Are you thinking of buying a house in Spain?

As property lawyers, we recommend that if you are thinking of buying a house in Spain and want to avoid future problems, you seek legal advice from a lawyer specialised in real estate law.

What are the steps to follow to purchase a property in Spain?

1. Research and decide the property that you want to buy.

Nowadays, Internet makes simple to find thousands of properties. There are different websites that offer you the possibility to see the market price of the area where you want to purchase and what kind of house you can afford to buy with your budget.

It is a good idea to contact a Spanish lawyer specialised in Property Law prior to choose a property to buy. This way, you can have the opportunity to ask questions and you will have legal representation as soon as you find your house.

2. Appoint a Spanish lawyer.

Once you have found your house, it is essential to carry out some research on the property in order to verify its legal situation prior to you placing the deposit.For this, you will need to hire a Spanish lawyer to legally review the property you want to buy.

At this point, it can be very useful to grant a power of attorney to the lawyer. This can be done either from your own country: UK, Ireland… or from Spain, and will save you travel, translators and dealing with a lot of paperwork.

Obviously, your solicitor should answer your questions as well as inform you about the legal procedure and related costs and taxes.

3. Situation analysis and legal check on the property.

The main point prior the purchase of a property is that your lawyer checks its legal situation in order to avoid any problems in the future. For this purpose, your solicitor may contact many sources or administrations. We, as real estate lawyers will be able to do the following checks on the property:

  • Asking for the Title Deeds to the sellers and the “Nota simple” to the Land registry in order to check the ownership and current situation of the property, any mortgage charges, loans or limitations on it.
  • Checking the “Catastro information” and verify that the actual area of the house and its cadastral area registered is adapted to reality, to avoid repercussions on the valuation of the property.
  • Checking with the Town Hall, SUMA or similar administrations that the municipal taxes are up to date and that the habitation certificate and/or building license is in place.
  • Verify that the electricity and water suppliers are registered and up to date with payment.
  • In case there is Community of Owners, contact the administrator and ask for the normal expenses and up to date certificate.
  • We can also check different options of mortgages and arrange a survey to be made by an architect or engineer.

4. Deposit contract or “arras contract” and payment of the deposit.

Once you have decided the property you are going to buy and your lawyer has checked all the documentation, you should reserve it. At this step, it is advisable to sign a deposit contract or “contrato de arras”. For this, your lawyer can review the arras contract proposed by the sellers’ solicitor to verify that it is a fair deal, or draft it for you, ensuring that it meets your needs.

Normally, the buyer will be asked to pay a deposit of around 10% with the signing of the deposit agreement and the rest will be due on completion.

5. Getting a NIE number and opening a bank account.

A NIE number is the Foreign Identification Number (Número de Identificación de Extranjero) it is a tax identification number given by the Spanish Authorities at the Police Station and it is mandatory for buying a property and to carry out legal activities or formal arrangements in Spain. We, through our collaborators in the area, will help you to obtain the NIE number.

Once you have got your NIE number, it is also advisable to open a bank account as it will be necessary for the direct debiting of future utility bills as well as municipal taxes.

6. Signing of the purchase deed before a Notary Public.

Once you have got your NIE number, to formalise the purchase of the property, it is high recommended (mandatory if you want legal guarantees) that both parties, that is to say, both the seller/s and the buyer/s, sign a purchase contract by means of public deed, which takes place before a Spanish Notary Public.

In case one of the parties have granted a Power of attorney to the lawyer for this purpose, your legal representant will act on your behalf. If the property is mortgaged, then a representative of the Bank will also attend to the signing before the Notary.

At this point, the keys will be handed over to the new owner.

7. Registration of the property in the Land Registry and taxes submission.

Once the purchase deed has been signed before a Spanish Notary Public, we will deal with the submission of the taxes and registration of the property on your name at the Land Registry. So, from that moment on, you will appear as the new owner.

These are the most important points when buying a property in Spain, but if you have any legal enquiries, please, do not hesitate to contact us!