Frequently Asked Questions
Whilst we have taken every effort to ensure all of the following information is correct, and we update the page as and when it is necessary.
You will find that in Spain the goal posts can move and things can sometimes change with very little notice. It is something that you learn to live with and to quote my neighbour Tony “It’s a small price to pay for us living in Spain”. He’s not wrong either!
For confirmation on all current legal and tax implications we suggest that you speak with a qualified person in their respective field.
- Property Selection
- Solicitor & Legal
- NIE & Application for NIE
- Purchase & Running Costs
- Banks & Mortgages
- In Conclusion
Should I buy a re-sale property, a brand new key-ready property or something off-plan?
This is purely down to personal choice however there are benefits with each.
A re-sale property is generally cheaper than brand new although some builders & promoters are offering some very good deals. With a new property you will of course be the first person to own and live in it. With off-plan you should be able to have more in-put on the fishing touches including kitchens worktops, fittings, tiling etc.
With regards to pricing, a re-sale property currently has an IVA/ITP (VAT) charge of 8% where a new build and off-plan have only 4%. From 1st January 2013 the 4% rate will be increased to 10%.
Take your time and look at all of the options that appeal to you before making any hasty decisions!
Will the property be freehold?
Yes. Unless stated all properties in Spain are sold freehold.
Will I be under pressure to commit to a purchase?
Absolutely not, well not with Next Stop Almeria anyway! We will work at your pace every step of the way which our clients will testify to. We understand that your purchase is a big commitment (as it was for us) and we want you to be happy and relaxed with everything at every stage of your journey.
Solicitor & Legal
Will I need a solicitor?
YES. Without doubt, you will need a solicitor. Just in case you didn’t get that the first time . . . YES, you will need a solicitor.
Ask yourself “Would I buy a property in the UK without using a solicitor?” and hopefully the answer will be “no”; then why would you want to do it in a foreign country?
How do I find a good solicitor?
If you have been researching on the internet you may read the following paragraph and think “I’ve read not to do that” but please, stay with me on this one.
We can recommend tried and tested solicitors that have successfully assisted many of our clients before you, and including ourselves when we purchased our property in Spain. Why would you not want to trust our recommendations and why have you read “Do not use a solicitor recommended by an estate agent”? I will tell you why . . . .
Unfortunately years ago, at the peak when properties were flying out of the door it wasn’t uncommon for the estate agent to be related to the builder who was related promoter who was related to the bank manager who was related to a solicitor who was related to someone in the town hall etc etc.
If there were any legal “anomalies” they were very easily “overlooked” and therefore this is why you should not use a solicitor appointed by the estate agent.
“So what has changed?” I hear you ask. Well, the tried and tested “straight down the line and above board solicitors” are still in business with their integrity intact and new solicitors have come through offering sound legal advice. We do not receive any financial incentive for recommending the solicitors that we do, we just know that you will receive good advice which makes your purchase safer and our job easier.
Can I appoint my own solicitor?
Of course you can. If you have had a solicitor referred to you by someone who has already used them then what better way to choose one. Alternatively you could pick up a local paper and take pot luck!
Do the solicitors that Next Stop Almeria recommend speak English?
Yes, they all speak English and more importantly for the legal side of things they speak Spanish too. They are in fact Spaniards that speak English as their second or even third language.
Should I appoint a solicitor in the UK?
This is something that advisory websites will tell you to do because “it is a safer option” but please ensure that they will be dealing with all of the aspects of the sale including the transfer of utilities. If they are not setting up all of your utility accounts in Spain you may be left to do that for yourself and you will need to speak Spanish or take an interpreter.
There are also local laws that differ from province to province that a UK solicitor may or may not be aware of.
Your English solicitor may use the services of a Spanish solicitor which will result in double charges.
Can I appoint Power of Attorney?
Yes, you can give your solicitor Power of Attorney (POA) so you do not have to be in Spain for the completion of your property purchase.
With POA, and your consent of course, your solicitor can open a bank account for you, complete the property purchase signing on your behalf and set up all of your utility payments leaving you to just turn up and collect the keys after completion.
Do I need to make a will?
Yes, even if you have an English will you will need to make a Spanish will to cover your assets in Spain.
NIE & Application for NIE
What is an NIE?
The full title for the NIE is “Número de Identificación de Extranjeros” or “Identification Number of Foreigners” and is a tax identification number.
The NIE Number is issued by the National Police of Spain and in accordance to Spanish law is required for the purchase or sale of any real estate, vehicle, or boat within Spain. Anyone who will be named on the Escritura (Title Deeds) will need one.
Where can I get an NIE number?
Application can be made in person at the Foreigners’ office in Almería or at a Spanish consulate.
Currently (March 2015) the easiest way to make the application is in Almería via a solicitor that has Power of Attorney for you.
If you wish to make the application yourself you will need to go to the Foreigners' office in Almería to make an appointment and you will definitely need to be able to speak Spanish. You will then need to attend the appointment a few days later and then return to the office again 10 to 14 days after that to collect your certificate. Due to the three visits required this is why we recommend appointing Power of Attorney for your solicitor to deal with it for you.
Purchase & Running Costs
What costs are involved with purchasing a property in Spain?
