10 things to consider when buying in Spain

10 things to consider when buying in Spain

 It is important to find an expert local agent and a reputable lawyer to help you find and purchase a property in Spain. This can save you time, money and avoid stressful experiences and disappointment.

There are many pitfalls to purchasing a property in Spain. Here below we give a brief summary of some important things to cover.

To find out more information about your own personal requirements please get in touch with us here


  1. Understand the Brexit rules if moving from the UK
  2. Understand visas if coming from outside of the European Union you will require a visa the most popular are:

Golden Visa and Non-lucrative visa. You can apply for a long-term visa from the Spanish consulate or embassy in your home country. Your agent or lawyer can help you to understand which visa you may require.

  1. Find a good agent to help you Search for and Find your property.

Find a local expert that you gel with. Agents in Spain work on an MLS system whereby you only need one agent to show you all the properties available. You will see the same properties on lots of different websites as the agents all share the same database.

  1. The buying costs in Spain

When purchasing a property in Spain you should allow approximately 10% on top of the purchase costs and 13% if you need a mortgage. New builds are also 13% on top.

  1. The Property Market in Spain. Your agent will know the local market well as well as popular areas to buy. They can advise you on the price and help negotiate a good deal for you.
  2. Selling a property in Spain. Your agent will be able to explain to you the costs of selling a property in the future if you need to for any unforeseen reason.
  3. Avoid losing money when transferring to Spain. Use a currency exchange company, not a bank.

This will ensure you get the best possible exchange rate and may save you bank costs as well.

  1. Finance: Setting up your mortgage and getting pre-approved before you start your search will save a lot of time once you find a property to purchase. Set yourself a budget and apply for a mortgage if necessary as soon as possible.
  2. Avoid the legal pitfalls

Find a good lawyer who speaks your language and knows the area where you are buying. Your lawyer will ensure that there are no problems with the following Issues:

Financial Issues

Many properties purchased in Spain are located in urbanisations of many similar properties with communal facilities such as swimming pools, lifts and gardens.

Owners of such properties have financial obligations towards the upkeep of communal areas. Any accrued debts are attached to the property and the new owner may find themselves obliged to pay off any debts the previous owner had accrued with the Community of Owners.

Registry Issues

If the house you are interested in is not currently registered in the Land Registry, it is vital to find out if it is capable of being so registered before you even consider buying it.

Issues with title

Quite commonly properties in Spain are sold by those who have received the property as part of an inheritance – typically the children of the deceased.

If the property you are purchasing is the subject of an inheritance that is not yet fully completed, your lawyer will need to check that those who are selling the property are legally entitled to do so and that there is not another beneficiary whose permission is legally required before the property may be sold and registered in the name of the new owner.

There may be tenants in the property who have a prior right under Spanish law to the first refusal to any offer to sell by the owners.

They would also potentially have a right to remain in the property for between 3 – 5 years, though you would be entitled to any rental income legally agreed.

License Issues First occupation LICENCE and AFO DAFO SAFO

In Spain, building permits are required in order to build a legally valid property. While these licences vary in type and nature, it can be simply stated that before proceeding with any purchase, your lawyer will check to ensure that the property was built in compliance with the legal regulations in force in that region of Spain.

Contractual Issues

The first mistake that buyers often make is to assume that the law in Spain will be the same as the law in the UK. It often is not – sometimes it varies slightly, but other times it is completely different.

As a purchaser, you are only liable to pay the rates bill for the proportion of the year that you own the property – clauses are often drafted in the purchase deed to foist this charge onto the purchaser – beware of this tactic.

A lawyer representing you will ensure that the vendors produce a valid Energy Certificate, which is obligatory in all conveyances in Spain. Exceptions to including an energy certificate include the purchaser making declarations in the deed of purchase that they will make substantial refurbishments to the property – again it will be wise to have a local lawyer available to advise on this in case the vendors try to slip this clause in.

A typical way that a lawyer would protect you would be to insist on a pre-purchase contract (known as ‘arras’) which will stipulate that the vendor will lose double the amount of any deposit should they fail to proceed with the purchase – this can prevent gazumping and the consequent loss of money invested in expensive and time-consuming pre-purchase activity making perhaps several visits to Spain.

Buy to Let and B & B Licenses

Using a buy to let in Spain to generate an income from ‘tourist rentals’ you should ensure that a lawyer first checks any local restrictions in place – at the urbanisation level and also at the regional level. Often it will be necessary to arrange a tourism license and these may be virtually impossible to obtain in the area that you are buying.

There may be other urban restrictions in place in the area that you are buying as a result of local policy, for example, some apartment buildings may only be used for tourism purposes and not for long term living, in order to generate tourism in the area.

If the plan is to operate a B&B (a common activity in Spain among ex-pats) then you will have to obtain a report from an architect that the property may be used for this purpose. Your lawyer will need to apply for an appropriate license and then make presentations to the local Town Hall.

This is a process that can take time and you may need to invest in a refurbishment of the property to make the appropriate Health & Safety adaptations in order to comply with the regulations.

  1. Move-in successfully choose an agent with a good customer services department that can help you with all the extra services that you need.

This may be things like getting an internet connection organised, furniture removals, finding a gardener or property management company etc.

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