Buying Spanish Property
Information about buying Spanish Property and answers to your questions about living in Spain and Spanish lifestyle:
Spanish Property Information
How do I arrange to view a property in Spain?
We can all look at as many brochures and websites as time allows, but there is no substitute for visiting the Costa Blanca or Costa Calida and viewing a selection of property. This is where our inspection trips are invaluable.
We recommend that you book your flight tickets a little in advance to achieve the best price. Most airports have a low cost airline that flies to either Alicante (Costa Blanca) or San Javier (Costa Calida). We will be happy to make your hotel reservations for you.
We will meet you at the airport and look after you during your stay. We do not operate group tours and use comfortable cars rather than branded minibuses!
How long should I spend viewing property in Spain?
We strongly recommend that you spend no more that two or three days viewing property. We have found that protracted viewing trips only serve to confuse potential buyers. It is better to see a selection of 10 homes that meet your precise requirements - and then to go away to reflect on what you have seen.
How do I reserve a property that I like?
If you a see a property that you really like, you can ask for the home to be reserved for 24 hours. This costs nothing and there is no obligation to buy. It simply allows you to go away and “sleep on it” - without the worry of the property being sold.
How much deposit is required on a property in Spain?
When you have found your ideal property, a non-refundable holding deposit of 3,000€ to 6,000€ will be required. This will guarantee the removal of the property from the market. This deposit forms part of a legal contract, which holds the price of the property as agreed at the time of paying the deposit and guarantees you will not be affected by any future price increases.
This sum is part of the cost of the home and is not an extra payment. It will either be deducted from the price of the home or refunded on completion of the sale.
This sum is paid directly to the builder or developer and a receipt will be issued to you. Most developers will accept this payment in the form of a personal cheque, credit card payment, bank transfer or cash.
Do I need a Spanish lawyer?
Before proceeding with the purchase of your property in Spain, we recommend sitting down with a lawyer and understanding the legal aspects of buying and owning a Spanish property.
We retain the services of an independent Spanish lawyer, who will explain the buying process to you in great detail and precisely identify all the costs associated with the purchase of your new home.
You are under no obligation to use our appointed lawyer for the purchase of your property and the initial consultation is free of charge.
Should I use a Solicitor in the UK?
This is not necessary, as your Lawyer in the UK would still have to use a local Spanish Lawyer. This would mean two sets of legal bills. All communications from your Spanish Lawyer will be in English.
What is an N.I.E. number?
In N.I.E. number is simply an identity number given to foreign nationals by the Spanish authorities. It is required by non-Spanish nationals who wish to carry out financial transactions in Spain. It is required for the purchase of a home and for the arrangement of a mortgage.
What do I need to obtain an N.I.E. number?
The NIE process is quite simple. You need to fill out a short form, produce your passports, supply three passport sized photos along and three photocopies of you passport itself. You are required to attend in person for the application.
What does an N.I.E. number cost?
The Spanish government makes a very small administration charge for the issue of the N.I.E. number. Be wary of agents or lawyers who attempt to charge an inflated fee for this application process.
How do I open a bank account in Spain?
Opening an account in Spain is very easy and we will be pleased to assist you on your initial visit.
At the early stages of your purchase you will be introduced to a bank of your choice, or if you prefer, one recommended by us, so that you can open an account. With the internet you can access your account in English at all times from the UK, to check statements, transfer funds and generally keep an eye on the account, all without speaking a word of Spanish.
What’s involved in the buying process?
A sales contract will be drawn up by the developer for your agreement and signature. Your lawyer will inspect the contract and advise you accordingly.
Your lawyer will carry out the necessary searches and investigations on the property. The lawyer will ensure that the monies are paid over in a secure manner, that the title deeds are finalised and that the property is yours, all legally signed and secured.
Do I have to be in Spain for each stage of the legal process?
No. Just as in the UK, you can instruct your Lawyer to act on your behalf, even for the final completion. This is done by granting “Power of Attorney” to your lawyer.
What are the payments terms for Spanish property?
