There are three steps when buying a property in Spain.

The process begins with the signing of a booking contract. This usually involves paying a deposit of around 1% of the purchase price.

Then you need to sign the down payment contract, the tapestry, on which you will need to pay about 10% of the purchase price.

You will then need to sign the deed of purchase at a notary public. Here you will pay the remaining balance of the agreed price and legally become the owner.

  • Escritura (deeds) for the property
  • Town hall rates – known as the ibi
  • Water & electricity receipts
  • Inventory of furniture
  • Licence of first occupation
  • If buying on an urbanisation, receipts from the community for community fees
  • Minutes of general meetings for the community for the last three years
  • If any extensions have been made to the property?
  • That all of the property is registered at the land registry?

Due diligence takes place between the booking agreement and the signing of the deposit contract. This ensures that everything is in order before depositing a significant sum of money.

The agency is required to provide you with all the necessary documentation for you to review.

You must request an updated extract from the land registry. This document will tell you what the legally registered area is, who the owners are and if there are loans on the property, such as a mortgage, a deferred liability, preferential acquisition rights, etc.

Apart from this, you also need to see:

  • A copy of the deed of acquisition by the seller.
  • Certificate of suitability verifying that the property complies with the code for its intended use
  • Energy performance certificate
  • Certificate of the technical inspection of the building (ITE)
  • Cadastral reference (the official and binding identifier of the property, an alphanumeric code of 20 characters 20)
  • Last territorial tax paid (IBI)
  • Last utility bills paid
  • Certificate from the community of owners that there are no outstanding debts
  • We also recommend requesting copies of the most recent community of owner’s minutes and a certificate from the local council to ensure that the property complies with all local zoning laws.

This list is not exhaustive; additional items are often needed, depending on the circumstances.

The most frequent problems when it comes to an property our chases, is check for the correct licenses in place, and especially if in a  big city, check  the surface area detailed is different from that recorded in the land registry, certificate of aptitude or cadastre, or that structural changes or extensions have been made without the necessary permission, especially in the attics. One of the most common problems is to learn that there are pending works in the building and each owner must contribute a significant amount, or that the building did not pass the technical inspection. In large cities, especially in Barcelona, you have to be careful with possible fines for illegal tourist rentals.

The most common problem in rural areas is that the residence was built on land that is zoned for agriculture and not housing, or that extensions of the structure were made without a license.

There can be a wide variety of potential legal issues that can arise, depending on the area where the property is located.

This depends on what stage of the purchase you are at. If you discover defects during the due diligence process after paying the booking or down payment, you can claim your return. However, you must have included this clause in the reservation or deposit contract. Sometimes it is better to continue with the purchase as long as a discount is applied on the final price to compensate for the defect.

If the defects are not discovered until after the purchase, it is very likely that you will have to sue the seller. Spanish law protects the buyer in case of hidden defects, but it is always better to make sure that the notarial deed covers your rights in this regard.

The buyer has to pay all expenses related to the purchase. These include:

  • Property Transfer Tax (ITP): May vary by region, but usually around 10%
  • Notary fees
  • Property registration fees

Only the seller must pay the capital gains tax, the surplus value.

Yes, it is possible for a non-resident to get a mortgage in Spain. You will need to contact some banks and study their conditions. The maximum amount you can expect to get is 70% of the purchase price. The bank will ask you for proof of your financial situation in your home country and, based on this, will make you an offer.

Alternatively, we work with highly successful mortgage brokers and can help you in your language.

At completion (or soon afterwards), we would recommend that you sign Spanish wills. It is highly advisable to have a Spanish will as you now own Spanish assets. Any good lawyer will recommend this to you.

After completion, your lawyer would collect the deed, pay the notary fees and taxes, and will register the property in your name.

And that’s it. The property is yours, enjoy – and contact us if you need any further help.

BREXIT questions

If you haven’t looked too far into the changes that Brexit will impose, you’ll be glad to hear that there aren’t any new restrictions or specific requirements to be a national of an EU country to buy a house in Spain. For the most part, if you want to invest in Spanish property in Marbella, you’ll find that you won’t have to deal with any strange or new legislations during the process or the move.

If you’re instead thinking of selling, you may also be wondering if you’ll be able to do so successfully, and if there are any downsides. Aside from the costs of taxes (which can be impossible to predict), you’ll find that there aren’t any additional costs or regulations to stand in your way.

If you want to list your property in Spain, you may be interested in getting in touch with our team.

The rules regarding rental properties can vary from one area to another when it comes to tourist rentals. Aside from this commonality, there aren’t any restrictions in place that should have an impact on landlords who are not EU nationals (nor do there seem to be any future plans that may cause difficulties).

For most buyers, price is going to be a key factor. There are different forms of taxes that you’ll need to consider regardless of Brexit, like Spanish VAT and stamp duty, with no particular taxes that specifically target expats. Aside from possible changes to currency exchange rates, there isn’t likely to be any additional fees for you to deal with.

In Spain, all property transactions are completed by the signature of a deed of sale before a Spanish public official, confirming the identity of the parties and making the transaction valid. While there’s no difference post-Brexit, it can be wise to get some advice on the matter from someone who is well versed in both Spanish and UK property transactions.

As a team of professionals who have been in the business for years, we can safely say that finding the perfect property for sale in Spain isn’t always the easiest of tasks to complete alone. Fortunately, whether you’re looking for luxurious villas or fincas for sale on the Costa del Sol, you can rely on our team here at “Five Star Urbanisations” to assist you throughout the process.

We know the ins and outs of the property market and we’d be happy to help you find the perfect one for your needs. If you’re interested in purchasing a buy-to-let, a holiday home, or even a permanent residence if you’re planning on living on the Costa del Sol, why not let our property experts help you today?