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Buyers’ Guide

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Guide to Buying a Property in Spain

Buying a property in Spain is relatively straightforward as long as you have the right help and advice. The key is to be informed, get prepared and have a list of the important criteria, firstly  by finding the experts and secondly by instructing them control it all for you. In this way, when you find the right property you are ready to take action.

A. The Buying Process

  • Location
    • You may already know where you want to buy, but if not, first of all do some homework on the different regions of Spain to decide which one is for you. For example, if the sun is your main criterion, it makes sense to choose the south coast rather than the north coast.
    • Narrow it down as far as possible and then start looking for your dream property.
    • With Buy A Home Spain, who are based on the Costa del Sol, east of Málaga, you have the massive advantage that they collaborate with over 1,000 estate agents across the Costas and Islands of Spain, enabling you to explore Spain with only one point of contact – and a contact that will speak your language.
The Spanish Costas & Balearic Islands
  • Viewings
    • We will not only show you any number of properties you wish, but we will give you a flavour of the local lifestyle so that you know you will enjoy not only living in your house or apartment, but also in the local environment.
    • Should we not have the property of your choice we have access to thousands of other properties from all the other estate agents with whom we collaborate.
Couple viewing a property with their estate agent
  • Lawyer
    • When buying a property, although it is not a legal requirement, we very strongly recommend that you instruct a lawyer to advise you and to act on your behalf for the transaction.
    • It is usually a good idea to give the lawyer a Power of Attorney, particularly if you are going to be in another country at any time during the buying process, to help avoid unnecessary delays.
    • We can recommend a number of lawyers who have represented our clients in a professional and friendly manner, but if you decide to choose another lawyer please ensure that they comply with the following criteria:
      • A Spanish lawyer who speaks your language.
        • It is important to use a lawyer who has qualifications in Spanish law and therefore, has a thorough understanding of every aspect of law pertaining to conveyancing in Spain.
        • It is equally important that he or she is able to guide you through the process in your own language so that you fully understand everything.
      • A local lawyer.
        • You may think that ‘the law is the law’ whether the lawyer comes from Madrid, Barcelona or the region in which you are purchasing.
        • This is true, but it is also very important that your lawyer understands how things happen, not only in Spain in general, but also in your part of Spain.
        • The town halls are very powerful and it is essential that your lawyer understands how a particular town hall operates and if possible, also knows the key personnel.
        • In Andalucía, for example, the lawyer also needs to understand how the Junta de Andalucía operates. (This is the institution in which self-government of the Autonomous Community of Andalucía is organised. It is made up of the Andalucían Parliament, the Presidency of the Andalucían Government and the Governing Council).
        • To ‘get things done’ effectively and quickly it is often a case of ‘who you know’.
      • A lawyer recommended by a professional who uses conveyancing lawyers all the time.
        • Some buyers will take the well-meaning advice of a friend who has used a lawyer, but a one-off experience with a lawyer can be misleading either in a good or bad way.
        • You need a lawyer who has proven time and again to make all the searches and checks to ensure that all the documentation is in order, who the legal owner is and that there will be no outstanding debt or embargos on the property on the date of purchase.
        • In this way, you will have no future legal issues relating to your purchase.
Young couple instructing their lawyer
  • Obtain an N.I.E. Number (For Foreigners)
    • N.I.E. is an abbreviation for Número de Identidad de Extranjero,which translates as Identification Number for Foreigners.
    • The N.I.E. is your all-purpose identification and tax number in Spain which you need it for everything that involves an official process (tramite) in Spain. For example, you will need an NIE number to buy a property, buy a car, get connected to the utilities, etc.
    • So we strongly suggest that you obtain this as soon as possible to ‘get it out of the way’. Your lawyer can do this for you or we can help by taking you to the police station (comisería) where they are issued.
  • Open a Bank Account at a Spanish Bank
    • Open a bank account at one of Spain’s leading banks to be able to pay for utilities. It is also useful to have a local Spanish bank account for many other reasons.
    • Choose one where the local bank personnel speak your language and where they have online banking in your language, if possible.
    • If you require a mortgage, ask the bank and then we can provide alternatives for you to make comparisons.
    • Again, we can make recommendations.
  • Make an Offer
    • When you find the property you want, make an offer. Always make an offer below the asking price, but take advice from us as we know the local market, the property and the vendors of the property.
    • Let us negotiate on your behalf to hopefully find a price that is satisfactory for both you and the vendor.
Buyers shaking hands with their lawyer
  • Inventory
    • If furniture and other house contents are included in the sale we will draw up a detailed ‘Inventory’ to be signed by both buyers and vendors.
  • Reservation Fee Document (Contrato de Reservación)
    • Once you have made your mind up about buying a specific property you will not want to lose it to someone else, so as soon as physically possible, transfer a Reservation Fee to either your estate agent or your lawyer.                                                                    This amount varies, but is normally 6,000€.
    • The vendor then has to take the property off the market with all estate agents for a specified period of time, normally 7, 15 or 21 days, in order for you to have the time to find the money to make the Reservation Fee up to 10% of the purchase price.
    • Ensure you receive a document which acts as a receipt for your money and which also states the names and identification numbers of the buyers and vendors, the agreed sales price together with any conditions that have been agreed concerning the purchase, including deadline dates.
Put down a Reservation Fee as soon as you have made your decision
  • Foreign Exchange Companies (FOREX)
    • Without question, the simplest and most cost-effective method of transfer is to avoid the banks and opt for a non-bank foreign-exchange specialist.
    • There are a number of reasons they are attracting custom: better rates, speed, low or no fees and better service levels.
    • Customers want to be able to manage their finances ‘on the go’ and send money around the world quickly and efficiently with the help of their own dedicated expert.
    • But of course, the main reason that more property buyers are looking to specialist currency brokers to manage their currency transfers is that they can get access to better exchange rates.
    • Currency traders will typically offer exchange rates of up to 4 per cent better than high-street banks – a difference of £4,000 on a £100,000 deal.
    • We can recommend a number of FOREX specialists to you who are well aware that because we recommend more than one company to our buyers, they have to offer you their best deal to win your business.
  • Private Purchase Contract (Compromiso de Compraventa) & 10% Deposit
    • On or before the date stipulated in the Reservation Fee Document the buyers must pay the 10% of the purchase price (less the 6,000€ Reservation Fee already paid) and at this stage both buyers and sellers must sign the Private Purchase Contract which will state a date by which completion of the transaction must occur at a Notary Public. This document will be drawn up by the lawyers.
    • After this has been done, if the buyers decide to withdraw from the purchase, they will forfeit their deposit. If the 10% is paid before all the legal searches have been completed, the Private Purchase Contract needs to stipulate that if legal or structural problems are found with the property that cannot be overcome, the 10% will be returned.
    • If the sellers withdraw, normally they will be obliged to pay double the amount of the deposit to the buyers, unless otherwise agreed between the two parties.
  • Property Check
    • Prior to completing the transaction, we as your estate agents, will check the property to ensure it has been left in good condition and if there is an inventory, to ensure that all included items have been left.
Estate agent checks the property before completion
  • Completion of the Purchase
    • This occurs at a Notary Public on a date agreed by the buyers and vendors as stated in the Private Purchase Contract.
    • This is a very straightforward part of the process and we will be there with your lawyer to offer support and help. If you have given your lawyer a Power of Attorney, you do not even need to attend.
    • Both parties and the Notary will sign the new Title Deeds (Escritura), you will receive the keys to the house and the vendors will receive their money by cheque or bank transfer.
The purchase is completed at the Notary Public
  • The Final Step
    • It’s champagne time! We will gladly invite you to celebrate the purchase of your new home at a local hostelry.
Let’s celebrate. Your dream has become a reality!

