In this section you will find a selection of the most frequently asked questions. If you have any other doubts you can consult us through our contact section.

Whenever we have the intention of buying a property, there is certain indispensable and requisite documentation we will have to obtain::

  • Land registry information relating to the property.
  • The receipt or proof of payment for the most recent annuity of the Impuesto sobre Bienes Inmuebles (property tax).
  • A certificate from the secretary of the community of owners, with the "approval" of the president, accrediting that the seller is up to date with all community expenditure payments due (failing this, the community may demand its payment up to a certain limit from the purchaser, without prejudice to his/her subsequent right to claim it from whomsoever sold it to him/her).
  • The certificate of habitability of the property. This document will become the property's identity document.

In Spain, the form taken by a purchase/sale contract for real estate is free. A public title deed in front of a notary is not therefore indispensable. However, the transcendence of this type of contract means that either of the parties may demand it, in accordance with articles 1279 and 1280 of the Civil Code, the granting of a public title deed. In fact, the immense majority of purchase/sales of houses are done by notary. It is absolutely advisable to execute a public title deed before a notary when undertaking a purchase.

In practice, what tends to happen is that the purchase/sale tends to be executed by private contract, which already has obligatory effects and which, as we mentioned, is perfectly legal although it would not have the advantages of public title deeds and subsequently the parties tend to attend the Notary and, upon signature of the public title deed, a "contract renewal" takes place, with which the title deed takes precedence over the private contract. Normally, it is at this moment that the total amount of money outstanding is handed over.

If the private contract is signed between private individuals it is interesting to remember that there are no special obligations and we should therefore try to ensure that the different clauses are equitable. It is particularly advisable to include a clause which establishes that the costs will be handled in accordance with the law, for the purposes of leaving it clear who has to pay for each concept.

If the clause "according to the Law" is included, the vendor will pay for the cancellation costs of any outstanding charges, capital gains tax and the greater part of the title deed costs (the the master or original), while the purchaser will pay for the other part of the title deed costs (copies), the land registry inscription costs and, where applicable, the IVA or property conveyance tax. However, if the purchase is between private individuals, any type of division of costs can be agreed.

The purchase/sale costs are divided between the vendor and the purchaser. The most normal and usual division of the costs generated by a purchase/sale is the following:

Costs to the account of the vendor:

  • Those derived from the cancellation of the mortgage, if there were one.
  • The tax on the increase in the value of the land or the municipal capital gains tax.
  • Those derived from the intervention of an estate agent.
  • Those derived from obtaining the documentation to be given to the purchaser.

Costs to the account of the purchaser:

  • The purchase price of the property.
  • The mortgage deed costs, if there were one.
  • The IVA (VAT), if a new build, except for subsidised housing , or property conveyance tax if it is a second-hand house.
  • The tax on documented legal procedures (currently, 1%. On subsidised housing it is 0,1%).
  • The notary's fees before whom the public title deed is granted.
  • The inscription costs in the Land Registry and the costs of said inscription, if carried out by a third party.
  • If a mortgage is applied for, the mortgage set-up fees.
  • The costs for the registration and/or change of ownership for water, electric, gas services, etc.
  • Insurance cover, as a minimum, for risks deriving from unforeseen circumstances, force majeure and third party liability.

Once the title deed has been signed, you must ensure you make the following checks:

Check that the corresponding taxes and duties have been paid. In most cases solicitors or contracted agents will take care of ensuring payment of the taxes and duties owing to public administrations, notaries and land registries. However, you can do so yourself, although if there is a mortgage normally the financial entity will require that these operations and payments be made through a company to ensure they are executed correctly, in which case you need not concern yourself.

Check that you receive the title deeds. Even if it takes months, you must ultimately receive the title deeds. If a mortgage was taken out, you should also have a copy of the corresponding deed.

Check that the corresponding inscription was made in the Land Registry. This check is made for the purposes of ensuring we will enjoy the maximum protection provided to us by the registration.

Check that the new ownership is reflected in the Cadastral Registry. The change in ownership of the property must be communicated to the Cadastral Registry to ensure that the details of the new owner appear therein. You must check that this communication has been effected as the Cadastral details are used to liquidate the property tax and in the event that the change of ownership has not been communicated said tax will continue to be sent to the previous owner.

Community of Owners. Identify yourself as the new owner, provide your address for any notification and agree the form of payment for any costs you must henceforth assume.

Notification of the change in ownership to supply companies. Don't forget to put all the supply services to the house in your name (gas, electric, telephone, etc.).