Can I buy property in Spain as a non-resident?


Can I buy property in Spain as a non-resident?

The prospect of buying property in Spain — whether for leisure, business, or investment purposes — is enticing. You could be especially attracted to the idea of buying property in Sotogrande due to this coastal community’s stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea and the Rock of Gibraltar.

However, if you don’t currently live in Spain, you might wonder whether snapping up property in this southwestern part of Europe would be a practical possibility for you. Fortunately, you could be somewhat reassured by the answer, as the obstacles are not necessarily too tricky to overcome.

What are the legal requirements for acquiring a Spanish property?

Technically, as a foreigner, you would actually face only one legal requirement: that of holding what is called a NIE (Número de Identificación del Extranjero). Without a NIE, you are barred from undertaking any transaction in Spain.

You must have a NIE already at hand before you sign or are issued any documents in Spain, as the NIE will need to appear on all of this paperwork.

As you will be made to wait quite a while to be handed a NIE after requesting one, you should — after deciding to buy a Spanish property via an estate agency — ask this agency to assist you in speeding up the NIE-sourcing process as far as possible.

Will I need a Spanish bank account?

In what may come as a surprise to you, this isn’t actually mandatory for buying a Spanish property. However, it would remain advisable for you to get a Spanish bank account all up and running beforehand, as it will remove much of the friction from payments you make.

A step-by-step guide to purchasing a Spanish property

Although there is no certainty as to what your own Spanish home-buying process will entail, you can realistically expect it to at least consist of the following stages.

Those include paying a property transfer tax of 6-10% if you are buying from another individual, or VAT or IVA of 10% if the property is a new build. There are also notary costs, a title deed tax, and a land registration fee to pay, not to mention legal fees — including VAT — of 1-2%.

Are you already aware of a specific property you would like to buy in Spain? If not, you should search for one. If your heart is set on buying property in Sotogrande, take heart that our website collates suitable listings from a range of estate agents covering this residential part of Andalucia.

Once you have notified a seller that you would like to acquire a Spanish property they are offering, you can pay a fee and make what is formally referred to as a reservation agreement.

This is where the builder or developer will agree to withdraw the property in question from the market while you arrange to finalise your purchase. This would involve the presentation — and negotiation — of a letter of intent, a document which will subsequently be signed.

When will the Spanish property finally be mine?

Basically, once you have paid the applicable taxes, and the Spanish Land Registry — or the Registro Catastral, as this government-run database is properly known — has been updated to confirm the sale and transfer of the property’s ownership to you.

As you can now see, being a non-resident of Spain doesn’t have to place too many hurdles on your path if you are eager to acquire a property in this particular country. However, the Spanish home-buying journey remains both lengthy and worth preparing diligently for.