Onwards we want to give you some important and legally relevant advice for a property purchase in Spain.
1. Select a Real Estate Agent who is a reliable professional and will guide you in the search of a property and the legal aspects involved in the transaction.
2. It is essential to have a trustful Lawyer by your side, who speaks and understands your language and who is experienced in the area. Your legal counsel will provide you with valuable information concerning the costs that may arise from the sale and/or purchase and will advise you during the whole process until registration in the Property Registry; this is to say the conveyance of the property, since each sale / purchase is managed differently.
3. The vendor must provide full evidence that all taxes and expenses have been duly paid on the date of the signing of the Title Deed at the Spanish notary public. Your Lawyer will be in charge of collecting this information and, where it may be necessary, he shall be requesting it from the vendor’s Lawyer.
It is of the utmost importance to verify that the payment of the following expenses has been duly made:
- The Real Estate Tax (I.B.I.), a local tax that is paid yearly.
- The Community fees (Cuota de Comunidad)
- Town Council (planning costs, levies, taxes and/or expenses involved, as well as building limitations and liabilities)
- Verification of whatever land or lots that might be affected by an expropriation procedure or under a planning procedure.
4. Your Lawyer will check the legal existence of the property that you intend to buy. He will, among other things, check whether the description of the property that will be provided to you by the vendor corresponds to the description filed in the Property Registry. This will involve checking whether the surface area of the plot actually corresponds to the area stated both in the Cadastre and the Property Registry. Verify whether all building features were properly legalized by the means of a Declaration of New Building Work (Declaración de Obra Nueva). Moreover, it will be of vital importance to check whether there are any levies, rights of way, charges and encumbrances, such as mortgages and any kind of caveat in the Property Registry affecting this property, which has been offered.
5. The stages of a sale and/or purchase transaction are usually as follows:
- A few weeks prior to the granting of the Title Deed before a Spanish Notary Public, it is generally signed either a private purchase/sale agreement an option to purchase or an engagement and deposit agreement and pay of 10% to 20% out of the purchase price. This agreement contains the essential data concerning the transaction, such as the purchase price and the deadline set for the granting of the Title Deed. Between the date of the agreement and the date of the Title Deed, both parties will have time to settle any tax and other pending invoices and to exhibit receipts of those payments. It is important to take into account that these kinds of documents have a statement in which the vendor is obliged to give twice the amount received as deposit in case he/she rejects the sale, and the buyer will be penalized with the loss of the deposit paid, in case he rejects the purchase (engagement and deposit commitment: contrato de compromiso o arras, in Spanish).
- On the date of the granting of the Title Deed, the vendor and the purchaser and/or their representatives provided with a proper Power of Attorney must appear before a Spanish Notary Public. Upon the granting of the Title Deed to the property, the agreed purchase price will be paid and possession delivered to the purchaser.
6. The expenses that are borne by the vendor are usually as follows:
- The Municipal Plusvalía (IMIVTU) (a local tax that is levied on the appreciation of urban residential land). The accurate tax amount that ought to be borne by the vendor is provided by the City Council. The amount of this tax maybe significant depending on the period of time that the property has been sold and the local tax regulations which vary from one Town to another.
- Moreover, the vendor must pay Spanish Income Tax (Non resident’s income tax) on the proceeds of the sale (i.e. the difference between the price that was declared in the previous Title Deed received when he purchased the property and the price that is declared in the current Title Deed that he granted upon selling that property). Under current laws, a vendor, who is not an official resident of Spain, would have to pay the 35% tax rate on the proceeds of a property sale. Upon the signing of the Title Deed before a Notary, the purchaser will withhold 5% of the declared purchase price to make sure that the Income Tax levied on the proceeds of the sale will be paid by the vendor; this 5% amount must be paid of non residents individuals is to the Spanish Tax Office within 30 days. Thereafter, either the vendors lawyer or your Lawyer will file a tax statement and the vendor will either receive this 5% amount or pay any difference, if ever the final tax amount is higher than the 5% paid on account which happens most of the cases. A vendor, who is an official resident of Spain, will pay a global rate of 15% for Income Tax arising from the capital gains obtained from the sale (I.R.P.F.), this may vary depending on the personal income status of the vendor.
7. Expenses borne by the purchaser are as follows:
- The expenses that must be supported by the purchaser.
- A 7% Stamp Duty (T.P.O.) (6% in certain autonomous communities) will be paid on the declared purchase price. On the contrary, in the event of a property purchase from a developer, the current V.A.T. rate will be paid, normally the 7% VAT on lodgings and buildings and 16% for pending spaces and any other real estate facility except for rural properties. Stamp duty tax (AJD) is payable (+ 1%) in case of new buildings sold by Promoters, when VAT is to be applied.
- Notary fees, which vary depending on the amount involved (usually between 400 1.200.- euros)
- Lawyer fees, may vary, as well depending on the amount of the transaction and the time devoted to the client, and in the case of negotiations with the other party/ies involved. You may expect between 1% to 1,5% of the total investment.