When purchasing a new property in Spain, you will generally be required to make staged payments.
These staged payments vary, depending on the developer. Typically, 20% to 50% will be required within 30 to 60 days of signing the contract. The balance is paid upon completion and the signing of the deeds.
However, before you enter into any contract you will be informed of the dates and amounts of any payments.
What other costs on top of the purchase price can I expect?
Normally you should allow an additional 10% on top of the purchase price for legal fees, Notary fees, land registry, IVA (VAT) and stamp duty. Your Lawyer will give you a detailed breakdown as part of his quotation. If you are considering taking a mortgage, the bank may charge an arrangement and survey fee, just as they do in the UK.
What does the Public Notary do?
All transfers of property in Spain must be signed in the presence of a Public Notary. The role of the Notary is to witness the signature of the title deeds on behalf of the Spanish authorities. When a transaction takes place in front of the Notary it becomes final. The necessary paperwork is then distributed and public records are amended. The Notary does not to give legal advice.
What are community fees?
Community fees are applicable for properties that have the benefit of shared facilities and services. Typically, this might include a swimming pool, 24 hour security, up-keep of gardens and general maintenance. We will ensure you have all this information before you make your final decision.
Do I need a Spanish will?
Yes. Since you will own a property in Spain, the assets should be covered by a Spanish will. In the unfortunate event of your death it will save your family or inheritors work, time and money.
Do I need Spanish insurance?
Fire insurance is compulsory by law when taking out a mortgage. This will often be arranged by the bank that are providing your mortgage.
Comprehensive household insurance is available to protect your home and contents. Life insurance can be taken out to guarantee payment of the loan in the case of death.
We would be happy to recommend a reputable insurance provider.
What happens with regular bill payments such as water and electricity?
All utility bills can be paid via direct debit from your Spanish bank account.
What rental returns can I expect from my property?
Typical holiday rental figures on the Costa Blanca & Costa Calida (low season to high season) are as follows.
- 2 bed apartment from 150€ p/w to 400€ p/w
- 3 bed apartment from 250€ p/w to 500€ p/w
- 2 bed villa with pool from 250€ p/w to 600€ p/w
- 3 bed villa with pool from 300€ p/w to 800€ p/w
These prices are used solely as a guide. Prices will vary with the type of property and it’s proximity to attractions such as the beach, golf and international airports.
What are the annual running costs for a home in Spain?
This obviously depends on the price of your property and where you buy.
As a guideline, the running costs for an average 2 or 3 bedroom holiday property on the Costa Blanca will be approximately 1,400€ a year. This includes water, gas, electricity, local rates, refuse collection, community fees, insurance an property/wealth tax. Living expenses (excluding mortage repayments) work out at circa 650 Euros per month, for a couple.
Will it be expensive to furnish my new home in Spain?
All furniture and kitchen white goods are significantly cheaper than in the UK and other northern European countries.
For example, two modern sofas can be purchased for less than 1,000€. Similarly, a hob, oven, extractor fan, fridge freezer and washing machine can be purchased for less than 1,200€.
Many furniture shops offer complete furniture packages, allowing you to completely furnish a two bedroom property for less than 5,000€.
What is the basic cost of living?
The cost of living in Spain is dramatically lower than the UK and many northern European countries. A couple with no mortgage could easily live on 200€ per week, and still eat out regularly. This certainly makes any pension or benefits you receive go further.
Do I need to register on the “Padron”?
If you wish to stay in Spain for longer than six months of the year, you must register with your local town hall, and be placed on the “Padron”.
The “Padron” is simply a registration list, which records everyone living in the local area. It is similar to the electoral roll in the UK. For this you will need your passports, a copy of your property title deeds and sometimes an electricity or water bill.
There will often be benefits to registering you family on the “Padron” – such as free or subsidized use of local facilities.
Will I be covered by the Spanish National health system?
If you pay Spanish social security contributions, you and your family are entitled to free or subsidized medical and dental treatment on the same terms as Spaniards.
Retired European Union residents who have applied for permanent residency (and who receive a state pension) are also fully covered.
