Information - Steps - Costs

Guide to buying a property in Spain

Buying a property in Spain by foreigners

All foreigners can buy a property in Spain, even if they do not live there.

They only need a bank account and an identification number for foreigners (NIE – Número de Identitad de Extranjero).

The profession of real estate agent in Spain

In Spain, no licence is required to be a real estate agent.

However, there is a certification called API – Agente de la Propiedad Inmobiliaria, which can be easily obtained by those who have a technical degree.

The situation is different in Catalonia, where there is an official and public register in which real estate agents who wish to practice must register.

Preliminary contract

The preliminary contract contains all the information for the signing of the notarial deed, such as the personal details of the parties, the cadastral details of the property, the sale price, the conditions of sale, the handover and the taking possession of the property, with the possible addition of any suspensive conditions, such as the approval of the mortgage, pre-purchase rights, etc.

The preliminary contract, Contrato de arras, is an open contract between the parties to which both parties can make changes.

At the time of the preliminary contract, the buyer usually pays 10% of the sale price as a deposit, a percentage that can vary depending on the negotiation.

In some cases (Contrato de arras penitenciales), the buyer loses the deposit paid as a penalty if he decides not to proceed with the purchase.

Similarly, if the seller decides to abandon the sale.

He is thus obliged to pay the buyer a contractual penalty.

Sales contract

The sales contract, Escritura Pública, is a public document that is signed at a notary’s office.

Before the final signature, the notary verifies the seller’s title, the regularity of the property in relation to the laws in force, any mortgages encumbering the property, any pending debts with the property management or the tax authorities.

The notary also checks the rights and obligations under any existing tenancy agreements, the insurance policy, the condominium owners’ regulations and the minutes of the last condominium owners’ meetings, the amounts of approved work and any ongoing legal proceedings.

The floor plan of the house is a very important document that will be attached to both the preliminary contract and the notarial deed.

The balance of the price is paid into the account of the notary who, after carrying out all the checks and settling any balances, transfers any remaining sum to the vendor.

Costs of the real estate purchase/sale

Basically, there are two types of costs associated with buying or selling a property: the brokerage fee and the notary fees.

The costs associated with the brokerage fee depend on the region.

In some cases, they are borne by the seller and in others by the buyer.

Costs arising from technical expertise’s of the property (asbestos, lead, termites, surfaces, etc.) are usually borne by the seller.

Notary fees are charged to the buyer and are calculated from the notary fee, the legal costs, the real estate transfer taxes (if the property is pre-owned) and the VAT (if the property is new).

The sum of these costs is about 12%-14% of the price.

Annual costs

There are no real estate taxes in Spain.

The only expenses that will be incurred during the year are the condominium expenses.