Property in Spain

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Legal Matters

From a legal point of view buying a property in Spain can have many complications and peculiarities. As shown our section on Financial Issues, there are many different taxes and duties that the buyer has to arrange. Apart from this there are a number of other difficulties that a buyer can experience, which can end up costing a lot of money if they are not solved in time.

Below we have made a short introduction to some of the most important legal matters when buying off plan property. This information is only a excert from our guide and is not complete.


When you have decided that you want to buy a property in Spain you need to obtain a fiscal number (NIE). It is a good idea to arrange this in advanced as it is needed immediately after the purchase (i.e. to be able to pay the stamp duty) and it can take some time to get in order. Another issue you have to think about initially is if you are going to make Spain your fiscal residence. This decision is important, as it will have influence on the amount of tax you pay for the sale of a property and the annual cost of having a property. If you are staying for more than 183 days in Spain a year it is a legal requirement that you become a resident.

Before you sign any contract to buy a property there are a number of things you have to make sure are in order regarding to the house, the developer and the government. If you are buying a property directly from the developer you need to have full information about the constructer. Like name and type of company, address and official inscription. The developer should also provide you with a deed of the declaration of new construction, property deeds, construction licenses and occupancy permission.

To make sure that the description of the land and the property given by the vendor is correct you have to check the Catestro Certificate, which is the only legally valid description of the property. It can also be recommended to make sure that the local government doesn't have any plans about the area where the property is located and to take a look at the house plan at the town planning department. If the property is located near the coast you have to make sure that it complies with the Coastal law of 1988.

For more buying advice see our Free Spanish Property Buyers Guide.

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