How does the purchase process work?


a step-by-step guide

Buying a property in Spain is an exciting adventure. Once you have found your dream home, you naturally want to enjoy it as soon as possible. But what exactly are the steps to follow? Below, we guide you through the entire purchase process, including the distinction between buying existing properties and new builds.

Step 1: Private Purchase Agreement


When buying a resale property, a private purchase contract is often signed, also known as the "Contrato de compraventa" or "Contrato de Arras." This contract contains the terms of the purchase and usually requires a deposit of 10% of the purchase price. This deposit ensures that the contract is binding and the property is taken off the market. This allows the representatives of both parties to prepare the final purchase. This contract provides assurance that the seller will not sell the property to someone else.


When purchasing a new build property, it is common for the developer to request a deposit upon signing the reservation document. The deposits and payment schedules can vary depending on the project and the stage of construction. Often, the reservation amounts to 10,000 EUR, and the buyer then pays 40 to 50% (+VAT) in stages. For example, a reservation of 10,000 EUR, followed by an initial payment of 20% upon signing the purchase contract, 15% upon completion of structural works, and 15% when the property is wind and watertight. The remaining amount, based on this example 50% - 10,000 EUR, must be paid upon signing the deed.

Step 2: Notarial Deed


The next step is signing the notarial deed, known as the "Escritura Pública." This deed is signed at a notary's office and marks the official transfer of ownership. The lawyers of both parties ensure that all legal documents are correct and that there are no outstanding debts on the property. After signing, you will receive the keys to your new home in Spain, and the seller will receive the remaining amount. The transfer of ownership is then registered in the Land Registry (Registro de la Propiedad).


For new build properties, an inspection and handover must first take place. After this, the deed is executed at the notary, and the final payment is made. Sometimes, utility connections may only be possible after the transfer. In this case, you should be aware that there may be no water or electricity in the property initially.

Additional Considerations


Mortgage: If you need a mortgage, start applying for one early with Spanish banks. The process can easily take up to 3 months.

Inspection: It is advisable to inspect the property before signing the deed at the notary to ensure it meets the initial agreement.


Mortgage: If you need a mortgage, be aware that the Spanish bank will only provide it once the property is ready for occupancy. This is because the bank can only then conduct a valuation.

Permits: Check that the developer has all the necessary permits.

Warranty: New build projects in Spain typically offer a 10-year warranty on structural defects, 3 years on installations, and 1 year on finishes.

Bank Guarantee: Payments are made in stages. Only buy off-plan if a bank guarantee is provided.

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