10 top tips for buying a property in Spain
Here are 10 top tips to help you with buying your dream Spanish property.
As moving to a new country is definitely a big deal. Whilst the thought of going to live in Spain very close to a golden beach may appeal, especially during particularly grey days in the UK, there is a lot to have to think about when you decide to make that leap to live in another country.
As well as all the normal things you have to deal with in a move within your own country, there is also the language, currency and a completely different legal system to contend with. Added to that is the fact that things will take longer to sort out – as if this sort of thing isn’t already a bit of a drawn out process in the normal run of things.
Use the following 10 top tips to make sure you don’t miss anything really important – and there is also a link to more help from the UK Government at the end of the article, which also links to other useful resources.
- Legal Advice. The Spanish conveyancing system is very different to the UK, so you should always use a lawyer with expert knowledge of the Spanish property system. They should be able to give you their registration number with the local ‘Colegio de Abogados’ (the local lawyers association) You can get a list of English speaking Lawyers from the British Embassy in Madrid here. Be careful of using Lawyers recommended by an estate agent or developer, as they may be acting for both parties or may not be independent (a cause of many problems during the boom years before 2008) For most of the rest of the items on this list, your lawyer should check them anyway, but it is a good idea for you to know what sort of things he/she should be doing for their fee.
- All properties must now have a ‘Nota Simple’ (land registry extract) and an energy efficiency certificate before they can be offered for sale,. The nota simple lists some basic information so you can check that there are no debts or legal proceedings pending, and that the registered owners of the property are in fact the sellers.
- Make sure that the property is a legal build and has all the correct permissions, and is listed on the Cadastral register. The Cadastral certificate is very useful, as it will give you the exact size of the plot and show you where the boundaries are. If you have the cadastral reference number, access the online record yourself here.
- Find out that the cadastral value of the property, which will then help you to find out what the purchase tax and the yearly ‘IBI’ (like council tax) bill will be.
- You should get a receipt to prove that all the utility bills, including the ‘IBI’ have been paid up to date by the existing owner, before you buy.
- It is a good idea to check that there are no rights of way or building restrictions on the land you wish to buy, which can be easily checked at the local town hall.
- Most people don’t do this when buying in Spain, but it is prudent to have a property survey carried out, just as you would if you were buying in the UK.
- If you are buying a new property, of which there are many still unsold from 2007, you will need a ‘licence of first habitation certificate’ issued by the town hall.
- Always get offers and agreements in writing before agreeing to proceed, and always insist on a paper receipt for any money you have paid.
- Last but not least, get a Will in Spain, so that if anything happens to you, the inheritance laws in Spain don’t get in the way of your wishes.
As you can see from all that, there is quite a lot that is different to buying in the UK, so you should use experts to guide you and make sure that you don’t get caught out by any legal or procedural loopholes.
For more information, go to ‘How to buy Property in Spain’ from the UK Government’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Disclaimer: As this information is a general guide, and is subject to change, you should always seek professional help and guidance before entering into any sort of contract. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that this site is up to date and accurate, Mojacar Casa cannot be held liable for any loss which may arise from relying on information contained in this post.