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What to know before buying a property in Valencia

Foreigners must follow a series of steps when buying a home in Spain, from hiring a specialist to applying for a NIE or opening a bank account


Hire a specialist to help you

Get a lawyer or a specialist who can guide you throughout the purchase process, as this will help you avoid having to travel and will help you with all the formalities. Although it is not compulsory, I do recommend that you hire someone, one not affiliated with the seller or seller's agent.

Conduct a feasibility study

Do a feasibility study if you need to take out a mortgage. Any bank specializing in international customers, such as CaixaBank, can perform this step and confirm the operation's viability within 72 hours via its online platform, with no need for a translation. Other banks, such as Sabadell and BBVA, specialize in transactions with foreigners. Ask me for a referral.

Apply for a NIE identity document

All potential foreign buyers must apply for a foreigner's identity number (NIE), which will be used to identify you in Spain. If necessary, an advisor can take care of the paperwork required for applying for an NIE. It will be a lot cheaper, faster and easier if you apply for one at the nearest Spanish consulate in your home country before you arrive to Spain.

Open a bank account in Spain

Opening a bank account in Spain is important, as all taxes and fees associated with the sale transaction must be paid through this account. You don't need to travel to open the account if you live in one of the 15 eligible European countries, such as Austria, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Norway, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Finland, France, Ireland, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

If you do it in person, you can do so without travelling via a power of attorney, which allows another person to go to the branch on your behalf. To do so, you need an official translation into Spanish and a certified colour copy of your ID card or passport (i.e. displaying the Hague apostille stamp to certify authenticity). Mandatory documentation includes a passport or identity card, the Tax Identification Number (TIN) and proof of economic activity and income volume.

Hire a company to check the condition of the house

Ideally, you should check the property's condition before you buy it. You can hire a company that specializes in carrying out qualified inspections to do this. You can also ask the person carrying out the formalities in Spain to ask for the "nota simple registral", which includes all the information related to the property.

Pay a down payment to reserve the property

Reserve the property by making a down payment. However, remember that you could lose this payment if the sale falls through for reasons beyond the seller's control. However, if the seller pulls out, they will have to compensate you with double the amount.

Collect the documents needed for the mortgage

If you need a mortgage, you must collect documents so the bank can analyze your financial situation. Check what documents banks require to study your financing operation here. My mortgage consultant can advise you which documents are needed.

Appraise the house to find out its real value

The next step is to have the property appraised by a specialist company before taking out the mortgage so that you know its actual value.

Sign pre-contractual documents and find a notary public

This step consists of signing the pre-contractual documents, after which you must respect a 10-day cooling-off period (14 days in Catalonia) so you can clear up any doubts you may have with the notary public chosen to sign the mortgage.

Sign the purchase agreement and the mortgage

Lastly, once all the above has been done, it is time to sign the purchase agreement and the mortgage in the presence of a notary public. The purchase agreement requires the seller to hand over the property in exchange for a previously agreed amount of money, so if either party breaches the agreement, there may be consequences.



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