This section is designed to address the most commonly asked questions concerning buying a Spanish property. Buying Spanish real estate is a very straightforward process and probably very similar to what you’re used to at home. The most important consideration is whether the property is legal and that new title deeds can be written for it. As long as you have a competent solicitor you can rest assured that your dreams won’t turn into nightmares.
If we haven’t been able to answer your question here you can find further information in The Buying Process and the Glossary of Terms or you can ask your question at the bottom of this page by completing the simple form.
What is the best approach to finding the perfect Spanish property?
1 - Be clear on what and where you want to purchase. It’s sensible to get to know the area first without viewing properties. In that way you can decide on this most important question independently and at your own pace. Fall in love with the area first and then you’re home!
2 - Be sure of your maximum budget taking into consideration the additional costs (Furnishings, mortgage, closing costs etc.) Once decided, stay within your budget! Why fall in love with a property you can’t afford or need to borrow for?
3 - Location and Lifestyle. Consider the setting you would like to have: rural, countryside, in town, close to the beach etc. What sort of lifestyle will you have here? Do you need to be close to schools, to healthcare? Will you be working here? Consider the advantages and disadvantages of the different locations and then decide which would be best for you.
What are the 10 most common mistakes made when searching for a property in Spain?
1 - Being unsure of what you actually want. If you start viewing without a clear idea you will end up on a frustrating never ending property hunt.
2 - Wasting time looking at properties you can’t afford. Too many Estate Agents will waste your time trying to ‘up your budget’. Make sure of what you’ll be viewing and prices beforehand.
3 - Buying the property and not the area. Many of our customers have taken our advice and spent time on their own getting to know the Antequera, Estepa and Marchena areas. These areas are not for everybody and although very beautiful they might not be what you’re looking for. You will certainly spend considerably more time outdoors here in Spain as there are over 300 days of sunshine a year and from June to August it’s light until almost 10 at night! If your children will be enrolling in the local school you should visit it. If healthcare is important you should familiarize yourself with the local services. If you need to work here, make sure what you want to do is marketable. See our web links section that's full of information about living and working in Spain.
4 - Too many viewings in one day and viewing the wrong properties. It does not make sense to view more than 5 or 6 properties in a day as none will end up leaving much of a lasting impression. Collect as much information as possible in advance of viewing, i.e. plenty of photos of the entire property and video if possible as it’s sometimes difficult to get the right feel for a house through photos alone. It’s also a good idea to gather as much village information you can beforehand and then only view the properties that are truly interesting.
5 - Being unprepared. Have all your documents in place before you purchase and the process will be stress free! What documents do I need to purchase a property in Spain?. It’s also a very good idea to have at least 3,000 Euros free on a credit card in case you find the perfect property and want to reserve it.
6 - Combining your holidays with searching for a property. Property searching is a time consuming task. Concentrate on it and don't try to combine it with your leisure time. Typically we will show you 5-8 properties in a day’s viewings. Some of the country properties can be up to an hour drive apart and villages are usually within a half an hour from each other. With regular breaks it’s a very full day. If you have young children it would be sensible for them to stay with someone allowing you to focus on finding your perfect Spanish home!
7 - Taking cheap inspection trips. These trips are designed to high pressure sell you into buying a property over a weekend. Although the weekends are certainly our busiest time we don’t pay for your flights or accommodation or ply you with food and drink, we don’t produce high gloss brochures or magazines, and we don’t use silly gimmicks, contests, freebies or anything of that nature because as the saying goes “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”
8 - Using unregistered estate agents. You are within your rights in Spain to see a copy of the company’s registration certificate. They should also have the local Town Hall opening license prominently displayed in their office. We would recommend using caution if the agent you’re considering doesn’t have a business premises or that work from a ‘home office’. Make sure an address listed on a website can easily be found on Google Maps where a street view can confirm it is the company you are considering using. We would suggest using serious caution if the company doesn’t publish its physical address on their website. A CIF number and certificate are the fiscal reporting documents held by each Spanish company. Our company number is B-92727213 and it was registered in Málaga, Málaga in 2005. As it’s easy enough to copy or invent a number we always suggest that you ask to see a copy of their documents.
Sadly, too many people have bought their property through ‘agents’ they met at a Hotel bar or petrol station and trusted them with their lifesavings.
Before you pass any money to anybody make sure they are fully registered and legitimate. You wouldn’t do it any differently at home so make sure you are dealing only with licensed and registered businesses here.
9 - Viewing property with the intention of buying but needing to sell a property at home. It’s not a good idea to fall in love with a property only to find your house still hasn’t sold. You can always release equity or re-mortgage your home to cover the shortfall needed but it would be very unlikely that a vendor will hold a deposit for longer than 3 months.
