Spain Explained

The 10 pitfalls of buying property in Spain

Last updated on May 9th, 2020 at 03:21 pm.

We don’t usually write negative articles about buying property in Spain. After all, a major part of our business is conveyancing – we would like you to buy! However, we want you to buy safely and as such this article outlines the 10 pitfalls of buying property in Spain.

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The 10 pitfalls of buying property in Spain you should take into account

  1. Buying in the wrong location

    It is so important that you plan your property purchase carefully. It’s easy to fall in love with a property and forget about the little details like where you will buy your food or whether you’ll be happy living in this community. Spend time finding the best location, the best estate agents and solicitors and take advice – buying a house is a big decision.

  2. Not having enough money

    Do remember that it’s not just the cost of the house you’ll have to fork out for. There are a number of additional costs such as legal fees, property taxes, Spanish notary and Spanish Land Registry fees. We recommend that you allow an extra 13-15% on top of the cost of the purchase.

  3. Misunderstanding your solicitor

    Choose a solicitor you can communicate with when you need to. It is important that you find a solicitor who represents your interests and can answer your questions in a language you understand. Make sure they come recommended and have proven experience in conveyancing.

  4. Buying in haste

    Fourth of our pitfalls of buying a property in Spain is that if you have flown over on an inspection trip or have a limited time to find a property you can be rushed into a decision. In today’s market it is unlikely that the property you have seen is going to be whisked away at the last moment.

  5. Signing a contract you don’t understand

    Or even worse, that hasn’t been checked on your behalf. It is quite usual in Spain for there to be a private contract and deposit paid; do not sign anything until someone representing you has checked it for you

  6. Thinking you can do it differently here

    Think about the process of buying a property in your home country. It’s likely you would instigate a number of checks, surveys and inspections. You need to do the same in Spain. A good solicitor will make sure that the legal status of your property is checked.

  7. Not having your paperwork in order

    You are buying a property in another country and sometimes the pitfalls of buying a property in Spain can come as a surprise. You need to make sure you have everything in order or you will not be able to buy. One of the essential documents is the NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjeros). Without it you can’t purchase your property. However, it is possible to arrange for you to obtain one even if you aren’t in Spain, through a power of attorney.

  8. Omitting some of the finer detail

    Once you have bought your property there will still be some tidying up of legalities to do, such as transferring names on utility contracts

  9. Thinking you’ve met all your responsibilities 

    Make sure you have in place procedures for paying property and income taxes, such as Spanish council tax, and that you always leave sufficient funds in your bank account. Remember too that there can be complementary tax to pay in some circumstances.

  10. Not buying because it’s too risky

    We thought we’d throw this in as a final warning. If you read back through our pitfalls of buying a property in Spain you should recognise that there is nothing here that isn’t common sense when it comes to property purchase.

So there, that’s just about the worst we can throw at you. You may have heard some accounts of very real mistakes that have been made by those buying property in Spain. However, if you take account of our pitfalls of buying a property in Spain top 10 then you should be well on the way to buying the ideal property of your dreams.

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More information

If you have found this article of interest we recommend that you obtain our more comprehensive guide to buying a property in Spain which includes information right from first thinking about buying a Spanish property to being ready to move in.

You might also like to receive more advice and information by contacting our customer care department through our conveyancing service.

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10 February, 2020 11:56 pm

There’s a spanish real estate website agent called thinkspain they offer good prices for cheap flats in spain i have contacted them regarding of buying a property through them and they sounds very helpfull but tgey charge 3000 grands of euros for doing every thing for a buyer as paper work covering solucitor fee and notare fee and they do for a buyer what he or shw suppost to do for them selfs. My question here is’t worthwile fid a buyer to give tgat amount of money to them for doing all that ? And also can i trust them they are going to do everything in good oreder fir me and not jyst trying to do me ? Is this cummon in spain ? Thank i hope i hear from u soon .pest regards bye

Oscar Paoli

11 February, 2020 3:10 pm

We always recommend to hire an independent legal adviser or solicitor who can assist you in the purchase process.
If you wish to contact us for a quote or more information regarding our service please do not hesitate to contact us at or by phone at 0034 966 703 748.
Kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers