Legal Advice When Buying Property in Spain

  • Inmaculada
    Inmaculada is a senior partner in her law firm which has assisted individuals and corporations in the Valencia region for over 30 years. From offices in Valencia City and Castellón de la Plana, Inmaculada provides expert legal advice and assistance to English-speakers in Property matters, Contract Breaches/Debt Recovery, Family law and Business formation and bookkeeping service.
If you are planning to buy a property in Spain, we recommend that you take the following steps in order to ensure that your purchase is safe and secure, conferring good title that you may sell again in the future or transfer to your loved ones without any hitches:

    1. Contact a lawyer in the area you wish to invest in a property. This is not stated idly, in an effort to line lawyers’ pockets, but is meant for those purchases who would be swayed by an institutional vendor, for example, a bank selling repossessed property, that a lawyer is unnecessary as they are experienced in conveyances, and ‘if there was any problem, they would be aware of it already, and bring it to the purchaser’s attention’.

      Ultimately, you the purchaser are on one side of the bargain, and the bank/financial institution is on the other. You simply must ensure that you have an independent lawyer to protect your interests. There are many, many subtle imperfections to a property title that can convert an otherwise attractive proposition to a devastating loss. See also: http://goo.gl/lSYZ91

        1. Research the area you want to buy in. It may be that the area has had endemic planning permission problems, possible even the result of past political corruption (not unknown in Spain!). This could affect an entire urbanisation, so speak to locals and check independently on the internet. While any good, independent lawyer will be able to avoid any drastic errors before you pay over money to the vendor, this may well save time and undue effort.  
        2. Obtain a NIF and open a bank account. Even if you haven’t yet found the property that you are interested in, as you are eventually going to need a local fiscal number (Número de Identificación Fiscal), also known as NIE (Número de Identificación Extranjero) in order to sign the property deeds and deal with all of the taxes. It will also be convenient to have a bank account in Spain, in order to facilitate the creation of banker’s drafts for the day of the signing of the property deeds as well as to set-up direct debits for utility charges.  Both the NIF and bank account can be arranged by your lawyer. 

        3. Once you have identified the property that you are interested in, either via an estate agent or privately, we would advise that you never sign anything until your independent lawyer has reviewed the property and ensured that there are no debts or charges associated with the property. While such checks take only a matter of a couple of days, it is always best to avoid problems than solve them./p>

        4. When the property has been checked and cleared of any debts or charges etc, it is typical to sign a ‘private purchase contract’ whereupon a deposit is paid, often around 10% of the value of the property. In said contract, the price of the property and other conditions of sale are fixed. 

          An important difference between a formal private purchase contract drafted by your lawyer and, say, a simple reservation contract, is that the former gives you specific rights of performance of the contract, such that typically, if the vendor fails to go through with the sale according to the terms of the contract, you the purchaser are entitled to receive DOUBLE the amount you have paid as deposit from the vendor, as compensation.

        5. Within a period of time, typically between 15 days and 3 months from the date that the private purchase contract was signed, if all is correct and safe to proceed, it is time to sign the public deeds of purchase before a Public Notary.  The costs associated with a purchase of property here in the Valencia region are usually around 13% – 14% of the value of the property, bearing in mind that here there is a property sales tax of 10% (see: Spanish Property Sales Tax Rates by Region) and then you will need to consider notary charges and land registry costs.

          There will in addition very possibly be estate agents costs associated with the purchase (most likely included in the top-line price of the property). Lawyers fees will be as agreed prior to the purchase and tend to vary according to the complexity of the conveyance (whether option contracts are required. charges and encumbrances attached to the property that need to be dealt with etc).

        6. There are no further costs for the purchaser to deal with, though it may be recommended that the purchaser pays the local ‘plus valias’ tax on behalf of the vendor (with a consequent reduction in the purchase price). This is a tax that is payable to the local town hall and is similar to a capital gains tax.

          While it is payable by the vendor, for obvious reasons, if the vendor fails to pay it, and is in fact a non-resident with no plans to return to Spain, the local Town Hall may revert to the new owner for payment. Therefore, to ensure that there are no nasty surprises in the future, it is recommended to agree to pay this tax on behalf of the vendor, with this value deducted from the purchase price, especially if the vendor is non-resident.