10 - Using an ‘in-house’ lawyer or a lawyer recommended by an Estate Agent. There’s a good chance that you found the property you fell in love with on the internet so do yourself a favour and find a solicitor the same way! A simple search for ‘English speaking solicitors in Spain’ for example, will direct you.
How can I get help from Antequera Inland in my Search?
We have a very large portfolio on the website with an enquiry form for each property or you can easily build a favourites list. By filling in the form or favourites section with any questions you have we are better prepared to address them when we contact you. There is also an extremely useful form on the website called the Dream Home Finder that allows you to spell out exactly what you’re looking for. We are extremely skilled and highly experienced at matching customers to properties but we’re certainly not mind-readers! Provide as much information as possible and there’s a very good chance that either we have it or that we easily can find what you’re looking for! Occasionally our responses to email enquiries get blocked by our customers spam filters (a system for reducing unsolicited or ‘junk’ emails on your computer) if you are having trouble contacting us or if we haven’t responded within 2 working days of your enquiry please contact us directly. You can also check your junk mail folder to see if our response is there.
2. The Buying Process
How can I be sure that everything is legal regarding a property?
There are three important issues regarding the legality of a property for sale in Spain:
1 - Is the individual who is offering it the real owner?
2 - Are there debts on the property?
3 - Is the property registered as the owner offers it, for example, registered square meters etc.?
We offer properties on our website on the basis of information provided by the owners. By law, we check the actual ownership, debts like mortgages or liens and also ensure that taxes and utilities are paid up to date. We also determine the legality of the buildings on the property in the Spanish land registry. By law, we keep a property data sheet of the registry details which shows all relevant information; it’s called the Nota Simple. In addition the Notaries in Spain are obliged by law to check and precisely control this information before the creation and signing of new Title Deeds.
Do I need a Solicitor?
Yes. It is the most important part of the buying process after finding your perfect property. Be especially wary of any Estate Agent or Developer who offers an ‘In-House’ legal service. There’s a good chance that you found the property you fell in love with on the internet so do yourself a favour and find a solicitor the same way! A simple search for ‘English speaking solicitors in Spain’ for example, will direct you. The Notary who ensures that all the final documentation and paperwork is correct is also a solicitor so in essence there are 2 professionals working on your behalf, completely eliminating any possible problems at the time of creating and signing new Title Deeds.
What documents do I need to purchase a property in Spain?
The most important document is the Spanish NIE number (Numero de Identidad de Extranjeros) or your identification number in Spain. It is necessary to have a NIE number if you want to purchase or sell property in Spain. This goes for all owners and co-owners of a property. You can apply for your NIE number at Spanish embassies worldwide or in Spain directly. If you’d like you can download this form which is the official NIE application. The application is free but it takes up to a month depending on where you apply. In addition you will also need your passport for a property purchase. Furthermore you will need a Spanish bank account as you can only pay for the property with a Spanish cheque. An account is also useful to pay taxes, for example the council tax or IBI.
Do I need to be a Spanish resident?
It's not necessary to become a Spanish resident to buy a property here. There are no restrictions for foreigners who wish to buy in Spain.
What are the next steps once I’ve found the perfect property?
1 - The typical process is that you will be asked to sign a reservation agreement, Contrato de Compraventa. It includes a deposit payment to the owner (usually €6,000), the purchase price and any other conditions that apply to the agreement, for example, the sale is subject to a satisfactory structural survey or successfully obtaining a mortgage. This will reserve the property for you as the owner cannot legally sell it to anybody else for a certain time period usually 1 to 3 months. It is important to note that if for whatever reason the property is not purchasable, i.e. the deeds are not in order, the structural survey is unfavorable, or you are not able to obtain a mortgage, the reservation deposit is 100% fully refundable.
2 - During this contracted time period your solicitor will check and prepare all papers for the final notary date which is the official purchase date. During this period you also have time to negotiate with banks if you need a mortgage or to arrange for a survey to be done. Once all outstanding issues have been satisfied you will then pass a further 10% of the sale price towards the purchase less the initial reservation deposit, for example:
Sale price of €100,000, reservation deposit of €6,000 and then a further €4,000 to total 10% of the purchase price. In most cases the 10% stage is skipped and the remainder of the purchase price is paid directly at notary.
Each case is different and it would be advisable to discuss your particular needs with your solicitor.
3 - On the agreed notary date the official purchase happens and the new title deed will be written, the Escritura. The remainder of the purchase price will now be paid by a certified bank cheque. The notary takes care of registering the property in your name in the Spanish land registry Registro de la Propiedad. With the new Escritura you are officially the owner of your new home!
