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Tips when buying a property in Spain

N.I.E.- number

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

own language.


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'.

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