Gran Alacant Properties has created this handy guide to buying property in Spain to help you better
understand the process and the steps involved. Have more questions? Want to get started on your
search? Call us at +34 966 699 441 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today!
Once you have found the house you want and you have agreed upon a price with the owner, one of the
first steps will be to pay a deposit called the señal. The amount of the deposit varies and depends on the
purchase price. For properties under 100,000 this tends to be 3,000 euros. For prices above that, the
amount is negotiable with the seller. These funds are held by the estate agent or solicitor until the sale is
completed and are deducted from the final amount.
The reservation contract
At the same time, you and the seller will sign a reservation agreement or contrato de arras. This reservation contract basically sets out the terms of the sale including the sale price and identifies both parties as well as the property in question. (John Smith agrees to buy the property 123 Main Street for the sum of 100,000 euros from Jim Jones.) The contract will require the seller to provide all necessary documentation to the buyer. The contract also states if either party fails to complete, they pay a penalty equal to the deposit. In the seller’s case, they would refund your deposit and then pay an additional sum equal to that deposit. If you fail to complete, you forfeit your deposit. The contract also establishes a deadline. Typically completion must happen within three months. If you need more time, you should negotiate with the seller before signing. Make sure the reserve contract includes a clause stating that the property is sold without mortgages or other debts.
The next thing you need to do is obtain an NIE or foreigners identification number. The Spanish
government requires all foreigners have an NIE and you will need one to proceed with the purchase of a
property. This process is a relatively quick and easy one and can be taken care of one morning at the
Policia Nacional or national police. Gran Alacant Properties can assist you with obtaining an NIE.
If you don’t already have one, you will need to open a Spanish bank account. Most banks will require an
NIE to set this up although some will give you a few weeks to get this done. Be sure to ask about charges
associated with the account! Banks in Spain charge a monthly account maintenance fee, a fee for having
a debit/credit card, etc. Make sure you ask in advance to avoid nasty surprises! Gran Alacant Properties
can assist you with opening a bank account.
Hire an abogado or gestoria
You should also hire an abogado or solicitor to represent you in the transaction. The laws regarding
property are very different in Spain so Gran Alacant Properties strongly advises our buyers to hire a
reputable local lawyer who speaks good English. Your solicitor will compile all the documentation from
the seller, research the property, negotiate on your behalf and ensure that all mortgages, etc. are
cancelled prior to going to notary. Gran Alacant Properties can recommend several experienced local
Be very wary of any seller or estate agent who advises you to skip hiring a solicitor to save time or money!
Move your money
If you are from outside the eeurozoneyou will need to move your money to Spain and change it to euros.
First, you’ll need to speak to your bank manager about doing so. They can probably handle the
transaction for you for a fee. However please know that you can get a far better deal using a currency
exchange company. We can recommend one that has offices to locally to assist you. They can even
meet with you in person at Gran Alacant Properties’s office if you prefer.
On the agreed upon date, the escritura or deed of sale will be executed at a notary’s office. By custom in
Spain, the buyer chooses both the notary and the date. The notary will check the status of the property,
verify everyone’s identity and ensure that all parties understand the documents they are signing. The
balance of the purchase price will be due at that time. Your solicitor will work with you to arrange the
means of payment whether by a bankers draft or transfer. If you don’t speak Spanish, you will need to
have a translator at notary. Gran Alacant Properties can provide you with a qualified translator.
Pop the champagne!
Congratulations! You’ve just bought yourself a house in Spain!
Disclaimer: The information above is provided by Gran Alacant Properties for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or to substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed solicitor.