property in Barcelona
 

Buying property in Spain

Strong Abogados has been providing expert conveyancing services since the year 2000. We have an independent legal service to help the clients with their property purchase in Spain. We do not get commissions from banks, realtors, or construction companies. We work only for the client.

Why hire us?

  • 100% of our clients are international clients. We understand your needs and your expectations of service. We are the only law firm covering all of Spain that works this way.
  • We have an architect as head of the department for property purchase. Our real estate lawyers will handle the property transaction, but you will have an architect's perspective before investing your money in Spain.

Property checks should be done before you pay realtor fees to hold a property and before you make a down payment. For further information, contact us today, or call us at 932 155 393.

Calculate the costs of buying a house
  • Use our Expenses Calculator to find out the added costs when buying a house.
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Articles:
The steps to buying a house in Spain
About SAREB: the "banco malo"

FAQs:
What other costs are involved in buying a property?
If I'm buying a property, can I save on taxes by creating a company?
Can I avoid travelling to Spain for the closing?
What are some pitfalls in buying a property in Spain?
How can I find out the market price of a property?
The seller wants the declared price to be less than what I'm actually going to pay. Should I do this?
What information should I get from my real estate agent?
Are real estate agencies regulated in Spain?
Are there any required house inspections in Spain?
Can you represent me for the sale of my property in Spain?
What land can I build on in Spain?

 

What other costs are involved in buying a property?

Use our expenses calculator to get an idea of the total costs involved in your purchase, as well as when you will need to pay them. The expenses calculator includes all fees and taxes generally ascribed to the buyer. Keep in mind, however, that whether the buyer or the seller pays the various fees and taxes is always negotiable. Who pays the fees should be clearly specified in the pre-agreement.

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Can I avoid travelling to Spain for the closing?

Yes. You can give us power of attorney, and we will represent you at the closing.

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What are some pitfalls in buying a property in Spain?

  • The property is not registered, most likely because it was illegally built. Many unregistered properties are being sold to foreigners, since foreigners are less likely to check the registration. If you find a bargain, chances are it's not registered. Solution: Get a registry listing (nota simple).
  • Too many brokers are involved. We once had to speak to seven brokers to find out the actual facts about a house. Besides communication difficulties, each broker may be getting their percentage. Solution: Ask the broker for their contract with the owner.
  • The property was sold to more than one buyer. Yes, this happens. Either the buyer has intention to defraud, or they received a better offer and were unable to refuse. If there are two purchase agreements, the property belongs to the first person to register the property at the Property Registry. If you are the second person, then you have a right to indemnization from the seller, in addition to a return of your deposit. If you signed a pre-agreement (contrato de arras), then you have a right to receive double your deposit.
  • The new home is delivered late or with defects. During the 2005-2007 boom, many if not most developers were selling houses before they were built. After the closing, it was all too common that the property was completed long after the agreed upon time period. Solution: the contract must establish a required completion deadline. If the deadline is not met, the seller agrees to return all payments that the buyer has made, including interest plus additional costs caused by the delay. If the seller is not willing to include that in the contract, you should strongly reconsider whether you want to continue. Another common case is that the new home is delivered with changes to the plan or with defects. Once the buyer has signed the contract, the description and architectural plan has the value of a contract. If it is the buyer who makes changes to the plan, these should be put in writing. If the property has defects, the developer is obliged to repair them. In such cases, we recommend hiring an architect, who can help determine the importance of the defect and the cost to fix it.

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How can I find out the market price of a property?

To find out the market price of a property, you should have an appraisal done. Both our property appraisal service and all others in Spain are registered and guaranteed by the Sociedad de Tasacion.

The following sites can give you an idea of the value of a property:

Sociedad de Tasacion This company certifies all appraisals done. Their site has the current price-per-square-meter of new properties sold in all the cities of Spain, as well as the change in price from the prior year.

idealista.com This large post-your-own-property site offers reports with detailed stats on used properties.

Cambalache Another large listing of used properties for sale. No reports, but a good place to get an idea of prices.

An appraisal will cost roughly 300 euros (depending on the value of the property). The appraiser uses two approaches to calculating the value of a property.
- They will measure the property to draw up a floor plan and calculate the square meters, then multiply this by the value per square meters in the area. This value then gets adjusted by a number of factors, such as whether the house can be moved into right away or needs renovation.
- They will find similar properties that have been sold in the area recently.
Since the determined value depends in part on a comparative study with other similar properties that have been sold in the area, two appraisals done on a propety could vary by up to 10%, especially if there is a lack of comparable properties sold recently.

Regarding price per square meter for apartments, make sure whether you're dealing with m2 construido (constructed) or with m2 util (usable). Construido includes common space: stairs, air shafts, walls, etc. The difference between the two numbers can vary widely, but on average m2 construido is 27% more than m2 util.

If you're getting a mortgage, the bank will require you to pay for an appraisal, though they choose the appraiser. This step comes after you pay the downpayment on the property, though, so if your offer is significantly higher than the appraiser's value, you'll lose this downpayment if you back out now. For that reason, you might want to pay for your own appraisal before paying the downpayment.

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The seller wants the declared price to be less than what I'm actually going to pay. Should I do this?

And the broker tells you this is common practice, right? In truth, it's a known practice, but not so common. What is happening is that the seller wants to have less capital gains so they can pay less taxes. The problem for you as the buyer is that when you go to sell the property down the road, you will then have to pay more capital gains (unless you also find a buyer willing to make this deal). You will pay in taxes all that the current seller didn't pay. So why would anybody accept this? It's because some people in Spain have a sizeable amount of money tucked under their pillow that they never declared as earnings to the tax office. Giving this money as cash to the seller effectively launders it, and is therefore illegal. If this is not the case with you, then don't make a deal with the seller. In fact, this should be made clear in the pre-agreement, so the seller doesn't try to force in this provision a week before the closing.

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What information should I get from my real estate agent?

For a new construction, you should get:

  • A registry listing (nota simple) of the full plot of land.
  • The CIF and full name of the construction company.
  • The construction permit (licencia de obra).

For an existing house, you should get:

  • A registry listing (nota simple) of the property.
  • A copy of the deed (escritura).

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Are real estate agencies regulated in Spain?

There is a national registry of real estate agents -- Agente de la Propiedad Inmobiliaria (API) -- but agencies are not required to become members. In fact, many large agencies are not members. With an API agency, there are more controls. For example, there are declared fee guidelines (between 3% and 5%).

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Are there any required house inspections in Spain?

In Spain, there are no required inspections, such as for excessive radon levels, termite damage, or structural damage. However, most cities in Spain have approved a regulation to require inspections for all buildings over 50 years old (the required age may vary depending on the city). So when you buy an older apartment or house, you should request this report, since the report may prescribe costly renovation work that must be performed on the building within a certain time frame.

when you buy a property, the bank performing the mortgage will always ask for a standard property appraisal. This appraisal does not include property surveying. If you would like a property survey, please see our property survey service.

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Can you represent me for the sale of my property in Spain?

Yes. Please see our information about buying a property, because most of it is relevant to you as a seller. As a seller, you have specific obligations. It is essential for you to know these and comply with them. Strong Abogados will inform you about them, particularly those relating to taxes. If you are a non-resident and a retainer was withheld from you for taxes, you may be able to recoup part of this payment by filing the forms. This retainer is a consequence of the seller's obligation to pay tax on revenue obtained in Spain.

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