You want to buy a house in Spain. The sunshine and the way of life has seduced you. But it´s something that you should do with utmost care, to avoid unexpected surprises.
At MAM Solicitors, we fully understand the difficulties most expatriate buyers face when purchasing a property in Spain. There are language barriers to deal with. Paperwork is difficult to interpret, and the Spanish legal system often seems impossible to understand, even surreal.
Whether you are buying a new-build property or a resale, MAM Solicitors will make sure that there are no rude awakenings. We take care of everything, from your preliminary searches on Title, right through to final completion. We gather together all the interested parties to seal the transfer. Importantly, we make sure that your property is freehold by carrying out the necessary searches at the Land Registry. We also confirm that the first occupancy certificate (Licencia de Primera Ocupación) has been duly issued by the Town Council, and ensure that there are no unpaid Council Tax or utilities bills, or community fees that could otherwise transfer with the property and hit your pocket!
On completion, spanish law requires all parties to attend signature of the Title Deed together at the Notary’s Office. If you can be there, so much the better. However, if you prefer, MAM Solicitors can prepare a Power of Attorney for you to sign, either in Spain or in your home country. We can then attend on your behalf, protecting your rights.
At MAM Solicitors, we believe it is vitally important to safeguard our clients AFTER completion of the sale. We will make sure there are no loose ends by offering a comprehensive AFTERSALES service which covers:
- Payment of any Transfer Tax or Duty Stamp
- Registration of the Deeds
- Switching of all utilities and setting up of direct-debit payment mandates
Please feel free to browse through the other pages in this section, which tackles both the serious and enjoyable aspects. A good solicitor is absolutely essential. Buying a house is definitely NOT A DIY task.
There are some seemingly obvious things that need to be meticulously checked before signing the purchase of a house in Spain. Below is a list of the most basic information that should be obtained before signing:
- Check that the seller is really the owner
- Check the state of charges and encumbrances on the house
- Check the current and previous payments of the real estate tax (IBI)
- Check the payment of community fees
Obviously, at MAM Solicitors we take care of all these details for you, all in your own language.
The procedure for completing the purchase of property in Spain may seem quite complex at times, and we are happy to provide you with expert guidance.
In the first instance, the buyer signs a private contract establishing the property being bought, the price, the form of payment and the completion date. This document is signed by all parties without the intervention of a Notary. The parties are obliged to fulfil this contract, but it is not valid in relation to third parties. Usually, the deposit of about 10% of the agreed price.
This is known as FOREIGNERS IDENTIFICATION NUMBER. It’s not a social security number, but rather is an identification for tax purposes. It’s compulsory for foreigners to obtain one when they have properties/interests in Spain. The number never changes – even if the person buys and sells many different properties. In the event of the property owner selling up and moving out of Spain, that number will remain theirs, regardless of the time spent away from Spain. THE SIGNATURE OF ANY TITLE DEED IS NOT POSSIBLE UNLESS THE NIE IS PRESENTED TO THE NOTARY.
When the time comes to complete the purchase, the Title Deed (called Escritura in spanish) is signed before a Public Notary. IT IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED YOU USE THE SERVICES OF A SOLICITOR TO MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS IN ORDER. Your solicitor will attend the notary with you or in the event that you cannot be present in Spain he/she can also represent you with a POWER OF ATTORNEY.
REGISTERING OF TITLE DEED:
MAM Solicitors will take care of paying the transmission tax on your behalf, as well as to make sure the property is duly registered in your name. For more information, see taxation and cost. We will also take care of setting up all the utilities contracts for your property.
Taxation and Costs
WHEN YOU BUY A PROPERTY
There are legal fees and taxes to pay on the transfer of a property.
In addition, there are fees which have to be paid to the Public Notary and the Land Registry.
MAM Solicitors can help you with all the details, and help you save your hard earned money.
The tax to be paid depends on which type of property is being bought and where it is located (remember that different Spanish Autonomous regions can legislate differently on the applicable tax rates).
The different taxes that are to be paid when you buy a property are as follows. If you need clarification, please don´t hesitate to contact us now.
> On the purchase of new properties:
- VAT (Value Added Tax), at a fixed rate of 10% of the declared value of the property.
- A.J.D. (Stamp Duties). This tax is in addition to above VAT above and is calculated at a rate of:
- 1,5% for properties located in the Valencian & Andalusian Communities.
- 2% of the declared value for properties located in Murcia Community.
> On resales:
I.T.P. Transfer Tax at a rate of:
- 8% of the declared value of the property for properties located in Murcia.
- 8% of the declared value of the property for properties located in Andalucia and with a price of up to 400.000 euros. Higher values are taxed at a higher rate.
- 10% of the declared value of the property for properties located in the Valencian Community.
**A good rule of thumb to calculate your budget when buying a property is to allow a 15% on top of the asked price. This will cover all taxes and expenses you must pay – even solicitor´s fees.
WHEN YOU HAVE BECOME THE OWNER
As a non-resident owner of a property in Spain you must be aware that you will be obliged to pay certain taxes in this country. These taxes are due in all cases, irrespective of whether the property is used intensively or only occasionally or even if it is kept empty.
Income Tax (I.R.P.F.)
This tax is around 0.15% of the value of the property, and is paid annually, corresponding to the former natural calendar year. So if your property has a cadastral value of 100,000 Euros, then the payable amount would be about 150 Euros each year.
Local tax on real estate (I.B.I.)
This is a direct tax based on the value of the house. In the UK this is known as LOCAL RATES or COUNCIL TAX. In Spain it´s called IBI (and SUMA BILL in the Alicante Area). Each Town Council determines the percentage to be applied to the cadastral value of the property. Every year, the value of the tax is increased by applying the percentage given by Central Government in Madrid, in line with inflation. This is an annual tax and there is the possibility – which we strongly recommend – of setting up a direct debit to your spanish current account.
MAKING A SPANISH WILL
Although it’s not compulsory, making a Spanish Will is highly advisable. Drawing up a will in Spain to cover only your Spanish assets, makes the whole procedure a lot easier, less expensive and above all, less stressful for the beneficiaries.
All Wills in Spain are registered in one central Registry, which makes it easy to apply for a certificate in the event of having to find out what someone’s Last Will and Testament entails. This tells the person where the will was actually signed and can usually be obtained within a few days. The system is so simple and straightforward here in Spain, that it would be a pity not to take advantage of it! At MAM Solicitors, we can help.
APPOINTING A FISCAL REPRESENTATIVE
It is very advisable to use the services of a local solicitor who can take care not only of the payment of your taxes in Spain but also to keep you informed of any essential changes in the law which may affect your interests.
MAM Solicitors can assist you in sorting out any hiccups related to your Spanish property while you’re away (i.e. electricity problems, letters that you don’t understand….). At MAM Solicitors we can help you with all your needs for fiscal representation.
When several people jointly own a property in shares, if the parties agree to remove their names from the Deeds in order to keep the property in just ONE name, it is necessary to sign a new title deed.
The best way to do this is by making a Dissolution of Community/Joint Ownership (because the Tax liability is lower than the one for a Re-sale or a Donation tax). In dissolution of community, the owner keeping the property compensates the people getting out of the Deeds for the net value of their particular share. To calculate the net value of each share we need to know the value of the house (usually the value in the former Deed of Purchase), to discount any encumbrances (mortgages, etc…) and to split the balance between all shareholders.
To complete this transaction ALL the current owners must sign the dissolution Deed, so if any of you cannot come to Spain, MAM Solicitors can prepare a Power of Attorney which can be signed in your country before a local notary public. Please contact us to check our current tariff of fees. Our fees include the following services:
- Coordinating everything for completion at the notary.
- Payment on your behalf of the corresponding taxes and taking care of the registration of the new title deed.
- Cancellation of direct debits and setting up new standing orders for utilities.
As for taxation, there will be a 1.2 – 1.5% STAMP DUTY on the total value of the property.