Selling Property in Spain: Practical Issues to Consider

The 5 minutes guide to selling property in Spain 2019: complete and extended, learn about all you need and what professionals can help you.
Article Published: 26 Sep, 2014, Updated: 14 Dec, 2022 under Property Sale

Practical issues When Selling Property

If you are planning on selling your property in Spain during 2019, this guide will cover the main points that you need to consider – from estate agents to Property Law expert lawyers and from taxes to utility bills. The aim is to aid anyone starting from scratch who perhaps isn't sure where to start and isn't aware of the pitfalls to avoid.

Advertising the Property

Anyone who has spent any time in Spain will have seen the Se Vende signs protruding at various angles from houses and apartment windows. These 'For Sale' signs signify a property that is for sale privately by the owner.

Many local Spanish people tend to at least try this method in effort to avoid estate agency fees. That is the main benefit from going down this route but on the negative side only those that would pass the property will be aware that it is for sale.

Another possibility that has proved popular in more recent times has been to advertise the property over the internet.

Of course this has the potential to reach a much larger audience though you are depending upon the effectiveness of the website chosen to market the property.

Some of these companies offer their services for free while others charge.

Of course another, more traditional method would be to contract a local estate agent to market the property.

As previously mentioned the biggest downside of this is probably the fact that the agent will charge a fee though it is worth pointing-out that this will normally be a portion of the sales price and therefore they have to be successful in order to benefit.

Estate Agents

During the boom-time it was possible for estate agent to charge as much as 18% of the sales price!
As a result of the current slowdown and competition from internet based marketing models mentioned previously, margins selling Property in Spain have come back down to earth and it is quite normal to be quoted a fee of anywhere between 3% and 5%.

One thing to be careful about when dealing with an estate agent is the possibility that they will request that you sign an exclusivity contract i.e. that you will not contract any other estate agent or company to market your property.

While you can, without doubt, negotiate a lower commission rate if they are given exclusive rights to market the property this has to be balanced against the benefit to be gained by being able to market the property across a number of agencies and internet sites.

Any contract, be it exclusive or otherwise, should clearly state the commission fee the agent will charge for successfully marketing the property.

One of the main benefits of contracting a local estate agent is the possibility of them being available to show the property when you may be out of the country.

They will also know the best forms of local marketing such as which papers to place adverts in.

But you would be advised to ask them what forms of marketing they will be using to market your property to get a better idea.

The Closing and Payment

Once an offer has been made and accepted on the property then typically the buyer's lawyer will carry-out due diligence checks on the property. Assuming no issues arise, the next advisable step is to prepare and sign what is known as a 'deposit contract'.

This involves a deposit being paid by the property purchaser which effectively grants an exclusive right to purchase with a date being fixed for the purchase to be finalized.

Should the sale not go through due to a change of heart on the part of the purchaser then their deposit, often 10% of the purchase price, is lost.

During the selling property in Spain process, should the failure of the property transfer be caused by the vendor then they are obliged to pay the purchaser 20% i.e. double the amount of the deposit.

Once again assuming that everything happens smoothly the next important date is 'the closing'.

This is a meeting that will include any or all of the following: the purchaser, the vendor, their legal representatives, the bank representatives and the notary.

The notary is required as the purchase deed is a public document and requires a notary to formally witness it.

At the closing stage it will be necessary to sign the public deeds of ownership though it is sufficient for your lawyer to be present if they have full power of attorney.

Payment is made typically with a bank guaranteed cheque though it may be possible to use the notary's escrow account.

The public deeds will contain a detailed description of the property as well as contain the details of the purchaser, vendor, the price, form of payment and any other relevant conditions.

Contractual Terms

It is worth highlighting the point that it is advisable to contract the services of a lawyer for the sale of such an important and costly asset as property.

There can be many terms in a typical deed of sale-purchase of property and such terms can assign responsibility for the payment of taxes such as the sales tax on one or other of the parties, regardless of who is typically responsible for their payment.

Therefore to avoid the possibility of unwittingly accepting responsibility for taxes that you are not liable for or indeed agreeing to any other disadvantageous terms, make sure to have a qualified lawyer assist you with the sale.

