The buyer’s guide to the Costa del Sol

The guide to buying a house

The guide to buying a house on the Costa del Sol







If you want things to go as smoothly as possible from the start, get your Spanish NIE well in advance. The NIE Number – Foreigner Identity Number – is an identity number that is issued in Spain to foreigners who are operating in Spain for economic, professional or social reasons. NIE is an identification number used in many contexts (Foreigner Identification Number). Applying for a NIE on the Costa del Sol is easy, but it is worth setting aside some time and patience to follow the traditional process. For example, you cannot pay your NIE at the office where you do your business, instead you will receive the payment details, go to your local bank and pay the NIE fee of around €13 at the bank and then take the paper receipt to the office where you received the payment instructions.

Go to the website below and fill out the form. You will receive further instructions by email.

You can also apply for a NIE at the Spanish Embassy in your country of origin. Below is the link:

If you wish, you can authorize a UNIKK HOME Properties associate lawyer to apply for a NIE on your behalf. This will save you time and allow you to get the number a little faster. A NIE with the authorization of a lawyer and a service charge will cost you between €100 and €150 in total.

A NIE is always required when dealing with any legal or financial matter in Spain, whether you are registered in Spain or not. To buy a home, open a phone line, open a bank account, sign a long-term lease or buy a car, you will always need your NIE. Once purchased, the number remains the same and there are no other costs. Please note that you must keep the original stamped NIE certificate. If you lose it, you will have to repeat the entire application process, even if the result is an identical piece of paper with the same number.

Buying a home with UNIKK HOME

1. Meet our agents and find the best real estate agent to help you find the perfect property

Our service is completely free for buyers. Our team speaks more than 15 languages.

2. Take a look at our houses for sale:

3. Once you have selected the right properties, book flights/arrange a property viewing

with our agent, and our agent will schedule showings so you can view multiple properties in succession if you wish. Our real estate agent can meet you at the airport and if your flight is during the day he can visit some suitable properties on the first day. You can of course drive yourself around the Costa del Sol, but at UNIKK HOME we are always happy to take you on board, so you can focus on the scenery and buildings while we take care of driving and navigating to your destinations.

4. Please note that our agents can arrange private viewings of any property, even those not on our list. We work with all real estate agents and can arrange viewings and keys to any property for sale. Many people may think that if they contact the agent who listed the property, they will be able to get discounts, etc. This is not the case. The procedure is very clear among agents on the Costa del Sol. All you need is an experienced and well-connected UNIKK HOME agent.

5. Once you have found the property you want, our real estate agent will negotiate the offer with the seller on your behalf. We strongly recommend using a lawyer to ensure that all important points of the transaction are covered in the deed, NIEs are requested and property records are handled smoothly. You can obtain the services of a lawyer at a reduced price through us. You can also authorize a lawyer to sign the deed at the notary’s office on your behalf if you return home before the notary can book the transaction.

The same property on differente agencies portals

Costa del Sol joint selling
The same property on differente agencies portals

UNIKK HOME serves buying customers free of charge. The commission is paid by the seller.

Many of our customers want to buy a home from UNIKK HOME, because as a UNIKK HOME customer, you can enjoy a wide range of be- nefits and discounts.

Due to the joint selling model, many of our customers have been surprised by the fact that the buyer is not free to decide which agent to go through in the end.

Here’s an example. A UNIKK HOME agent shows the customer several properties to buy and suggests ad- ditional properties for the next day. The buyer may click on these areas and properties online in ad- vance and be in contact with other agents who are selling the same properties through joint selling. The agency that first registers the customer and arranges a viewing of that property is the agen- cy through which the customer will purchase the property if the customer does choose to purchase.

In many countries, a customer can anonymously view various properties, but on Costa del Sol, the seller is always informed of the first and last name of the customer who is coming to view the seller’s property with the agent. This will come as a surprise to many foreig- ners. This practice has been created to prevent different agencies from bringing the same customer to a property the customer has already visited with another agent.

