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Legal & Property purchase procedure - Marbella & Costa del Sol, Spain

Property purchase procedure


Once you have decided to buy the property of your dreams, we will make an offer on your behalf and we will negotiate the best possible price and conditions. Please note that the prices on new construction properties are not negotiable. 

Reservation contract

The moment you agree with the price and conditions, a reservation contract will be made up and you will have to pay a deposit. The amount depends on the purchase price, which usually will be at least €6,000. Once the deposit is received, the property will be taken off the market and remains reserved for you until the deal is completed.

As a real estate agent, we also do our own due diligence as well prior to advertising a property by asking for the Nota Simple (Property Registration Note) to make sure the seller is the owner of the property and/or by studying all documents and permits the developer has submitted to us.

It is important to prepare the reservation contract as quickly as possible because this is the only way to ensure that the property is reserved for you.


A reservation contract also gives the solicitor the time to do the necessary research and check the contracts and permits. In Spain, a lawyer performs the work of what a notary in most Northern European countries does and he/she will protect your interest and rights.

In order to buy a property in Spain you must have an NIE number, an identification number for which the lawyer will submit your request to get one.

In total his fee will usually be 1% of the purchase price and it is included in the total purchase costs. It is not mandatory, but we always recommend it.

Private contract

Once everything is checked and approved by the lawyer of both parties a preliminary private contract will be drawn up (contrato privado).
Here, price, terms, conditions and day for the signature before Notary are recorded.
This is not mandatory and could possibly also immediately proceed to the transfer.
It is common that 10% of the purchase price minus the deposit will be paid in advance. For a sale off-plan one should usually pay in advance up to 30% to 50%, depending on the construction phase and developer.

Tittle deed

The lawyer made sure that everything is all right and the property is free of charges, encumbrances and tenants. A possible existing mortgage on the property can be taken over or cancelled at the notary in the presence of a banker (this gives a saving of mortgage tax).
The notary checks the identity, the title deed (Escritura) and records it in the register (Registro de la propiedad), you will receive a duplicate (copia simple); the original is delivered to you after registration. From the moment of registration, you are considered the legal owner. The notary does not do any research on the documents, this is one of the reasons why you need a lawyer.

Initial Charge

On the transfer of real estate Spanish taxes are due.
A distinction is made between new or resale property.
It concerns mainly the 10% V.A.T. plus 1,2% tax on new construction, and 7% transfer tax on resales. This is compounded by the lawyer's fees, notary fees and registration fees, as a rule, about 10%.
An exception counts for arable land, here applies 21% VAT and 2% buying costs.

An example: If a NEW property:

Purchase Price: 1,000,000 €
VAT 10%: 100,000 €
Stamp Duty 1,2%: 12.000 €
Registration fee: 900 €
Notary fees: 1,500 €
Electrical, water and telephone connections: 500 €
Lawyer charges including VAT: 12.100 €
Total cost including purchase costs: 1,127,000 €

Construction guarantee and bank guarantee

On new construction there is a mandatory guarantee valid for 10 years.
On the equipment that is included in the purchase the manufacturer's warranty applies as well.
Before the transfer we check with you the completion of everything involved, any defects must be repaired before agreeing on the transfer. After the transfer, you have a one-year warranty for hidden defects.
When buying off-plan, your deposits are guaranteed by the bank. 

Local taxes

Obviously, there are also annual taxes to meet such as the property or council tax (IBI), and municipal taxes. These are known in advance. Amounts can range from several hundred to several thousand euros per year. The lawyer or an administration office can manage that for you.

Community fees.

In a private urbanization (private residential area) one pays for maintenance of the roads and the infrastructure. Usually this can amount to several hundred euros per year, the advantage is that you can use the infrastructure, such as communal gardens, swimming pools and surveillance, and rest assured that you have a good service and added value to your property in place.
The same goes for the community of owners of an apartment complex. These costs are usually between 150 and 350 euros per month. For new communities it will not be known until the association of owners is set up and it will always depend on the services that they offer to the residents.

Resident or non-residents

For residents of the EU there is freedom to live and to work in Spain.
If you stay longer than 6 months per year in Spain you should in theory apply for a residence card at the municipality, you will be regarded as a Spanish resident.


Here we have sketched a general picture about buying a house in Spain, we always support our customers and help them after their purchase.

We work with the best professionals on legal and tax matters.