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Spanish Property Purchase Process

The Spanish property purchase process has a number of steps that you need to take to ensure you make a safe and secure purchase.  The below is an initial high level outline of the basic steps for your information.  You can request a full buyer’s guide, prepared by independent Spanish property lawyers, which includes details such as administrative formalities, buying costs and other ongoing obligations.

The Spanish Property Purchase Process

1. Reservation of the property
The first step of the Spnish property purchase process is to formalise your offer on the property and remove it from the market, thus protecting your interest to purchase. Once the terms of the purchase have been discussed and the seller accepts the offer, a binding agreement is born, which is sealed by signing a reservation contract. This includes payment of a deposit of between 3,000€ and 6,000€ to reserve the property prior to the exchange of a private purchase contract. This reservation fee is fully refundable in case that the checks carried out by your lawyers unveil any legal obstacles which affect the buying process.

The searching process
Whilst the property is ‘reserved’ in your name, your local lawyer will carry out all the necessary searches and investigations on the property with the relevant authorities to ensure that the property you are purchasing is legal and free from any charges, debts or encumbrances. They will also ensure that the property has the necessary Title Deeds and that the vendors are the rightful owners. Once the searches have been finalised, they will confirm in writing whether the searching process has been satisfactorily concluded. You will receive an accurate description and explanation about every single aspect of this investigation.

2. The Private Purchase Contract
Once the searches are complete, and your lawyer is absolutely certain the property is legally declared in the best conditions to purchase, a Private Contract is drafted and signed by both parties. This private contract sets out all the details of the agreement, payment terms and completion date. During this stage the buyer puts down a non-returnable deposit, which will be a percentage of the purchase price less the holding deposit paid at the reservation.

3. Completion (Signing the title deed)
The property sale process is finalised before a Notary, with the buyer and seller signing the Deed of Sale (Title Deed). The Notary is a public official whose role it is to identify the buyer and the seller, and to ensure that all legal requirements have been met, and that the amount due to be paid has been settled.

If you are unable to be present at the signing of the deed, your lawyer can carry out all necessary procedures in your name by means of Power of Attorney. In fact, it is common practice for your lawyer to have a valid power of attorney from the beginning of all buying and/or selling operations:

a) Taking possession of the property
Immediately after the deeds have been signed, the buyer will receive the keys to the property, and can take posession of the property.

b) Title deed and property registration
The property registration procedure entails the payment of all the taxes applicable to the property and the obtaining of the final register stamp for the Title Deed, which guarantees the transfer of the property. This procedure is an important step, and takes place once the Title Deed have been signed and you have taken possession of your property. The title deed usually takes around two to three months to be returned by the Land Registry office. The Notary will give your lawyer notice that the deed is available for collection.

c) Utilities
Once the sale has been finalised, your lawyer will ensure that all the utility contracts for the property (electricity, water, rubbish collection, etc.) are in the name of the buyer. They will also arrange all bills to be paid by direct debit from your Spanish account if you wish.

You can request a full buyer’s guide which details in full the Spanish property purchase process, prepared by independent Spanish property lawyers by using the form below.

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