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Insight #3 How to buy a property in Spain – A step-by-step guide to your dream home

Posted by Annika Daseking on 02/02/2024

Establish Your Budget: Begin by calculating your budget. Remember to add between 9 and 10% for taxes and fees. This helps you understand your financial constraints before moving forward with your property search.

Select Your Ideal Location: Decide on the specific area in Northern Spain where you would like to live. Whether you’re familiar with certain areas or looking for some guidance, we’re here to assist you in finding a location that offers what you are looking for. Consider not only the geographical location but also think about the amenities, services, and accessibility that you need for your quality of life.

Create a Must-Have List: Once you’ve identified your desired location and budget, make a list of essential features you’re seeking in a property. While it’s important to have criteria, be flexible as it may be challenging to find a property that ticks all your boxes. With our property finder service and extensive network of local real estate agents, we aim to find you a home that fulfils most of your criteria, making your dream home a reality.

Obtain NIE and Open a Spanish Bank Account: If you’re not a resident of Spain, you will need to obtain an NIE, which is a fiscal number. We can arrange an appointment for you and assist with the necessary documentation. All you need is your passport, the application form, and to pay a small fee. Additionally, we can accompany you to the foreigner’s office “extranjería” to help with the process. Opening a Spanish bank account is also required, and we recommend some banks and support you in setting up an account.

Property Finder Services: Make your property search easier and minimize stress by utilizing services like ours as your property finder. Let us source homes that fit your requirements and budget while getting the right location for you.

Client Representation or Buyers Agent: We offer an independent conveyancing service, prioritizing your interests. We will represent you with a completely unbiased standpoint on any property sold by anyone.

Survey and Making an Offer: Depending on the condition and age of the home you are buying, consider getting a survey. The findings of the survey may affect your offer price, especially if extensive refurbishment is needed. When you find your ideal home, making an offer is the next step. Most property owners are open to offers, although they expect it to be a serious one. We can advise you on what constitutes a reasonable offer based on various factors such as the current market, the property condition, whether you are a cash buyer etc.

Purchase Process Begins: Once your offer has been accepted, the purchase process starts. At this stage, it’s crucial to:

  • Contract one of our trusted bilingual lawyers before paying a deposit or signing any legally binding paperwork on the property. Instruct your lawyer to carry out basic legal checks.
  • Sign the reservation contract to secure the property exclusively for you. This contract is typically between € 1,000 and € 5,000 and is refundable in case of any (legal) issues with the property. It must be signed by both buyer and seller.
  • Sign the “Contrato de Arras” or purchase contract, prepared by the lawyer. This document outlines the transaction’s terms and conditions, including the deadline for purchase. The buyer usually pays 10% of the purchase price (minus the reservation amount) on signing. If the property includes fixtures, fittings, or furniture, an inventory should be attached to the contract, signed by both parties.

Financial Assistance: We can provide you with recommended international brokers and accompany you to local banks to obtain the right mortgage. As a non-resident / new resident, banks typically lend between 60-70% of the purchase price. Start the mortgage application process early and ask the bank for the approval timeline so it can be reflected in the pre-purchase contract accordingly.

Currency Transfer Services: We can also refer you to companies that specialize in transferring funds in other currencies. Demonstrating a clear source of wealth is crucial when transferring large sums of money to ensure a smooth and secure transfer process.

Legalities on the House: Meanwhile, your lawyer will carry out a comprehensive checklist on the property to ensure its legality. These checks include:

  • Property register checks: Make sure the property description and legal owner match and find out if there are any charges or encumbrances.
  • Planning checks: Ensure the property was built with the appropriate building license and planning permissions. In the case of an off-plan property, make sure the developer has all paperwork in order.
  • Tax checks: Verify the current owners are up to date on payment of all taxes related to the property.
  • Community checks: Confirm the property is up to date with payments to the community of owners.

Completion Process: Sometime after you sign the pre-purchase contract – usually between 4-12 weeks – it’s time to complete.

  • Sign the deeds: Both parties sign the title deeds in the presence of a Notary Public. Your lawyer should check the deeds and make sure everything is in order, providing you with a verbal translation of their contents.
  • Payment: Together with signing the deeds, you make the final payment for the property. The usual method of payment is through a banker’s draft (there is often a charge by bank which we would try and negotiate to be as low as possible).
  • Key handover: Once the title deeds have been signed and final payment made, you receive the keys to your new home.
  • Registration: Your lawyer will take care of registering the property in your name at the nearest Property Registry “Registro de la Propiedad”.

Authorization of the Spanish Ministry of Defence: If you are a non-resident and non-EU national and purchase coastal property on rustic land, you will require a background check to register the property in your name.

Payment of Taxes: Your lawyer will handle tax payments and fees on your behalf.

Utility Supplies: We’ll assist in arranging utility connections or transfers and setting up direct debits with your bank for automatic bill payments.

Contact us now if you’re interested in buying a property in Galicia or Asturias.

Your Galicia & Green Spain Property & Relocation Team:

Caroline Harris – Southern Galicia 


Estefanía Rúa – Northern Galicia


Donna Gonzalez-Linnitt – Asturias




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