Taxes, Mortgages & Other Charges

A transfer of property in Spain can function differently from other jurisdictions and so it is important to be aware of the assumptions that the law makes with regards to responsibilities and liabilities for payments of taxes and charges when selling property in Spain.

The main taxes and charges connected with property ownership include the following: IVA or ITP (VAT on new or second-hand homes) Plusvalía (Capital Gains Tax), IBI (Council Tax), Comunidad Charge (If in a shared building or urbanisation), utility bills and, of course, any mortgage on the property.

ITP

Where the property being sold is second-hand then the tax payable is ITP and the rate is typically between 7% and 8% depending in which region the property is located as ITP is set by the regional government rather than at a state level and so varies a little as between each region.

When buying a new property IVA is paid on the purchase price to the developer or promoter when buying the property. It is then the responsibility of the developer or promoter to make their IVA returns to Hacienda (Spanish Tax System) in the usual way.

If a second-hand property is being purchased then it is the responsibility of the purchaser to pay this tax directly (using form 600) in the local tax offices within one month of signing the deeds.

Plusvalía

This tax, equivalent to Capital Gains Tax with regard to property, is ordinarily the responsibility of the vendor as they have benefited from the increase in the value of the property since they previously bought it. This is not written in stone however and should the two parties come to an agreement it can become the responsibility of the purchaser to discharge this liability. In fact, where the vendor is a non-resident this liability actually shifts to the purchaser.

Of course if the vendor is resident and reinvests the funds in another primary residence then there is no liability for plusvalía.

If however, the vendor is a non-resident then the purchaser is obliged to retain 3% of the purchase price and pay this to the tax office. Evidence of payment is demonstrated with a stamped copy of form 211 and the vendor can then deduct the same amount from the purchase price.

IBI

It may be the case that the vendor has already paid the local Council Tax or IBI (Impuesto de Bienes Inmuebles) for the full year, yet will only be in the property for a portion of that time. If that is the case then upon facilitation of receipts for payment of the tax, a vendor will be entitled to add the extra amount paid to the price of the property. In any case the purchaser will be anxious to see receipts for the previous and current years IBI as they are otherwise liable.

Are you instead looking for a guide to buying property in Spain. Don't look any further, we are English-speaking local experts: use us!

You may be interested in the following service...

Client testimonials

"Juan is simply the best. He has helped me so much. 100% recommend to any one thanks Juan!!!"

Charles Wilson (Benidorm) (Apr, 26 2018)
Client testimonials

Jose helped us through every part of the process with speed and efficiency. Because he spoke perfect English he explained everything so that we understood what we were doing. He cleared the way and prepared every part of the process, so there were no hold-ups. His friendly attitude made us... Read More

Jose helped us through every part of the process with speed and efficiency. Because he spoke perfect English he explained everything so that we understood what we were doing. He cleared the way and prepared every part of the process, so there were no hold-ups. His friendly attitude made us very comfortable and his professional approach made both the purchase and sale of the property smooth and easy. He gave very good value for money and nothing was too much trouble.

Robert Theobald (Oct, 12 2022)
Client testimonials

"Beatriz is highly professional, always very helpful, extremely responsive and easy to deal with."

Timothy Mullins (Aug, 02 2022)
Client testimonials

Álvaro was incredible to work with. His responsiveness was lightening fast, and he was extremely competent and helpful. Alvaro was also friendly, patient and explained things very thoroughly, so I understood what was happening throughout the process. Alvaro was beyond professional and wen... Read More

Álvaro was incredible to work with. His responsiveness was lightening fast, and he was extremely competent and helpful. Alvaro was also friendly, patient and explained things very thoroughly, so I understood what was happening throughout the process. Alvaro was beyond professional and went above and beyond in his work. I was surprised by how reasonable his rates were, especially because he was so excellent. I would definitely recommend Alvaro without hesitation. He is an asset to the company.

Mary Anne Smyth (Jul, 14 2022)
Client testimonials

"I cannot recommend too highly, my lawyer Jose. He is the ultimate professional on every level. An excellent communicator. A lovely, approachable gentleman who is extremely knowledgeable about law."

