Legal Advice When Buying Property in Spain

  • Inmaculada
    Inma
    Inmaculada has assisted individuals and corporations in the Valencia region with the legal and tax matters 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

    2. 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.  
    3. 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. 

    4. 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>

    5. 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.

    6. 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).

    7. 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 W Baker, Malaga
        Tuesday, November 06, 2018
        We were extremely satisfied with Alvaro: He explained the law to us and gave us a solution to our problem. He could not have been more helpful and we will definitely use him again.
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        Thom Koller, London
        Monday, November 05, 2018
        Francisca provided a perfect service!

        She is professional, dedicated and took care to understand the needs of my situation. Her service offers exceptional value for money and gives complete peace o...f mind.
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        Michael O'Sullivan, Ibiza
        Thursday, November 01, 2018
        Understanding Spanish law regarding buying and selling properties is a minefield for English speakers. Cristina provided the legal expertise, the translation of legal documents, explanations for all i...ssues, and solutions for our challenges.

        Also, she provides confidence and reassurance that what we are doing is in our best interests and within the law - very important when working in a foreign country.

        In summary, she is an excellent professional that we are so pleased we found and will continue to use for all our legal matters.

        I think you have a perfect solution for supporting people abroad. I was lucky to find you on the internet. Perhaps you could promote your services to all estate agents abroad, so more people can get access to your service when buying or selling abroad.
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        Colin Wilson, Australia
        Tuesday, October 30, 2018
        Overall it was great. Rosa always answered all questions asked and provided clear, concise and well explained answers.

        When there was a delay in responding she did offer an apology which was appre...ciated. Rosa always instilled a sense of confidence that she knew exactly what was going on, what I was asking, and what the applicable law was.

        When not a Spanish local and dealing with her remotely, this provided great comfort in a sensitive matter.
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        Campbell Reynolds, Spain
        Monday, October 22, 2018
        We were very satisfied with the service provided by our lawyer Sabela.

        She was very accomodating, quick response to everything while thinking outside the box for solutions. Also, her English was mo...re or less fluent.
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        David Edwards, England
        Wednesday, October 17, 2018
        Very Satisfied with the service provided by Oliver. He was quick, efficient and value for money. Would definitely recommend to friends.
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        Andrew Morecroft, Lubrin
        Monday, October 15, 2018
        Juan was extremely helpful during every part of the purchase. As I was buying an older property there were slight complications but Juan explained every issue and managed to work through the difficult...ies with supreme efficiency.

        Also there was a ridiculous situation with my Spanish bank account where I could not access the money even though it was in the account. Thankfully I had given Juan power of attorney and he managed to sort-out the problem.

        He went above and beyond the call of duty and I am very grateful for all his help. I would strongly recommend him to anyone looking to buy in the Almeria region.
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        Manoochehr Jafari-Nahad, UAE
        Saturday, October 13, 2018
        Jose-Antonio was extremely helpful and prompt and also it was helpful that he could be contacted via social media like Whatsapp
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        Michele Jansen van Vuuren, Benajarafe
        Saturday, October 13, 2018
        Alvaro was extremely helpful, he couldn't have done more. Very quick to respond to my query.

        Only issue was that some of the documents I needed to provide were not mentioned. However, would defini...tely recommend his services to friends.
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        John Fraser Dunfield, San Francisco
        Friday, October 12, 2018
        Good understanding. Applied sufficient pressure as needed to get the issue resolved. Reasonable charge for service provided. Would definitely recommend this service to friends.
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        Rosemarie Byrne and John Cooper, Dublin Ireland
        couple
        Tuesday, October 09, 2018
        We found Francisca extremely helpful with a great amount of knowledge about buying a house and re-locating to Spain.
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        Jane Evanson, London, UK
        female
        Tuesday, October 09, 2018
        Francisco was very helpful and professional. I was very happy with the advice and service.
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        David McChesney, Puerto Banus
        Wednesday, October 03, 2018
        Alvaro was very professional, Knowledgeable of the subject at hand, did not over-charge - in fact cut costs in the best way for me. Very efficient in the entire process. Thank you.
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        Martha Kimes, Scottsdale, Arizona USA
        female
        Tuesday, October 02, 2018
        Francisco was incredibly responsive (and quickly).

