It can seem a little overwhelming when trying to work out what the legal processes and contractual obligations are for purchasing a property in Spain. So we’ve put together a guide with all the information you need to help ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible. With the help of a good local lawyer you should soon be well on your way to receiving the keys to your dream property in Spain. Of course, as with any property purchase or legal process, there can be unforeseen bumps along the way but doing a bit of homework in advance can help ease the headache of endless paperwork! Read on for our step-by-step guide –
BEFORE YOU BEGIN YOUR SEARCH
Apply for an NIE number
You’ll require an NIE number (a national ID number for tourists) before buying a property in Spain. This can be obtained in Spain via the National Police or via your lawyer. Whilst the process is relatively straight forward it can take a few weeks to receive your NIE number so we recommend applying for your number as you begin your property search. Read more about how to acquire an NIE number here
YOU’VE FOUND YOUR DREAM PROPERTY, WHAT NEXT?
First and foremost, appoint a bilingual Spanish lawyer to assist you with the legal processes, and;
Request a Nota Simple via the estate agent or your lawyer and carry out legal checks on the property. This is a legal report of the property which is held by the land registry – you should check who the legal owner is and if there are any outstanding debts you should be aware of.
Make an offer to the vendor and, once accepted, sign a preliminary contract (Documenta Reserva) formally requesting that the property is taken off the market. In return you will pay a small deposit (the amount is negotiable and dependent on the agreed purchase price).
YOUR OFFER HAS BEEN ACCEPTED, NOW WHAT HAPPENS?
Arrange any mortgage you require to complete the purchase of the property (you can find more information about how to apply for a mortgage in Spain in our guide here).
Sign the Private Purchase Contract (PPC)* and pay a full deposit (around 10% of the purchase price). You can then agree a time frame for completion with the vendor.**
TIME TO FINALISE THE PURCHASE, WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO DO?
Make an appointment to finalise your purchase and appoint a public notary (via your lawyer) in preparation to sign the Escritura (Title Deed). The notary is normally appointed via the local town hall and their role in the process is to represent the Spanish government by ensuring that all legal processes have been carried out.
Sign the Escritura – the sale is now complete and you will also receive the keys to your new property at this appointment!
Pay all fees and taxes (more information in our guide here).
Inform the Land Registry about the change of ownership within 10 days of signing the Escritura (this can be done via your lawyer).
ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD BE AWARE OF?
*For new build properties, the Purchase Contract must also have attached the property plans, the description of the property and the specifications of the quality and materials.
**Do be aware of the contractual obligations of the PPC as it requires you (the purchaser) and the vendor to complete the transfer of the property. So if either party pulls out after this has been signed you or the vendor could be liable to pay compensation to the other, or the transfer of the property could be completed via the court system.