The buying process is simple. We offer assistance at every step of the process. Although there is no legal obligation to do so, we always advise buyers use a lawyer when buying in Spain.
Once you have found a property you want to buy the procedure is as follows:
- Instruct your lawyer to check the property is legal, free from encumbrances, and that the vendor has the right to sell it.
- Conduct a survey, if necessary, to ensure the property is free from structural defects, complies with planning laws, and that power and water connections meet utility providers’ standards.
- If you need a mortgage and have not already applied for one, provide your bank with documentation to support your application. Once your application is accepted, the bank will instruct a valuer to provide a valuation of the property.
- When the above steps are complete, you normally pay a deposit – usually equivalent to 10% of the agreed price – and sign a private purchase contract with the vendor, or their legal representative, to remove the property from the market and agree a date for completion. A private purchase contract is generally binding on both parties, unless otherwise stipulated.
- Open a Spanish bank account, to be able to issue a bank-guaranteed form of payment (normally a bankers draft) at completion.
- Apply for a NIE (número de identificación extranjera), the foreign identification number you will need to comply with your fiscal obligations with the Spanish Tax Agency (Hacienda). This will normally be done by your lawyer.
- At the conclusion of the period agreed in the private purchase contract, sign the escritura (public title deed) in front of a notary and make payment in full to the vendor as agreed, at which point you should take possession of the property.
Post-completion, your lawyer also should make sure the following is done:
- Pay all taxes and charges to the relevant authorities. If you are buying property from a non-resident, your lawyer will withhold 3% of the purchase price to pay to the Spanish Tax Agency on behalf of the seller, to ensure The municipal tax on the increase of value of the land (Plusvalía) is paid.
- Transfer the existing contracts for utilities and other services pertaining to the property to your bank account. This will also enable you to pay future bills via direct debit, if you choose. You may be asked to pay a nominal deposit when contracting utilities, but this is refundable if you change provider or terminate the contract.
- Register the change in ownership with the Cadastre (Catastro) and, if applicable, the community of owners (comunidad de propietarios) in order to receive future bills in your name. Failure to do so may result in a fine.
- Register the change in ownership with the Land Registry.