        Unlike American attorneys (and I know, because I am one), he didn't even bill me for a few follow-up emails/calls that he made on my behalf which... he easily could have done.

        I was supremely happy with his legal services.
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        David Roots, England
        Monday, October 01, 2018
        We were very satisfied with the service we received. Rosa dealt with the matter in hand promptly and efficiently.
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        David Knors, Barcelona
        Wednesday, September 26, 2018
        Oscar was very kind, professional and fair. He was able to help me with my problem and he was very determined that he would.

        Oscar is very competent, polite and showed a lot of effort to solve my ...problem. I strongly recommend him.
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        Tauri, Estonia
        female
        Tuesday, September 25, 2018
        Very satisfied with the service. Francisco is bilingual English-Spanish and was always quick to respond and was very professional at all times.
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        Mohamed kheder, Dublin, Ireland
        Monday, September 24, 2018
        Every thing was great ... Rosa was really helpful and understanding. And I see the value for money was good enough.. of course I would recommend it to any of my friends.

        And I would like to have th...e chance to thank Rosa and the whole company for everything.
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        Daniel Elias, New York
        Tuesday, September 18, 2018
        Excellent service, delivered exactly as promised, and at half the cost a different translator had requested for the same project!
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        Darren & Gemma Nesbitt, Valencia
        Tuesday, September 11, 2018
        Inmaculada has been of excellent service to us, as a family and in helping to set up a business in Spain. She has now undertaking several project for us and has delivered high quality on all of them. ...Perfect service!
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        Patsy Valentin, Granada
        Tuesday, September 11, 2018
        Extremely accommodating and highly professional and very pro active. Excellent result and service. Highly recommended.
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        Jovie, Malaga
        Wednesday, September 05, 2018
        My lawyer Alvaro was extremely helpful and very efficient. I would definitely recommend his services to friends.
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        Albert Roldan, France
        Tuesday, September 04, 2018
        Alfonso was extremely helpful, particularly since we requested a quick turnaround for the 18 documents needing to be translated from English and French to Spanish.

        He was fluent in our phone conver...sations and email correspondence, he never misunderstood what our requirements were. He was was clear in explaining how this process works and what the price included.

        I would highly recommend him to anyone needing these services.
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        David Grundy, UK
        Friday, August 24, 2018
        Jose was very polite and we received an excellent service from him. Nothing was to much trouble and his communication was 2nd to none. Highly recommended!
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        Mario Klappholz, Miami, Florida
        Thursday, August 16, 2018
        Inma was very helpful, always happy to assist. I particularly appreciated her professionalism. I would not hesitate to recommend her services to friends.
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        Daniel Spitzhorn, Spain
        Tuesday, August 14, 2018
        Miguel in Oviedo helped us during the process of buying a flat in Asturias. He was just brilliant!
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        Tracey Iliffe Bradley, UK
        female
        Tuesday, August 14, 2018
        Rosa dealt with everything efficiently and promptly and went beyond our expectations by helping us to open a Spanish bank account and deal with other minutiae.
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        Erslaan Ahmed, Bangladesh
        Friday, August 10, 2018
        Gave very good advice and provided an excellent solution. Inma is very professional in her work. I would recommend her services to friends.
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        John Ryan, Derby, England
        Wednesday, August 08, 2018
        A perfect relationship between client and professional. Nothing was too much trouble.

        Went over and above his job and more. I would only use his services if I need legal services. I were very lucky... to find Jose first time round.

        Thank you jose
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        Robert Brownlee, Almeria, Spain
        Wednesday, August 08, 2018
        Everything was as it should be: excellent. Had to pay by bank transfer and maybe would have liked another means of paying.

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