Purchasing a Property in Spain

Find out what to expect from the house purchase process after making an offer.

Once a property is found that is suitable and the vendor has accepted the offer, a sales contract must be completed (opción de compra).

Opción de compra

The seller (vendor) or agent can draft the opción de compra, which is be written in Spanish, but will usually have an English translation. The name(s) on the mortgage (if applicable) must also be the name(s) on the opción de compra. The opción de compra is a legal contract, therefore it is highly recommended to consult a notary before signing. The notary should confirm (at a minimum) that the following information is provided:

  • Details and identities of the vendor and purchaser
  • A full description of the property
  • The surface area of the property and land
  • The purchase price, the breakdown of fees and who will pay each fee
  • Details of the sales agent
  • Details of any fixtures and fittings included in the sale
  • Details of the mortgage, the date of when the mortgage offer should be available and the date of completion
  • Any let out clauses (conditions/cláusulas crio) and the penalties that will be incurred by the purchaser or the vendor if completion doesn't take place

Let out clauses

For the purchaser, the clause crio protects the deposit given to the agent as part of the agreement to purchase the property.

  • The most usual is a clause stating that the purchaser's agreement to purchase is subject to obtaining mortgage finance
  • Other clauses can be included, such as the vendor having to carry out necessary repairs or that the sale is subject to the dimensions of the property corresponding to what is detailed in the opción de compra (expert legal advice is useful in the negotiation of these clauses)

On the day of signing the opción de compra the purchaser will be required to pay the deposit to the agent.

Completion Day

After the mortgage has been approved arrangements can be made for completion of the sale. It is the buyer's responsibility to instruct the notary to request the mortgage funds from the lender.

Once the completion date is determined, the buyer will need to make sure their Spanish bank account is open and funds are transferred into it in time for the completion date. Arrangements for building insurance will also need to be arranged as the buyer will need to provide details of the insurance policy.

If the buyer is unable to attend the signing of the Escritura (final deed of sale) power of attorney (a poder) may be given to a trusted person or friend, which authorises them to act on the buyer's behalf.

The Escritura is signed by the buyer, the vendor and one notary.

Once the Escritura has been signed and witnessed the buyer must pay all required taxes, land registry fees and the purchase price. A few months later they receive a certificate informing them that the title has been registered. The original title deed is returned to the notary and the deeds can be collected. The Notary may make authorised copies