UCI offers mortgages to buy and renovate a property
UCI offers mortgages to buy and renovate a property

What should you know when buying property in Spain in 2024?

The best way to secure multiple offers is by having most of the property purchase done before speaking to the banks. Even just paying the initial reservation fee will ensure the bank prioritizes your case. Discover the ultimate guide about everything you should know before making a decision.

Delia Mihuț
Written by Delia Mihuț
Published at 2023-10-06
Last updated on 2024-03-17
Readtime 8 minutes

Have you decided that you want to buy a house in Spain, and you want to know exactly what to expect? It's time to figure that out! 

We've prepared a guide detailing everything you need to keep in mind. 

Continue reading for information on legal requirements, financing, rental regulations, and exchange fluctuations, among other essential aspects. Plus, you'll discover tips that you won't want to miss.

Legal requirements

The first and most important aspect when buying a house in Spain is having a Foreigner Identification Number (NIE). It's easy to obtain, and you usually need to prepare a series of documents to submit to the Spanish consulate in your city.

The legal process when buying a house in Spain as a foreigner usually includes:

1. Signing a preliminary contract

2. Performing due diligence checks which include:

  • legal verifications to confirm the seller's ownership
  • assessments of the property's structural condition
  • appraisals for fair pricing
  • environmental evaluations for potential hazards
  • local area analyses for understanding neighborhood dynamics

These comprehensive checks facilitate risk reduction, legal adherence, cost-efficiency, and enable buyers to make an informed investment.

3. Finalizing the transaction with the public deed of sale before a Notary

4. Paying the relevant taxes and fees

Registration with the Land Registry completes the purchase, and it's often wise to consult a local real estate lawyer to ensure all legal complexities are properly handled.

Property type and locations

You can find many kinds of homes like apartments in the city, townhouses, or villas by the sea. Each type has different things you need to take care of. 

City apartments might be good if you like living near everything, while villas are nice for holidays. 

The price of a home can change a lot depending on where it is. Places like Madrid and Barcelona might cost more because many people want to live there. 

City Average property price per m2  Average rent price per m2
Madrid 4,034 EUR 21.73 EUR
Barcelona 3,964 EUR 23.27 EUR
Valencia 2,217 EUR 15.09 EUR
Malaga 2,658 EUR 13.64 EUR
Murcia 1,593 EUR 8.38 EUR
Palma de Mallorca 4,363 EUR 16.59 EUR
Santa Cruz de Tenerife 1,851 EUR 12.08 EUR

Remember to analyze local property market trends, including price fluctuations, the balance of supply and demand, and potential future developments. 

Continue reading to understand Spain's property market, as well as the challenges and opportunities facing those interested in buying property in Spain.

Financing

If you want to expand your budget, taking out a mortgage is an option you should consider. Although it might seem complicated as a foreigner living outside of Spain, fortunately, some solutions can save you time and energy. 

Homevest is one such example, accelerating the buying process even from abroad. It’s a digital platform designed to help non-residents and foreigners easily navigate the world of cross-border mortgages. 

Several banks offer mortgages to foreigners, including SabadellSantanderCaixa, and BBVA, to name just a few. 

Moreover, if you're interested in acquiring a second-hand property for renovation, you can access a mortgage to buy and renovate a house from UCI. 

Keep in mind that non-residents buying property in Spain must pay a deposit covering at least 30% of the property's cost, with variations based on property use and existing ownership. Also, the monthly mortgage payment can't exceed 40% of your monthly income after subtracting other loan expenses.

There are many options to consider before deciding on the Spanish mortgage loan that best suits you. The right mortgage isn't just about a low interest rate. It should also fit your money situation and personal needs. Read on to discover everything you need to know about getting a mortgage in Spain.

Taxes and fees

You need to know from the beginning that the taxes in Spain depend on the property type. 

If you are buying a new property directly from a developer, you will be liable for Value Added Tax (IVA in Spanish) at a rate of 10%. Additionally, you must pay Stamp Duty, typically between 0.5% - 2%.

If you're purchasing a second-hand property, you'll pay Transfer Tax (ITP), which varies by autonomous region. The rate ranges from 6% to 10%.

Several other costs must be considered in your initial budget, including registration fees for registering the title deed with the land registry, notary fees, estate agency fees, and survey fees.

To make sure you don't miss anything, read a guide about the taxes that a non-resident must pay when buying in Spain

Rental regulations

If you plan to buy to let property in Spain, you must know that the tax rules might change depending on where you're from.

It's essential to understand all the legal stuff and taxes so you don't end up with any surprises. If you live in the EU, the rules might differ from those who live outside the EU. 

Laws and rules can differ in Spain's 17 regions, so you might want to talk to a local real estate lawyer to ensure you understand everything. If you’re going to rent your place to tourists, you'll need a special license, and the rules for getting one can change depending on where your property is. 

