts on the property we will go through the possibilities we have to resolve the problem. At the time your Geometra does his search weeks or months could pass before you sign within that time anything could happen to the property with regards to debts or change of owners, the Notary is responsible to do a live check on the day to ensure that nothing is different to the documents that have been presented to him/her.
These are some of the checks that your Geometra will do on your behalf and as agents we know that ALL documents must be in order before we sit in front of the Notary, as any errors will result in the signing not going ahead.