Buying a property in Spain can appear to be a very complicated process, but in reality, is very similar to purchasing property in any other country. The main difficulty is the language barrier which can be easily overcome by using a professional company offering multilingual services. Purchasing Procedure:
- Property search and finding a suitable home.
- Examination of the vested title of the property to confirm the ownership of the seller, as well as ascertaining that the property is free from any debts, charges, embargos, mortgages etc. Making enquiries about the annual running costs as well as the property’s situation on the current urbanistic development plans.
- When both Buyer and Seller are in agreement about the purchasing price and completion date, a private sales contract is prepared where all terms and conditions of the sale are reflected. The Buyer puts down a reservation deposit on the property (as a down payment). Once the deposit has been received by the Seller, the property is taken off the market. The official completion of the sale is towards the end of the time period stated in the contract.
- The Buyer opens a Spanish bank account at a local Spanish bank; this account will also be necessary for setting up standing orders for water, electricity, telephone bills etc.
- The Buyer transfers the remaining balance of the property’s total purchasing price as well as monies for the additional purchasing expenses 12% of the property’s price) into his own Spanish bank account.
- The sale is considered completed when the public deeds are signed in front of a Spanish Notary, and the agreed remaining payment for the property as well as for the additional expenses incurred by the purchase have been made. Hereby the possession of the property has been officially transferred to the Buyer.
- The notary’s office arranges the necessary steps for the property’s change of ownership at the land registry.
- You’ve done it!! Lie back, relax and enjoy your dream house in the sun!
Things to look out for before signing anything…
- Ensure that there is sufficient proof of ownership. Make enquiries that the seller is the actual and legal owner of the property and is hence entitled to sell it. Proof of property ownership can be ascertained by studying the current notary deeds (EscrituraPública de Compra-Venta), the land registration details (Registro de la Propiedad) or via a short information sheet from the land registry (Nota Simple or Extracto de Registro de la Propiedad).
- Before making any written or verbal agreements, inform yourself about the property, particularly about the following points:
a) potential debts, embargos or outstanding charges
b) Communal building plans (planosurbanisticos)
c) Existing tenancy agreements or occupancy contracts
- Standard, pre-printed contracts are often the easiest option as they are convenient and relatively straightforward to use and fill out. However, pre-printed contracts are generally strongly in favors of the contractual partner who designed these forms initially. By preparing a private sales contract individually, the buyer’s specific concerns and individual needs can be addressed directly and thoroughly outlined. Another advantage is that individually designed contracts reflect to a greater extent the particular conditions that are unique to each property purchase. In the interest of our clients, we recommend and practice the use of an individually prepared private sales contract over a pre-printed format.
- Make sure, you get a written statement from your contractual partner about issues that have been agreed in relation to the property, even for seemingly trivial issues or obvious matters
- Insist that the completion of the sale takes place in front of an accredited public notary (notario). Here, the signing of the official title deeds (EscrituraPública de CompraVenta) by all parties should take place and the subsequent transfer of ownership, i.e. the inscription of you as the new legal owner at the land registry.
- When difficult issues, problems or questions arise, always discuss these queries immediately with a competent, professional legal consultant/solicitor. His fee is only a fraction of the damage that could possibly have been calculated into the deal by your contractual partner.
- Purchase and its costs
1. choose the right property
2. Check of the ownership, debts and the building plany of the townhall etc.
3. Conclusion of a reservation contract (contrato privado de compraventa) between purchaser and vendor and payment of 10% deposit to take the property off the market.
4. opening a Spanish no resident bank account in the area where you purchase the property. Application of a NIE number (Spanish tax number)
5. Transfer of the restpayment and all extra costs on the own Spanish bank account.
6. Completion, signing the public deeds in the notary (Escritura Pública de Compra Venta) and payment of the restpayment to the vendors and payment of all extra costs in the same moment. In this act the property changes its ownership.
7. The notary does the nescesary changes in the land registry and pays all taxes and extra costs, organising all inscriptions.
Extra costs of a purchase
estimated around 12% of the purchase price
which are following costs:
real estate transfer tax 8 %, from € 400.000,– 9 %, from € 700.000 = 10%
in case of a new building 10 % VAT.
Notary and land registry 1 bis 1,5 %
brokers commission: 2 % + VAT. (min. Euro 3.000,- + VAT)
Yearly costs are following costs:
wealth tax 0,2 %
property tax ca. 0,4 bis 0,8 % (depending on the tax value of the property)