Spanish law requires anyone who buys or sells property in Spain to have an NIE number
(Número de Identidad de Extranjeros). Translated this means "Identification number for
foreigners." This document can be obtained from the local police station. Please note that
you must be physically present to receive it.
Choosing the right lawyer is a very important part of the buying process. Definitely keep in
mind that the lawyer should be very reputable, since they are likely to act on your behalf for
all matters regarding the property. We can always recommend a lawyer who speaks your
Once you have made your decision and your lawyer is happy with the terms and conditions
of anything you are asked to sign, it's time to pay a deposit. This is to secure the property.
This amount is usually € 3,000 on lower sales and € 6,000 to € 10,000 on higher sales prices.
Usually this remains in the hands of the lawyer. These reservation deposits are often paid
"subject to mortgage" until a certain date. This means that buyers have a certain amount of
time to arrange finances, and will not lose their deposit if the mortgage is not granted.
It is customary for the buyer and seller to confirm the details of the purchase in a purchase
contract. At that time, the buyer shall pay a non-refundable deposit of 10% of the purchase
price. The contract determines who the seller and buyer are, it should be mentioned that the
property is sold free of all encumbrances, debts and mortgages, and a fixed date for the
signing of the deed at Notary. Before signing, your lawyer will check that there are no back
taxes owed on the property and that the original registration of the property is in order. This
allows the buyer sufficient time to settle the balance. The balance shall be transferred to a
trust account of a lawyer, where it will remain until completion of the sale.
The notary is the final stage in buying a Spanish property. Both parties must be present at
the notary on or before the date determined by the purchase contract. At the time the
balance of the purchase price is paid, a new document is signed by the notary. Where a
mortgage is taken to purchase the property then a separate document is prepared and
signed and any outstanding mortgage on the property must also be cancelled at this time.
Once the deeds are signed, they will then be submitted to the Land Registry for registration.
If you are not able to attend the signing of the deed or closing of the purchase in Spain, then
this is often carried out with a general power of attorney, you will appoint a legal
representative in Spain. The document is in a standard format and lists which actions can be
performed by the holder, including buying and selling of the property. A notary will prepare
the relevant forms and print copies for you, retaining the original document in his office. The
only document required to draw up a power of attorney is an international identity card or
passport of both the 'giver' and 'receiver'.