Residency and visa regulations

Every non-EU citizen can buy property in Spain, and if the property is worth more than 500,000 EUR, they may qualify for the Golden Visa Program. It's good to know that Spain encourages foreigners to invest in the country, making for a relatively straightforward process.

The Golden Visa Program comes with several benefits. For example, you can apply for permanent residency after living there for five years, and you may become eligible for citizenship if you reside in the country for at least 10 years.

Continue reading to learn more about what you need to do to qualify for residency in Spain by buying property

Exchange rate fluctuation

Even if banks in Spain accept income earned in currencies other than the Euro, you should know that a mortgage is granted only in Euros.

This means that fluctuations in the exchange rate could affect your bank payments, regardless of whether you have a fixed or variable interest rate. If your income is in a different currency, an alternative service that allows you to save money on the exchange rate might help you. 

Climate and lifestyle considerations

Spain's climate differs by region: the coast has warm, dry summers and mild winters, while inland areas are hotter and colder respectively. Northern areas can be cooler and wetter. Consider the region's specific climate you're interested in, as it will impact your living experience.

In the coming decades, Spain is expected to face more frequent and prolonged extreme weather events. Innovative solutions are already being implemented to combat these challenges, such as using heat-reflective materials in new constructions.

If sustainability is a priority for you, consider properties that incorporate renewable energy sources, like solar panels, or those constructed with eco-friendly materials. Embracing sustainability not only aligns with environmental stewardship but can also enhance your property's long-term value and comfort.

Community dynamics and noise level

When purchasing a property in Spain, the importance of considering community dynamics and noise levels cannot be overstated. The local culture, safety, amenities, and demographics can impact your quality of life. At the same time, noise from roads, nightlife, or industrial areas may influence living conditions.

Careful evaluation of these aspects will help you find a location that suits your preferences and lifestyle, ensuring a satisfying living experience and potentially enhancing the long-term value of your investment. Engaging with local experts and neighbors can offer valuable insights, assisting you in making an informed decision that aligns with your immediate needs and future goals.

Is it worth buying property in Spain now? Tips to help you make an informed decision

Here are some best practices you won't want to miss, all coming straight from the industry specialists. Plus, you'll find a handy tip from a customer who bought a home in Spain directly from abroad.

Is it difficult to get a Spanish mortgage as a non-resident?

Getting the best deal in Spain will require some negotiation. It’s not unusual for the first bank offer to be a bit high “because you are a non-resident”. 

The best way to secure multiple offers is by having most of the property purchase done before speaking to the banks. Even just paying the initial reservation fee will ensure the bank prioritizes your case.

As a rule of thumb, if you earn in a major currency and buy property over €200,000 in an urban area, compare lenders by price. For smaller properties or more complex finances, select a bank that fits your circumstances. Either way, chances are good for securing a mortgage.

Erik Edin, Homevest co-founder and CEO

What shouldn't you miss when buying a property with a mortgage?

One particular thing in the purchase process that might differ from your local market, is that banks have a specific requirement. They always require an independent appraisal of the property you buy. Doing so ensures that no unwanted surprises arise after completing the purchase. The appraisal can be commissioned online or with the bank of your choosing and costs between 500-2,000 EUR, depending on the property’s value.

Nicholas Vinberg, Homevest's International Expansion Manager

What advice would you give to someone buying a house in Spain from abroad?

“Having someone genuinely dedicated to helping us was truly amazing. I would highly recommend Homevest, especially to fellow expats. Having the support of knowledgeable professionals who simplify and guide us through the procedures abroad is invaluable”

Sandra, who bought an apartment in Madrid from France

What do you need to do to secure a Spanish mortgage?

Securing a Spanish mortgage as a foreigner isn't a difficult puzzle; rather, it's a step-by-step process that demands planning and understanding of local regulations. 

Here's a clear roadmap to securing a Spanish mortgage:

  1. Check if you are eligible for a mortgage. Your financial status and residency may affect your eligibility, so it's wise to check this first.
  2. Obtain a NIE number. 
  3. Choose a property that suits your needs and budget.
  4. Collect all the necessary documents. These may include identification, proof of income, tax returns, and more. Check out a document checklist and prepare everything you need as a non-resident.
  5. Choose the bank that fits your needs best. Fortunately, Homevest is here to simplify the process, matching you with banks that resonate with your specific requirements. By providing access to a selection of top non-resident banks all on one platform, Homevest enables you to upload your documents just once, and then effortlessly receive multiple offers. 
  6. Apply for preapproval to understand how much you can borrow and to have a clear picture of your borrowing capacity.
  7. Submit a mortgage application by filling out the required forms.
  8. Review the mortgage offer, the terms and conditions before proceeding.
  9. Sign the deed, the final step, where you legally commit to the mortgage and become the proud owner of a Spanish property.

Sources used and checked in December 2023:

  1. Property price data in Spain

We recommend obtaining professional or specialist advice before taking or refraining from any action based on the content in this article. The information in this article does not constitute legal, tax, or other professional advice from Homevest Limited. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties, or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in this article is accurate, complete, or up to date.

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