Steps before the purchase

Contact a lawyer.

The best first step to take when you plan to buy a property in Spain is to find yourself a good lawyer. Some estate agents say they offer free legal advice to their clients and although the estate agent might be able to give you a good advice, it is not their profession to arrange the legal process of a property purchase.

The agents are still commercial agents and again although the good ones will have a lot of knowledge about the legal process, a lawyer who specializes in this area can be held responsible for the advice given.

At Home Exposure Marbella we can help you find a good lawyer, although we always recommend talking first to several lawyers before making a choice.

Lawyers normally charge around 1% plus IVA / VAT of the purchasing price, although some will negotiate on the price. We always recommend using a lawyer, especially for foreign buyers. If you do not know the laws and the language of the country it can be very difficult to make sure the purchase will be problem free.

Getting a NIE number

Everybody buying a property in Spain needs to have a NIE (for foreigners) or NIF (for locals) number. These are fiscal identification numbers so the tax man knows where to collect the taxes.

Do your homework.

After you have found the property you are looking for you, the agent and especially your lawyer have some homework to do. Your lawyer needs to search in to the legal documents of the property and its history, they need to check the property register to see who owns the property and to make sure this is the same person who is signing any contracts.

The register will also show any debts or limitations and other rights on the property. Your lawyer also has to check the local planning and zoning regulations for the area you are buying in, your estate agent might also have knowledge about this but still have your lawyer check this out.

When making an offer the lawyer should normally set up all contracts in cooperation with the sellers’ lawyer.

Steps during the purchase

Reservation Contract

After agreeing on the purchase price and conditions with the vendor, the first step is to make sure the property is taken off the market. Normally this is done with a reservation fee of 6.000 euros (€ 3.000  or € 10.000 can also be asked depending on the purchase price).

Your lawyer should draw up a reservation contract (he should always add a clause that the reservation fee will go to the vendor after he has checked out if the house is completely legal and can be bought without any problem).

After the signing of the reservation contract the lawyer will begin to do his ‘homework’. The next step will be to either sign a private purchase contract (when completion date will be set ) or go directly to the last step of the final contract / completion at the notary (when there is little time between the reservation and the actual transaction).

Some people even skip the reservation and private purchase contracts and go directly to the notary, although most of the time at least one of the two first steps will be taken.

Private purchase contract

As mentioned before, when there is a large time gap between the time of agreeing on the purchase and the actual transaction it is usual to sign a private purchase contract. This is a stronger contract than the reservation contract accompanied by a larger fee paid directly to the vendor, normally 10% of the purchase price (minus the reservation fee if already paid).

Some people skip the reservation contract and go directly to signing a private purchase contract, however most of the time all three steps will be taken.

Final Contract (notary)

The last step is to go to the notary and make the actual transaction. The purchase price (minus the fees already paid ) and all other fees must be paid at this point and the escritura de compra venta (title deed) will be signed. If a mortgage is taken after the purchase the mortgage will be signed together with the bank.


Buyer fees

Transfer Tax (for pre-owned properties); or IVA and Stamp duty (for newly constructed homes)Notary Fees, Lawyer/Solicitor Fees (the buyer fees would normally total around 10% of the purchase price)

Seller fees

Capital Gains Taxes, Plusvalia Tax (generally, though some buyers do agree to pay this),

Selling Agent Fees (normally 5%)

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