Officialdom: First Contact

So, yesterday we’d managed to locate our Spanish meatball’s office after a considerable amount of effort. Today, we were to meet them for the first time and have a busy time in their company with our first brush with Spanish officialdom. First contact was at 9:15 AM so we left Jalón at 8:30 AM to drive to Moraira. We parked in the big car park again.

I may have succeeded in finding the meatball’s office but I hadn’t found the correct door in. The brown wooden thing that looked like a door on the left of the building was, indeed, a door but it was locked and was not the way in. The way in was actually a glass thing that looked a lot more like a window on the right of the building. The céntimos dropped, we opened the window and entered.

The receptionist was very pleasant and our meatball, a lady, proved very personable, too. It’s much easier doing expensive business with personable folks, I find. As a foreigner, it seems that you can’t do anything official in Spain without an NIE number, a non-national’s identification number. Our first order of business, therefore, was to be driven off to Dénia by an assistant for an appointment in our first  official office to get our NIEs. We hopped in his car and off we were whisked. We have very little Spanish and he had little English – it was going to be a quiet journey.

Dénia was heaving; cars were parked/abandoned everywhere – not a kerbstone went unobstructed. We pulled up outside an office and were asked to wait on the path while our escort parked the car. He returned having magically found somewhere to park/abandon ship and in we went. We went straight to our desk and attempted to look as if we knew what was going on while both sides of the desk exchanged Spanish. Occasionally we had to grunt a parental name before signing on the dotted line. After about 15 minutes of fascinating confusion, mostly as onlookers, we apparently had our NIEs.

Well, almost. The next thing our escort had to do was whizz off to the police station to get some signatures. He had stylishly abandoned ship on a corner of the road. We got back in and were whisked off again. This time he double parked, indicated the key left in the ignition by which, I assumed, that I was in charge should the car need to be moved, and walked off. back he came five minutes later and muttered “done”. We were now official. We returned to the meatball’s office in some style, with our driver making the occasional phone call with his right hand and changing gear with his left hand whilst leaving the steering wheel unattended – this is a left hand drive car, don’t forget, so his left arm had to reach across his body to reach the gear stick in the centre of the car. I thought it best not to volunteer to help.

Next up, complete with NIEs, was a 12:30 PM appointment with the notario in Teulada to sign the sale documents and become owners. Now, in most mainland European countries, life seems to revolve around notaries. How Britain manages to avoid them, Darwin knows. This time we were to follow our solicitor herself. Clearly, we needed the big guns and an assistant was not sufficient. She told us to look out for her blue Toyota RAV4 in the car park whereupon we should follow. The RAV4 turned up, we began to follow. The RAV4 shot off, we got stuck behind another car which in turn got stuck behind a cyclist out on a training ride having fun trudging up the coastal hills. The RAV4 disappeared. Fortunately, we knew Teulada a little and new where to go.

Once again we were bad “sit down” and something unknown happened for about 40 minutes. Our estate agent turned up. Eventually, we were shepherded in to another office, sat down and had a contract read out in English whilst being asked if we knew what we were doing. Following a couple of signatures by us and by the owning bank’s representative, our cheque for the balance disappeared across the table and the deed was done – we owned an as yet unusable Spanish house.

Clearly being a notario is good business. This one looked like Richard Geere and dressed like him, too, in some very impressive looking threads. Still, I suppose that you need to look decent if you’re going to swan about in a yellow Ferrari.

No backing out now!

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Posted in Spanish Venture Part 1

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