If you buy a house or a flat in Spain, you will need to pay the property transfer tax. How much is that? The answer to that question depends on whether the property is new or not.

When buying a second-hand property, the PTF is equivalent to 10%. But, if we are talking about a completely new house/flat, you should add an extra 1,5% in terms of registration.
Being under 32 years old means that the 10% before mentioned would be reduced to half, paying just 5% on property transfer tax.

That is a question many clients of Katewin Legal ask. Once you have found your desired real estate in Spain, you can buy your new house in just 1 or 2 weeks. But the exact time will also depend both on the seller and the agency.

The most complicated part that property lawyers in Spain should undertake is the due diligence. 80% of the time spent on due diligence is the verifying of the registration certification, and the other 20% is spent checking the technical aspects of the property in Spain (conditions of the building, any problems with the neighbours, pending payments, etc.).

There are no laws regulating the time between signing a private contract and completion at the notary’s office. It all depends on how complex the purchase is.

The private contract – signed by both parties and including a deposit paid by the buyer – always states a time limit for completion. This date is agreed on by both parties and based on the type of purchase and the buyer’s and seller’s preferences.

In general, timescales are as follows:

  • 3 to 4 weeks: for straightforward purchases, i.e. properties with no debts, all paperwork in order and financing already in place.
    4 to 8 weeks: for slightly more complex purchases where, for example, an architect’s certificate is required or the buyer needs to obtain a mortgage. Spanish properties purchased from banks tend to fall into this category too.
  • Over 8 weeks: for those purchases where there are problems or time-consuming bureaucratic processes – for example, the property isn’t properly registered or the property forms part of inheritance or divorce proceedings.
  • In Katewin Legal experience, completion typically takes place between 4 to 6 weeks after the private contract is signed, but the buyer and seller can of course agree longer timelines if necessary.

Any person of any nationality, or any company legally incorporated in a country, can buy a real estate in Spain. The only requirement is that you can prove the funds you plan to invest have been legally obtained. In addition, you will need to complete certain administrative and legal processes, such as obtaining a NIE (Spanish Tax number for foreigners), opening a bank account, obtaining the anti-money laundering clearance, putting in place a Power of Attorney, if any are necessary; and in sizable investments, making foreign investment declarations.

There is no obligation, but it is advisable to fix in writing the conditions of the property purchase agreement (price, payment schedule, expenses, etc.) and ensure that they do not vary before the signing of the deed.

Yes, that is usual in Spain. Unlike in most western countries where the down payment is paid to an escrow agent (closed account, trustee, Notary, etc.) instead of to the seller, the local practice in Spain tends to surprise foreign buyers.
Any risk can be reduced to very little with some basic reviews, for example, making sure that the time between the payment of any deposit and the final sales deed is not excessively long, making sure the seller is not a company on the verge of bankruptcy, and confirming that the outstanding amount of the mortgage does not equal the purchase price (in which case the down-payment cannot be paid to the seller because the whole purchase price has to be paid to the bank). With the right due diligence, it is acceptable in Spain to do as the Spaniards do – pay the down payment directly to the seller at the time of signing the down payment agreement.

Although each property purchase is different and the process of buying a holiday home or a second residence differs significantly from investing as a business, in general, the phases found in any real estate operation would consist of the following:

Tax planning and deciding on the legal structure (do you buy a property in Spain in the name of a company, in your own name, together with your spouse or partner, in the name of your children, etc.)
Administrative aspects of buying a real estate in Spain (setting up the planned structure, if any; executing Power of Attorneys, applying for the tax identification codes “NIEs”, opening a bank account, getting the anti-money laundering clearances, seeking financing, etc.)
Search for a potential purchase property (often simultaneously with the completion of points 1) and 2))

  • Negotiation over the identified target object(s)
  • Reservation agreement or Letter of Intent
  • Conducting of legal and technical Due Diligence
  • Negotiation of the down payment agreement
  • Execution of the purchase deed before a Spanish Notary
  • Consideration and obtaining of insurance coverage
  • Payment of the Property Transfer Tax or VAT, as applicable
  • Updating the Land Registry
  • Arrangement and contract for utilities and establishment of direct debit facilities

No. You can authorize a representative to act on your behalf in the process of buying a property in Spain. The easiest way to do so is to sign a Power of Attorney at a Spanish Notary while you are visiting Spain and looking for your property. If you wish to proceed with the purchase and are not in Spain, you can grant a Power of Attorney in your country of residence at a Spanish Embassy or Consulate or through a procedure of Apostille.

However, one of the things that cannot be done by a Power of Attorney is the opening of a bank account. According to the international banking rules, all banks are required to meet with their clients at least once in person. Some banks may exceptionally let you open an account with Power of Attorney, but may oblige you to meet with them, in person, before releasing funds. Once you have met with the bank officials, the rest of the acquisition process, including dealing with the bank, can be done via Power of Attorney.

Yes, if you invest over 500.000 euros in Spanish real-estate, you and your immediate family can be granted a work and residency permit. This permit is commonly referred to as a “Golden Visa.”

The most significant cost when buying a property are the taxes, which vary, in part, according to the autonomous community. In some autonomous communities, the tax is scaled depending on the purchase price.

In addition, the taxes vary based on the following factors:

  • Age of the property (second hand / new)
  • Identity of the buyer (company / private individual)
  • Identity of the seller (company / private individual)
  • Type of the property (residential / commercial property)
  • Use of the property (rental / resale within five years without renting, etc.)

The full list of the Lawyer´s responsibilities in the real estate purchase process in Spain:

  1. Tax planning designed to minimize the amount of taxes at the moment of purchase, during the ownership and at the moment of eventual property sales.
  2. Setting up the structure for the investment
  3. Dealing with the banks (anti-money laundering clearances, financing, etc.).
  4. Obtaining the NIEs.
  5. Acting as your tax representative and making the corresponding tax declarations during and after the purchase.
  6. Supervising the safety of the operation by conducting a thorough due diligence of the target property.
  7. Negotiating and drafting the contracts involved.
  8. Assisting you with the signing of the final purchase deed.
  9. Following up on the registrations of the property in your name.
  10. Changing the utilities and other service contracts into your name.
  11. Dealing with rental or business licenses, rental contacts, illegal occupants, etc.
  12. Providing any other necessary legal advice to close the purchase successfully.
  13. Obtaining residency and work permits for the non-EU investors.
  14. Planning the inheritance of your properties in Spain to minimize the inheritance tax and bureaucracy.


The full list of the Notary´s responsibilities in the real estate purchase process in Spain:

  1. Identifying the parties of the signature.
  2. Gathering together the documentation required by law for the sales transaction.
  3. Registering the property with the land registry.