Buying process

Take a glance at this step-by-step guide how the buying process should look like. If you have any questions that you can’t answer after reading it, please send us an e-mail at

Stage 1: Choosing the property

First, you should identify what property type do you need and area where that property should be located. This should help you with the next step – contacting the real estate agents. They will tell you what properties are available on the market that fit your budget.

If you don’t know particular area well, you can ask the agent or check agency’s website, and property magazines and newspapers. That actions will complete your overall picture of the market.

Stage 2: Getting help from the agent

A skillful agent can help you in many ways – he will provide wide choice of properties and local information about the area as well. What’s more, the relevant agent will seek for the specific property you want, if the agency doesn’t have listed anything you really like.

Select an agent wisely and carefully, especially, if you don’t know the market and law in Spain. He or she should be able to answer all your questions out of experience and guide you through the whole buying process step by step. Sometimes, you will have to negotiate a price or finish complex procedures, and it’s another chance for your agent to show competences.

Step 3: Making an offer

If you chose the property, it’s time to make a verbal offer, and you can do that directly to the owner or with a help of your agent. That’s where the negotiations begin until the price is agreed. When you come to an agreement, it’s time to appoint a lawyer.

Step 4: Appointing a lawyer

There is bunch of actions that have to be done before finalising the deal. First, the lawyer should carry out the necessary check in Property Registry to obtain a “Nota Simple”. That document identifies the registered owner and provide details about mortgages or embargos on the property if there are any.

Another needed documents? Receipts for ISBI (Impuestos Sibre Bienes Inmuebles) payment, the annual real estate tax. Thanks to them, you will know what the “Valor Catastral” of the property is, and that’s a base for property income tax.

If you are buying a new property, you have to see the “Declaration de Alteracion de Bienes Naturaleza Urbana”.

If a community of property owners is involved, asked for receipts for community charges, and contact the president of that community to identify any problems. Another thing you can do is to talk with the neighbours.

Step 5: Paying holding deposit

If the price is already agreed, and everything has been checked, you can pay small holding deposit to reserve your chosen property and take it off the market until the deal is completed. Meanwhile, your lawyer should prepare a formal offer and an agreement.

Step 6: Exchanging private contracts

Normally it should take place about two weeks after the formal offer is accepted. The contract prepared by a lawyer should set out all agreed terms and a date of completion. Usually the buyer pays deposit of 10% of the agreed price at this stage as a deposit, which is non-refundable.

Step 7: Completing the deal at the notary

Finally, on a certain date, buyer and seller (or their representatives) meet at the notary’s office to sign the “Escritura de Compraventa” (the title dead). That document should state that the property is sold, and it’s free of charges, mortgages, and tenants. The notary’s role is not to check the terms but to certify that both parties have agreed them. At this point, the whole payment is made and a possession of the property is being passed to the buyer.

Your lawyer’s duty is to pay taxes and fees, and register your title deed at the Property Registry. It should be done shortly after the deal is done at the notary’s office. Don’t forget about one more thing: the insurance of the property.

The Costs

There are three fees to be paid: lawyers fees, notary fees and the Property Registry fees. Additionally, there are two taxes: Transfer Tax (ITP) and “Plus Valia”.

  1. Lawyers fees: usually about 1% of the purchase price plus 21% IVA.
  2. Notary fees: usually about 0.5% – 1% of the purchase price.
  3. Registry fees: usually about 1% of the purchase price.
  4. Transfer tax: 8% of the purchase price but this increases to 9% when the purchase price exceeds 400.000 euros and 10% for prices greater than 700.000 euros. When buying from a developer the purchase tax is replaced by 10% IVA plus 1.5% stamp duty. When buying commercial property or land 21% IVA will be added.
  5. Plus Valia: a local municipal tax that’s based on the officially assessed increase in the value of the land since the last time the property changed hands. It can vary considerably and you will know the exact amount after contacting the town hall.

Note that charges may vary in different regions.

Who pays what?

It is normal that the buyer pays the above fees and taxes with the possible exception of the “Plus Valia”, but everything is negotiable and should be written down in the contracts.

The vendor will pay his own Capital Gains Tax and the estate agents fees.