Are you interested in buying property in Spain? If you are not sure how you should proceed, what documentation you need and whether you need a sworn translation or not, you are in the right place to shed some light on this transaction. Anyone purchasing property in Spain needs to complete a series of formalities and obtain a series of documents prior to sale. Therefore, we would like to give you some advice on buying property in Spain: formalities and documentation.

As a foreign national, you need to obtain the NIE (Spanish Identification Document for Foreigners), which will provide you with a personal number for exclusive use only. You may apply for it either from abroad or in Spain.

Likewise, you will also need to open a Spanish bank account, as notarial fees, property purchase price and other expenses will be often paid from this account.

The process of purchasing property in Spain

Firstly, you make an offer to the seller. If accepted, you need to sign together with the seller a contrato privado de compraventaor a contrato de arras (a preliminary private contract), by which the buyer and the seller commit themselves to the purchase and sale of the property. Then, you need to pay a deposit which usually accounts for 10% of the purchase price. The difference lies in the fact that, in a contrato de arras, the buyer can decide not to buy the property, therefore losing the deposit, or the seller can decide not to sell it, therefore reimbursing twice the deposit sum; whereas in the case of a contrato privado de compraventa, this is not foreseen unless one of the parties to the contract breaches it.

This contract needs to indicate the debts of the property. For instance, when the property is subject to a mortgage or a land charge. This information is available in the Registro de la Propiedad (Land Registry). In order to get access to it, you may apply for a Nota Simple (non-certified note recording ownership) either in person at the Land Registry or online.

If you wish, you may arrange any mortgage you require. Moreover, since 2010, you need to sign a document provided by the real estate agency in order to justify the origins of the money you will be using to purchase the property. This is done with the aim of preventing money laundering. In this regard, the Notary Public will need to check the property ownership and statement of any debts.

Later on, an escritura de compraventa(deed of sale) is signed before a Notary Public. This is normally done two or three months after the contrato de arras. In general terms, the buyer is responsible for the expenses arising from the public deed. Notary fees range from 600 to 875 euros in Spain. The same applies to registration fees, for which the buyer is responsible and range from 400 to 650 euros. If needed, you may also make use of an agency to complete all the formalities related to submission of documents before official bodies and tax returns. After signing the deed, you need to pay all tax applicable to Spanish properties.

What documents do you need to bring with you before the Notary Public?

As a buyer, you need to bring your NIE with you, as well as the following documents:

  • Payment proof
  • Contrato privado de compraventa or contrato de arras

Note that Spain also offers a Golden Visa Programme for foreign property owners. If you invest more than £500,000 in Spanish properties, you will get a residency visa.

Appointing a representative in Spain

You may consider appointing an attorney to act on your behalf in Spain from the beginning. In order to do this, you must grant a power of attorney. Although this can be done in Spain, it is more convenient and common to do so in your home country. This way, the attorney appointed by you can act on your own behalf to complete the formalities of the purchase process.

Do you need a sworn translation?

Yes. Any document written in a foreign language that is required for completing formalities in Spain when buying property must be translated. It needs to be done by a Spanish sworn translator appointed by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Therefore, if you are interested in buying property in Spain and you have appointed a representative, you may be required to provide a power of attorney. You will then need a sworn translation into Spanish, for which you can rely on us for the best and cheapest service on the market. Just get in touch with iTrad sworn translations.

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