If the customer has already been in contact with another agency and the other agency has already registered the customer to view the property, the transaction can no longer be handled through UNIKK HOME, even if the customer expressly wishes to do so, in order to enjoy UNIKK HOME’s numer- ous customer benefits.
When buying a home on Costa del Sol, it’s a good idea to use a lawyer to draw up the deeds to make sure everything goes according to plan. Lawyers normally charge 1% of the purchase price.

In Spain, an apartment sale is always a real estate saleportals

In addition to the apartment, the owner of an apartment directly owns their share of the land. In many other countries, you buy a company share apartment.

The shares entitle you to manage your apartment, but the actual owner is the housing company. When considering insurance, also take into ac- count possible water damage, which is the responsi- bility of the homeowner and not the housing company.

In Spain, apartments are direct real estate ownerships. This is precisely why every purchase of a home in Spain is a real estate transaction, which must be notarised and the property registered in the real estate register before the transaction becomes finalised and officially confirmed. The same applies to a possible garage and parking space, which will be made into a separate escritura.

A parking space is often accompanied by a storage room (trastero), which is also marked on the escritura. An annual property tax (IBI) levied by the municipality is paid on all properties, includ- ing garage spaces..

Visit and appraisal of the property

The homebuyer can have the property inspected by an official evaluation company. This will give you a reliable picture of the condition of the home, the level of construction, and the asking price.

For the inspection, a fee will be charged according to the value of the apartment. The evaluation company will compile the information about the home in a special book, which will be kept by the homebuyer. The bank will carry out an appraisal if you apply for a loan. The bank’s appraisal is carried out by an independent firm. Costs are paid by the buyer. The cost of this bank-approved valuation is between €300 and €2,000, depen- ding on the size of the property.

The appraisal takes into account the condition of the property, the surface area, the neighbour- hood, and the price. The loan from the bank will be proportional to the valuation of the home. Often, the price estimate is slightly lower than the market price.

Essessment and verification administration

Essessment and verification administration

The real estate agent must explain to the client the searches and diligencies on the property.
If you want, you can also use your own lawyer to help you.
It is important to check whether the property is mortgaged or has any outstanding bills, such as council tax or condominium charges.

If such encumbrances are found, they must be clarified before the transaction is concluded.
The seller must clearly show that all invoices have been paid.
Another option is to deduct the amount of the invoices from the purchase price, leaving the buyer to make the payments. Even if the property is mortgaged, it is not a problem as long as you know this well in advance.

Bank mortgage for a person or couple in Spain

Municipal property tax IBI from the town hall (receipt from the previous year, also taken to the notary). The IBI receipt also shows the official taxable value of the property (valor catastral).

Payment of the fees from the property manager (certificate from the complex/urbanisation, which will also be taken to the notary).
A receipt from the electricity company (the most recent receipt, so you can change the electricity contract to your name and see that the bills have been paid).

A receipt from the water company (the most recent receipt, so you can change the water con- tracts to your name and see that the bills have been paid).

An extract (nota simple) from the real estate register (Registro de la Propiedad). The extract includes information on the location and dimen- sions of the property, ownership, loans and other encumbrances on the property, any prohibition on sale, and the escritura value of the property.

When buying a new apartment with no previous value, it is also a good idea to check and ask to see that the builder of the new property has the bank and guarantee liability insurance required by Spanish law. A building cannot be officially registered unless the insurance details are in order.

New buildings have a mandatory 10-year guarantee for basic structures and a 3-year guarantee for lighter structures, as well as defects in elec- tricity, water, and sewerage systems. In addition, the builder must include a one-year guarantee in the compulsory insurance package to cover the cost of any defects in the finishing of the property.

The plot plan (plano parcial) shows the legal status of the area and all the buildings that are part of the urbanisation. When an urbanisation is legal and registered, it will also have a housing permit issued by the town hall (Ayuntamiento). New roads and plans in the surrounding area are checked with the local town hall’s building office.

