Buying a property in Spain is relatively straightforward and will pose no problem as long as the correct steps are followed. If you do not already have a lawyer, it is recommended that you engage one to safeguard your interests throughout the purchase.
Sun Villas Javea does not work with any particular lawyer, but we have worked with many competent professionals in the area and we are happy to recommend one depending on your language preference. The following is an approximate guide to the purchase process, although this may differ from time to time depending on the particular operation.
Once you have decided on a property you want to buy, it is normal procedure in Spain to place a reservation deposit. This can be anything from 3.000 – 6.000 euros, depending on the purchase price. This deposit is accompanied by a reservation contract which states the names and identification numbers of the buyer and seller, the agreed sale price and any conditions that have been agreed concerning the purchase. The reservation deposit is normally paid to the estate agent or your lawyer to show good faith. It is recommended to never pay a reservation deposit directly to the owner.
At this point your lawyer will begin carrying out the necessary searches on the property with the local land registry to ensure that all the property’s documents are in correct order, that there are no embargos or debts on the property and that the person selling the property is actually the owner.
Once the lawyer is satisfied that everything is in correct order then the buyer and seller will sign a private purchase contract (a compraventa) and the buyer will pay a 10% deposit (less the original reservation deposit). In this contract, the buyer and seller details and identities are stated, along with the agreed sale price and the date for the final transfer of the property from seller to buyer. At this stage, if the buyer decides to withdraw from the purchase they will forfeit their deposit and if the seller withdraws they will be obliged to repay double the deposit amount to the buyer, unless otherwise agreed.
The final stage is when you pay the remainder of the monies due and the Title Deed (Escritura) is signed in front of a public Notary. After the deed has been signed your lawyer will register the property in the buyer’s name at the local land registry.
On top of the agreed sales price you also have to pay 10% tax, notary and land registry costs. The tax and fees normally add up to approximately 12,5% in total. We also recommend the use of a lawyer and their fees normally start around 1,000 euros and upwards. If you need a mortgage there will be additional fees to set this up.
Other documentation required for purchasing a property
Spanish nationals need only their identification (for all persons whose name is going to appear on the title deed).
If you are a non-resident the Spanish Ministry of Interior requires you to obtain a certificate of non-residency, which in turn determines your fiscal number, so that you can sign the title deed. It will also be required later in order to pay taxes. This document is known as an NIE number. Clients can apply for their NIE personally at the police station or at Spanish Consulates / Embassies but we can also help you with recommendations for someone who can help you and also accompany you to the police station and do the translation for you.
We recommend to open a bank account when commencing a property purchase as this will be needed not only for the purchase, but also to set up direct debits for the utility charges such as electricity and water.
It is also recommended to write a Spanish will. This only has to relate to assets situated within Spain and need not concern assets owned in your country of residence. This will simplify the probate process in the unfortunate event of the death of the property owner and significantly reduce costs and the duration of the process.