Legal matters when purchasing a property in Spain
Your solicitor will assist you in all the different steps involved in purchasing your property, and this guarantees that all legal requirements are met. They will check that the property is registered in the vendor’s name and that it is free of any mortgages, charges, debts or other liabilities.
Foreigner’s Identification Number / Número de Identificación de Extranjeros (NIE)
All foreigners (permanent & non-permanent residents) require a NIE before the purchase of any property, car or for closing a water and/or electricity contract in Spain. Your solicitor or estate agent can assist you with this procedure as you need to obtain this in person at the foreigner’s department at the National Police headquarters. We are specialised in getting your NIE number in only a few days’ time. Even if you are only a couple of days in Spain. We are able to organise the application of your NIE number if you send us your details in advance by mail.
As well as the actual price of a property, a 10% Property Transfer Tax / Impuesto de Transmisiones Patrimoniales (ITP) is payable on all property purchases. The purchaser is also liable for the payment of their own Legal Fees, Notary and Land Registry Fees (depending on the price of the property, this usually equates to 3-4% of the value of the property).
Reservation Contract / Contrato de Reserva
The first document you will sign is a Reservation Contract. You will be expected to pay a deposit – typically 3,000€ at the signing of this contract and the rest up to 10% (as per Spanish law) and this within 3 weeks for resale properties, or a specified % for new build properties – thus reserving the property you wish to buy and securing it from possible sale to other buyers. This contract is valid for between 30 and 90 days to give lawyers time to carry out the necessary legal checks as mentioned above. Please be advised that this is a non-refundable deposit should you withdraw from the sale, as per Spanish law.
This is a Public official appointed by the Spanish government to witness the signing of all legal public documents. Upon signing the Title Deed (Escritura), the remainder of the purchase price is payable to the vendor – usually by means of a banker’s draft. At this point, the notary will confirm the signing of the Title Deed, recording that the sale/purchase has been completed in their presence and understood by all parties concerned. The original signed document is retained by the notary who will apply for a formal change in the land registry (your solicitor can apply for the formal change in the land registry if you prefer).