An agent will not accept the property for sale until the seller has provided a real estate register extract (nota simple). The extract shows the legal owner with the right to sell the property.

Every apartment or terraced house has a kind of statute, titulo constitutivo, a public document drawn up by a notary, which describes the buil- ding as a whole, including all its apartments, com- mercial premises, and annexes.

In this list, each apartment is defined as its share of the total value of the building, expressed in hundredths. This share is called cuota de parti- cipación.

In accordance with this multiplier, the owner pays a Community charge. The Community charge is calculated according to the share. Factors affecting the multiplier include the living area, terrace, covered corridor, and location of the apartment. In apartment buildings, ownership inclu- des not only the apartment but also the common areas such as staircases, lifts, the plot, and the garden.
This list also includes the rules and regulations (estatutos, reglamentos) that apply to the inhab- itants of the housing community. These rules govern the decisions of the housing community. In addition, the general meetings of the housing community can decide on the rules and regula- tions in great detail, for example regarding the use of the swimming pool or things such as subletting an apartment.

When you buy a home, the deed of sale, or escritura, states that the new owner has read these documents. If you want to rent out the property you have bought for a short period when you are not using it, it is important to check that this is allowed by the rules. In the event of a dispute, property law (Ley de Propiedad Horizontal) takes precedence over the rules of the community of owners.

Personal and exclusive advice giving you the best experience.

Patricia Cáceres CEO Unikk Home

Mortgage loan in Spain for an individual

An individual can apply for a loan from a Spanish bank. In Spain, a foreign person, including a non-resident, can get a mortgage for up to 70% of the purchase price of a home. The property you buy in Spain will serve as collateral for the loan. This is a viable option if, for example, the buyer has savings equivalent to the deposit but not enough collateral for a loan in their home country.

To apply for a mortgage in Spain, you must have a stable source of income and be able to prove the regularity of your income. Loan repayments must not exceed 30 to 35% of your net income. Most banks ask for tax returns for the last two years, payslips for the last three months, and bank state- ments to prove income. Some banks also ask for a credit registry certificate to check your credit history.

You must have at least 30% of the purchase price for the deposit, plus money to cover other ex- penses.

For these other costs, you should allow around 10 to 14% on top of the purchase price. Costs include the transfer tax, notary and registration fees, and legal fees.

The opening fee for a mortgage is usually 1%, and the interest rate is linked to the 12-month Euri- bor rate. Margins range from 0.9% to 2%. It is also possible to obtain a fixed-rate loan from Spanish banks for the entire duration of the loan.

When you take out a mortgage from a bank, you will also need to take out home insurance and sometimes life insurance for yourself. Insurance is usually tak- en out with the same bank as the mortgage.

Once a mortgage approval is received, the bank requires that the home be appraised by an official appraiser approved by the bank. This registered appraiser makes a price estimate (tasacion). The cost of the estimate depends on the size of the property (€300 to €2,000).

The appraiser will carry out the appraisal and produce a written report with pictures. The loan is always granted at the lower end of the estimate. he mortgage is signed by a notary in connection with the sale of the property.
The mortgage is recorded as an encumbrance in the real estate register and is entered in the Nota Simple, the register extract.

Purchase offer

You can make an offer to buy even if you don’t yet have your NIE or a loan promise. The offer can be conditional. A condition may be securing a mortgage. If there are several interested parties, the seller may prefer an offer where the buyer already has the mortgage and financing in order. Through Strand Properties, an offer can be made using our paper offer form or electronically.

An offer must include at least these items:

1. Price
2. Payment method
3. The amount of the deposit and whether and in what circumstances it will be repaid 4. Possible conditions (mortgage, home inspection)
5. Who pays taxes and other charges. Plusvalía, the municipal tax on the increase in value payable on the sale of a house, is legally the seller’s responsibility, as the seller is the one who has benefited from it. It is only paid by the buyer if this is explicitly agreed in the sales contract.
6. Whether the sale includes the furniture. The agent will make a list of the furniture and its value.

