If you’re thinking about buying property in Spain & have previously bought one in the UK, you’ll find a few significant differences in the house buying process between the two countries.
1) You must pay a deposit in Spain
In the UK, it’s common for house sales to fall through either because the buyer or the seller pulled out of the deal. This can happen right up until the exchange of contracts & after you’ve paid countless solicitor bills.
In Spain, however, you must pay a deposit known as compraventa to safeguard this from happening. This amount can be anywhere from 10% to 20% of the property value, depending on what region in Spain you’re buying in. The money doesn’t go straight to the seller it is kept by a legal entity until the final contract is signed. If you pull out at any time the seller keeps this money. If the seller pulls out then the money gets returned to you, but in addition, they must pay you the same amount.
2) You’ll pay different property taxes and fees
The property taxes you pay in Spain will be different from those in the UK. In Spain, you can expect to pay between 8% &11.5% in taxes when you buy a house or an apartment.
3) There’s no exclusivity agreement with estate agents in Spain
In Spain, sellers can register with as many different estate agents as they want to sell their property. This can be great for the seller but can sometimes prove frustrating for the buyer. This is because you’ll often see the same property advertised on several different websites & may be advertised at different prices too. Sometimes you can find out that a property has already been sold because the seller forgot to tell the other agents it was no longer on the market.
4) You must go through a notary in Spain
In the UK you’ll hire a solicitor to do the paperwork and property checks when you buy a house. In Spain, it’s in fact not necessary for you to hire a lawyer at all (although it’s a good idea), but what is necessary is to sign the final contract in front of a notary. This will be the final step in the house-buying process in Spain.
5) Property surveys are not common
In the UK, it’s typical for a property surveyor to carry out structural checks or to point out any other problems with the house This is commonly done after your offer has been accepted, but before you sign the contracts. In Spain, however, surveys are rarely carried out although lenders often require them. Even if it’s not commonplace it’s still a good idea to get one done. Remember, you should do this before handing over the deposit so you can pull out if necessary.
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