Guide to buying
Spain is a popular destination for home buyers looking for warm climate, a vibrant cultural scene, and of course, delicious local cuisine.
Whether you’re looking for a stunning sea view villa or a rustic hacienda, Fine & Country Spain has the most beautiful homes this sunny country can offer.
The laidback Spanish lifestyle is envied worldwide, with the OECD’s ‘Better Life Index’ putting Spain above the average in work-life balance, income, wealth, and personal security. So if you’re looking for great quality of life for you and your family Spain might just be the right place!
Sunny weather all year
Spain has an overall temperate Mediterranean climate. Some parts of the country are sunny all year round. Due to the mild weather, Spain offers a wide variety of outdoor activities, which range from surfing to hiking the spiritual pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
The stunning Spanish coastline stretches for over 3,100 miles. Spaniards and tourists alike flock to sandy beaches with crystal clear water to enjoy the sun, swim, or dive.
Marvel on Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces, get inspired by world-class art collections, or simply enjoy the tantalising sounds of the flamenco guitar - just to name a few cultural highlights Spain has to offer.
Buying property at ease
Expats can easily purchase property in Spain, as there are no restrictions on land and no special requirements for foreign property investments.
In fact, these are encouraged by the Spanish government. Should you decide to buy a property, you will even be eligible for the popular Golden Visa.
Process of Buying in Spain
- Make an offer
- Hire a legal professional
- Arrange a survey (Advised)
- Complete the sale
Make an Offer
Once you have found the property you would like to purchase you should make an offer through your estate agent.
Your estate agent will carry out anti-money laundering checks, as required by law.
Hire a legal professional
Once your offer has been accepted you will need to choose a notary, a civil servant who will conduct a title search, prepare a Statement of Adjustments, register the property and liaise with the seller's lawyer.
You may also wish to hire a lawyer to check your contracts and tell you if there is any debt tied to the property.
When selecting your lawyer, make sure they are registered with a local bar association. You can verify a lawyer in Spain by using the national bar association’s Census of Lawyers (Censo de Letrados)
Your lawyer will also carry out anti-money laundering checks to understand where the funds for your property have come from.
Arrange a survey
A survey will detail any potential issues with the property. As a buyer you may wish to renegotiate the offer should the survey find any problems.
Deposit contact (Contracto de Arras)
The contract details the offer and states your commitment to buying the property. You will pay the deposit at this stage to pause any viewings. In case the seller pulls out they have an obligation to pay you compensation.
Complete the Sale
To complete the sale, all parties involved must attend a signing at the notary’s office. This includes the estate agent, the seller, and the buyer (or their lawyers with power of attorney).
At this point, the notary will need to see evidence that you have the money to buy the property such as a banker's cheque. They will also go through all the information relating to the sale.
Once the signing is done the notary will give you, or your legal representative, a copy of the deeds.
The sale is then complete.
If you are an ex-pat buying a property in Spain you are required to have an NIE number. An NIE number is what the Spanish National Police assign to foreign residents who don’t have Spanish citizenship.
You can get an NIE number by taking your passport and EX 15 application form to a local police station, or Spanish embassy. You will also need to provide two passport-sized photos.
Spain offers a Golden Visa programme for foreign property owners. Under the scheme, if you invest at least €500,000 in Spanish properties, you’ll get a residency visa. Golden Visas are primarily for retirees and holiday home buyers but are popular with investors from outside the European Union too.
Income tax provision
If the seller is not a Spanish resident then the buyer has to withhold 3% of the purchase price and pay it as tax to the authorities.
If you’d like more advice on buying in Spain, get in touch with our team at Fine & Country.
Cost of Buying in Spain
Fees for buying a property in Spain vary from area-to-area, and many are negotiable. Buyers usually pay the following costs:
- Property transfer tax: 6–10% (existing properties) / VAT (or IVA) at 10% (new properties)
- Notary costs, title deed tax, and land registration fee: 1–2.5%
- Legal fees: 1–2% (including VAT)
The seller usually pays the estate agent fees.
Transfer of Assets Tax (ITP)
As a buyer, you have to pay Transfer of Assets Tax (ITP) if you purchase a resale property. Once the sale is complete, you need to pay the ITP to the Autonomous Community within 30 business days, complete Form 600 and obtain a copy of the deed.
AJD (Stamp Duty) and IVA (VAT)
If you buy a house that is being sold for the first time, you have to pay IVA, which is currently 21% in Spain. In the Canaries, you have to pay the local consumer tax called IGIC.
The Spanish stamp duty, otherwise known as AJD can vary between 0.5% and 1.5%, depending on the location of the property.
AJD and IVA are both paid by the buyer prior to the completion of the sale.
The cost of the notary’s service can range from 0.1% to 0.4% of the total sale price.
Notaries all charge the same fixed rate, so there is no need to shop around.
Land Registry Fees
It cost between 400 and 650 euros to register the deeds and get them signed by the notary.
While it isn’t a legal requirement to instruct a surveyor in Spain, it is recommended. This can cost anything between 300 to 2000 euros, depending on the size of the property.
An Advisor or Lawyer
If you don’t speak any Spanish it is advised that you instruct an advisor or independent lawyer specialising in urbanismo (Spanish Land Law). An advisor can process tax and carry out other paperwork for you.
The deposit paid to secure the property varies between 10 to 30% of the final sale price.