          On the day of the signing of the purchase deeds, the remaining balance of the purchase monies (once the deposit amount has been deducted, as well as any taxes payable on behalf of the vendor) are paid. At the same time the vendor will hand over the keys, copy of utility bills, with the registration of the new title taking place some time later (usually no more than 2 – 3 months maximum) in the local Land Registry.  

          Client Testimonials

          Below is a list of recent reviews received from our clients, obtained via the Wufoo client survey platform:

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            David Stack, Lliria, Spain
            Thursday, June 21, 2018
            Francisca was extremely helpful. She made the whole process easy to understand. I would definitely recommend her service to friends.
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            Susanna Buckley, United Kingdom
            Wednesday, June 20, 2018
            Lidia is very approachable and friendly and I never felt that anything was a problem.

            She was also very sympathetic to my situation (my mother had passed away) and supportive. As soon as she was c...ontracted, she acted quickly to sort things out so that I could return home to the UK as soon as possible.

            She always tried her best to answer any questions very quickly and promptly and matters proceeded without too much worry on my part.
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            Wendy Dickson, Marbella
            Tuesday, June 19, 2018
            It was all done very quick. Very good value for money. How easy it all was to communicate via email.
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            Peter & Anita Bradshaw, Leeds, England
            Monday, June 18, 2018
            We could not be more happy with the service we received from Jaime.

            He responded immediately to our enquiry and it was clear from the outset that he fully understood our position. It was vital tha...t Jaime acted quickly in this matter and he did so in a highly professional and competent manner, providing us with clear and concise updates throughout.

            We found Jaime to be very polite and approachable and we believe his fees to be very reasonable. We would genuinely not hesitate to recommend his services.

            Before contacting Jaime, our previous experiences of Spanish Lawyers had been appalling - in fact we needed Jaime's help to resolve issues which previous Lawyers had created. Our only regret is not finding Jaime sooner!

            Thanks so much for all your help Jaime.
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            Jan Neate, Nerja
            Wednesday, May 30, 2018
            Very satisfied with the service provided by Beatriz. She extremely helpful and spoke more or less fluent English. We would definitely recommend her to friends.
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            Serena Bhatia, London
            Wednesday, May 30, 2018
            Anna has been nothing but helpful in providing information, sound advice and genuine care, My fiancé and I adore her! She is timely, professional and extremely knowledgeable about world wide law.
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            Ronald Peter Downs, Spain
            Tuesday, May 29, 2018
            A lady staff member took us under her wing and managed to sort out my residency. Overall no complaints.
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            Tracey and Mike Iliffe Bradley, Colchester, United Kingdom
            Tuesday, May 29, 2018
            From our very first contact through to the end of our purchase, Rosa surpassed all expectations.

            She was helpful, efficient, always quick to return our communications and a pleasure to deal with. ...We have already recommended her services to a friend.
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            Cheryl, Seville
            Monday, May 28, 2018
            Miguel was helpful and kind. We will use his service in the future.
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            Ken & Margaret, Torrevieja
            Thursday, May 24, 2018
            Pedro was extremely helpful, he couldn't have done more. We would definitely recommend his services to friends.
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            Rl, Alicante
            Thursday, May 24, 2018
            Felt very comfortable at all times. Nothing was too much. Understood everything mentioned in our meeting. Very reasonable rate, money wise.
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            KL, Valencia, Spain
            Wednesday, May 23, 2018
            Inma is easy to talk to, is prompt in replying to emails, is helpful and above all achieved the solution I wanted.
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            MF, Lanzarote
            Monday, May 21, 2018
            My lawyer Cristina was extremely understanding , friendly and reassuring. With Cristina on my side, it gave me confidence to continue.
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            RA, Paris
            Friday, May 18, 2018
            The service I needed wasn't complex, just verification of documents, but the service was rapid, friendly and exactly what I needed.My lawyer Julia was bilingual.
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            Sham Naib, Callao Salvaje, Tenerife
            Friday, May 18, 2018
            My lawyer Oliver was very helpful, always happy to assist. He professionally checked the law before dispensing advice.
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            Smith, France
            Friday, May 18, 2018
            Caroline is bilingual and was very helpful throughout. There is nothing I would suggest to improve. I was very happy with the service and would definitely recommend to friends.
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            SJ Thiele,
            Tuesday, May 15, 2018
            Inma was very helpful and we were very satisfied with the service overall. We would definitely recommend her services to friends.
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            John Stecher, England
            Tuesday, May 15, 2018
            Very satisfied with the service received. OUr lawyer was very easy and straightforward to deal with. Would definitely recommend to friends.
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            Cian O'Grady, Ireland
            Tuesday, May 15, 2018
            We bought a property in spain and Lidia assisted us through the buying process.

