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This guide is intended to help you understand some of the things that will happen when you buy a property in Spain and some of the continuing obligations of a property owner. 
Purchasing a property In Spain is very different from the system in the UK, so taking legal advice is always recommended. You need to ask yourself, would you buy a property in your resident country without it?

Consideration Before You Buy

When you are thinking about moving, investing or buying a holiday home in Spain, you need to consider how much you can afford to spend on the property. On top of this you will need to allow around 12% in purchasing fees for Notary, Land Registry and Legal Fees.


IVA (for new properties only)

10% Transfer Tax (Stamp Duty - for resale properties)
1% Legal Fees (approx)
1% Land Registry Fees
1% Notary Fees
In additional, if you are intending to have a mortgage you should allow an additional 3% (see our finance section).

You've Chosen Your Property

You've found your property and paid your 3.000 € deposit, so what happens next? First thing to do is appoint an independent legal representative. We can help with this or you may already have someone in mind.

Once your legal representative has finished the relevant searches and confirmed that the property is legal and you are satisfied that everything is in order, the private purchase contract will be raised and 10% deposit will need to be paid. Within this contract will be a date by which the purchase must be completed. In order to finalise the transaction, your legal representative will arrange a date with the Notary and other parties to sign the Escritura (Deeds).

 Who is the Notary?

The Notary is a public official who is there simply to put on public record the fact that the title deed recording the purchase has been signed in his presence and the details of the purchase have been understood by the parties concerned. He is not there to advise or to protect either your interests or the interests of the person selling the house.

The Notary will confirm the monies already paid and expect to see the outstanding amount passed over in front of him. In certain cases the outstanding monies can be paid by bank transfer in currencies other than Euros.

What is the Escritura?

This is the title deed proving who owns the property and containing a detailed description of the property itself, as well as other legal details.

Title Deed Insurance

For added peace of mind you can also obtain Title Deed Insurance. This will cover any outstanding taxes or problems in the rare occasion that this occurs.

 Do I have to be in Spain to complete the transaction?

The purchaser may attend in person before the Notary, but, if this is inconvenient, arrangements can be made for a Power of Attorney to be granted enabling another person to attend on their behalf or a legal representative. If you are going to do this it is much easier to arrange whilst you are in Spain. It can be done from other countries, but in our experience it is time consuming and lengthy.

 What about paying the taxes due?

Once the purchase formalities with the Notary have been completed your legal representative can arrange, on your behalf, to pay any taxes due in relation to the transaction. At the same time they will arrange to change over the utilities and other bills into your name and arrange the direct debit from your bank account.

 Is there a Land Registry system in Spain?

Yes there is. After the Escritura has been signed in front of the Notary it will be taken to the appropriate Land Registry, for it to be registered and for the payment of the Land Registry fees.

Several months can elapse before the process of registration is concluded, but as soon as notification is given that the deeds are ready, your legal representative will have them collected, checked and then forwarded to you.

 In Whose Name Should You Purchase The Property?

There are a number of ways to purchase the property:
- in your own name
- in the joint names of you and your spouse or co-purchaser(s)
- in your children's names or in the name of somebody who will eventually inherit the property from you
- in the name of a limited company, whether English, Spanish or "off-shore"

Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. Everything depends on your own personal circumstances. Your legal representative will be pleased to discuss the various ways of buying and advise the most advantageous method for you.

It is worth paying careful attention to this point because of the potential tax and other savings, which can be made at a later stage. Inheritance tax in Spain can be quite high and can leave your nearest and dearest with a large bill if you are not careful. Also, each time a property changes hands taxes and fees become payable, so if you can minimize the number of transaction, you can minimize the costs.

 What Else Do I Need To Do?

Bank Accounts - When purchasing a property you will need to have a Spanish bank account, this is a must whether you need a mortgage or not, as the relevant utility companies will want payment and will only accept Euros from a Spanish account. Accounts are easily set up with any one of the large number of banks available. We can help you with this.

Spanish Will - We believe that it saves a great deal of time and effort later on if you make a Spanish Will. For most people the cost of this is fairly small. It is also worth considering giving a member of your family an English "Enduring Power of Attorney". This would enable your legal representative to continue dealing with your affairs if you should become incapable of doing so yourself.

NIE Number - Anyone purchasing a property will be required to obtain an NIE Number (Numero de Identidad Extranjero) or foreigner's identity number. This has to be obtained before you can sign the deeds at the notary. It is worth spending a morning doing this during a trip to Spain. It takes about 4 weeks for the number to be obtained. It can be done from other countries, but again can be a time consuming and lengthy process.

Fiscal Representative - It is highly advisable for any person who has a property in Spain but does not live there all the time to nominate a "fiscal representative". This is a person to whom the tax authorities can send all correspondence relating to your affairs in Spain, secure in the knowledge that it will arrive. The fiscal representative must be resident in Spain, but it is for you to choose whom to appoint. It can either be a friend or neighbour, but we would recommend a lawyer or professional tax adviser (Gestor), who will have the knowledge, language and professional capacity to get things done.

 What Happens If I Decide To Live And Work In Spain?

Your legal representative or Gestor can assist you with "residencias", work permits, licences and permits in connection with the opening of new businesses. They will also advise on the importation of cars, furniture, electrical goods and pets into Spain, obtaining payment of your pension in Spain, national insurance and other related matters.

Guiding you through all the above and much much more is all part of our service. We like to think that we can take the stress out of your property purchase and make your life stress free.

Contact Us Now

(Tel.) 0034 966 492 335
(Mob.) 0034 600 541 452
Fax (Fax.) 0034 966 492 012
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