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Buying a Property in Spain | Zeuthen & Company

Buying a Property in Spain

Buying a property in Spain is relatively straightforward and will pose no problem as long as the correct steps are followed. Zeuthen & Company offers one of the largest property portfolios in the Marbella area, and our property professionals will happily guide you through the purchase process.

If you do not already have a lawyer, it is recommended that you engage one to safeguard your interests throughout the purchase. Zeuthen & Company does not work with any particular lawyer, but we have worked with many competent professionals in the area and we are happy to recommend one depending on your language preference.

The following is an approximate guide to the purchase process, although this may differ from time to time depending on the particular operation.


Once you have decided on a property you want to buy, it is normal procedure in Spain to place a reservation deposit. This can be anything from 3.000 – 10.000 euros, depending on the purchase price. This deposit is accompanied by a reservation contract which states the names and identification numbers of the buyer and seller, the agreed sale price and any conditions that have been agreed concerning the purchase. The reservation deposit is normally paid to the estate agent or your lawyer to show good faith. It is recommended to never pay a reservation deposit directly to the owner.

Property Check & Private Contract

Once the lawyer is satisfied that everything is in correct order then the buyer and seller will sign a private purchase contract (a compraventa) and the buyer will pay a 10% deposit (less the original reservation deposit).

In this contract, the buyer and seller details and identities are stated, along with the agreed sale price and the date for the final transfer of the property from seller to buyer.  At this stage, if the buyer decides to withdraw from the purchase they will forfeit their deposit and if the seller withdraws they will be obliged to repay double the deposit amount to the buyer, unless otherwise agreed.

Title Deed & Purchase Cost

The final stage is when you pay the remainder of the monies due and the Title Deed (Escritura) is signed in front of a public Notary.  After the deed has been signed your lawyer will register the property in the buyer’s name at the local land registry.

Buyers should be aware that there are significant purchase costs involved when buying a property in Spain, which will amount to approximately 10% of the purchase price. This is comprised of the following:

  • 8% Transfer Tax (impuesto de transmisiones patrimoniales) of the purchase amount - or 10 pct. IVA (=VAT) if it is a new building
  • 1% Legal Fees (approximation, depending on the lawyer)
  • 0.5% Notary Fees
  • 0.5% Land Registry fees

The above pertains to buying a property from an individual. In the event that a property is purchased from a developer, the Transfer Tax is replaced by VAT, which is currently 10% on property.

Other Paperwork Required for Purchasing a Property

Spanish nationals need only their identification (for all persons whose name is going to appear on the title deed).

If you are a non-resident the Spanish Ministry of Interior requires you to obtain a certificate of non-residency, which in turn determines your fiscal number, so that you can sign the title deed.  It will also be required later in order to pay taxes.  This document is known as an NIE number and can either be obtained in person at the local police station or can be obtained via your lawyer for a small charge.


We recommend to open a bank account when commencing a property purchase as this will be needed not only for the purchase, but also to set up direct debits for the utility charges such as electricity and water.

It is also recommended to write a Spanish will.  This only has to relate to assets situated within Spain and need not concern assets owned in your country of residence.  This will simplify the probate process in the unfortunate event of the death of the property owner and significantly reduce costs and the duration of the process.