Buying Property in Spain. Our Helpful Guide.February 5th 2024 | by Darren Burns
Considering the allure of owning a home in Spain? It’s something that I personally have done, and wanted to share some of the key points for anyone considering buying property in Spain. Whether it’s a coastal retreat, a historic city apartment, or a countryside villa, buying property in Spain is an exciting venture. However, it is important to understand many of the complexities, some of which are unique to buying property in Spain.
This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know, helping to ensure a smooth journey to your dream Spanish home.
Where to Buy Property In Spain ?
Choosing the right location is crucial for your lifestyle and property investment. Let’s break it down: It is important to identify your ideal lifestyle – beach, urban, or rural setting.
Climate Consideration: Spain offers diverse weather patterns; choose a region that aligns with your climate preferences.
For most people who consider a move to Spain, thoughts will go to the famous Costa Del Sol (also know as Costa del Golf). However, Spain is a very diverse country with varying climates and property prices. Here are some of the most popular areas, with some information worth considering.
Costa del Sol: Sun-Soaked Luxury
- Renowned for its sunny climate, Costa del Sol is a prime choice for those seeking a Mediterranean lifestyle.
- Popular cities like Marbella, Estepona and Malaga offer upscale amenities, multiple golf courses, and beautiful beaches.
- Ideal for those who enjoy a vibrant social scene, Outdoor pursuits and upscale living.
- Marbella is a multicultural area making integration easier. English language facilities such as Schools, Cinemas and more are a huge draw for expats.
- 300 days of sunshine and very pleasant winter climates help make this a vibrant property market.
- And as you are only a few hours from the Ski-resort of Sierra Nevada, snowy winters are just a 2 hours drive away.
- Property pricing varies a lot. It is affected by proximity to the beach and Marbella’s luxury Golden mile.
- Average property price per M2 in the region is €5,133 (Jan 31 2024). More property price information available at Costa Del Sol Property Statistics
Barcelona: Urban Elegance
- Barcelona, Catalonia’s capital, combines rich history, modern architecture, and a thriving cultural scene.
- Perfect for city enthusiasts, offering a blend of urban living, historic charm, and proximity to the Mediterranean Sea.
- Diverse neighbourhoods cater to various preferences, from the bustling city centre to quieter residential areas.
- Winters are colder, averaging 15 degrees.
- Average property price per M2 in the region is €3,803 (Jan 31 2024). More property price information available at Barcelona Property Statistics
Ibiza: Bohemian Bliss
- Famous for its vibrant nightlife, Ibiza is also home to serene beaches and a bohemian atmosphere.
- Ideal for those who seek a more relaxed lifestyle with a touch of luxury.
- Considered a haven for artists, musicians, and those who appreciate a laid-back yet stylish environment.
- And of course, the clubbing scene In Ibiza is still vibrant with San Antonio and Playa d en Bossa attracting clubbers of all ages.
- Average property price per M2 in the region is €8,531 (Jan 31 2024). More property price information is available at Ibiza Property Statistics
Valencia: Authentic Spanish Living
- Valencia is one of Spain’s biggest cities
- Located between Barcelona and Murcia, Valencia offers a mix of old-world charm and modern amenities, attracting those who appreciate authenticity.
- Known for its stunning architecture, cultural festivals, and the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences.
- Perfect for those seeking a genuine Spanish experience away from tourist-heavy areas.
- Property prices are very reasonable, especially in the gothic-style coastal city of Castellon de la plana.
- Average property price per M2 in the region is €1,812 (Jan 31 2024). More property price information is available at Valencia Property Statistics.
Costa Blanca: Coastal Tranquility
- Costa Blanca’s white sandy beaches and charming coastal towns make it a popular choice.
- Cities like Alicante and Benidorm provide a balance of relaxation and entertainment.
- Suitable for those looking for a coastal escape with a variety of recreational activities.
- Average property price per M2 in the region is €3,081 (Jan 31 2024). More property price information is available at Costa Blanca Property Statistics
Madrid: Dynamic Urban Living
- As Spain’s capital, Madrid offers a bustling urban lifestyle with a touch of Spanish tradition.
- Rich in art, culture, and world-class dining, Madrid is perfect for city dwellers.
- A central location ideal for those who want easy access to the heart of Spain. Madrid Airport is a well connected international hub.
- Summers can reach well into the 30’s in the summer, but winters are considerably colder, averaging 10 degrees. Rain is more common here with an average of 63 days of rainfall a year. Although it is Europe’s sunniest capital city.
