When you are buying a property in Spain it is advisable to appoint an independent specialist lawyer – abogado – who speaks your language. The lawyer will obtain a copy of the Land Registry entry or Escritura – conveyance deed – which will show who owns the property, that the seller is are authorised to sell it and whether or not there are any debts or mortgages on it.
A Land Registry search result will be obtained and a private contract of deposit can be signed giving the parties time to finalise the purchase and completion statements. If for example stage payments of the purchase price are to be made or the purchase/sale is subject to planning permission then a private contract will be necessary. The conditions will be negotiated in the contract.The signing of the Escritura will take place in front of the Notary local to the property, which is being sold or purchased. Bank transfers in Spain can take some time so it will be important for you to ensure that cleared funds are received in your or that of a lawyer’s client account at least two days before completion or signature of the private contract.
If you are financing your purchase by way of a mortgage it is important to contact a lender and provide them with the necessary documentation as soon as possible. Once the mortgage application has been completed the lender will arrange a valuation of the property and notify you formally of the mortgage offer. It is important that you have a formal offer or an agreement from your lender prior to signature of the private contract as if the mortgage was later rejected you may risk losing any monies paid.
Sellers still occasionally ask for the price to be under-declared. Under-declaring amounts to tax fraud and is illegal. The declared amount in the Escritura will determine how much capital gains tax that you will be obliged to pay when you sell.
Power of Attorney
If you are unable to attend the signing of the Escritura then you can execute a Power of Attorney to enable a lawyer to sign this on your behalf. If you are financing your purchase by way of a mortgage and will not be present for completion the Power of Attorney must include the faculties to sign the mortgage deed as well.
NIE number and Residencia
In order to pay your transmission tax, NIE (fiscal) numbers will be required. To obtain the NIE numbers you will personally have to visit the local police station with your passport and complete a form. Many clients who are not living in Spain prefer to grant a power of attorney so that this can be done to save time and inconvenience.
This will take place at the Notary local to the property. On the day of completion the balance of purchase monies will be paid along with some of the other costs. From the date of completion you will be the owner of the property and the deed can be registered at the Land Registry. The lawyers will arrange for the utilities and other bills to be transferred such as community charges, rates – IBI, local improvement taxes plusvalía and utilities.
For more information contact our specialist conveyancing department on [email protected]