Buying Property in Spain : Documents needed

Denise Watson,  Wednesday, 13 November 2013

spain Spring morning in Potes 

This article is part of a series of 8 articles about buying property in Spain. The other articles in the series cover the following topics:


When entering into any legal transaction, certain documents are needed. These might relate to identification, proof of capital, proof of ownership and other points specific to the transaction which will later take place.

When buying a home in Spain, you, as a foreigner, will need to be equipped with your passport, an NIE card (a Spanish identification card) and also a Spanish bank account. The passport proves who you are and so will the NIE card, the latter being important for all financial transactions in Spain. This NIE card can be applied for at either the Spanish Embassy in your own country or from the police station in your chosen local area in Spain. The Spanish bank account is necessary, as it proves where the money is coming from and that there is no money laundering involved.

Now let’s go back to that NIE card. If you apply for this card by attending a police station in Spain, you will need your passport with you, as this will prove your identification. Once issued, the NIE card, which may come in plastic card of paper form, will attach a unique fiscal number to you and you will use this in all business transactions you may be involved in, including paying by Visa for day-to-day shopping. Once you have completed the necessary documents, you may then receive a visit from the local police, who will check that you have sufficient cash via a bank balance, a pension, or a wage, to be financially self-sufficient in Spain. The card or paper document will then be issued some ten to fourteen days later, though don’t panic if you have not received this document within this time period, as red tape doesn’t always run within its agreed time limits.

The bank account is needed for solvency purposes as already described but also to prove where the money for purchase came from. Also, if buying on finance, you will need your bank account to set up direct monthly payments. Bank charges are different from bank to bank, so be sure to shop around for which one offers the best conditions. Charges you pay to hold a bank account in Spain may be different to charges you pay in your own country, so make sure you are aware of what these costs are.

If you’re transferring money from your bank account in your own country to your newly set up account in Spain, shop around for which of your native banks or currency companies will give you the best exchange rate and the lowest transfer fee. A lot of money can be saved by transferring at the right time (should exchange rates be involved) and by using the most efficient service.

Laws are always changing and, whereas you could once buy a house without being a resident (before 2007), a later law said that you had to be a resident for at least ninety days and that you had to register for temporary residency. The laws as they stand today state that not only do you have to provide your passport and your NIE number but you also have to have health cover and sufficient money or income to be self-sufficient.

Spanish Documents Needed for the Purchase Procedure

Certain documents will need to be present at the final stage of purchasing a property and these will usually be collected by the estate agency you are using. One of these is the nota simple, without which the notary presiding over the signing will not allow the sale to be completed. This important document gives you brief details of the house deeds and will tell you what land is registered with the property, as well as whether there are any restraints on the property e.g. an unpaid mortgage, or whether the property has been used as collateral for other finance.

You must also get copies of the last four or five payments of community tax (impuestos sobre bienes immuebles (IBI)) and also the refuse and drainage tax (basura y alcantarillado) for the property, to make sure you are not signing and unknowingly accepting such outstanding debts.

To be one hundred percent sure that the property comes free of debt, check also that no utility payments are outstanding. With all of these checks done, your purchase will go through without any worries.


House in quiet street in Spanish village
Spanish property for sale. Appartements, villas and houses for sale on the Costa del Sol, Costa Brava and Costa Blanca. For sale by owner and by agent. 
This is the true story of the Spanish culture. Easy to read.

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