Buying a Property in Spain

Buying a Property in Spain

10 Steps to owning a new holiday home on the Costa del Sol, Spain

Bookmark this page for easy access to the answers you need about buying property on the Costa del Sol

Most foreign buyers who have bought a property on the Costa del Sol or are currently considering buying a property in Spain, will no doubt have many questions about the Spanish property buying process. Marbella Homes has put together a top 10 list for you to follow before buying property in Spain.

If you are considering buying property in Spain, you need to be sure you know what you are doing in order to avoid any potential pitfalls. Marbella Homes has been in the business for more than 25 years; therefore, we understand the complete buying process from start to finish.

Make sure there is a website

It’s the 21st century therefore any good estate agency on the Costa del Sol will have a great website. First thing you want to do is go to the “About” section or the “Contact Us” pages. Check for a physical address – this is really important. Estate agencies on the Costa del Sol will be well established businesses with an actual office you can visit. Meeting an agent in a parking lot doesn’t count and should immediately raise red flags.

Make sure on the About or Contact webpages you see at least two telephone numbers. The trick here is to make sure they’ve got a landline and one or more mobile numbers. Once you’ve established that an agency office actually exists, you can then begin making appointments to view your chosen Marbella properties.

We understand that making a trip to Spain isn’t always that simple and, in some cases, especially where you might be coming from, can be very costly. So, researching properties, making a few phone calls and doing your due diligence is important.

Our final tip before we get started with the buying process is to remember that the images you see online won’t always show you everything about the property. For example, you will want to make sure there is no construction taking place around the property. 

Quick Tips for Choosing the Best Estate Agents in Marbella

  • When browsing through Marbella estate agents, look for:
  • How many years of experience?
  • A list of references or testimonials
  • An active Facebook page and onsite blog
  • A good knowledge of the areas
  • Multilingual, speaking both Spanish and English
  • An underpinning knowledge of comparable sales
  • A good understanding of the current Spanish property market

Getting Started – The Buying Process in Spain

Have you been dreaming about perpetual sunshine? Or maybe you dream of waking up to view the Mediterranean Sea? If so, you’ve come to the right place! Marbella Homes can start you on your journey to owing a property in Marbella. The Costa del Sol has one of the best climates in the world, with over 300 days of sunshine per year. It’s absolute paradise here, no matter your tastes. We’ve got miles upon miles of great sandy beaches, some of the best food you can eat and best of all, the friendliest people.

Why would you want to buy a property anywhere else?

If you’re reading this page it’s safe to say you’ve finally made the right choice and you want to buy a property on the Costa del Sol. Perhaps you want a beachfront villa or a lovely 2-bedroom apartment on the Golden Mile; no matter what type of property you choose or where, the process is the same from start to finish. More importantly, you need answers to your burning questions.

Your 10-Step Guide to Buying Property in Spain

Let’s start by showing you the steps to buying property in Spain.

1. Research & Shortlist

The Costa del Sol stretches over 300 kilometres from the Strait of Gibraltar to the east to the province of Granada, where it borders the Costa Tropical (Tropical Coast). The vast majority of the Costa del Sol, however, belongs to the province of Malaga.

So, you can well imagine that there are many thousands of properties for sale along the Costa del Sol. Property for sale in the areas of Marbella, the Golden Mile, Estepona, Atalaya and the New Golden Mile are by far the most popular. Therefore, you want to be sure you are buying the right one and in the right area.

There are some common-sense approaches to choosing the right property. For example, ignore the views of the sea if you need to be a near a school. Don’t choose a property inland if you don’t have a car, you should also consider whether you want a new property, off-plan or a resale property. 

With re-sale properties on the Costa del Sol, there are no surprises and the property will have a history and any problems will likely have been resolved. However, with the recovery, there are many new, off plan developments offering good investments. 

The point is you need to make a shortlist and that starts with proper research.

How long should your property shortlist be?

We recommend you choose a top 5 property list.