Geraldine Walduck (Jul, 11 2022)
Client testimonials

"I have used Jose on several occasions now and I’d happily use him again in the future."

William Bain (Mar, 21 2022)
Client testimonials

Jose has provided me with outstanding help and advice over the last ten years. I would not hesitate to recommend his services to anyone seeking legal advice in Spain. I have come to regard him as a friend over the period of our acquaintance. His fees are extremely reasonable, and has alway... Read More

Jose has provided me with outstanding help and advice over the last ten years. I would not hesitate to recommend his services to anyone seeking legal advice in Spain. I have come to regard him as a friend over the period of our acquaintance. His fees are extremely reasonable, and has always replied to my queries within twenty four hours. I cannot speak more highly of his professionalism and only wish I had been aware of his existence twenty years ago, when I first bought property in Spain.

Keith Wortley (Feb, 18 2021)
Client testimonials

"Francisca has always been very helpful and professional and has gone out of her way to assist me. All very good!"

David Stack (Jan, 11 2021)
Client testimonials

"Cristina was amazing and went above and beyond to assist me in every way in my lengthy process. Cristina was extremely professional, responded quickly, provided appropriate solutions and explained everything step by step throughout. I’d highly recommend!!!"

Abbie Orsini (Nov, 09 2020)
Client testimonials

Rosa speaks perfect English. She always responded very quickly addressing the issues raised. She explained how the sale of our holiday home in Majorca would progress and was extremely professional. During my career I have worked alongside many well known and respected UK law firms. Rosa wa... Read More

Rosa speaks perfect English. She always responded very quickly addressing the issues raised. She explained how the sale of our holiday home in Majorca would progress and was extremely professional. During my career I have worked alongside many well known and respected UK law firms. Rosa was their equal. She made the whole process seamless and stress free. She was a credit to your organisation. I rate her exceptional.

Rod Bellis (Nov, 03 2020)
Client testimonials

"Very helpful with a complicated process. Worked in a professional manner despite many difficulties in the process. Absolutely invaluable. Would have been lost without her. Definitely recommended."

Michael Dooley (May, 05 2020)
Client testimonials

"My transaction sometimes wasn’t the easiest but José went out of his way to deal with any difficulties and always explained things clearly and concisely. He was proactive and always kept me in touch with how matters were proceeding."

Martin Clifton (Dec, 05 2019)
Client testimonials

"Rosa is a very likable person, very competent and completely knowledgeable. We will definitely be in touch with her again as and when we need professional help in Mallorca. The service was first class and would be hard to improve!"

Robert Stevenson (Oct, 03 2019)
Client testimonials

Nihan, was extremely professional, very responsive and informative, she explained all processes step by step which were very easy to understand and follow, which gave me full confidence in her ability to find solutions for the sale of my property . Nihan, was very understanding and approac... Read More

Nihan, was extremely professional, very responsive and informative, she explained all processes step by step which were very easy to understand and follow, which gave me full confidence in her ability to find solutions for the sale of my property . Nihan, was very understanding and approachable and responded very quickly to my calls and emails concerning the difficulties I was having over the sale of my property. Her costs are were reasonable for the amount of work she completed for me, she explained her fees from the beginning of her service clearly and there was no hidden costs at the completion of the sale .She also removed all of the stress from the transaction . I was in a very difficult situation before I met Nihan and I doubt that I would have able to sell my property without her assistance . She was such a pleasure to meet and work with and I cannot thank her enough for her support . I would recommend Nihan to anyone who needs legal advice and I cannot thank her enough for her professionalism, she certainly knows her stuff!

Victoria Brooks (Jun, 04 2019)
Client testimonials

"Our lawyer Luis is bilingual, and was extremely helpful. We received very good service - Luis did everything needed to help me with my case. I would definitely recommend him to friends."

Dion Nash (Jun, 05 2018)
Client testimonials

Olga responded promptly and efficiently. She was accommodating in terms of arranging meetings. She was really knowledgeable, diplomatic when dealing with our estate agents and was dedicated to our interests. All my family found Olga very approachable, professional and we were grateful to ... Read More

Olga responded promptly and efficiently. She was accommodating in terms of arranging meetings. She was really knowledgeable, diplomatic when dealing with our estate agents and was dedicated to our interests. All my family found Olga very approachable, professional and we were grateful to have someone who could explain and guide us through a process that is foreign to us.