Private contract

Once the seller and the buyer have agreed on the price and the terms of the sale, it is time for the private contract (preliminary contract).
In common Spanish practice, a private contract (contrato privado) is concluded before the final public deed of sale (Escritura). In many other countries, this corresponds to a preliminary contract for a real estate sale. This contract sets out all the terms and conditions of the sale. The private contract is legally binding and usually involves a deposit of, e.g., 30% of the purchase price.

The deposit is usually between 1% and 10%, depending on the value of the apartment and the terms of the offer.
Once the deposit has been paid into the account of the real estate agency or the law firm’s client funds account and the payment can be verified, the property sale listing is removed from the market and the property is reserved for the buyer.

Resident or non-resident?

When buying a property in Spain, you should always consider who you are buying from. (The seller’s residence status.) Whether a person is Spa- nish or foreign, whether one or both parties to the sale are foreigners, and whether or not they have residencia, all affect the taxation and notari- sation of the sale.

If you buy a home from a person who is not resident in Spain, the notary must withhold 3% of the purchase price as an advance tax (IRNR income tax for non-residents), which must be paid to the authorities. This amount is an advance tax withholding to be made by the seller from any capi- tal gain. The withholding must be made even if there is no actual profit from the sale.

he taxpayer, i.e., the seller, must file a proper tax return at their end in order to receive a full or partial refund of the tax withheld. The buyer does not have to worry about anything other than withholding this tax and paying this share into the tax office’s account. Before signing the Escritu- ra, the notary must know how the payment will be handled.

The most convenient way to do this is to sign a cheque with 3% of the transaction amount going directly to the tax authorities. This way, the matter is settled immediately and the buyer does not have to think about it any further. This withholding is not required if the seller has owned the home for 10 years before 31 December 1996. Withholding is only made when the seller is not a resident.

Deed of sale

After the private contract has been signed, the buyer and seller sign the Escritura, a public deed of sale, at a notary’s office. Both the buyer and the seller must be present in person or repre- sented by a notarised power of attorney. Receipts for the previous year’s IBI property tax on the property and proof of the fees paid must also be brought along.

The public deed of sale is checked by a notary and all the terms of the sale are recorded in it. The notary’s duties include certifying the formal authenticity of the deeds and acting as a witness when the deed is signed. The notary must also ensure that the parties to the sale understand the content of the document. In Spain, deeds are written on paper, and each page of the deed must be signed on both sides by the buyer, the seller, and the notary.

The notary keeps the original document and gives copies of the deed to both the seller and the buyer. The notary confirms the legality of the sale with a signature.
You should ask for a copy of the new Escritura as soon as you have signed it. You can usually get it while you’re waiting. The documents are then submitted to the real estate register for title registra- tion, which usually takes time. A recorded and stamped copy of the original deed from the real es- tate register can normally be obtained within a few months of the date of signature of the Escritura.

The notary’s fee is calculated as a percentage of the purchase price and is generally paid by the buyer. The same applies to other transfer costs, which are described below.

If there is already a loan on the property you are buying and you want to redeem it or transfer it un- der your own name, this will only be done by a notary at the time of concluding the sale. Representa- tives of the banks will also be present, with whom a solution must have been negotiated in advance. If there will be a mortgage on the property, it will be attached to the Escritura with its conditions.
You should also read the terms of the mortgage at the notary’s office and check that, for example, the interest rate and payment schedules are as agreed. You should take time to read the Escritura and, if possible, ask to read the text in advance of the signing.

The buyer must pay the title registration fees within 30 days of the sale. The buyer is also respon- sible for paying the withheld tax and providing the seller with a receipt.

