The buying process and legalities in Spain

It is our intention that all our clients have a smooth transition and journey right through their buying process.

Casa y Campo can assist and guide you through each step of the way. This is one of the most important aspects of the journey and we aim to make this as stress free as possible during the process of buying your new home here in Spain! We have outlined the process here for you so that you are well informed and to give you a good idea of how the purchasing of a property, here in Spain, works.

However, It should be noted this information should NOT replace the requirement for a well reputed and competent Lawyer or solicitor (we can make recommendations).

Once you have found your property here in Spain, instruct a lawyer or legal representative with experience of the Spanish legal system to act on your behalf. Meet and speak to your chosen lawyer before you commit yourself to buy.

Your lawyer can obtain your N.I.E number (equivalent to a Tax ID Number) that is mandatory if you wish to purchase property in Spain. You lawyer can represent you and act on your behalf should you need them to, by giving them Power of Attorney (POA i.e obtaining your N.I.E or signing documents on your behalf should you be unable to be here in person or attend the Notary). Your Lawyer will conduct necessary searches on the property, complete all conveyancing, open up a bank account for you in preparation for buying. Arrange cheques and organise disbursements, pay your obligatory house purchase tax to the government and Notary fees and set up utility payments for future billing on your new property.

On agreement of an accepted offer on a property we, Casa y Campo, as the agent will draw up a Reservation Contract between the buyer and seller.  A deposit (often €3,000) is immediately required on acceptance of your offer, to be paid by the buyer (payment is required within 2 to 3 days via a bank transfer should cash not be available). This reservation amount, once received, effectively takes the property "OFF” market. (This means no gazumping can take place as the property has been reserved and no more viewings can be carried out to other interested parties. The owners must inform all agents who have listed it that it is now off market, subject to contract.

The €3,000 reservation will be held by the Agent during the conveyancing of your new property. Both parties, buyer and seller, will receive a copy of the Reservation Contract and each will need to sign it. The contract will outline when the next 10% of purchase cost is payable by the purchaser and when the final completion date will take place.

These dates will be mutually agreed between the seller and buyer and mediated by us Casa y Campo, as your agent. Once signed the Reservation Contract will be forwarded to both sets of respective lawyers for them to progress and complete all necessary paperwork. The lawyers will liaise with their respective clients on progress throughout this process, however we the Agent are on call to help and support you through this process.

The period from making an offer to point of sale can take anything from 2 weeks up to 3 months depending on the circumstances of the sale. Most sales complete, on average, in 6 weeks.

Please note that if your chosen property is later deemed to have issues with legalities and you are unable to continue to sale for this reason, your €3,000 deposit is refundable. (less a €250 administrative charge levied by us the Agents to cover our costs so far incurred). Alternatively, if your seller decides to withdraw from the sale, they are obliged to pay you double this deposit back to you. It should be noted that circumstances like these cases are rare.

Be aware of the taxes and costs payable in addition to the purchase price. Ask your legal representative to provide you with details. Taxes and costs will add approximately 10% to the agreed purchase price or 12% if it is a new property. If you are taking out a Spanish mortgage costs can be slightly higher.

You can, at the same time, obtain from your legal representative an accurate indication of likely ongoing annual taxes and expenses, for example rates (IBI- Annual property tax) and for apartments, community charges.

When buying a resale property, often the owner will include a number of items in the sale; furniture/white goods. It is important to ascertain what is included in the purchase price. There may be a separate negotiated price for furniture and we as the agent can help to clarify this and ensure the Reservation Contract reflects what has been agreed between the two parties. These items should also be noted in the Sale Contract drawn up by your lawyer.

Once the search is completed, we move to the "Contract of Sale" and the further agreed further deposit is paid - 10%, due on the date stated in the Reservation Contract. This 10% will also include the €3,000 already paid. (so, if the 10% of a €100,000 property is €10,000 euros then only €7000 is required to complete the 10%, as €3000 has already been paid.)

The date in the reservation for completion will be the date arranged for all parties to attend the notary for completion.

After a final check of the title and the granting of the necessary Licence of First Occupation (for a new property), you and your legal representative shall attend the completion appointment at a local Notary's office. There the title transfer deed (Escritura de Compraventa) will be checked and signed by you, the final purchase money paid over and the keys released (NB – Again it is worth considering giving your legal representative Power of Attorney to purchase, so that you do not have to attend the notary and run the risk of having to repeatedly travel to Spain should any small problem occur resulting in a delay in completion).

It is at this stage you will be the proud owner of your Spanish property!

Following the completion of your new property, your legal representative will ensure that the relevant taxes and duties are paid and your title is registered at the local Land Registry office. They will then move to transfer, into your name, the utilities that are connected to the property.

It is advisable to make a separate Will in Spain to deal with your Spanish property and add a codicil to your UK Will too include your new Spanish property.

It is important to be aware that occasionally a further government tax may need to be paid should the Spanish Government determine that there is a disparity between the value of the house and the price you paid. This tax known as a complimentary tax, is paid on the difference between the perceived value and the price paid. It is rare and if believed to be unjustified can be challenged by your lawyer.

If you are planning to move to Spain permanently then  you will need to appoint a fiscal or tax representative who will be able to prepare and lodge the annual tax forms which will be required of you once you are living here.

Remember! Throughout this process we are on call to help and support you. However, do communicate with your lawyer as much as is possible to stay fully informed as to progress.



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