Buying property in Spain as a foreigner has historically been one of the easier places to get your foot on the international property ladder. The local government encourages international property purchases so when you’re looking at how to buy a villa in Spain, the process is faster and easier than you might expect.
Wherever your dream Spanish property happens to be, there are certain steps you’ll need to take to get set up. Luckily, as Spain is so pro-investment, they’re all fairly accessible and well organised. You’ll be all set up with your new Spanish property in no time!
Plus, if you ever fancy moving on to bigger and better things, the process for selling is just as foreigner-friendly. With a large, thriving, expat community, Spanish notaries, bankers, and lawyers are normally well versed in operating using English rather than their native Spanish.
If you’re trying to get to grips with the whole process of how to buy a villa in Spain, we’re here to take you through the whole process! We’ll even let you know what to expect if you decide to trade your pretty beachfront apartment in Alicante for a villa in a small fishing village.
The only piece of paperwork you will need to move into your beautiful Spanish villa is an NIE, otherwise known as a financial number. It’s easy to get one sorted, with an online application process that ensures that you don’t even need to be in the country to get it all sorted these days. Applications are submitted to the local office of the Spanish National Police, where they’ll be processed.
The lawyer dealing with all other aspects of your purchase can complete your application using a Power of Attorney. You will need to double-check that the region where you’re purchasing a property allows the online form before you complete an online form. Some places will require paper. Provided your local police station is ok with the online version, the whole process is easier than ever.
You will need the completed NIE form, plus your passport, two passport-sized photos, and money for the roughly €10 you will pay in government charges.
When you’re looking at how to buy a villa in Spain, it’s worth noting that the country has a scheme in place called the Golden Visa. This means that international buyers who purchase property worth over €500,000 are automatically eligible for a residency visa. Whether you’re from the UK, or further afield, this is enormously useful. If achieving Spanish residency is on your to-do list, buying Spanish property is a fast, simple way to get it done.
As foreign investment is an important element of Spanish economic health, this scheme is an excellent way to keep expats heading towards the Spanish Costas. Although it requires a substantial enough investment, the existence of the Golden Visa does reduce some worries you might have about investing in Spanish property. This is especially true if you’re buying without the safety net of the EU there to support your residency application.
If you are looking at buying a property in Spain, it might be worth spending a little more to hit that all-important €500,000 threshold.
The notary plays a vital part in the purchase and sale of Spanish property, as it’s their job to prepare the contracts and ensure they comply with local legislation. The notary will oversee both the purchase and sale of a property.
In addition to the notary, you’ll also need to employ your property lawyer to oversee the sale. For buyers, it will be your property lawyer’s job to ensure the sale is legal and there are no debts attached to the property. You'll need a lawyer willing to do due diligence here. Debt is attached to the property rather than the person, according to Spanish law.
For sellers, the lawyer will ensure all relevant taxes and loans are dealt with correctly. Having a property lawyer responsible for handling these things ensures that you won’t get any nasty surprises further down the line. Handily, if you’re looking at how to buy a villa in Spain, you’ll be dealing with the notary and lawyer at purchase and sale. That means you can probably use the same lawyer upon both purchase and sale.
International buyers looking at how to buy a villa will need to know the Spanish regulations for Power of Attorney. Spanish notaries need the original Power of Attorney documents for your lawyer to be able to act in your stead. If they don’t have this, they will not be able to complete the sale.
If you’re not planning on being there for the whole process, you will want to make sure you sign the documents before returning home. The only way to sort POA from abroad is to visit a lawyer or notary in your home country. In the UK this means going to a lawyer, who will send the document off for the official stamp needed by the notary afterwards. If you live somewhere like France you’ll need to visit the local notary. You will then send the documents to Spain yourself after they’ve received an official stamp at the embassy.
The easiest way to go about POA, should you need it, is to sign and stamp the documents while you are in Spain. Navigating the POA from afar is a longer, more complicated job.
As a buyer, there are some taxes and fees you will be liable for. The first is a property transfer tax, costing between 6% and 10% of the total purchase price. Beyond that, you’ll also need to pay notary fees, a land registration fee, and title deed tax, which comes to 2.5% at most. There will also be legal fees of up to 2% and agency fees coming in at 3%.
Sellers are also liable for taxes and fees. Sellers will pay up to 6% agency commission, plus capital gains tax of up to 23%, and additional capital gains on the land your property is built on, called Plusvalia. You will also need to buy an energy certificate, plus non-residents will need to pay an income tax provision of 3%.
If you’ve been considering buying international property and you're wondering how to buy a villa in Spain, we hope this helped! Take a look at our selection of Spanish property for sale, and get in touch with us if you’ve got any questions. Wherever you want to buy, our experts are always here to help.