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Buyers Guide to Spain

Why choose Spain as the place to buy a home?

Looking for a property abroad but not sure where? Why choose Spain as opposed to somewhere like Portugal, Greece or Dubai?  It goes without saying that it benefits from the sun, the sea and the sand! But it also has lots more to offer, depending on which location you are looking in.

There are tranquil white villages (pueblo blancos), towns and cities for culture and exciting nightlife, contemporary villas in gated estates or traditional country houses in the countryside (campo). Not forgetting, of course, the relaxed Spanish way of life, the delicious cuisine and the excellent vino.

The good news is that confidence has returned as Spain seems to have turned the economic corner and there has been a definite resurgence of interest in the property market, especially here on the Costa del Sol.

There is no doubt that the Costa del Sol is an affordable and popular destination for those looking to relocate, whether they are planning to work, retire or whether they just want a holiday home. There is also an investment opportunity to capitalise on the holiday lettings market.

The Costa del Sol is still the most popular place for people looking to buy a home in the sun and it is the favourite place for second home owners who are once again flocking to the region of Andalucía.

Where do you start?

If you are a potential buyer finding the right property can be daunting, unless you have expert help and assistance. There are several factors to be aware of when buying property in Spain. Choosing a reliable lawyer is not always easy but any lawyer practising in Spain should be registered with the local bar association (Colegio de Abogados). They will have a registration number that you can verify with the bar association, but registration does not always guarantee honesty. Winkworth can help advise on this matter.

Stage 1 – The buyer makes an offer, usually through the seller’s estate agent. If this is accepted, then the buyer and seller sign a preliminary contract (contrato privado de compravento) and the buyer pays a deposit, typically 10% of the purchase price which will be forfeited in the event of the contract not being completed.  If a mortgage is required, the buyer should make sure that this has been arranged beforehand with their mortgage provider. The contract of sale (escritura de compravento) is usually signed in front of a notary, at which point the full sale price, taxes and other costs become due.

Stage 2 – The services of a lawyer are not legally required to complete the sale, but it is advisable and required by many banks and lenders.  Although the seller is responsible for hidden defects in the property, even if they are not aware of them, a survey is recommended as a good safeguard, any defects can then be readdressed.  It is a good idea for the buyer to ensure that the electricity, water, community charges and local rates (IBI) are paid and up-to-date and that there is no outstanding mortgage or other charges against the property.   If you are buying a new property you should ensure that it has a habitation licence.  Your lawyer will advise you in this respect.

Stage 3 – Paying the costs and taxes associated with buying a home can be completed by the buyer or their agent. However, it is the buyer’s responsibility to ensure all taxes are paid. The buyer is also responsible for registering the property. The notary may provide this service for a fee, and/or may notify the registry office that the sale has taken place, without completing full registration. Remember that Spain has a capital gains tax of 21–27%. Your lawyer will withhold funds to cover the seller’s potential liability for capital gains tax.

Ultimately, buying a property in Spain should be a pleasurable experience and there has never been a better time to explore the available options.

Winkworth can:

  • Create a bespoke itinerary.
  • Put you in touch with reliable and professional lawyers.
  • Help sort out finance – this can often be complicated but it doesn’t have to be with the right help.

Winkworth has the expertise, an honest approach and a wealth of knowledge to help you find the right property for sale in Marbella.

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