Below, we would like to outline the fundamental legal points of property acquisition in Spain. It is highly recommended that you consult an expert lawyer for detailed questions regarding real estate law in Spain, and for individual advice in order to ensure a trouble-free property purchase.
The starting point for any property purchase in Spain is the “Escritura de Compraventa”, also known as the “Escritura” for short. It is the notarial contract of sale. Even more important, however, are the entries in the Land Registry (“Registro de la Propiedad”). All important data for the corresponding property is recorded here. Before each purchase, it is therefore indispensable to request a current extract, the “Nota Simple Informativa” (tittle deed). This will provide the potential buyer with legally binding information about whether:
- the seller is the actual owner of the property.
- there are any further individuals, such as spouses, partners etc. who must agree to the sale by providing their signature.
- there are any burdens such as mortgages, rights of way, usufructs or other debts on the property.
- the surface area of the property and plot of land corresponds to that given by the seller.
- a new build declaration (“Declaración de Obra Nueva”) exists and is registered.
- the occupancy certificate (“Cédula de habitabilidad”) exists.
- Buildable area – compliance with minimum size
- Do any building plans already exist and what types of building are permitted?
- Existence of rental and lease agreements connected to the property
- Contribution arrears, existing tax due and unpaid utility bills (electricity, water, gas, telephone)
- applicable law (in most cases a local court is recommended)
A lawyer will also ensure that secondary covenants and implicit rights are confirmed in writing.