If you are planning to buy a property in Spain, it will be very helpful to get a basic understanding of the buying process beforehand, and to be aware of the taxes that you are liable to pay.
LOOKING FOR THE PROPERTY :
There are basically two ways to find a property :
- Use the services of an estate agent: they will search for a property that fits your needs. However, even if they offer comprehensive services, our recommendation is to seek independent legal advice. Do not sign any document if you do not fully understand it, especially in what concerns the conditions of the contract: commissions and expenses, type of contract and duration, etc. The best option always is to have the contract checked by a solicitor.
- You can also look for the property yourself, on the internet or physically visiting the area where you wish to buy.If you purchase directly from the owner, you will avoid agency commissions, but in this case, it is even more important to receive legal advice.
Once you have found the house of your dreams, you will sign a private contract with the seller, which will be legally binding. Some of the aspects that this contract must include are the price, the deadline for signing the Title Deed, and the deposit to reserve the property. Typically the deposit is between €3.000 and €5.000, although the buyer has the right to ask up to 10% of the price of purchase. (In forthcoming articles we will explain the conditions of this type of contract) from this contract once signed can have financial consequences for both parties. Therefore, we strongly recommend seeking legal advice before signing it. However, if you decide not to hire the services of a solicitor, make sure that the contract is translated into your mother tongue and get any doubts solved before signing it.
SIGNING THE TITLE DEED
Once you have obtained all the necessary documents to go ahead with the purchase (NIE, bank account, etc)you will have to sign the Title Deed before Notary Public. You can also appoint a solicitor to act on your behalf through Power of Attorney. (In forthcoming articles we will describe all the documents required to purchase a property in Spain)
When you sign at the notary, please bear in mind these points :
- Attend the signing with a translator. Even if you can speak Spanish, notarial documents use specific jargon that can be hard to understand (even for native speakers!).
- Clarify any doubts with your solicitor before signing. The Notary also must make sure that you understand entirely the content of the Deed.
- Ask for a copy of the deed; it will take some weeks to receive the original Title Deed. Also, ask for the keys! And any other useful advice that you need to know about the house.
- Request the invoice for the Notary fees.
TAX TO PAY
When you buy a second-hand property in Spain you are liable to pay the “Property transfer and Notarial acts tax”, at a different rate depending on where the property is. For example, in the Costa Blanca (Autonomous Community of Valencia) the rate is currently 10% of the price of purchase.
In the case of brand new properties, you will be liable to pay IVA (VAT) which in Spain is also 10%.
If somebody else deals with the payment of the tax (estate agent, solicitor…) make sure that you receive proof of payment for your own records.
REGISTRATION AT THE LAND REGISTRY
To complete the process the purchase must be registered at the Land Registry, so that the property becomes officially yours. There is currently a legal deadline of two months from the date of signing the Deed to do it.
It is of most importance to receive from the solicitor or the agent all the original documents related to the purchase. If you find any difficulties in obtaining them, seek legal assistance.
Once you become a property owner, you will have some obligations and you will be liable to pay some taxes. For a detailed explanation, you can read our article: https://www.costablancalawyers.com/en/do-you-have-a-property-in-spain-then-you-must-know-that/
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Should you need any further information on this topic, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to help you without engagement on your side.