If you aren’t entitled to public health benefits through payment of Spanish social security or being in receipt of a pension from another EU country, you must usually obtain private health insurance.
The quality of health care in Spain is considered to be equal, if not better, to any country in Europe.
How do I enrol my children in a Spanish school?
To register at the schools you must first go to the relevant town hall and register the whole family on the “Padron“. As soon as this has been done, the town hall will advise you of the nearest available school in your area.
State schools in Spain have a similar system to UK whereby the child would enrol in the school within its area. Most schools on the Costa Blanca & Costa Calida do have a high intake of foreign children, but be prepared to deal with only Spanish speaking staff.
Age does not determine what will be taught, but what has already been learned. If progress is slow, a child will be held at the level where they are experiencing difficulty until it is appropriate to move on.
The biggest difficulty to overcome is of course the language. While smaller children may pick up the new language easily, older children may find it more difficult.
There must be 40 days of the school term left before a child will be allowed to start, so it is not generally possible to start mid-term. A child must be registered before June of the same year if they are to start in September.
Most schools begin at 9.00 a.m. and finish at 5 p.m. There is a two to three hour lunch break. Not all schools have lunch facilities.
Are there private schools in the area?
There are excellent private schools and colleges within the area, offering an English based curriculum. Newton College in Elche teaches pupils up to 16, whilst The International School of Alicante caters for students up to 18 year of age. Murcia City also has a renowned international school. La Manga and San Pedro del Pinatar also have excellent English speaking schools.
Can I bring my pet to Spain?
If you are planning to bring a pet to Spain, make sure you have all of the correct papers. If travelling by road, this will include all of the countries you will pass through on the way to Spain. Ask your vet for full details.
Remember, when you are exporting a cat or dog from a country with strict quarantine regulations such as the UK, there are certain considerations you must pay particular attention to. If you need to return to your own country, your pet must go into quarantine, after only a few days or even just a few hours of being out of the country. In the UK, quarantine lasts for a period of six months.
Can I claim my pensions & benefits in Spain?
Yes. Your UK retirement pension or other benefits can be paid directly into your bank account in Spain.
Can I bring my car or vehicle over to Spain?
Short term visitors and tourist are allowed to bring a foreign registered vehicle with them for personal use, provided that these visits do not exceed six months in any one year. Any one who spends more than a total of six months in any year in Spain is considered resident and must import the car.
To do this you must register it with the local authorities and obtain Spanish plates. An MOT for right hand drive cars is now available from the Spanish ITV centres.
We strongly recommend that you sell your right hand drive vehicle in the UK and purchase a left hand drive car in Spain. There are inherent dangers with driving a vehicle that was designed to operate on the opposite side of the road.
Can I use my UK driving licence in Spain?
Yes, with the introduction of European licenses, it is not obligatory for residents to hold a Spanish license. These licenses have been recognized as valid for all purposes in Spain.
The older licenses are only accepted if they are accompanied by an official Spanish translation. If you have an older (pre 1990) license, it is advisable that you apply for an EU license from the DVLA.
Is there disabled parking in Spain?
Yes, as in the UK, disabled drivers have specially designated parking areas. These are recognizable, by the international “disabled” sign, next to a yellow painted kerb.
Can I work in Spain?
Yes. Anyone from the European Union who becomes a resident in Spain and has obtained a NIE number, has the right to work in Spain without a work permit, providing they have a valid passport.
European Union nationals are entitled to the same treatment as Spanish citizens in matters of pay, working conditions, vocational training, social security and trade union rights.
Will my television set work in Spain?
UK television sets, whilst on the same system (PAL) cannot be immediately used in Spain as the sound is carried on a different frequency. Conversion in Spain is relatively cheap, and easily done. Modern sets are multi-frequency and the problem does not arise. There is also no need to convert your set if you intend to watch only satellite television with a decoder purchased in Spain or the UK.
In there English speaking TV available in Spain?
Yes, many foreigners living in Spain watch television broadcast from their own country via satellite.
