3 Key Essentials to Buying Property in Spain as a Foreigner

If you are buying property as a foreigner in Spain, the objective is always to be prepared in order to guarantee that the process goes quickly, and with as few difficulties and unexpected surprises as possible.  After years of experience helping foreigners and expats find their dream homes in Spain, we recommend the following 3 key essentials to help you through the buying process.

  1. NIE: The NIE (Numero Identificación Extranjero or Foreigners Fiscal ID Number) is similar to the American Social Security Card. You must obtain this if you are buying property.  You need to pay taxes if you own property therefore you will need the NIE.  It is a very quick document you can get in a few simple steps by yourself if you speak Spanish.  In Spain, the whole process costs up to 20 euros if you do it yourself, or you can hire a specialist and pay more.   If you are not in a hurry, you can also get it at your local Spanish Embassy in your country of origin.  This can take 2-3 weeks and you simply have to tell your embassy representative that you are buying property in Spain. (For instructions on how to solicit the NIE, visit: http://moving2madrid.com/nie-2/)
  2. Lawyer: There are a lot of unexpected surprises that can come up in the property purchase process.  You will need a lawyer to control the due diligence process, where they will confirm that the property you are buying is legally sound and debt free..  Their actions include but are not limited to the following:
  • Verify Ownership of the Property and Identification of the seller
  • Verify that there are no outstanding debts with the community as well as an additional double check of the last 3 payslips community
  • Confirm with City Hall that there are no outstanding taxes: IBI, garbage fees
  • Confirm that If there are works in progress in the community, certificate of the construction company that no debts will be transferred to you as the buyer
  • Review and certification of all Contracts.

          Also, the lawyer makes sure the seller prepares all documents on time so that no time is                  wasted going to the notary unprepared, thereby delaying finalized purchase.  Prices for                    lawyers can be between 600-2000 euros.   This can be less than 0.5% of the total price of the          property, which is not much when you consider this amount is also what you can risk on                  buying something that is completely illegal.  

  1. Power of Attorney: The process of buying a property in Spain takes between 1 to 3 months.  If you are not a resident and will not be here throughout the entire process, it is good to appoint a power of Attorney. The power of attorney enables the legal process to continue without you physically being there.  It allows you to appoint a trusted person to represent you in certain transactions and is a legal document that must be signed in the presence of a notary.  You can obtain a power of attorney in Spain or in your home country.  So, if you find your dream property and cannot stay for the entire buying process, it is possible to return home and make the arrangements from there.  You will need to go to either the Spanish Embassy in your home country or a local public notary.  This offers much more convenience than a return trip to Spain. The power of attorney will then be validated by the Foreign Office who will stamp it with the seal of the Apostille of the Hague.

It’s always good to seek the help and advice from professionals.  If you are thinking about purchasing property in Spain, please contact us for a free consultation at:



Posted on 10 June, 2016 by Pierre-Alban Waters in Taxes - Invest - How to invest - How to buy - Buy, New ? Start Here


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *