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Buying property in Spain

Whether you’re after a savvy investment or a place to settle down, here’s everything you need to know about purchasing property in Spain.

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Thinking of purchasing a Spanish property?

Spain is one of the most popular destinations for British expats and holidaymakers alike, and it’s easy to understand why. Warm weather, dazzling coastlines, and a superb quality of life make the country an attractive location.

If you’re considering buying property in Spain, you’ll be happy to hear that it’s relatively straightforward. However, there are some important things you need to know.

Fortunately, we’ve put together this guide covering the key considerations. Read on to learn about the process of finding, buying and moving into a property in Spain.

The process of buying a property in Spain.

The property buying process in Spain is very similar to in the UK, although there are some key differences.

Budget and finance

Start by planning out your budget, including things like travel costs and taxes, and get a mortgage agreement in principle.

Finding a property

Use property websites, local estate agents and perhaps a specialist broker or buyer’s agent to help you find the right property. 

Legal considerations

Considering hiring a lawyer to help you with the purchase process, and obtain a Foreigners’ Identification Number (NIE).

Make an offer

Negotiate on the price and make an offer in writing. You may also need to sign a reservation contract and make a small down payment.

Sign the purchase contract

Your lawyer will then review the property documentation before you sign the purchase contract and pay the main deposit of 10% to 50%.

Complete the purchase

The final stage is to release the funds for the sale and sign the purchase deed in the notary’s office with your lawyer present. 

Best places to buy property in Spain.

From vibrant, bustling cities to quiet, coastal towns – here are some of the best places to buy property in Spain.

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València

An increasingly popular city, València is still relatively affordable when compared to Barcelona and Madrid, and has a much more relaxed atmosphere.

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Alicante

This beautiful port city is steeped in history, nestled beneath the Santa Bárbara Castle on the Costa Blanca. It’s popular among expats and holidaymakers alike.

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Málaga

Perched on Spain’s southern coast, Málaga boasts warm weather all year round. It has a thriving expat community, and the city is alive with culture and history.

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Mallorca

Mallorca is an island in the Mediterranean, just off Spain’s eastern coast. Known for its sheltered coves and picturesque towns, it’s a peaceful pace to live or visit.

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Barcelona

The capital of Catalonia, Barcelona is renowned for its art, architecture, and culture. Property here may be more expensive, but it can also bring a higher return.

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Canary Islands

A perennial favourite among foreign buyers, the Canary Islands offer a variety of opportunities. Tenerife, the biggest island, has a large expat community.

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Save money on currency transfers when buying a property in Spain.

Here at Currencies Direct, we offer excellent exchange rates and we don’t charge transfer fees. This means you could get more overall when you send money to Spain for your property purchase.

We can also help you time the transfer right to get a stronger exchange rate. You can sign up to receive regular updates and market insights to keep on top of the latest movements.

In addition, we can help you avoid receiving fees in Spanish banks, and our bespoke PropertyPay solution could save you even more money.


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Simplifying the buying process.

We understand that buying a property comes with a lot of moving parts, so we can help simplify the money transfer side of things.

For instance, you can hold euros on account in a secure digital currency wallet. This way, you can have your deposit ready to go once you find the right property. And you can automate regular transfers, perfect for mortgage payments or utility bills.

Meanwhile, your personal account manager is on hand to help, and you can easily track transactions through your online account. We also have more than 20 local branches dotted around Spain, where you can pop in and speak to a friendly currency expert face to face.

Create a Currencies Direct account.

Thinking about buying property abroad? Create a free Currencies Direct account in minutes. You can then start sending money overseas or talk through your transfer needs with a friendly currency expert.

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The costs of buying a property in Spain.

There are many costs associated with buying property in Spain, so it’s important you include them in your budget. Here are the key fees and charges you’re likely to encounter.

Taxes

Expect to pay 8% to 12% of the property price in taxes. VAT for new builds is 10% on the mainland (IVA) or around 6.5% (IGIC) in the Canary Islands. Resale properties incur Spanish Transfer Tax (ITP), usually 6% to 10%.

Fees

Fees range from 1% to 6% total. Notary and Land Registry fees are around 0.5% each, lawyer fees are typically 1% of the purchase price, and translators may charge €100 per hour. Agency fees are often covered by the seller, but buyer’s agents may charge around 3% commission. 

Bank charges

Spanish banks tend to charge receiving fees of around 0.4% to 0.6% when processing transfers from the UK. You can avoid these charges by using Currencies Direct, as we make payments in EUR using our EU accounts. 

Ongoing costs

Owning a property involves things like maintenance expenses, utility bills, and mortgage payments. There’s also an annual property tax (IBI) of 0.4% to 1.3% of the property’s ‘cadastral value’ (which is typically around 30% below market value).

Finding a property in Spain.

There are a few different ways you can find a property in Spain, depending on whether you want to handle it yourself or hire a specialist to help.

Online websites

For many people, searching for a property online is the first port of call. There are many sites you can use, and it’s easy to filter the results by location, budget, and other features.

Estate agents

Another option is to contact local estate agents. They can offer more guidance and help you find something suitable, but it’s worth bearing in mind that they often represent the seller.

Property brokers

You can also opt for a buyer’s agent or property broker. Having an expert on your side can be an excellent asset, but it will come with an additional fee.

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Moving to Spain post-Brexit.

The key change to travelling to Spain post-Brexit is the 90-day rule, although this could be relaxed in the future.

Currently, if you want to stay in Spain for more than 90 days in any 180-day period you’ll need to apply for a visa.

There are different criteria and types of visa depending on whether you’re employed, self-employed or retired.

Whatever your reason for moving, you’ll need to demonstrate that you’re able to financially support yourself.

Learn more about buying property in Spain post-Brexit.

Moving into your Spanish property.

Once you’ve purchased your Spanish property, it’s time to get ready for the move. Here are the key things you need to consider.

Documentation

Make sure you have all the documentation you need, including your passport, Spanish foreign identity card, and any other certification required.

Shipping

You’ll need to choose to ship any belongings by air, train, sea or land, or a combination. Of course this comes with costs, and you may have to declare certain items at customs.

Pets

Moving pets is fairly simply, as long as their vaccinations are up to date and you have identification for them. You also need to go through a designated entry point.

Health insurance

While your visa may grant you some health insurance, it’s important to check. You may want or need to take out private health insurance before your move.

Utilities

You’ll need to make sure your utilities are contracted under your name when you move. Your lawyer may have done this during the sales process, otherwise you’ll need to contact a provider.

Finances

Avoid unnecessary stress by sorting out your finances in advance, particularly if you have any income or payments still in the UK.

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Seamless spending with our multi-currency card.

Whether you’re just holidaying in Spain or staying for good, our multi-currency card makes it easy to spend while abroad and live like a local.

You can use the card to spend in over 200 countries, either drawing directly from your currency wallets or converting currency on the spot.

checkLearn more about our multi-currency card

Selling a property in Spain.

The process of selling a property in Spain is very similar to buying a property, although of course you’ll be on the other side of the transaction.

Prepare for the process

Get your property ready for the market by decorating and carrying out repairs, and get all your property documents in order.

List your property

You may choose to photograph and advertise the property yourself, but using an experienced local agent can simplify and speed up the sale.

Find a solicitor

An experienced English-speaking lawyer will take care of all the legal and administrative tasks associated with selling your property.

Choose a notary

Once you’ve accepted an offer, you and the buyer will need to agree on a notary to oversee the paperwork.

Sign the deposit contract

After the buyer has reviewed the documentation and surveyed the property, you’ll both sign a deposit contract.

Complete the sale

Finally, you and the buyer, along with your lawyers and the notary, will meet to sign the purchase deed and complete the sale.

Get started today

Create a free Currencies Direct account to access excellent exchange rates, expert insights, and outstanding customer support.

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Frequently asked questions about buying a property in Spain.

The tax you pay depends on the type of property you buy and the region where you buy it. On average, expect to pay between 8% and 12% of the property’s value in tax.

You don’t necessarily need a Spanish bank account, although in many cases it’s best to have one. For instance, if you need to raise a banker’s draft to purchase the property then you’ll need a local account. However, using our PropertyPay service can eliminate the need to raise a banker's draft or open a bank account.

Once you’ve found the right property, the process tends to take around two to three months. However, there are various factors that can impact this, and if you’re buying off-plan then expect to wait upwards of a year.

There are no legal requirements for purchasing a property in Spain. However, you will need to obtain a Foreigners’ Identification Number (NIE). To do this you’ll need to submit an application, along with a form of photo ID and other documentation.

You do not need to be a Spanish resident to buy property in Spain. Foreigners are free to purchase property, as long as they have an NIE.

Exchange rates are always moving, so the rate you’ll receive for your GBP/EUR transfer to Spain depends on when you make the transfer. We can help you navigate currency volatility and target a strong exchange rate, so get in touch if you need guidance.

The key risk in currency exchange is that the exchange rate will weaken when you’re ready to make a transfer. We can help minimise this risk by providing market insights, expert guidance, and specialist transfer options.

For example, you can use a forward contract to lock in an exchange rate for up to a year, protecting you from currency volatility.

Yes, you can automate regular overseas payments on a monthly or quarterly basis.

News and insights.

Read our latest articles about buying property in Spain.