The rule of thumb is to allow for a further 10 to 11% on top of the purchase price. For more information on all of the Purchase Procedure please look at Property Purchase Procedure
What running costs will I incur when I own a property?
You will need to pay the following:
• Gastos de la Comunidad or Community fees – These will cover the maintenance and costs incurred for all communal aspects including swimming pools, gardens, public liability insurance, lifts etc. They can range from as little as 30€ per month to 90€ per month. Each community is different so it’s well worth asking when viewing properties.
• Basura or Rubbish collection – 35 Euros per quarter.
• Utilities – Standing charge of approximately 10 Euros per month per utility and then usage on top.
• Insurance – If you have a mortgage your bank will insist that you have building cover with them and probably life insurance too. Check to see if there is also contents cover and if so at what level. If you do not have a mortgage we would recommend speaking with an insurance broker.
What taxes will I have to pay when I own a property?
• If you are a resident, you are subject to personal income tax including capital gains tax and a property tax referred to as IBI (Impuesto sobre Bienes Inmuebles).
• If you are non-resident, you are subject to personal income tax including capital gains tax, property tax (IBI), plus an additional non-resident property tax. Personal income tax for non-residents only includes income from the property.
As a result of many people renting their properties and not declaring the income the Spanish government decided that everyone would be taxed on a hypothetical “income” regardless of whether they rent or not.
Therefore if the property is only for your own use, you will still have declare an “income” from the property which is based on a percentage of the Catastral Value of your property as indicated on your property tax receipt.
The percentage is either 2% or 1.1% if the property's Catastral Value was revised after 1st January 1994. The tax payable will then be 25% of this “income”.
If the property is rented you should declare the amount you have received in rent and tax will be calculated accordingly.
For clarification on all taxes we recommend that you speak with a solicitor, accountant or gestor (a professional dedicated principally to helping with Spanish Bureaucracy).
Alternatively you can find more information here: http://spanishtaxforms.co.uk/
What insurance cover will I need and where can I get policies in English?
As you would in the UK you can chose to have or not have insurance for you, your possessions and your property. That said if you have a mortgage on your property the lender will almost certainly insist that you have insurance with them.
There are many companies to chose from all offering different discounts and structures including those that will give you a quote and when you find a cheaper one will match it. Very annoying in my opinion as why did you overcharge me in the first instance!
Next Stop Almeria recommends Liberty Seguros for your insurance requirements.
• Home Insurance, Buildings & Contents with all policies written in English
• From Basic cover to comprehensive all tailored to suit your needs
For a free no obligation quotation you can speak with Maxine Morgan on +34 669 074 996 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Banks & Mortgages
Can I open a bank account?
If you wish to open a bank account you will need to fill out numerous forms in the bank and have your passport. Procedure can change without prior notice and you may find that some banks will also ask for your NIE number. If you do not have an NIE number your bank may allow you to add it later or suggest waiting until you have one.
How easy is it to get a mortgage?
As with banking worldwide things are not as easy as they were a few years ago although that said mortgages are available subject to application and proof of income, outgoings etc.
At minimum most banks will ask to see 6 months wage slips, 6 months bank statements and an Experian credit report.
You may see advertisements for 100% mortgages but these may only be available for Spanish residents. Some banks may offer you a high mortgage if they have repossessed properties but currently on average around 60% is achievable.
For a more in depth overview on Mortgages please click here.
Can I claim my UK pension in Spain?
Yes. You can have your UK pension paid in to your Spanish bank account. We advise that you contact the UK Benefits Agency or visit http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/
How do I get health cover?
If you are travelling here for your holidays you can use the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which replaced the E111 in 2006.
The EHIC lets you get state healthcare at a reduced cost or sometimes for free. It will cover you for treatment that is needed to allow you to continue your stay until your planned return. It also covers you for treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and for routine maternity care.
To apply for and see the use of the EHIC visit:
If you are planning to be a resident and work in Spain on a self-employed basis you will have to make a monthly Autonomo payment or if you are employed your employer will pay a similar contribution that will give you health cover not dissimilar to that in the UK.
If you are a Spanish resident and retired under pensionable age you will need to take out adequate private medical insurance.
Can I bring my car to Spain?
If you are using your property as a holiday home and visiting it for not longer than 183 days, providing the car is taxed and has a valid MOT for the full duration of your visit and also valid insurance to drive in Spain then you will not have a problem.
Please ensure that all of the documents are kept in the car because if you are stopped by Policía Local (Local Police), Guardia (National Police) or Tráfico (dedicated traffic police) you will be asked for them.
If you intend to become a Spanish resident and spend more than 183 days in Spain, then your car must be must be registered in Spain and it will need to go through an import process and matriculation where it will be transferred to a Spanish registration number and will need the Spanish equivalent of an MOT referred to as an ITV (Inspección Técnica de Vehículos).
Can I bring my pet to Spain?
Yes, you can bring your pets to Spain providing they have the necessary paperwork, passports, vaccinations etc.
For full information on requirements and your obligations visit:http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/contacts/wildlife-pets-qa/
The following video takes a light hearted and sometimes frightening realistic look at Red Tape in Spain. That said; do not let it scare you as there will always be someone to guide you through it. Remember, as I told you at the top of the page, as my neighbour Tony says “It’s a small price to pay”.