Guide to Buying property in Spain


Real estate / property agencies. There are a myriad of property agencies selling houses along the coast. Property Conveyancer Alicanteagencies in Spain are not regulated or controlled. This means that if they misrepresent or mislead you it will be difficult to sue them and collect damages. Some agencies might offer you a whole package, including legal counseling. Be careful, since their lawyer(s) will have a direct stake in your transaction (they will get a commission or fee if you end up buying the property).

Often property agents will rush you to make a deposit (5 or 10% of the purchase price) to “secure” or reserve a house. Instead of giving that deposit directly to the agency you should make it with a lawyer at a segregated or escrow account. This is a better guarantee that you will get your deposit back if there is later any dispute.

DUE DILIGENCE: checking the paperwork, the house, encumbrances, licenses, unpaid taxes and bills…

As a general rule ask us, or have your conveyancer inquire, any question you might have regarding the land, the property, structure, contract conditions, etc. Do not assume anything.
Before finalizing any property transaction there are several cautionary measures your lawyer should always examine:

Unless the property is of new construction your lawyer should always check the local land registry for liens or other rights from 3rd parties over the property you intend to buy.

The land surveyor should measure the land dimensions or perimeter of the premises to see if they match what is written in the papers.
The aparejador or construction engineer can examine your selected property for defects and its general condition (we offer this service starting at 100-150€, depending on location).

Permits and documents a buyer in Spain should read and understand before entering into a contract:

    • Catastro / IBI or annual property taxes. Have they been paid by the seller ?
  • PGOU (Plan General de Ordenación Urbanística): Urban planning – zoning established by the town hall. If a road or some other restriction is established in this urban planning document your purchase may be invalidated.

For newly constructed houses/apartments add:

    • Declaración de Obra Nueva (New Construction Permit): This document applies when purchasing a newly built house or apartment.
  • Licencia de Primera Ocupación (Occupancy Permit): Issued by the town hall after inspecting that the premises are habitable.

DEED signing at the Notary – Settlement

Before scheduling the title transfer at the notary all paperwork should be available, read through, corrected or clarified. The deed or purchase contract (escritura pública de compraventa) is a lengthy document that can be tailored in some aspects to the purchaser´s wishes.
Bear in mind that for tax purposes it is crucial to wisely pick now which family member(s) you want the house conveyed to. Your children can avoid paying later Spanish inheritance taxes if they are the naked owners of the real estate, for instance. There are various possibilities depending on your wishes and family ties.

For the complete mortgage process:

~Drawing upon your instructions this law firm´s seasoned and independent conveyancers (we don’t sell property nor are associated with any agency) will advise you, and conduct, before you decide to make….a big investment in Spain; all in your own native language.~

Updated Feb. 2024