- Average property price per M2 in the region is €6,341 (Jan 31 2024). More property price information is available at Madrid Property Statistics.
Andalusian Countryside: Rustic Retreat
- For a more rural experience, Andalusia’s countryside offers picturesque landscapes and charming villages.
- Ideal for those seeking tranquillity, outdoor activities, and a connection to traditional Spanish culture.
- Inland Andalucia property prices are great value but expect integration to be more challenging.
- With summers of 36 deg Average and cool winters, spring and autumn are often the most sought after seasons here.
- The countryside region of Cordoba has an average property price per M2 of €381(Jan 31 2024. Of course this increases greatly as you venture towards Cordoba city. More property price information is available at Cordoba Region Property Prices.
Balearic Islands: Island Paradise
- Beyond Ibiza, the Balearic Islands include Mallorca and Menorca, each with its own unique charm.
- Perfect for those desiring a Mediterranean island lifestyle with beautiful beaches and scenic landscapes.
- Mallorca, in particular, offers a mix of vibrant city life and peaceful coastal areas.
- Average property price per M2 in the region is €3,281 (Jan 31 2024). More property price information is available at Balearic Islands Property Statistics.
Canary Islands: Tropical Oasis
- The Canary Islands, including Tenerife and Gran Canaria, boast a subtropical climate and volcanic landscapes.
- Ideal for those seeking diverse outdoor activities, and a laid-back island lifestyle.
- A year round warm climate is a huge draw to the Islands, especially for the warm winters averaging 20+ degrees.
- Tenerife, with its cosmopolitan atmosphere, appeals to both tourists and expats.
- Average property price per M2 in the region is €3,281 (Jan 31 2024). More property price information is available at Balearic Islands Property Statistics.
Legal Essentials When Buying Property In Spain
Understanding the legal landscape is paramount for a successful property purchase. Here’s what you need to consider:
Will you Need a Spanish Visa to Live in Spain?
Anyone can buy in Spain , but of course not everyone can live permanently here. All you need is a NIE number. Your NIE will be required for many essentials such as a bank account, electrical connection, larger purchases and much more even for non-residents.
If you are an EU citizen, then you will not need a visa, and do not need to apply for Spanish residency. Although you must register if you plan to stay for more than 90 days.
Non-Eu citizens will be required to obtain a visa if planning to stay longer than 90 days in a year. There are many types of visas in Spain such as
- Tourist Visa- Visits up to 90 days only
- Work Visa – You can apply as self employed, an employee or even as an entrepreneur.
- Non Lucrative Visa – Only if you can demonstrate that you have the means to support your life in spain.
- Golden Visa – A great option if you plan to buy property in Spain, or want to invest here.
- Family Visa – This can be used to bring family members via an EU citizen.
- Student Visa – Ideal if you are going to study a degree or PHD in Spain.
- Digital Nomad Visa – A great tax efficient option for those who want to work remotely in Spain.
What are the expenses when buying a property in Spain?
In addition to the property’s purchase price, you’ll incur various costs and taxes, typically totaling between 10% and 15% of the property’s value.
- New properties will require IVA (Spanish VAT) to be paid at 10% of the purchase price. Additional stamp duty is charged at 1.2%.
- Resale properties instead require a transfer tax among 6% and 10% depending on the region. For example, while in Andalusia you pay 7%, in other communities you can pay up to 10%.
Additionally, you’ll need to cover fees for services, such as:
- Notary – 0.5-1% of purchase price
- land registry – 0.5-1% of purchase price
- Legal – Approximately 1% of the purchase price, but this is negotiable in my experience.
- Gestoría services – To help with some of the paperwork involved. Typically services start from around €150
- Banking fees for currency exchange and issuing banker’s drafts – These vary greatly between banks.
- Bank Loan Fees – Check the market for current mortgage offers and fees involved.
- Valuation – This may be required by your mortgage lender, and typically costs from €500.
- Inspection Fees – It is advisable to carry out a professional inspection of your property prior to purchase.
We have built a handy spreadsheet to to help you easily calculate some of the fees and a simulation. Click the link to access our Spanish Property tax and Mortgage Calculator or check the simulation below.
Choosing a Real Estate Agency in Spain
In Spain there is an abundance of Real Estate Agencies especially in the Costa Del Sol. When making my own purchase, I used various companies and quickly realised that there is a large variation in quality. I purchased in Costa Del Sol where the property market is vibrant and this attracts a lot of agencies, some of questionable expertise. Here are the important points that I suggest you look out for :
- Locality – A local agent will be more familiar with the area and therefore able to offer much better advice.
