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THE MARBELLA PROPERTY EXPERTS

Buying Guide

Once you have decided that you want to buy a property in Spain then you should follow two golden rules:

Firstly

Choose a knowledgeable and professional Real Estate Agent. Be mindful that some large companies, whilst professional, can be more aggressive with the sales process and once they have your contact details, they will not leave you alone. All this does, is guarantee you will receive unwanted calls or emails until you decide to change your phone number and email address. Remember that there is no need to register with lots of small agents either that operate in just one local area. By registering with Fab Property you are, in effect, searching with over 400 agents but with only one professional point of contact – us!

Think of us as your personal property assistant – feel free to send us property details or references from any other websites and we will do everything else, from obtaining photographs, to arranging your list of appointments.

Secondly

Find a good efficient Lawyer to advise and assist you. Again, you may have friends who can recommend one to you, or your Estate Agent should also be able to recommend a range of independent lawyers, enabling you to make your own choice. Fab Property will be more than happy to help with suggesting a good Lawyer.

If you choose Fab Property, with the right experience and knowledge of the property market and the local area, we will be able to help you find the right property, perfectly suited to your needs.

We will listen to your requirements and show you the best selection of properties available, taking into consideration up and coming areas to invest in and at the same time comparing prices and quality.

When you have found the ideal property, ensure you request all the details relating to the outgoings payable every year to maintain it; namely the charges imposed by the Town Hall, community fees, charges for waste collection, water rates, electricity charges, and Property Income & Wealth Tax. It’s very important you understand the annual running costs associated with the property and its purchase, before proceeding.

When you have made a final decision on which property you want to buy, you will be asked to pay a refundable reservation deposit (normally €6,000), this deposit ensures that the property is taken off the market whilst your agent negotiates the best price for you, at the same time showing the vendor that you are serious about purchasing their property and ensures that it is not sold to another buyer, whilst the negotiations take place.

Once a price has been agreed the deposit becomes non refundable, and you will generally have a period of between ten and fifteen days to exchange contracts. During this time your lawyer will carry out all the necessary legal checks.

From here on…

Until completion of the purchase, your lawyer will assist you in all the different steps involved in the transaction. There are many excellent English-speaking Spanish lawyers in Spain and choosing the right lawyer is your guarantee that: the Spanish legal requirements are met, the property is registered in the vendor’s name and that it is free of any mortgages, charges, encumbrances, debts or other liabilities.

Your lawyer will negotiate and discuss the purchase terms with the vendor’s lawyer. The terms should not be limited solely to price, but should cover in detail, all of your requirements, such as; the completion date, method of payment, etc. They will also assist you with your applications for an NIE number (a tax identification number) and to open a Spanish bank account – both legal requirements for owning a property in Spain.

Once all the searches have been satisfactorily carried out, the lawyers will draw up the private purchase contract. On a resale property, you will normally pay a deposit of 10% of the purchase price on exchange of contracts. This deposit is not normally refundable if you then back out of the purchase for any reason. Conversely, if the vendor fails to perform their obligations, you will be entitled to the resolution of the contract, enabling you to claim damages or to demand the obligatory fulfilment of the contract.

On a new development purchase, you will generally exchange contracts with a payment of between 10% and 20% (plus the now reduced 4% IVA on that payment, (which was reduced in 2011 for new developments) of the purchase price, although this percentage can vary according to the development. There may be additional stage payments to make during the construction period – again, this depends on the Developer’s terms of payment.

Finally

On the fixed date of completion, your lawyer and Estate Agent, will accompany you to the Public Notary to sign the Title Deeds. If you don´t wish to attend the meeting, you need to make sure you give your lawyer power of attorney, to act on your behalf. The final payment is then made to the vendor’s lawyer, who will simultaneously pass over possession of the property to you, handing over the keys.

The sale is now complete and immediately your lawyer will have the original title deed submitted to the Land Registry Office, for registration of your title. Your lawyer can also arrange for the transfer of utilities and services such as water and electricity, into your name, and organise their payment through your Spanish bank account.

The purchase of a property in Spain will involve the following expenses:

1) 8% – 10% IVA/transfer tax on the purchase price, depending on whether the property is a new development or a resale property. This rate increases to 16% if you are purchasing plots of land, commercial premises, or garage spaces.

2) 1% legal fees (plus IVA).

3) Approx 2% in stamp duty, notary and land registry fees.

If you are paying cash for the property, or effectively paying cash, by raising finance in your country of residence, the total costs therefore will be approximately 11% of the purchase price.

If you need to, or prefer to raise finance in Spain, there will be a further 2% to 3% incurred costs. These costs are made up of the mortgage arrangement fee and additional notary and land registry fees for the registration of the mortgage.

Your total purchase costs therefore will be approximately 12% to 13% of the purchase price.

Plusvalia is a tax levied by the local Town Hall and is based on the particular area where the property is located, on the surface area of the land, on the catastral value, and on the date of the previous title deed. This tax may range from a few hundred euros to as much as several thousand euros on larger properties with substantial land. By law the vendor is obliged to pay this tax, but it is common practice for the parties to negotiate on who is to assume this liability.

Raising finance is generally straightforward in Spain dependent upon your personal circumstances, however we recommend you take professional advice as to whether it is beneficial for you to do this in your home country, or in Spain.

Once your purchase has completed, we would also recommend that your lawyer draws up a Spanish will for you, to ensure that your Spanish assets are dealt with, as you would wish them to be.

If you would like any further help or advice with regard to financial or legal matters, please contact us on (+34) 952 886 340 and we would be delighted to put you in touch with a number of professional law firms and/or qualified financial advisors.