A complete guide to Spanish property law

Getting on the property ladder can often be difficult; accessing the property ladder in another country can be even more challenging. When considering property in Spain, whether you are aiming to buy, sell or rent property, there are, of course, various laws and technicalities that you will have to negotiate during the process. To help you successfully achieve your objective, it is recommended that you seek expert legal advice from an English speaking Spanish real estate lawyer before making any major decisions.

In this guide, we will explore the laws surrounding buying, selling and renting property in Spain. Also, we will highlight the best way to navigate Spanish property law, and what documents you need to purchase property in Spain.

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Selling property in Spain

How to legally buy a property in Spain

What you need to do to be able to rent out a Spanish property

The advantages of being advised by a lawyer to navigate the requirements surrounding Spanish property law

The various documents you will need to secure a Spanish property

Here’s how we can assist you

Spanish property law: selling

If you are an existing property owner in Spain and you have made the decision to sell your Spanish property, the first thing to do is seek out a reputable real estate agent. Spanish estate agents have considerable local expertise and can provide invaluable advice. However, you can sell your property yourself. When choosing a real estate agent, it is strongly recommended that you choose an English speaking agent to help you sell your property.

Once you have found a buyer, both parties will need to agree on a notary (el notario). In Spain, a notary helps manage the property tax and paperwork, and will ensure that your property is legally registered with the Spanish Land Registry. Notaries in Spain have a standard rate of costs so there is no benefit in shopping around.

You will now need to organise your paperwork relating to the sale. The documents you will need include the deeds to the property, copies of utility bills, receipts for local municipal tax and a list of furniture, if any. The buyer will then sign a deposit contract and pay the deposit. Selling a property in Spain can take an average of six months, dependent on several factors. The fees you should be aware of include a real estate agent fee and the energy performance certificate.

To find out more about selling property in Spain, you can get in touch with our Spanish lawyers today.

Spanish property law: buying 

Property purchase in Spain comes with certain requirements. For example, if you are a foreign citizen attempting to buy property in Spain, you will need a financial property number. There will also be fees to pay, such as property transfer tax, notary costs, the land registration fee and possibly legal fees.

Many buyers from overseas are able to buy a property without requiring a mortgage. If this is not the case you may be able to acquire a loan in Spain. However, you may find that you can only borrow at a lower loan-to-value rate, and may be required to provide a larger deposit. You can find a property in Spain online, or you can request the help of a Spanish estate agent. You can choose your own notary and lawyer, and you are not obliged accept the estate agent's suggestions.

Once you have found a property you like, you can make an offer for the property via the seller's estate agent. You will need the services of a notary and it is highly recommended to instruct a real estate lawyer at the same time. The buyer is responsible for registering the property. It is also recommended that you commission a survey of your new home which will identify any planning defects and establish that the property has not been illegally modified. You have the option of a valuation report or a building survey.

Before buying your new Spanish property, you should consider the costs of facilities such as insurance and utilities. Regardless of whether you are buying an existing property, land only or a new-build property, there are factors that you should check from the onset, such as, whether planning permission has been granted, and whether your contract is viable.

Spanish property law: renting

Renting property in Spain is an excellent way to learn about the country and the culture, helping you decide whether buying a property is the best thing for you. The average cost for rented property in Spain is approximately 600 euros per month, dependent on the location and number of bedrooms you require. At the beginning of the tenancy, you will need to pay a deposit equivalent to one month's rent.

Before you rent a property, you will be asked about your employment status, your tax identification number and your passport. You will need a Número de Identidad de Extranjero (Identification Number, or NIE number) to rent. You will need evidence a Spanish residency document before you can take up a tenancy.

A tenancy agreement (contrato de arrendamiento) is valid no matter whether it is written or verbal, however, a written agreement is highly recommended. If you are renting in Spain, then your tenancy agreement will be in Spanish. The assistance of an English speaking Spanish lawyer will help you understand the document and all its consequences.

To find out more about Spanish tenancy agreements, you can get in touch with us here.

Do I need a lawyer to buy, sell or rent a property in Spain?

Although it is not a legal requirement, the assistance of an English speaking Spanish lawyer would help you to understand the content of any legal documents and contracts, as well as having clarity on all the legal implications connected with buying and selling or renting property in Spain. Most importantly, your lawyer could identify and help you avoid scams or unreasonable promises or undertakings made by the parties involved in the transaction. A real estate lawyer would also be able to resolve any snags that may arise during the transaction.

You can find out more about our experienced real estate lawyers at Giambrone and Partners here.

What documents do I need to purchase a Spanish property?

When selling or buying a property in Spain, your passport and your identification number are required. If you are applying for a loan, mortgage, or you are aiming to rent a property, you need proof of employment and income. You will also need a financial property number if you intend to buy.

During the course of property purchase in Spain, you have the option to draft private contracts, depending on your circumstances. These contracts include: an option contract, reservation contract, deposit contract, down payment contract, and a private purchase contract. Each contract has its own requirements and suits different individuals in certain circumstances. You should discuss your options with a Spanish property lawyer to find the very best choice for you.

How Giambrone and Partners can help

At Giambrone and Partners, we have years of experience in helping those purchasing, selling or renting property in Spain. Our lawyers can provide comprehensive legal advice and assist our clients if they experience any legal difficulties.

To find out more about Spanish law, you can get in touch with us today to arrange a consultation.

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