Conveyancing in Spain
IF YOU ARE PURCHASING
First of all, hire a registered expert solicitor. It’s strongly recommended to avoid frauds or any future problems. He will do most of the work for you, and you’ll advice in each step of the process. Please, never sign any document or hand money to anyone without your previous lawyer’s agreement.
Then, ascertain that the seller is the owner of the property (search in the Property Register, ask for a “nota simple” –simple certificate of property-)
Afterwards, a Reservation Contract is usually signed, and a holding deposit paid.
Then (although it would be better if it can be done before signing the Reservation contract), full information on the property must be obtained from the seller (Title Deeds, official number of the property at the Land Registry, Local Tax –IBI, Garbage Tax- receipts paid, suppliers receipts, Community of Owners’ Certificate of Debts, First Occupation License, Energy Efficiency Certificate, etc.).
It is also recommended to carry out searches to establish whether or not there are charges (urbanization works charges, mortgages, seizures, servitudes, etc) or any public works affecting the property (such as motorway schemes) and whether there are any planning restrictions.
At this stage you will have to get a NIE in the Police Station or Consular offices in your country, and usually you’ll open a Spanish bank account.
After receiving the private contract from the seller (or seller’s solicitor), the documentation is checked.
The next step, although it can be skipped (not compulsory), is to sign a Private Purchase Contract, establishing the elements of the contract (parties, object, price, etc). On exchange of contracts, the purchaser will be asked to pay a pre-agreed deposit (normally 10% of the price) and a completion date is agreed.
On the completion date, Purchase Title Deeds will be signed before a Public Notary and the full purchase price is settled.
After that, you or your solicitor will arrange payment of taxes (VAT and stamp duty or Transfer tax) and register your ownership at the Property Registry and Cadastral Registry.
Proceed to change the owner of the utilities services contracts, and also change the owner’s name in the Town Hall offices related to IBI Tax and Garbage Tax so they’re going to be sent to you in the future. Inform the Community of Owners Administrator or President about the change of ownership so the next receipts will be sent to you.
IF YOU ARE SELLING
You will need to provide full information regarding title deeds on the property to your buyer o buyer’s solicitor. The Title Deeds are proof of ownership of your property.
You will also have to get an Energy Efficiency Certificate from an Architect or authorized professional, before announcing the selling (a penalty can be imposed if you do it without it), and you will have to hand a copy of it before or during completion.
Then you have to decide if you will use the services of one or more Real Estate Agencies.
Delays sometimes occur if there are any outstanding problems or enquiries (you’ll have to provide information regarding Community of Owner’s Certificate of Debts, copy of the Community of Owner’s Statutes, IBI Tax and Garbage tax paid, utility contracts and last receipts paid, etc). Maybe you should have to update the Cadaster Registry (change the name, or even update the description of the property) or make a New Works Deed (if some works made after your purchase had not been registered in the Property Registry before).
Delays and problems during the checking process could be minimised using a registered expert solicitor who will provide effective communication and keep informed all parties involved on the proceedings. Your solicitor shall keep you informed at every stage of your transaction and even he could act as your proxy (through a Special Power of Attorney) if you can’t come/want to come to Spain to completion. He will also manage the payment of the taxes after the purchase.
Usually a Reservation contract is signed and holding deposit is paid.
Afterwards, a Private Purchase Contract can be signed, or you can directly move on to completion (Title Deed or Public Purchase Contract)
On the day of completion (Title Deed or Public Purchase Deed before a Notary), the full purchase price is settled and ownership transferred to your purchaser.
Then you’ll have 30 days to pay “Plusvalía” Tax (local tax) in the Town Hall office.
You should ascertain that the utilities services contracts are changed to owner’s name, that IBI Tax and Garbage Tax (local taxes) had also been changed to owner’s name, and that Cadastral Registry is updated with the new owner’s name filling the correct form (or asking the purchaser a copy of the form filled and registered by him). Inform the Community of Owner’s Administrator or President that the ownership has changes so the next receipts will be sent to the new owner’s name or address.