For UK residents who wish to use their Sky system, a larger satellite dish is required in southern Spain.
Many areas of the Costa Blanca are covered by TV operators who provide UK & Irish TV feeds via a digital decoder. The installation and monthly costs are very reasonable (often cheaper than the UK). Content includes the BBC, ITV, RTE, Sky Sports, UK TV, Discovery, History, UK Gold etc. The major European radio channels can also be received via the decoder.
Is there a gas supply in Spain?
In the larger cities, natural piped gas is now available, but on the Costa Blanca and Costa Calida most homes and other premises operate off bottled butane gas.
This is available either directly from the nearest Repsol or Cepsa deposit store, a delivery lorry or many petrol stations.
Is the electricity supply suitable for my equipment?
Spain generates electricity at 220 volts 60 cycles per second. All UK appliances will be compatible with this type of supply. The only exception is some older electric clocks, which will run about 10 per cent faster.
Will my electrical appliances work in Spain?
You will need to replace the plugs, as Spain uses a different electrical socket to some other European countries.
For UK residents, adapter plugs are also available which are extremely cheap and convert the Spanish electrical sockets to take UK plugs. These adapters fit neatly into the sockets and are suitable for permanent use.
What leisure facilities are there in the area?
The main attraction to the Costa Blanca is the wealth of facilities available to residents. The area boasts some of the best beaches in Spain, with a 28km of uninterrupted sand between La Marina and Torrevieja. There is a wide choice of golf courses, along with four marinas, a theme park, two aqua parks and a host of other leisure facilities.
The Costa Calida has a wealth of sporting facilities available to residents. The area boasts some of the best golf courses in Spain, particularly La Manga Club and the Polaris signature golf courses.
The Murcia area will see a huge expansion of its golfing facilities over the next ten years, with almost forty new golf courses planned. The area will soon rival the Costa del Sol as the leading destination for golf in Spain.
There is also a wide range of water sports facilities on the Mar Menor. There are several good marinas in the area, with facilities for larger vessels.
Is there a good transport infrastructure in the area?
The area has an excellent transport infrastructure, with good motorways connecting the north and the south of the region. Alicante airport is one of the largest regional airports in Spain, with a new terminal planned in the next five years. The airport is serviced by all the major European low cost airlines, offering great value travel for those with holiday homes in the area.
The Costa Calida is well serviced by San Javier airport, with a wide range of low cost carriers operating from the airport. Planned improvements to this airport, along with the construction of a new airport in Murcia will further enhance the accessibility of the region.
Most towns and urbanisations are well serviced by reliable and cheap bus services.
Are there health benefits to living on the Costa Blanca?
The coastline between Alicante and Torrevieja seems to offer health benefits. The area has many large salt lakes (known as “Salinas”) which have an effect on the local micro-climate. Many sufferers from breathing disorders and arthritic complaints find that their symptoms are vastly reduced by living close to the lakes. Some say that this is a myth, but the World Health Organisation agrees that this area is one of the healthiest places to live in the world!
Are there good local amenities?
Even the smaller Spanish towns have all the shops and amenities required for day to day living. Whilst supermarkets are everywhere, Spanish towns still support their local baker, butcher and fishmonger. Each town has a local weekly market, where high quality fresh produce can be bought at great prices.
The area also has the facilities and services required by an international community. Torrevieja now boast a new commercial centre, with international shops such as C&A. There are also cinemas, bowling, casinos and restaurants.
How easy is it to settle in?
Aside from the weather, one of the biggest attractions of Spain is that overseas house buyers feel settled in the area very quickly.
The established international community provides for many of the familiarities of life “at home” – from TV and newspapers though to food and drink.
In the early stages of having a home on the Costa Blanca, you will still be able to get by with a little Spanish and your own language.
However, this is still Spain! The Spanish approach to life remains unchanged - with long lunches, outdoor living, great food and drink and a much more relaxed approach to life.
Should I worry about the Valencian “Land Grab” laws?
No. All of our homes are on land designated for urbanisation. Our properties are unaffected by this legislation.