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The purchase of property in Spain by an non resident (foreigner) is a relatively straightforward process. The only requirement is an NIE (foreign identification number). This number is unique, exclusive to the person, and is essential for any type of economic transaction within Spain (such as opening a bank account or buying a house).The request for an NIE can be done either inside or outside of Spain through an embassy or consulate. From within Spain it can be done by going to your foreign office or a local police station. 

Once the NIE has been requested and received, the non-resident may now start the process of buying a house. It is not mandatory to have a bank account in Spain however it is advisable. All of the taxes and expenses associated with the purchase of a home (VAT in the case of a new property, ITP in the case of a second hand residence, plus notary costs, administration and registration expenses, as well as the IBI and the refuse charges) have to be paid in Spain so a Spanish bank account will make the process much easier. 

The purchase of the property is done in the presence of a notary. The notary is a public official of the State who must provide citizens with the legal security promised by the Constitution in Article 9 in the section of extrajudicial legal traffic.

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The notary will help to assess the property and guarantee that the contract is strictly compliant with Spanish law. Therefore the presence of a notary is the guarantee in legitimacy and security for the buyer, seller and the state.The signature of the sale in the notary office grants the contract the character of a public document called an escritura (deed of sale). 

The escritura is a public document issued by the notary who offers maximum legal certainty in our law. It has powerful effects, regulated specifically by the laws of Spain, which far exceed those of a private document. Administrators, judges and the society in general attribute absolute credibility to the facts or statements within a public escritura (deed). This document does not require any checks or contrast and by itself has full effect of the law from the moment the notary authorizes it. It is an executive instrument that possesses probative force of the dates, facts and statements that it contains. 

The escritura (deed of sale) only circulates through copies, whether in paper or electronic form. The original escritura document contains the ‘live’ signatures of the grantors and it is kept, according to protocol, in the office of the notary who authorizes it. From there it passes to the notary archives of each college and then to the Historical Archive. Public deed is forever. The public deed is essential to access the Property Registry. And once registered in the Registry of Property, the property is legally unassailable.

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The notary will verify that the seller is the actual owner of the property and in full domain and authority to sell. The notary will verify the state of charges of the property and if there is any load or condition associated with the property. The notary will advise the parties on the steps to be taken or the authorizations to obtain, so that the buyer can buy with complete safety. 

With the same method the notary will verify that there is no outstanding debts either with the city council or with the community of the owners (body corporate). It will also verify that there is no preferential right or urban irregularity and that the whole contract is in accordance with the current legality.Once the escritura (deed of sale) is signed, and prior to the registration in the Property registry, the corresponding taxes must be paid. With the proof of having paid the taxes, the escritura (deed of sale) can now be taken to the property registry. 

The process of paying the taxes can be carried out by the lawyer, the real estate agent or the notary itself. The transfer tax for the buyer is 10% and is paid within 30 days of the acquisition. During the years that the property is maintained, an annual tax is paid to the city council, the amount depends on the city council’s assessment of the property. At the time of the sale, you must pay a tax on the increase in equity that you had for the difference between, the purchase price and the sale price, which you must liquidate within four months after the sale.

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Engel & Völkers

Calpe, Costa Blanca North, Spain
Calle Santa María 8
03710 Calpe, Costa Blanca
+34 966 937256

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