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Ready to Buy a Property in Spain

Buying a house is a major investment which is complicated enough in your own country. In Spain, the legalities of property purchase may be particularly daunting if you are a foreign resident and unfamiliar with both the laws and the language.

Use a Lawyer

First step, find a lawyer, then, second is important that the lawyer speaks your language. A good lawyer can guide you through all the steps of house purchase, from ensuring that the purchase contract is correct through negotiating payment terms, taking care of the title search and ensuring that your house is registered in the property registry. A lawyer is cheap insurance against possible future problems and will only cost you around one to one-and-a-half percent of the purchase price, plus IVA, (VAT) currently charged at 21%. It is standard practice that a lawyer will ask for a pre-payment, called a "provision de fondos" to cover expenses and fees.

The Estate Agent

Use a professional, real estate agency, just like Property Quest, to provide invaluable information and advice about the local market, property trends and future developments plans which may affect where you choose to live.


Once you have located your home, the most important next step is to secure it by paying a deposit. This is generally €6.000 and will be held in a client account by the agent. A further percentage of around 10% is normally paid directly to the seller within a week or so of reaching an agreement.

Community Costs

If the property is on an urbanisation or part of a residential complex, then you will automatically become a member of the Community of Property Owners, which is responsible for general maintenance, gardening, etc. Your Lawyer will make sure that all fees are paid up to date and that you are aware of how much your annual community costs will be.

Title Search

Your lawyer will check at the local Property Registry to ensure there are no outstanding mortgages against the property, or whether it has been embargoed for non-payment of a mortgage or taxes.

You will receive a copy of the entry for the property in the registry books. This "Nota Simple" shows who owns the property and includes a detailed description with boundaries.

Town Hall

Property in Spain is subject to an annual municipal tax - IBI - and the seller will provide the agent with up-to-date receipts, which will state the exact amount of this annual tax, as well as the "Valor Catastral", which is the official value of the property as assessed for tax purposes and necessary when you prepare your annual tax return. There may be additional rates, such as for rubbish collection or other services.

Costs of Notary and Registry

The approximate cost for the notary and registry is 1.5% of the purchase price. Costs shall be slightly less as the purchase price increases as they are not calculated as a percentage.

Plus Valia

A Municipal Tax known as the 'Plus Valia' is assessed on the difference in value of the property now and the last time it was transferred. This varies according to the period of time since the last transfer.

The Contract or "Escritura"

Approximately a month after you have made your deposit, you can expect the completion of the sale to take place. The contract must be in Spanish, although you can obtain a translation if necessary. A legal property purchase contract in Spanish is called "Escritura de Compraventa" and is signed by both parties in the presence of a Spanish Notary Public who will keep the original copy of the contract in his files.

The contract should describe the property and its location in detail, as well as the identity of the purchaser and seller.

If the purchase is financed with a mortgage, the bank representatives are present in order to pay and sign the mortgage.

The final step is to take the copy of the "Escritura" to the Property Registry and have it officially registered, at which time you will obtain your "Escritura Pública", the title deed.

And that is a quick outline of how the Spanish legal property purchase is conducted. Complicated? Not when you are dealing with a company as proficient as Property Quest, and a good Lawyer.

It is easy!

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