- Experience – Long established agencies will have overcome almost all of the potential pitfalls, and will be able to help you navigate them.
- Connections – A good agency will be able to connect you with the necessary people to help with legals, paperwork , mortgages and more.
- Language – Do they speak your language? I found this very important, so that nothing was lost in translation.
- Listen – A very important skill to ensure that your time is not wasted viewing undesirable properties.
- Honesty – It’s always the best policy. I found it much easier to trust an agency who told me the bad with the good points.
- Choose an “Agency”, not a “Sole Agent”. – Sole agents are common, but are best avoided in my experience. They often lack the resources and deeper experience of established agencies.
If purchasing from abroad, I recommend getting in touch with a reputable agency to discuss your require and arrange a viewing schedule that aligns with your next visit. Pre-planning a schedule when purchasing from abroad is often a critical to ensure that you can view all of the properties required during your visit.
Our Marbella Real Estate Agency takes pride to ensure that we meet all of this criteria.
Home Inspection: Uncovering Gems and Pitfalls
Ensuring the property is in good condition is crucial before completing contracts. It is advisable to employ a professional to inspect your potential new home. It is essential to uncover any hidden costs or problems that may arise after purchase. Additionally, should a problem be uncovered this can be used to renegotiate the purchase price, or to adjust the contract.
Mistakes to Avoid when Buying Property in Spain
Buying property in Spain should be a smooth experience. Good advice is importance to help ensure that it does not become a negative experience. Here are some of the important mistakes to avoid:
- Don’t rush: Feeling pressured can push us into making quick decisions. Take your time and don’t proceed without completing all necessary checks.
- Sometimes urgency can be a determining factor. However, it should never take precidence over in depth due diligence. A good team should be able to move due process along faster when required.
- Ensure compliance: Check if the property meets urban development requirements and is up to date with payments. Requesting a nota simple is essential.
- Having a local agent familiar with the area can simplify the process. They’ll be well-informed about each building’s status and amenities in the area. Often they will have some inside expertise helping you to find a bargain or avoid a hidden problem.
- Before settling on a property, make sure to explore all available options in the area. Nevado Realty can provide access to a wide range of properties through their extensive agent network.
Community Fees in Spain
Often your home in Spain will be part of a community. This is especially common in popular areas for expats. Areas with a community will often have enhanced cleaning, maintenance and security. Sometimes this will be managed by professional management companies. It is important to establish the limits and benefits of your community. Naturally, this will come at a cost, so it is essential to establish the costs and services included. They will vary greatly..
Unmanaged residential areas can sometimes be neglected by the local municipality with general maintenance and cleaning rarely carried out. This was one of my personal problems when purchasing. As our street does not belong to a community, street cleaning is almost non-existent and general maintenance of street lights is not kept up. Instead we all do our bit, however as some houses are unoccupied much of the year they are often unable to contribute.
Safety and Security
For many who are buying a home in Spain, ensuring peace of mind in a secure area is a priority. Factors such as the location, the property and the community all play a role here.
It’s worthwhile checking crime rates for your chosen location. Wealthy areas can often attract crime. A secure home and/or good community security service can negate many of the potential risks. In my own personal experience, I find my area of Costa del Sol safe and secure, but I have seen issues with properties left unoccupied and without any form of security system in other areas.
If you plan to reside permanently in your new Spanish home, the risk of burglary would significantly decrease. However, should you plan to only use your home part time, it is worth investing in a good security system and I would personally prefer a gated community with security. This way you can let them know when you are not home, and ensure they keep an extra eye on your property.
Plan Ahead by considering Future Development and Environmental Factors
Developments in your vicinity can have both positive and negative impacts. Always explore them before purchasing your new home.. Contact your local town hall to find out about any planned developments that may affect your new home.
I made my purchase in an upcoming area. For example, there was both a new villa construction beside my home and another adjacent renovation. While there was some short term disruption with this, it has improved the area for the long term. Additionally the construction of the Senda Litoral, (a coastal path connecting the beaches of Malaga coast) was yet to be completed in my area. I viewed this positively because the addition of the coastal path increased house prices in adjacent neighborhoods. And of course, it was something exciting to look forward to.
My Final Thoughts on Buying Property in Spain
Buying property in Spain is a thrilling adventure that requires careful consideration of legal, financial, and lifestyle factors. Use this guide to navigate the intricacies, and soon you may find yourself calling Spain home. Whether it’s the Mediterranean breeze or the vibrant city life, Spain offers a piece of paradise for every dreamer. Start your journey today and make “buying property in Spain” your reality!