BUYING A PROPERTY IN SPAIN

Buying a property in Spain is relatively straightforward and will pose no problem as long as the correct steps are followed. If you do not already have a lawyer, it is recommended that you engage one to safeguard your interests throughout the purchase.

We do not work with any particular lawyer, but we have worked with many competent professionals in the area and we are happy to recommend one for you.

The following is an approximate guide to the purchase process, although this may differ from time to time depending on the particular operation.

RESERVATION

Once you have decided on the property you want to buy, it is normal procedure in Spain to place a reservation deposit. This can be anything from €3.000 - €10.000, depending on the purchase price. This deposit is accompanied by a reservation contract which states the names and identification numbers of the buyer and seller, the agreed sale price and any conditions that have been agreed concerning the purchase. The reservation deposit is normally paid to the estate agent or lawyer to show good faith. It is recommended to never pay a reservation deposit directly to the owner.

PROPERTY CHECK

At this point your lawyer will begin carrying out the necessary checks on the property with the local land registry to ensure that all the property´s documents are in correct order, that there are no embargos or debts on the property and that the person selling the property is actually the owner.

PRIVATE CONTRACT

Once the lawyer is satisfied that everything is in correct order then the buyer and seller will sign a private purchase contract (a compraventa) and the buyer will pay a 10% deposit (less the original reservation deposit). In this contract, the buyer and seller details and identities are stated, along with the agreed sale price and the date for the final transfer of the property from seller to buyer. After this stage, if the buyer decides to withdraw from the purchase they will forfeit their deposit and if the seller withdraws they will be obliged to repay double the deposit amount to the buyer, unless otherwise agreed.

TITLE DEED

The final stage is when you pay the remainder of the monies due and the Title Deed (Escitura) is signed in front of a public Notary. After the deed has been signed your lawyer will register the property in the buyer´s name at the local land registry.

PURCHASE COSTS

When purchasing new property directly form a developer.

IVA (VAT) is charged on all new properties (properties that have been newly constructed and purchased by the first owner) at a rate of 10% on the purchase price.

When purchasing a re-sale property from another owner.

The transfer tax (ITP) is currently:

PURCHASE PRICE           TAX DUE

UP TO €400,000                   8%

€400,000 - €700,000         9%

ABOVE €700,000                 10%

In all cases

Lawyers fees are typically 1 % + IVA and Notary and Land Registry fees vary from between 0.5% and 1 % depending on the purchase price.

AS A RULE OF THUMB YOU SHOULD ALLOW BETWEEN 10% - 12% OF THE PURCHASE PRICE FOR ALL THE COSTS

 

OTHER PAPERWORK REQUIRED

Spanish Nationals need only their identification (for all persons whose name is going to appear on the title deed)

If you are a Resident or Non Resident you will need an NIE certificate. The NIE is a Spanish tax identification number assigned by the Spanish authorities to any foreigner. You will need this document so that you can sign the title deed.

An NIE has to be applied for in person at the local police station.

RECOMMENDATIONS

We recommend to open a bank account when commencing a property purchase as this will be needed not only for the purchase, but also to set up direct debits for the utility charges such as electricity and water.

It is also recommended to write a Spanish will. This only has to relate to assets situated within Spain and need not concern assets owned in your country of residence. This will simplify the probate process in the unfortunate event of death of the property owner and significantly reduce costs and the duration of the process.