Yuka Mizota Lockey (Jan, 22 2018)
Client testimonials

Rosa is a excellent lawyer and a extremely nice person, very efficient and helped us though the sale of our apartment. It all went very smoothly and it was mostly down to Rosa who dealt with anything that came up in a very professional manner. Rosa explained all what was happening in Engl... Read More

Rosa is a excellent lawyer and a extremely nice person, very efficient and helped us though the sale of our apartment. It all went very smoothly and it was mostly down to Rosa who dealt with anything that came up in a very professional manner. Rosa explained all what was happening in English and always returned our calls with any answers to our questions. Her fees are very very reasonable and we felt we got real value for money, we cannot recommend Rosa enough.she is a throughy nice approachable person.We would not hesitate using Rosa again and have recommended her to other people in majorca.

Graham & Josephine Flinders (Oct, 26 2017)
Client testimonials

He was very good at explaining my position and my chances to win / not win the case. He gave me many good advises in the process. He explained how the legal system works in Spain and how I best could position myself in order to win the case. The result of the case was an agreement outside ... Read More

He was very good at explaining my position and my chances to win / not win the case. He gave me many good advises in the process. He explained how the legal system works in Spain and how I best could position myself in order to win the case. The result of the case was an agreement outside the court where I got it exactly how I wanted. Perfect!

Frode Rødøy (Jul, 14 2017)
Client testimonials

"Very Professional. Excellent attitude. Reasonable price. Good attention to details."

YS (Jun, 16 2017)
Client testimonials

"Emma was extremely knowledgeable, efficient and supportive throughout a complicated Spanish property sale, while I was based in the UK. A good price for a very professional service."

JF (Oct, 30 2015)
Client testimonials

"Very professional, extremly helpful, approachable and very efficent in answering all questions. No improvement needed. Would highly recommend this service."

RW (Jul, 16 2015)

Service Details

Property Sale

Available in the following locations: Alicante, Barcelona, Benidorm, Cadiz, Castellon de la Plana, Cordoba, El Campello, Estepona, Fuengirola, Gandia, Girona, Granada, Jaen, L`Eliana, La Manga del Mar Menor, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Los Alcazares, Los Cristianos, Madrid, Malaga, Mallorca, Maspalomas, Mazarron, Motril, Murcia, Nerja, Orihuela Costa, Oviedo, Puerto del Rosario, Puzol, Seville, Torrevieja, Valencia, Velez-Malaga, Vigo, Yaiza, Zaragoza

* If your local town is not listed, a lawyer from our nearest office will be happy to assist you.

Who Is This Service For?

Selling property abroad may initially appear to be a safe process, however it is important to ensure that you obtain the full proceeds you are due and that you are not ignoring any continuing liabilities that could cause problems in the future

What Does This Service Consist Of?

  • Drafting of a pre-purchase contract to Protect the Sale
  • Review of the title deeds to ensure that all documentation is in order
  • Communication with the legal representatives of the buyer
  • Attendance at the office of the notary for the signing
  • Liaison with the Notary to ensure all necessary information is conveyed
  • Ensure payment of purchase monies to your nominated account
  • Manage the payment and reclaim of any taxes upon a successful sale

Free Support Services Included

When combined with the free and innovative Advocate Abroad support services you can be sure that you are obtaining completely transparent legal services from registered and regulated English-speaking lawyers abroad.These support services include:

  • Verification of the regulatory status of your professional.
  • Fees as recommended by the Local Professional Body
  • Fees specified in advance and legally guaranteed.
  • Service levels agreed in advance and guaranteed.
  • All professionals must hold professional indemnity insurance.
  • Professionals' proficiency in English monitored.
  • Continuous quality controls and reviews.

Why choose Advocate Abroad?

Established more than
10 years ago
Present in 20
European Countries
Over 30,000 client enquiries
successfully managed

Our Lawyers

Send Your Enquiry