Spanish legal advice in plain English

Frequently asked questions about buying property in Spain

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the questions we are frequently asked about buying property in Spain, but it is a start.  We hope that we have provided the answers to your questions below.  If you have any further queries, please contact us and we will be pleased to discuss your query.  

>> Download your free guide to Buying Property in Spain

What is a Spanish NIE, and how do I get one?  

The Número de Identidad de Extranjero or NIE is a Spanish tax number for non-residents of Spain.  You need to have this number in place in order to be involved in any official process in Spain, such as buying a property, buying a car, getting your property connected to utilities and for paying taxes.  

If you are buying a property in Spain it is essential that you have your NIE in place in order to complete the purchase.  The number will be issued on a certificate.  The certificate has a validity of three months, but the number will never change.  

There are a number of ways in which you can apply for the NIE.  You can apply in person, either at the local police station in Spain, or at the Spanish consulate in London. 

Alternatively, and perhaps more straightforwardly, at E&G Solicitors in Spain we can apply for your NIE on your behalf as part of our property purchase service.  This is by far the fastest and least stressful option.  

Do I need to have a Spanish bank account to buy a property in Spain? 

The funds for the purchase of any property in Spain need not come from a Spanish bank account, although that is certainly the most sensible way to proceed.   What is important is that the source of the funds is clear and that the payment of the funds from buyer to seller is apparent from documentation provided.  In addition, and perhaps most importantly when you are the owner of a property in Spain you will find that it is very difficult and in some cases impossible to pay for utilities from an overseas bank account, hence it will be important for you to have a Spanish bank account as early as possible.  

Opening a bank account in Spain can be very straightforward, or it can be very time consuming.  That depends upon the bank.  At E&G Solicitors in Spain we open bank accounts for our clients as part of our property purchase service.  

What is the process of buying a property in Spain? 

Please take a look at our article "The stages of buying a resale property in Spain" which sets out the process of buying a resale property.  If you are purchasing an off-plan property in Spain then the process differs.  Please take a look at our article "The dos and donts of buying an off-plan property in Spain".  You will also find further information about buying property in Spain on our buying property in Spain pages. 

Find out more about conveyancing in Spain.

How long does it take to buy a property in Spain? 

That depends upon the specific circumstances of your purchase, as various points regarding the timescale can be subject to negotiation.  As a rough guide, the average purchase takes between four and eight weeks from acceptance of the offer to completion of the transaction. 

When I buy a property in Spain is it freehold, or leasehold?  How can I tell? 

The concepts of freehold and leasehold land do not exist in Spain per se.  If you buy a property then you own it outright.  If you buy a house then you own the land that the house sits upon.  If you buy an apartment then you own the walls, the ceiling and the floor, as well as the balconies.

Find out more about pitfalls of buying property in Spain.

How much does it cost to buy a property in Spain? 

By far the biggest expense you will encounter when buying a property in Spain is the purchase tax.  For a resale property this will be between 6.5% and 10% of the purchase price, depending upon the location of the property.  

If you are purchasing a new property, or a property off plan, then you will pay Spanish VAT (IVA), currently 10% of the purchase price (7% in the Canary Islands), and 1.5% in relation to purchase tax (1% in the Canary Islands).

There will also be a Notary's fee, which will be between 900 Euros approximately, and a property registry fee that will be approximately 500 Euros.  There may also be other miscellaneous expenses to cover bank fees, NIE certificates, couriers, etc., which should not amount to more than a further 400 Euros.

In addition to that you will need to make a provision for legal fees. 

Please see our page 'The cost of buying property in Spain' for more detailed information.

How much does it cost to own a property in Spain? 

In addition to the usual expenses of property ownership, such as water and electricity, the costs of owning a property in Spain depend upon the type of property in question.  

If you buy an apartment then you will most likely be obliged to pay community fees.  These are the fees associated with the maintenance of the common parts of the development in which your apartment is located.  It is important to establish the level of community fees before you commit to purchasing the property.  

All property owners in Spain are liable to pay IBI, a local tax similar to council tax.   The cost varies depending upon the location of the property but, again, this cost can be established before you have committed to purchasing the property.  

As a non resident property owner in Spain you are obliged to pay non-resident’s income tax on an annual basis.  This is a tax that is based upon the rateable value of your property in Spain.   The approximate liability can be calculated prior to your purchase.  

Clearly, if you rent out the property then tax must also be paid upon the income generated.   For more information on renting out your property in Spain, whether as a holiday let or for longer terms, please see our pages on "Renting out your property in Spain". 

Find out more about repossessed property in Spain.

Do I need to make a Spanish will if I own a property in Spain?  

We recommend that you do so as it makes matters much more straightforward.  Please see our most recent "Spanish wills" article and take a look at our Spanish wills pages for more detailed information.  

Find out more about selling property in Spain.

Next steps

If you are thinking about buying a property in Spain you will find our free guide to buying property in Spain to be invaluable. Please click here to claim your free copy. 

Please also do be in contact with us. You can contact us by email at info@solicitorsinspain.com, by telephone on 020 3478 1420 or by submitting your query using our contact form

Last updated: 24 February 2022

Testimonials

We spoke to a number of solicitors at A Place in the Sun Live. We chose E&G Solicitors in Spain because of the interested and informative person we met there. It seemed that he really knew what he was talking about. Not all went as planned with the purchase etc but thats why a good solicitor is so important. We made a good choice.

Michael Dolman, Cheshire