Spain is a very popular destination with people planning to move abroad in search of a better quality of life. The largest cities such as Madrid, Barcelona and Seville attract thousands of expats from around the globe who come here for the sunny, warm climate and golden beaches, but immediately fall in love with the bohemian lifestyle and the friendly local people.
If you’re dreaming of spending the next few years sipping on sangria in a beach villa in Costa del Sol or exploring the beauty of the eclectic Gaudi art in a modern studio at the heart of Barcelona, there are a lot of things to consider. And finding a new place to call home is definitely one of the most important ones. So if you are thinking of making the move to Spain and you’re looking to buy a property, read on. We’ve put together a few tips that you may find useful.
Let’s dive straight in.
Are foreigners allowed to buy property in Spain?
Yes. Foreign citizens, including Brits, are allowed to rent and buy property in Spain. There are no restrictions for non-residents, quite the contrary – the Spanish government encourages foreign investments in residential, business properties and land. The only thing you will need to buy a property in Spain is a Spanish NIE tax identification number, which you can get from the immigration office or the local police station. A step-by-step guide on how to obtain your NIE can be found here.
Where to find real estate in Spain?
With Spain being very popular expat destinations among Britons, many leading UK property websites are listing Spanish properties for both rent and sale. Of course, holiday homes for rent usually prevail but chances are you’ll find a decent number of properties for sale in British websites such as rightmove.co.uk or Zoopla.
In addition, there are a large number of Spanish property sale websites (often available in both English and Spanish) where you can find the hottest Spanish properties for sale.
Among the most popular websites are:
From small, 1-room studios to luxurious villas and exclusive castles, you can find a tremendous variety of properties catering for every need. Define the areas and the cities you’re interested in and start browsing around for properties that meet your requirements.
Once you’re ready with your property wish list, it’s time to plan your trip. Book at least 1-week stay in Spain and arrange appointments with real estate agents and sellers. Many real estate agencies host Open House days or weekends so make sure to drop by and inspect a few properties.
Finding a reliable notary and a legal advisor
Most people who decide to move to Spain are not quite familiar with the Spanish laws and the legal requirements for buying a home so finding a reliable and trusted lawyer is an essential part of the whole home-buying process. Otherwise, you may easily fall victim to a property scam and put your money at risk.
For a start, you will need to find a lawyer who is registered with the local bar association, known as Colegio de Abogados. Any qualified lawyer has got a registration number that you can verify with the bar association. Of course, this is not a 100% guarantee for honesty and competence, but it is a good start.
Using the service of a notary for completing the sale is not imperative but it’s advisable, and many mortgage companies have it as a requirement.
How to get a mortgage for a Spanish property?
Many high-street banks have a major presence in Spain so applying with one of them is a good choice. Alternatively, you can get a mortgage from a Spanish bank as there are no legal restrictions for non-residents. Yet, the application process could be a little more complex as local banks will need more time and documentation to carry out a credit check and assess your credit worthiness.
Transferring debt with property
According to Spanish law, any debts or mortgages attached to the property are being transferred to the new owner upon completing the sale. That’s why it’s so important to do a detailed check and ensure that you’re aware of any unpaid debts which come with the property.
The home-buying process: from start to finish
Here’s a quick overview of the main steps you will go through after you’ve found the perfect place to call home in Spain and you are ready to make the purchase.
First, you will need to make an offer for the property, usually through the estate agent of the seller. If they accept your offer, you will need to prepare and sign a preliminary contract and pay a 10% deposit to secure the property.
The deed of sale, known as escritura de compravento, is signed in front of a notary – at this point the full price for the property becomes due. It’s worthy of note here that if you don’t have a good understanding of Spanish, you should hire an independent translator to go through the sale contract and all other documents. You can find a list of accredited, independent tanslators here.
Transaction costs and taxes
All costs and charges associated with the sale are usually paid by the buyer and vary from city to city. Some of these charges include property transfer tax, legal fees, land registration fees, notary fees and others. To prevent any unpleasant surprises, make sure to include these additional costs when sorting your budget for buying a home in Spain.
There you have it – a comprehensive list of the most important things that you will need to consider when buying a home in Spain. Good luck with this great adventure and don’t forget that we at European Moving can help you with your home move.