Dummies guide to investing in Spanish Property

Thinking about investing in Spanish property? Here are 8 steps that will help orientate you to deal with the Spanish property market.
Article Published: 09 Apr, 2020, Updated: 12 Oct, 2023 under Property Purchase

 Thinking about buying property in Spain? Below are 8 steps to follow to help you avoid any serious problems when doing so. It will also help you to reduce the long-term costs of buying property in Spain

Expert English-speaking lawyers with ample experience in buying and selling Spanish property have put together this brief bullet list featuring the steps that you have to follow:

  1. Apply for an NIE number (Foreign identification number), which is the number granted by the Spanish authorities necessary to carry out any economic transaction in Spain. You could request this number at the Police Station where you are going to buy the property. You need an appointment for that.
  2. Open a bank account in Spain since you will also need it at the time of purchase, it is better to start the process as soon as possible. For that purpose, the bank is going to ask for some documents as proof of your income (payslips, income taxes, etc.) to comply with the money laundering regulations.
  3. Property checks, Once you find a property that you like, you have to check the property to ensure that the property has no charges, liens or mortgages, that the sellers have sufficient power to sell the property and that all the expenses related to the property have been paid (taxes, utilities, etc.), as well as that the property complies with all the legal requirements to be transmitted, so you will not have problems with a future sale when you wish to sell. This check may last approximately 2 to 5 days. 

It is very important that you do not sign any reservation document or anything similar before your Lawyer checks the property.

  1. Sign the deposit contract. Once the legal status of the property has been checked, the lawyer will inform you of the legal status of the property and if everything is correct, the private deposit contract will be prepared immediately. In the signature of the deposit contract, the buyer and the seller agree the price of the property, the expenses of the purchase, deadline to sign the final purchase and also other conditions of the purchase may be added. It is very important that this contract is clear for both parties because this is the basis of the final purchase. Usually, when you sign the deposit contract, you are going to pay the sellers up to 10% of the purchase price.
  2. Send the rest of the purchase monies to cover the cost of the property and the expenses to your Spanish bank account. You keep that money in your account until the day when you sign the purchase before a Notary because you have to pay the rest of the purchase price with a bank check from a Spanish bank. In any case, you may need to open a Spanish bank account if you are purchasing the property using a mortgage in Spain.
  3. Sign the public deed of sale before the Notary appointed by the buyer. On that day, sellers and buyers meet in the Notary’s office and there you will have to pay the rest of the price to the seller and the seller will give you the keys and also, some documents which state that all the expenses from the property have been paid by the seller up to that date. It is mandatory for a certificate of Energy Efficiency to be issued as well.
  4. Registration of the purchase deeds in the Land Registry. Once the government taxes relating to the purchase have been paid, you may register the property in your name. This process can take up to 2/3 months and after that, you can pick up the original deeds.

We recommend that you keep the original deeds with you for a period of five years after you would sell the property.

  1. Once you are the owner of your home in Spain, the yearly expenses of the property will be:
  • Rates (IBI)
  • a minimum cost of the utilities (electricity, water, etc.) and community fees for the building
  • Non Resident Taxes (IRNR)

Wherever you are buying a property abroad, engaging a registered and regulated lawyer to assist you throughout the process and ensure everything is correct, is highly advisable.

Note, you could sign a power of attorney in Spain, and your lawyer will handle any steps on your behalf even if you are not in Spain. For more tips and advice on the conveyancing process in Spain, see our article: how to buy Spanish property.

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Alvaro is an experienced lawyer who has been assisting expats and visitors to Spain with their legal issues since 2011. He deals with both criminal and civil law matters, specifically property, probate and family law. He is also a member of the Association of Family Lawyers of Spain.
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