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Buying property in Spain

With years of experience gained from managing corporate estate agents within the UK, plus having successfully sold houses in Spain for over 16 years, we pride ourselves not only with offering a superior service but with the ability to offer professionalism and expertise.

As professional and fully trained estate agents, we understand all the questions, difficulties and legalities encountered when purchasing in Spain.

We have created an Essential Guide to the buying process and must stress NOT to alter the process recommended and the reasons will soon become clear.

Start with creating a “wish list” including everything you would like your Spanish home to feature plus the facilities you require within a chosen area e.g schools, medical centres, good public transport, village swimming pool etc.

Many clients decide to purchase a property in Spain based upon visiting an area during an annual holiday. Many holidaymakers only visit and experience an area of approximately half a mile radius from their hotel.

We recommend you thoroughly visit and research an area and consider if you are looking to live and integrate within the Spanish culture or prefer a tourist area with expats. Don´t worry about the language barrier as virtually all areas of Spain have small expat communities, plus many locals are able to speak English.

One major consideration is that the cost of living is much cheaper in Spanish residential areas as opposed to tourist areas.

Having chosen your area, you now need to know what you can attain for your pound sterling.
A currency company will save you thousands on the exchange rate offered by your bank.  Most clients will fix an exchange rate in advance which means that they know exactly what a purchase will cost in sterling.  You may lose slightly if the pound strengthens but if the pound was to fall dramatically, you could end up not having enough for your purchase! – why risk it? 
We at Essential Properties have a list of currency companies who offer an excellent service and are all “tried and tested” by hundreds of clients. We will happily give you recommendations.

Many estate agents state they cover the whole of an area e.g. Andalucia or even Spain.  This is impossible to achieve as just within Andalucia, Malaga to Sevilla is a 2 – 3 hour drive.  To provide a professional service, it is imperative that agents visit all areas and have personally viewed all properties they are marketing for sale.

A good local agent who knows the houses can offer an insight into the size of rooms, proximity to neighbours, renovation works required, local facilities and most importantly, the potential problems areas can encounter.

For example:

  1. “The dry riverbed provides good access to the property”. But… the heavy rains in February mean you are cut off for 3 days
  2. “Great villa with stunning views”. But the local council turn the water off every August.


A good local agent who personally knows the properties, will match you perfectly to your wish list, not only saving you time but also offer in-depth knowledge of the area. Remember a local established agent will not want a dissatisfied client in their office everyday!

Many lawyers state they cover the whole of Spain – this is extremely difficult.  Most have satellite offices (serviced offices) where they can work or subcontract the work to an associated network/office/company.  Many lawyers work on an hourly rate and if you chose to use a lawyer not based within the area of your purchase, you may be required to pay travel (flights if needed), hotel for the lawyer to attend the local notary for completion.

Each area is governed by a local townhall and each have differing rules and regulations; therefore, it is so important to choose a local lawyer who personally knows all the townhalls and regulations within your chosen area.

Many lawyers specialise in “urban law” which covers towns and villages, however if you are purchasing in the countryside you must find a local lawyer who specialises in “rustic law”. There are so many areas to investigate when purchasing in the countryside i.e. is the property built on protected land? Are there ancient goat tracks passing through the garden? Is it set within a flood risk area, built on land prone to subsidence therefore difficult to insure? Local lawyers will personally visit the townhall to thoroughly check all these points and many more.

A professional estate agent will have a list of good local English-speaking lawyers who they have personally worked with and received a high level of service for their clients. A professional local agent will only recommend excellent lawyers as their own reputation is at risk if clients receive a poor or inadequate service.

A lawyer is governed by a professional body called the Colegio de Abogados (similar to the Law Society in the UK). Ask your chosen lawyer for his/her registration number. If the lawyer is registered and you subsequently are not happy with his/her services, you can then contact the Colegio de Abogados and submit a complaint. If your lawyer is registered before the Colegio de Abogados, he/she will have professional indemnity insurance.

Your lawyer will arrange a completion date where all parties involved must be present for the completion at the notary´s office (unless using a Power of Attorney)

Following completion, you will need to change the utilities and take out adequate insurance cover.  Ask your agent for recommendations as many can organise this for you.

Essential Properties has an insurance brokerage which means that we can offer our clients excellent prices for all their insurance needs. We also offer to change your contracts for utilities into your name following completion and set up direct debit payments.

Estimate approx. 11% of your purchase price and this will then cover your 8% tax, registry, notary and lawyer.

If you are purchasing under 100,000 euros, your buying costs may go up to approx. 13% as there are fixed fees applicable in the lower prices.

If you require a mortgage there are additional costs. Estimate approx. 3% of the mortgage. *Remember the mortgage costs must be paid up front and cannot be included within the mortgage.

Important note. Estate agents are paid by the owners ….not the buyers. Ensure you check this point when choosing your agent as some agents and property finders also charge buyers a fee.

Essential Properties cover the Costa del Sol, Axarquía and Granada regions of Spain and can guide you throughout your purchase.

We will arrange and accompany your viewings, offer guidance and recommendations when matching your personal requirements to properties and areas, recommend suitable and specialist lawyers dependant upon style and location of your property and assist you throughout the entire purchase procedure to completion of your Spanish property.

Essential Properties offer a complete and professional service to everyone including clients looking to relocate permanently to Spain, purchase a holiday home, or to first time and experienced investors looking to increase their property portfolios by taking advantage of the excellent prices and opportunities now available.

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