It is important when you purchase a property in Spain to make sure that you have all of the correct information BEFORE you make the plunge.
Here is our guide to the process involved in buying a property here in Spain:
Viewings are mostly conducted in this area on a one-to-one basis with your agent. The more information you can provide on your specifications the better. It is not unusual for one agent to show another agent's properties - this does not cost the purchaser any more money, as the two agents share the fees in the event of a sale. When at a viewing, it can be a lot of information to take in and if you see several properties in one day they all start to merge into one so ask questions, make notes and if you want to take your own photographs you can.
In the same way as the UK, once you have decided you would like to purchase a particular property you make an offer, via the agent, to the vendor. Also, in the same way as the UK, there may entail a little toing and froing by the agent between vendor and yourselves to reach agreement. It is best to organise your NIE number at this stage if you do not have one and we can help arrange this. We can also help if you need a mortgage.
It is usual here, once a purchase price has been agreed, to leave a reservation deposit with the agent (usually 3,000 to 5,000 euros). This ensures that the property is taken from the market and is unavailable to other potential buyers whilst the contract is being drawn up and preliminary searches done. This deposit is non-refundable if you pull out, and the paperwork is all in order.
The contract should be drawn up a few days after the reservation deposit has been paid, and once all of the relevant paperwork has been collated. The lawyers will require copies of photo identity, title deeds for the property, rates and utility bills and will need to check that there are no outstanding debts on the property. Contracts will be in Spanish and will defer to Spanish law. (Some contracts will also be in English, but if not ensure that your lawyer provides you with a full translation).
The purchase contract will usually require you to pay 10% of the purchase price - either at the point of signing the contract, or at an agreed date thereafter (often approximately 14 days)
Although purchasing a property is not complicated in Spain, and your agent should be able to take you through the process smoothly, we would always recommend that an independent lawyer is retained(Abogado). There are several lawyers in this part of Spain - we feel that it is always sensible to use lawyers that come recommended - and many of them speak excellent English.
This Lawyer will take care of you and assist you through the complete buying process. Once the sale is completed, your lawyer should them change all relevant documentation and bills into your name.
All purchases in Spain are completed in the presence of an official Notary, where the title deeds (Escritura) are signed over from vendor to purchaser. The appointment will be made either by the agent or one of the lawyers either before (by mutual agreement) or on the date of completion as stated in the purchase contract. This is usually 4 to 6 weeks from making the deposit and your agent and lawyer are also present. You will make the final payment to the Vendor who will simultaneously pass over possession of the property to you, handing you the keys. The Notary will pass the details of the new Title Deed to the Land registry who will record the details of the new owner.
The costs involved with purchasing a property in Spain can be almost as much as 13% on top of the purchase price. There is a 10% purchase tax (10% of the purchase price) that needs paying to the Spanish government, there are notary fees and Land Registry. These fees are based on a sliding scale depending on the price of the property (about 0.5% for both). And, of course, legal fees if a lawyer is retained (about 0.5%) will also be payable at completion.
It is normal to budget for 12%-to-13% (if you buy without a mortgage) if you buy with a mortgage there are additional set-up costs and fees associated with the mortgage deeds which will be on top of the original purchase price (your mortgage provider will confirm these costs).
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