Buying a house in Spain: what to look out for?

"Buying a house in Spain, what should I look out for?" This is one of the most common questions we receive at Confianz. Therefore, this post will give you some tips that will help you move forward with your search for a property in Spain.

Tip 1: Choose a region you already know

Often clients buy a property in Spain during a viewing trip without knowing the region. It is important to have an idea in advance which region you want to buy a house in. This seems obvious, but often clients are unsure which region suits them best.

The weather in Spain can vary from costa to costa. For example, the Costa Blanca enjoys a microclimate. Different regions also have their own cultural aspects and the range of activities is not the same everywhere. So inform yourself well about the different Spanish regions. Among Belgians, the most popular costas are Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol.

Read more about the buying process in the Costa Blanca, the Costa del Sol, or from new construction. 

One tip we would like to pass on in advance is that before any purchase, first rent a holiday home in the region. That way, you experience what life is like as an owner and also get to know the region better. After all, when you know the region well, you will feel more at ease after buying.

Tip 2: Know what you are getting into

Owning a property in Spain naturally offers many advantages. Your quality of life will improve if you can enjoy the nice weather regularly. However, do not forget the additional - mainly administrative - aspects. You are still buying a house abroad, and this may affect your taxes and estate. There are also annual costs, this with associated administration.

Read more about the annual cost of a property in Spain.

Read more about Belgian taxes on Spanish property.

Tip 3: Consider additional costs

Besides the purchase price, there are a number of additional costs. For example, there are registration fees, legal fees, administrative fees, etc. The costs vary from region to region, but do count Some 11 to 14% extra on the purchase price.

What are the additional costs when buying a property in Spain?

Tip 4: Find a reliable estate agent

The Spanish property market is not regulated. So anyone can become a broker just like that, giving you few guarantees. A first criterion is that the estate agent knows the region and prefers to live there himself. This will help you better with your search and the estate agent can offer properties that match your wishes.

In addition, it is important that you are given the opportunity to appeal to an independent lawyer or solicitor of your choice. That way, your interests as a buyer are safeguarded.

Why you better not sign the compromise in Spain immediately?

Tip 5: Make sure everything is legally in order

It is important to note that the notary in Spain does not do the necessary legal checks and investigations. Unlike the Belgian notary, the Spanish notary does very little. As a result, it often happens that people do not know what they are actually buying.

Find out more about the Spanish notary.

As a new owner of a property in Spain, the charges on the property take over with it. For example, there may be building violations, debts attached to the property or the property may not meet minimum housing requirements. It is important to have this situation checked in advance by a lawyer in Spain, so that you are not faced with a fait accompli later. Here is more information on what you can do if there are debts on the property.

Also, a bank guarantee is often not given with a buy on plan. You may therefore lose your down payments. These are all things that can cost an unwitting buyer a lot of money later.

Moreover, if you plan to rent out, you should check whether you are allowed to make the property available for holiday rentals. Indeed, some autonomous regions restrict renting to tourists.

Read more about safe buying in Spain.

Are you planning to rent out?

Spain's autonomous regions each have their own rules for holiday rentals. In the Balearic Islands, Catalonia or Valenciana, you cannot simply rent out. Some properties therefore do not qualify for a licence. Take this into account when looking for properties.

Here you will find an overview by region.

Tip 6: Are you going to borrow? Inform yourself in good time

There are several options for borrowing for a second residence in Spain. And this both with Belgian and Spanish banks. However, the loan application can take some time, so it is best to check in advance what your options are. Also bear in mind that a Belgian bank often requires at least a purchase agreement to start the procedure. And these final purchase agreements are not always readily available in Spain.

Find more here general information on borrowing for a second stay As well as some tips to borrowing for a new building in Spain.

Tip 7: Apply for a NIE number already

An NIE number is an identification number for non-residents in Spain. You need this number to pay your taxes, connect utilities, insure your property, etc., among other things. Therefore, we recommend that you already have a NIE number before the deed of purchase is executed.

However, the application process these days quickly takes several months. For this reason, it is not a bad idea to apply for a NIE number already. An NIE number is valid for life and keeping the number does not entail any obligations.

How do I apply for a NIE number?

Ask for more information

Did you questions About buying a house in Spain? Feel free to contact us using the form below. We are at your disposal.

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update December 2021

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