Buying Property in Spain FAQ

Questions About Buying

There are three steps when buying a property in Spain.

The process begins by signing a reservation agreement. This usually involves paying a deposit of about 1% of the purchase price.

Then you must sign the down payment contract, the arras, in which you will be required to pay approximately 10% of the purchase price.

Then you will need to sign the purchase deed at a notary public. Here you will pay the remaining balance of the agreed price and you legally become the owner.

Due diligence takes place between the reservation agreement and the signing of the arras contract. This insures that everything is in order before putting down a significant sum of money.

The agency is obligated to provide you with all of the necessary documentation for you to review.

You must request an updated extract from the property registry. This document will tell you what the legally registered surface is, who the owners are and if there are any loans on the property, such as a mortgage, a deferred liability, preferential acquisition rights, etc. 

Apart from this, you also need to see:

  • A copy of the acquisition deed by the seller 
  • Certificate of fitness verifying that the property is up to code for its intended use
  • Energy efficiency certificate
  • Certificate of the technical inspection of the building (ITE)
  • Cadastral reference (the official and binding identifier of the real property, a 20-character alphanumeric code 20) 
  • Last paid land tax (IBI)
  • Last paid utility bills
  • Certificate from the community of owners that there are no pending debts
  • We also recommend requesting copies of the minutes from the most recent community of owners’ meetings and a certificate from the local town hall to ensure that the property complies with all local zoning laws.

This list is not exhaustive; additional items are often needed, depending on the circumstances. 

Frequently found issues when dealing with a city apartment are that the surface area is different from that stated in the property registry, certificate of fitness or cadaster, or that structural changes or additions were made without the necessary permit—especially in penthouses. One of the most common issues is to find out that some works are pending in the building and each owner will need to contribute a significant sum, or that the building didn’t pass the technical inspection. In big cities, especially Barcelona, you need to be careful with potential fines for illegal tourist rentals. 

The most common problem in rural areas is that the residence was built on land that is zoned for agriculture and non-dwellings, or that there were extensions made to the structure without a license. 

There can be a wide variety of potential legal issues that can arise, depending on the area where the property is located.

This depends on what stage of the purchase you are at. If you were to discover defects during the due diligence process after paying the reservation or the down payment, you can claim to get it back. However, you must have included such a clause in the reservation or arras contract. It is sometimes better to continue with the purchase providing that a discount is applied in the final price to compensate for the defect. 

If defects are not discovered until after the purchase, it is quite likely that you would need to sue the seller. ?#Spanish law protects the buyer in case of hidden defects, but it is always best to make sure the notary deed covers your rights in this sense. 

The buyer has to pay all of the purchase related expenses. These include:

  • Property transfer tax (ITP)—may vary depending on the region but usually about 10%
  • Notary fees 
  • Property registry fees

Only the seller must pay the capital gains tax—the plusvalia

Yes, it is possible for a non resident to get a mortgage in Spain. You will need to get in touch with a few banks and study their conditions. The maximum amount you can expect to get is 70% of the purchase price. The bank will request proof of your financial status in your home country and, depending on that, will make you an offer.

Alternatively, Viking Real Estate work with highly successful mortgage brokers, can assist you in your language.

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