Here are a few things to consider while shortlisting:

  • The proximity to amenities including schools if you have children, hospitals, bus stops and so on.
  • Reviewing and asking about local taxes (read more about this further down)
  • How much privacy do you want? Take into consideration how far from the road and how close to neighbours
  • Do you want off plan, investing in new developments or a re-sale?
  • Close to the beach?

These are just some great questions to be asking, keep in mind this a big investment, so make sure it’s the right one! You can always contact us at Marbella Homes for any additional help, you are under no obligation.

2. Legal Representation or Legal Advice from an English-Speaking Lawyer

It’s in your best interest to get legal representation before making a property purchase on the Costa del Sol. The process of buying a property in Spain can be complex and it is very possible to miss something important.

Marbella Homes works closely with an English speaking lawyer, and we help you through every step of the process. Rest assured, our lawyer will:

  • Make sure you completely understand the process from start to finish
  • Make sure you completely understand all or any associated costs involved
  • Understand your financial position and offer advice
  • Be available to answer any questions you might have 

3. Due Dillegence 

As previously stated, buying a property on the Costa del Sol is a big financial decision, and we want you to avoid any costly mistakes. This means doing your due diligence and any additional research. Once you’ve made a shortlist, make sure to check the following:

  • The legal status of the property
  • Ensure that the property is free of debts and charges
  • Ensure the utilities are paid up to date
  • Check the usage status of the property
  • Ensure there is sufficient planning permission in place if you intend to extend or modify the property

The estate agents at Marbella Homes will help with these points by requesting the relevant documents from the seller or their solicitor.

4. Contract & Reservation Deposit 

Once you find your dream property here on the Costa del Sol, it’s time to make an offer. You will start the negotiation process and agree a mutally beneficial price. At this point you will sign an offer and deposit contract. You do this to ensure the property is removed from the market. This will also allow your lawyer the time to do any required checks while avoiding the risk of someone else buying the property.

The reservation deposit is usually 6,000€

Once you get the all clear from your solicitor, it’s time for you to proceed with buying the property. At this point you will need to sign a private contract. This contract is not logged with any official registry but is considered binding. Like any Spanish contract, you must be sure to read through it very carefully and ask as many questions as you need too.

Once you sign you will then be required to pay a deposit on your new property, which is usually 10% of the purchase price, less the deposit. This can sometimes be more depending on the deal. Should you decide to pull out of the process, the laws in Spain state you lose that deposit. So, make sure you are ready and willing to proceed. If, however, the seller pulls out after the deposit is paid then you are entitled to claim double the amount of the deposit in compensation, unless otherwise stated in the contract.

5. Getting an NIE

In order to purchase a property in Spain you must obtain an NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjeros). The NIE means you are registered with the Spanish authorities. Getting an NIE is an easy process and can be obtained through your lawyer.

6. The Title Deed

Signing the title deed must be done in front of a notary at the notary office. At this stage, you will also pay the balance and receive the keys to your new home. You will get a copy of the deed, known as the Copia Simple. If you’ve taken a mortgage for the property then the bank keeps the original document until the loan is cleared.

7. The Land Registry

Once the title deed is signed your details will be registered at the Land Registry. At this point, the utility companies should be informed of the change of name. Again, this is usually arranged by the lawyer. 

8. Paying the Legal Fees

At this point in the process you will need to pay all legal fees due. Often these include the quoted price for the property, and you should be given original invoices for the notary fees including any taxes you have paid. It is important at this point to ask for a detailed receipt so you know exactly what you are paying for. Make sure and keep all original documents and receipts.

9. Annual Taxes

Of course, paying property taxes is a must. You must make arrangements to do so and how much you pay will depend on a few factors. One is whether you are a Spanish resident – both residents and non-residents are liable for IBI or council tax. Non-residents however, must also pay imputed income tax. This is usually 2% of the cadastral value or the property.

10. Move into your new property on the Costa del Sol

Now the fun part! Having followed all these steps and checking your list twice just to be sure, you can now move into and enjoy your new home – congratulations!