The thought of buying a property abroad is an exciting and attractive prospect for many, but not knowing how it all works in a foreign country can be daunting.

If you want to buy a home or holiday home in Spain, but don’t really know where to start or how it all works, let us explain…

Step 1 – Obtain an NIE number

You will need an NIE number. This is a Spanish ID number that will stay with you for life. You have to have this to complete the purchase. In fact, you need your NIE to do pretty much everything in Spain – from setting up utilities or setting up a bank account, to receiving a delivery and buying a home. As your agency, we can help you to get this sorted and have access to a fast-track service.


Step 2 – Set Up a Spanish Bank Account

You will need a Spanish bank account to be able to pay for the house. The purchase transaction must be made through a Spanish bank account. You will need your NIE to set up the bank account. You will also pay for your utility bills and community fees through your Spanish bank account. We have English speaking connections in several banks who can help you do this really easily.

Step 3 – Check the Legal Status of the Property

Every house will have legal documentation and deeds associated with it. Before you move to sign the reservation agreement, you will need to make sure that this paperwork is available and there are no issues flagged, for example, debt against the property. We can do the initial checks on this for you.


Step 4 - Appoint a Lawyer

Once your offer has been accepted, you will be asked to sign a reservation agreement. You will need to appoint a lawyer at this stage. Once the reservation agreement has been signed, the lawyer will carry out all of the due diligence on the property, including thorough check of all of the legal paperwork.

Step 5 – Sign the Reservation Agreement

If your offer has been accepted by the owner, the next steps are to reserve the property and take it off the market. The reservation agreement lays out any agreed conditions between you and the owner. It also states deadline dates for the next two stages of the sale. The reservation agreement acts as the receipt for the reservation deposit. This deposit is usually between €6,000 and €20,000, it depends on the price of the property and who you are buying it from. This money is taken off the total amount of the property.


Step 6 – Private Contract

Two to three weeks after you have signed the reservation agreement, you will be presented with the private contract. This is prepared by your lawyer and the lawyer of the vendor. The official, legal document is in Spanish, but they will give you a translated version so you can understand what you are signing. It lays out all of the clauses and terms that have been agreed for the sale. At this stage, you will be asked to pay between 10% and 25% of the price of the property (minus whatever reservation fee you paid). This depends upon the price of the property and who you are buying it from.


Step 7 – Completion

This is the day the keys are handed over to you. You will attend a notary with your lawyer and the vendor’s lawyer and sign the official deed. If you are not able to be in the country for the day of completion, then we can set up a power of attorney for you. The power of attorney is usually given to your lawyer. Once you have signed the deeds, you will be required to pay the taxes and ensure your property ownership has been registered with the Land Registry Office. Your lawyer will do that for you.


Step 8 – Celebrate

The property is yours. Grab a very nice bottle of Cava or Champagne and pop that cork and enjoy! You are officially a Spanish property owner.


A few other things to bear in mind…

  • If you require a mortgage, then that will take around three to four weeks to submit, assess and approve the mortgage, including a valuation on the property.
  • If you are worried about not being in the country for any of the legal parts of the process, then we can set up power of attorneys for any aspect of the sale.
  • If you are transferring money from outside the EU, then you should consider using a currency exchange company. You will get an amazing rate and you are not charged at either end of the transaction. We can help you with some different options.
  • If you need help with interior design or landscaping at your new property, we have an amazing network of experts who come highly recommended from other clients.
  • If you are non-EU resident and would like to live in Spain full time or spend the winters here (more than 90 days in a six-month period), then we will need to help you with a residency application. You don’t have to be a tax resident, but we can help you obtain a non-tax residency status. If you are spending more than €500,000 on the purchase, then you will quality for a Golden Visa. Let us know and we can talk this through with you.

At IPP Spain, we help our clients through every step of the process to try to make it as easy simple and smooth as possible. If you have any questions about the process, then don’t hesitate to call us on +34 693 503 948.