How long does it take from Start to Finish?
This depends both on you and the seller. Normally the time period between decision and final purchase is 1-3 months. Each case is different and it would be advisable to discuss your particular needs with your solicitor. In the best case scenario if you already have your money in Spain and the property is vacant you can go to notary within 2-3 weeks from start to finish!
3. Closing and Ongoing Costs
What taxes and fees do I pay as a Buyer?
On the notary date:
1 - The property transfer taxITPof 8% (As of January 2012) of the purchase price. In the case of a newly built property purchased from a construction company you don't pay ITP butIVAwhich for houses and apartments is normally 8% but as a government incentive it has been reduced to 4% until the end of 2012.
2 - Legal costs are normally 1% of the purchase price but on a lower value property the minimum charge would be between €1,200-€1,500. The notary fee, which includes the Escritura, registration etc. vary between 0.5% to 1.5% of the purchase price with minimum charges applied on lower value transactions. If you are financing your purchase you will need another Escritura for the mortgage and it also needs to be registered so it will increase the overall closing costs. All things considered if you add 12%-14% to the purchase price you’ll be safe.
What taxes and fees do I pay as a Seller?
1 - The Plusvalía which is a municipal tax on the increase in value of the land of a property (not the buildings). The basis of calculation is the value of the land in the Catastro (land registry office).
2 - The capital gains tax in Spain is 18% for residents or non-residents and you pay it with normal tax declaration (renta). There are exceptions and possibilities to reduce this tax. It is advisable to talk with a tax consultant for this.
What taxes do I pay Annually?
The council tax, in Spanish Impuesto de Bienes Inmuebles, called IBI. This tax varies depending on the classification of the land and in which town the property resides. There is also an environmental tax to be paid covering gutterings and waste water removal.
What are the ongoing costs?
Electricity, water, rubbish removal, gas and telephone depending on your consumption.
4. Building and Restoring
What is the difference between rural and urban land regarding building restrictions?
Fincas and Cortijos are located in rural areas and usually have a large amount of land. This land is classified as rustico which means there are special regulations regarding building on the land. The regulations vary from province to province and each town hall has its own guidelines.
Land classified as urbano is building land. Each town hall has its own development plan which advises the surface and height you can build on your land.
Do I need a license to restore a property?
Yes, you need a license to restore your property. It can be applied for at the town hall.
How do I get planning permission?
To build your property legally you need an officially registered architect who applies for the planning permission. He is the highest supervisor on the building site and writes the "final de obra" (final acceptance) when the building is finished. The final acceptance is necessary to register the new building at the town hall and in the property registry.
The second person required is the "Aparejador", an engineer who takes care of the structural engineering and the progress on the site. In addition he writes a technical project which has to be attached to the plans of the architect to obtain the planning permission. The third person is the builder. He has to comply with the regulations of the project and is responsible for the quality of the work.
How do I calculate the costs?
The average construction price of a Spanish property ranges from €700 to €900 per m2. It is completely possible to spend more or less than this although these figures are an accurate reflection of the cost/quality balance that most are seeking. Usually the quality of the primary components (structural, services and general installation) does not greatly influence the building cost. However, secondary components (building finishes, special details and decorative elements) do cause substantial price variation. Typically, owners tend to spend an additional 25% to 50% of the amount spent on internal spaces on the immediate environs of the house.
How do I exchange money to Euros?
If your home bank is charging too high a commission there are several companies offering cheaper money exchange and transfer especially from the UK to Spain. We have partnered with the most competitive company called MoneyCorp (ISO 9000 Quality Assurance), there is a handy converter on the website under the banner 'Helpful Info' at the top of each page and also a form that you can fill in to request more detailed information about your particular situation.
Where and how do I get a mortgage?
Depending on your personal financial situation either English or Spanish banks will offer you mortgages. Usually we recommend choosing a Spanish one since they give you better terms. However, if you have a good relationship with your English bank it is worth asking them of course too.
What is the procedure for getting a mortgage for a Spanish property?
When you have decided on a bank, they will ask you for your last pay slips, your income tax declaration, passport, NIE number and any proof of other income or assets. If everything is fine, they will send an independent valuer to the property who writes a report and estimates the market value. When the valuation is ready and all your documents approved, it is time to go to the notary. The notary sets up 2 official title deeds, one for the purchase and one for the mortgage. Both deeds will be registered in the property register. The registration process normally takes between 4 to 6 weeks.
If we haven’t been able to answer your question here please ask it below and we’ll get back in touch within 2 working days with the answer. Please also use this form to make any general comments or suggestions regarding this website. Your comments are very welcome and only help us in our quest to publish a website that is not only informative but very easy to use.