B. After-Sales Service

  • The help we give does not stop after the transaction is completed; we will still be here to help you integrate into the community and your new lifestyle.
  • We will be happy to point you in the direction for any of your needs, be it insurance, builders, furniture, WIFI, internet, TV systems, solar panels, pool maintenance and many other services that you may desire.

C. The Costs of Buying Property

Don’t forget that their are buying costs

The good news is that Buy A Home Spain does not charge the buyer any commission.
The  approximate costs of buying below refer to the autonomous region of Andalucía. Other regions may differ in some respects.

  • Property Transfer Tax (Impuesto de Transmisiones Patrimoniales {ITP}
    • With a resale property, the buyer must pay the Property Transfer Tax which varies depending on the purchase price. There is no IVA (VAT) on a resale purchase.
    • The ITP varies from one region to another.
    • In Andalucía it is as follows:
              –  Properties in general:

       Up to €400,000 @ 8%
       Next €300,000  @  9%
       Over 700,000€  @10%

       Example: Property of €1 million would attract an ITP tax of:
       €400,000 x 8%       = €32,000
       + €300,000 x 9%    = €27,000
       + €300,000 x 10%  = €30,000
       Total ITP Tax          = €89,000

    –  Garages:

                                   Up to 30,000€          @  8%
                                   30.001€ to 50,000€  @  9%
                                   Over 50,000€           @ 10%

  • VAT (IVA)
    • When buying a new property straight from a developer or builder there is a 10% IVA Tax (VAT) to be paid.
    • There is no Property Tax with a new property.
    • For commercial properties and plots of land, IVA is 21%.
  • Stamp Duty
    • This tax is exclusively charged on the purchase of new housing, not resales (as the latter is subject to the Transfer Tax). In Andalucía, it is 1.5% for any villa, apartment, garage or plot of land.
  • Notary & Land Registry Fees
    • The cost of the Notary and registration will vary depending on the complexity of the deeds, but normally, it should be less than 0.5% of the purchase price.
  • Legal Fees
    • Standard fees are 1% of the purchase price + IVA.
    • Most lawyers have a minimum price of 1,500€ + IVA, but for a cheaper property, fees can normally be negotiated a little downwards.
  • Example Purchase: 150,000€
    • Based on the above figures, the cost of buying a resale property for 150,000€ should be approximately 10% of the purchase price; that is 15,000€.
    • For a new property, you would have to add 3.5%.


Please note that the information given above does not constitute any form of financial advice. We advise you to consult with a fully qualified lawyer and tax specialist who can advise you based on your own special circumstances.

Your Local Estate Agent – Worldwide

Open : 10.00 - 14.00 / 15.00 - 18.00
Tel. +34 952 54 75 54
Tel. +44 (0)161 818 8356
Calle Pintor Cipriano Maldonado 7
Torre del Mar, Málaga
(+34) 952 54 75 54
10.00 - 14.00 / 15.00 - 18.00
Calle Pintor Cipriano Maldonado 7
Torre del Mar, Málaga, España
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