            She was very professional and reassured us throughout the process.Her english was very good and we felt that we got ...good value for our money.
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            PJU, Torun, Poland
            Wednesday, May 09, 2018
            Béatriz responded quickly to any queries I raised, with easily comprehensible answers.

            Her fee was very reasonable and she proved to be a very personable and approachable person when we finally m...et at the Notary.
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            Barry Gracey, Melbourne, Australia
            Monday, May 07, 2018
            I found Jaime helpful and responded promptly to my emails. I was very happy with the service provided and if needed would use him in the future
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            Geraldine King, Ireland
            Monday, May 07, 2018
            I was extremely happy with Pedro,and Ana. They were honest,and answered my queries promptly.

            Pedro had to evict my squatter tenants, and then organised an estate agent to sell my apt. This agent un...dertook renovating the apt, and got me a good price.

            Pedro and his brilliant co-worker Ana finalised the sale and I received the money into my account, without me ever setting a foot in Spain.(Power of attorney).

            I will be recommending Pedro to friends, who are going to sell their apartment in Torrevieja. I highly recommend him.
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            Joy Ellis, Sanxenxo
            Tuesday, May 01, 2018
            Sabela was extremely professional in her dealings with us, very patient and understanding of the situation and gave very good advice and a good solution to our problem.

            We feel very confident that... she has dealt with the complaint against a third party and know that if we need any further assistance in this matter she will be more than able to resolve it for us.

            She responded immediately to our contact and arranged a meeting on site to enable us to explain fully the problem we had.
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            Caroline R, Barcelona
            Tuesday, April 24, 2018
            Miguel has been great!

            His English is excellent, he explains everything clearly, emails when he says he will, and is very efficient in the service he provides.

            I'd definitely recommend him to ...friends.
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            George Salib, London
            Monday, April 23, 2018
            Jose Antonio was very professional and has assisted me in every step of the purchase of my flat in Alicante.

            He also assisted me by advising of the most suitable area according to my needs. His com...mitment and dedication is excellent.

            Jose Antonio was very easy to approach and happy to help in any way he can.

            I will definitely recommend him to my family and friends.
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            Liezl Pulido, Philippines
            Monday, April 23, 2018
            Rosa never stopped working very hard, she went way above what she needed to do...she never gave up on me and always did more than I thought anyone would.

            I am so blessed I got Rosa to help me I co...uldn't have gotten a better lawyer she's the best.

            Thank you Rosa from the bottom of my heart you are a wonderful person, I am so grateful to you.
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            KJB, United Kingdom
            Friday, April 20, 2018
            Francisco was professional and efficient. Very good value for money.
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            Duncan Martin, Wolverhampton, England
            Friday, April 20, 2018
            Lidia, was extremely helpful and patient throughout the process.

            She was very attentive and responsive and explained everything in detail.

            Lidia represents excellent value for money and the so...lutions she recommended were very beneficial, especially as you hear and read about a lot of horror stories on the web.

            Lidia was the best legal representative i have employed and i will always use her where Spanish legal affairs are concerned.
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            Julie Smith, Torrellano
            Friday, April 20, 2018
            I can't compliment my solicitor enough.

            From our initial meeting right through to my ultimate divorce (with no unpleasant surprises the entire duration of the entire process), he immediately respo...nded to my many enquiries, always had mine and my daughter's best interests at the forefront of any considerations and was well worth every penny of his extremely reasonable fee.

            Excellent value for money, totally approachable and very professional and understanding. I highly recommend him and will continue to retain his services for other matters in the future.
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            SH, England
            Friday, April 20, 2018
            Very satisfied with the service provided. Miguel was approachable and prompt in replying.

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