Buying process

As a property agency, we highly recommend enlisting the expertise of an independent lawyer when purchasing property in Spain. In recent years, numerous individuals, including those in our network, have encountered challenges due to inadequate legal support, leading to issues such as missing building licenses, undisclosed defects, and unresolved fees.

To address these concerns and ensure a seamless property acquisition process. This step by step guide is designed to provide you with essential tips for anticipating and managing potential issues at every step of the way.

However, it's important to emphasize the critical role of engaging an independent lawyer of your choice. Their expertise will help navigate the complexities of property transactions, safeguarding your interests throughout.


 Purchase Stages QUICK GUIDE: 

1.Purchase Deposit Agreement: Once satisfied with property checks, negotiate expenses and draft the Purchase Deposit Agreement with your lawyer. This agreement protects you during the interim period before finalizing the sale.

2. Closing The Terms And Conditions Of The Purchase: Settle terms and conditions with the vendor, especially if no prior contract was signed. Clarify expenses, penalties, and included inventory items.

3. Transfer Costs: Prepare for Notary and property registry fees, transfer tax or VAT, and Plus Valía (municipal tax).

4. Title Deeds: Sign the title deeds before a Notary, ensuring accurate property descriptions and identifying buyer and seller.

5. Completing The Purchase-Sale – Signing The Title Deeds Before A Notary: Sign the title deeds in the presence of a Notary, with proper identification and legal advice.

6. Title Deeds Insurance: Consider Title Deed Insurance for added protection against unforeseen issues post-purchase.

7. Post Purchase Stage: Collect notarized documents, pay property taxes, and register ownership in the Land Registry. Transfer utility ownership and local property tax liability to your name.


1. Pre-Purchase Stage: This initial phase is of utmost importance, involving thorough research and verification of the property's legal status and documentation. Depending on whether the property is new (from a developer) or a resale (from a second owner), different documents require scrutiny. Additionally, ensuring that all property-related expenses and taxes are up to date is essential.

2. Purchase Stage:

  • Legal Representation: We strongly advise retaining a lawyer to oversee the necessary checks and ensure a secure property purchase. Their expertise will provide invaluable support in navigating potential pitfalls and ensuring a smooth transaction process.
  • Power Of Attorney: In the process of appointing a lawyer to handle your property purchase, it's essential to grant a Power of Attorney (PoA) in their favor. This authorization empowers them to act on your behalf, facilitating various necessary procedures involved in the purchase. The PoA typically outlines a range of actions your lawyer can undertake, including:
  • Paying the deposit and signing the private purchase contract
  • Settling related taxes and fees
  • Arranging utility connections
  • Obtaining your NIE number
  • Registering your ownership at the Land Registry and Cadastral Registry
  • Managing payments and bank accounts

3. NIE – Foreigner’s Spanish Fiscal Number

When purchasing property in Spain, acquiring a tax identification number (known as NIE in Spanish) is essential. This number is necessary for various property-related transactions, including tax payments. If you engage a lawyer, they can obtain the NIE on your behalf. Alternatively, you can apply for the NIE yourself at a police station.

4. Non-Resident Certificate

For individuals not residing in Spain, obtaining a non-resident certificate is crucial. This certificate allows you to register as a non-resident taxpayer and can also facilitate processes such as opening a bank account and expediting property purchase payments.

5. Opening A Spanish Bank Account

While not obligatory, opening a Spanish bank account can streamline the property purchase process. It helps overcome hurdles such as obtaining certificates to prove the legitimacy of funds and dealing with checks issued by non-residents.

6. Property Legality

Verifying the legality of the property and its ownership is paramount. The documentation required varies based on whether you're purchasing an off-plan or resale property.

7. Purchasing An Off-Plan Or A New Property

When buying off-plan, it's crucial to make advance payments for a property that's yet to be constructed. Spanish law mandates specific details in off-plan purchase contracts, including completion dates, construction specifications, and bank guarantees for refunding advance payments. Ensure all necessary documents, such as building licenses and occupancy permits, are in place before proceeding with the purchase.

8. Purchasing A Resale Property 

Before finalizing any agreements for a resale property, it's essential to review key documents:

            - Title Deeds (Escritura Pública): The Escritura Pública, or registered title deeds, provide vital information about the property, including ownership details, existing mortgages, and any legal                    encumbrances. Obtain a copy of the property's title deeds (copia simple) from the owner and verify its registration status at the Property Registry through a nota simple.

            - Nota Simple From The Property Registry: The Nota Simple contains registered information about the property and is obtained from the Property Registry. This document is crucial for understanding the property's ownership status and any associated legal details.

9. IBI Receipt

At Molino Villas Costa Blanca, we advise obtaining the IBI (Impuesto sobre bienes inmuebles or Property Tax) receipt when purchasing from a second or third owner. Requesting the last 5 years' paid-up receipts of the IBI is prudent to ensure you won't be liable for back taxes and penalties. Keep in mind that the frequency of IBI payments varies. For new properties bought from developers, you'll need to register the property for this tax yourself.

The IBI receipt contains the property’s Catastral reference number and the Catastral Value, which is the officially assessed value.

10. Catastral Certificate

Every property sale should include a mention of the Referencia Catastral, which also appears on IBI receipts. The Catastro is a supplementary property registration system focusing on the property's location and physical description, complementing the title deeds' focus on ownership.

11. License Of Property Use

Ensure that the property’s license of use aligns with your intended purpose. Different licenses exist for residential, commercial, and tourism purposes, and misalignment can restrict your property's use.

12. Community Of Owners Fees, Statutes And General Meetings

For properties within developments, request the latest paid-up receipts for Community of Owners fees. This legal entity oversees communal elements like lifts, gardens, and pools. Familiarize yourself with the community's statutes and regulations, ensuring they align with your preferences, especially regarding pet ownership. Reviewing Annual General Meeting Minutes can provide insights into ongoing issues.

13. Utilities Services – Bills And Ownership

Check utility receipts for electricity, water, telephone, and refuse collection. Transfer ownership of utilities to your name to avoid complications with previous owners' unpaid bills.

13. Survey

Consider a property survey, particularly for older or rural properties, to identify structural defects and maintenance issues.

 Molino Villas Costa Blanca strives to provide accurate information, professional legal advice is recommended before making any decisions. 

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