Buying a property

Here is our first piece of advice! Do your research before you even start looking at properties.

Question everything and don’t take anything at face value. Take your time and don’t be rushed into making a decision.

We hope that some of the information we offer helps you but if there is something you need to ask don’t hesitate to contact us.

any questions? don’t hesitate to contact us.



• Fees





• Currency rates

• Setting up an account





• What is an NIE number?

• Obtaining an NIE number





• What you need to open an account

• Bank Charges & Commission Rates





• Fees





• Fees





• Due Dilligence

• Reservation Agreement

• Private Contract

• Sales Contract


We recommend that you have an independent lawyer, one that is neither representing the seller nor has any financial incentive from the agent or developer. Of course an agent will know good (and bad) lawyers and could perhaps steer you in the right direction but always meet with a couple, hear what they have to say and ask for references.


A lawyer with years of experience working in the local area will have good ties to the Town Hall and Notary which can be advantageous if you encounter problems.


You will expect to pay a lawyer 1 – 1.5% of the property value to act on your behalf plus IVA (government tax).


If you are transferring funds over to make your purchase check rates and charges with your own bank and then look at what is on offer from some specialist foreign exchange houses which usually offer the best rates.


Currency exchange brokers offer better exchange rates, especially for large amounts, a saving of around 3 to 4% on the standard rate and no transfer fees. You need to set up a trading account which is an easy process and can be done online.


You have two ways of buying your euros. You can set up a forward trading account so you set the rate there and then and know exactly what you are getting for your money. However if the exchange rate is swinging in your favour you may prefer to take a risk and wait in the hope you get a better rate.


Requirements for opening an account may vary by area, bank or branch but you may be asked for some or all of the following:


Photo identification, preferably a passport or your country’s National Identity Card.

Proof of occupation.

If you are retired or disabled you will need to prove your status

Tax declaration from the previous two years



Before you purchase a property in Spain you will need a tax identification number, known as an NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero), this is a requirement of all foreigners. All Spanish nationals have one. It used to be the case that the authorities issued an identity card which was useful for carrying around but now they issue an A4 document. You will need to produce your NIE number for anything official, from buying a mobile phone to renting a car.


Obtaining an NIE number can be done in person or you may prefer to use a lawyer or representative who knows the language and understands the system. The application is made at the local police station but you should check which one as only certain police stations offer the service. It can be a lengthy wait to make the actual application. If you are very lucky your NIE document may be produced whilst you wait, usually dependent on the time of the year, otherwise it should be ready within 2 – 6 weeks. Out of tourist season is the best time to apply.


The Spanish banks operate very much as the UK banks used to many years ago, a more personal service, particularly true of the more rural branches, less flexibility and high charges. We advise you to shop around as there are many advantages and disadvantages to be had, not only by bank but also by branch. As it is still very much a personalised service its important you feel comfortable with the staff and in particular the branch manager.


Requirements for opening an account may vary by area, bank or branch but you may be asked for some or all of the following:


1. Photo identification, preferably a passport or your country’s National Identity Card.

2. Proof of occupation. If you are retired or disabled you will need to prove your status

3. Tax declaration from the previous two years

4. Existing mortgage loans

5. Statement of assets and liabilities

6. Proof of place of residence dated within the previous three months e.g. utility bill, driving licence etc

7. As a Spanish resident you would also need to produce your NIE document


Bank charges and commission rates can vary wildly and in many cases you will just be offered the highest rates the bank thinks it can get away with. Press them for their best rates before making any commitment. If you plan to become resident ensure you open a resident’s account, as there can be banking and tax advantages. If you want to do online banking check out the banks website, some offer English versions, which will really help if you don’t speak Spanish.


You must do your homework when shopping for a mortgage as it is very costly to change to another mortgage provider. Spanish banks do everything they can to keep you.


Approximate fees you will have to pay will be:


Registry, valuation, notary fees will be around 0.80%


Mortgage Stamp Duty is 1.0%


Bank commission fees are between 0.5% – 2.0% but usually are around 1.0%


Early cancellation fees are common of around 1% so check the small print.


Costs vary according to the value of the property and the professional fees charged. Here we provide a guide for buying resale properties. The total fees will be approximately 10-11% of the property value.


Fees generally fall within the following guidelines:

Government Transfer Tax: 8 -10%

Notary fees: 0.1% – 0.4% (the lower cost of the property the higher percentage of the fee)

Registration of property: 1%

Stamp duty: 1.5%


There are various stages and different contracts depending on circumstances but here we cover the most common contracts used. There are generally three stages (1) an agreement document taking the property off the market produced by the agent (2) a private contract with the seller drafted by lawyers (3) a public contract, the signing of the deeds at the Notary.


Before going to contract and parting with money your lawyer should do some initial checks to make sure everything is in order with the property.

1. Who is the legal owner with the right to sell the property?

2. Are there any debts registered against the property?

3. Are community fees, local taxes, annual real estate taxes etc paid up to date?

4. If the property is new or off-plan is the 10 year insurance policy in place and paid?

5. Are all parts of the build legal and registered with land registry?

6. Is the property currently rented out on a long term contract or are there any sitting tenants?


Once you have made a decision to purchase most agents ask you to sign a Reservation Agreement and hand over between 3 – 6,000 euros, or more depending on the property value. You will be asked to sign a document committing you to the purchase, the wording of which can be vague and ambiguous. This deposit makes you more likely to proceed rather than change your mind after sleeping on it. You do not have to sign this document or make this payment. It is far better to do due diligence first and then make your commitment 100% with a legally drafted contract.


At this stage you will have done due diligence and are prepared to commit to the purchase by signing a legally binding contract and paying a 10% deposit of the agreed final price. A completion date is also agreed. The most common type of contract used is the Contrato de Arras. This contract states the price paid, the latest final completion date agreed and details of the property and owner. If there is furniture to be included it should be added and photos should be attached.


The deposit should be held in an escrow account. If you decide not to proceed you will lose your deposit and if the seller withdraws from the sale he/she will have to pay you your 10% deposit back plus another 10%. Of course this depends on how the lawyers agree the contract but usually these are standard conditions as legally established.


Signing of the final contract is done in front of a Notary. If you are unable to be in Spain for this you may hand over Power of Attorney to your lawyer. Once you have signed the property is officially yours and the keys will be handed over with vacant procession.

Whilst we try to make sure the information contained on our website is up to date we cannot guarantee the accuracy of it and advise you to seek up to date advice at the appropriate time and in relation to your particular circumstances.

“…..Even though we rejected our house on paper, Amanda obviously knew us well because she insisted we look at it. She was right, we loved it immediately…..”

David and Margaret, Aberdeen, Scotland

Read more testimonials

Properties for Sale

We have a small selection of properties which we have either refurbished or would like to refurbish! These are direct listings so we know them well. We also carry out personal property searches for clients, working on an exclusive basis.

Please contact us here if you…

Have a property you want to refurbish

Would like us to design you a new villa or extension

If you would like us to find you a property to buy

If you would like us to sell your property

If you would just like some advice

If you cannot wait you are also welcome to telephone us on

+ 34 952 494 293  or  + 34 670 826 633