If the buyer is not a resident, they must be able to prove to the notary where the funds needed to buy the home were obtained. If the money has been transferred from abroad to Spain, they must have a certificate from the bank stating that the money was transferred from abroad specifica- lly for the purpose of buying a property.

For the total amount of the property in euros, any advance payment receipts, bank transfer certif- icates or a bank cheque made payable to the seller must be presented to the notary, proving that the purchase price has been paid by the time of the signing.
Homeowners should bear in mind that, as elsewhere, there are some regular costs associated with owning a property in Spain. Real estate ow- ned by non-residents and so-called second homes are taxed differently from an owner-occupied residential property.

Other costs in addition to the purchase price

7% TRANSFER TAX The transfer tax must be paid within 30 days of the signing of the official deed of sale. It can also be paid at the time of purchase.
1% LEGAL SERVICES (1% + VAT 21% of the purchase price)
0.25% TO 1% NOTARY FEES AND REGISTRATION FEES depending on the purchase price.

Example of a pre-owned property sale in Spain

A pre-owned property in Spain with a purchase price of €500,000 Purchase price = €500,000 Transfer tax 7% = €35,000
Legal fees 1% (+VAT 21%) = €6,051
Notary and registration fees 0.5% = €2,500

Total €543,551 (other costs €43,551)

Buying a new home on Costa del Sol

Buying a new home on Costa del Sol

Pre-marketing for new developments often starts before the project has been granted a building permit. This allows the developer to test the market and the attractiveness of the property. Pro- cessing times for building permits vary quite a lot depending on the area in which the plot is lo- cated. In Marbella, you may have to wait longer for building permits; in the Mijas area, permits are often obtained more quickly; and in Estepo- na and Benahavis, you can move forward with permits on a much faster schedule.

Buying a new home on Costa del Sol is just as safe as anywhere else. There are guarantee schemes in place, which are designed to ensure that the project progresses and is completed on schedule.

The instalments for new properties on Costa del Sol are rather back-heavy. Instalments are made according to the completion timeframe, and usually around 30-40% is paid in advance before the construction is completed. For advance payments, the developer must provide a bank or insurance guarantee in accordance with the law. The rest of the purchase price will be paid at the notary’s of- fice when the property is ready and the keys handed over to the new owner. In addition to the pur- chase price of a new property, the buyer must pay 10% tax (VAT) on the purchase price, notary and registration fees of 0.25% to 1% of the purchase price, and an IBT fee of 1.2% of the purchase price.

Example a new construction sale in Spain

A new construction property in Spain with a purchase price of €500,000 Purchase price = €500,000 Tax 10% = €50,000
Legal fees 1% (+VAT 21%) = €6,051
Notary and registration fees 0.5% = €2,500 Stamp duty 1.2% = €6,000

Total €564,551 (other costs €64,551)

A reservation fee of 6,000€ – 10,000€ is paid either into the developers account of the real estate agency or the law firm’s client funds account. Depending on the contract, the reservation fee can be refundable or non-refundable if you cancel the reservation.

At the time of signing the purchase agreement for a new property, 20 to 50% of the purchase price is paid. The reservation fee already paid will be deducted from this amount.

As the construction progresses, the next instalment is paid, e.g. 20%. The final conclusion of the sale will take place at a notary’s office when the construction is completed and the keys are handed over to the new owner. The final purchase price is then paid, which is usually the remai- ning 50% of the total purchase price.

We recommend that the buyer negotiates the contract in such a way that a deposit of €5,000 to 30,000 is left in the client funds account in the formal deed of sale in case there are still some minor or major unfinished works on the property. These are to be carefully recorded and documen- ted. When all the remaining finishing touches have been completed, the amount is released from the client funds account and paid directly to the developer. This will give the finishing touches a nice speed boost without compromising on quality.

What to consider when buying a more expensive property on Costa del Sol

On the Costa del Sol, you can buy and own a property for up to €700,000 without having to pay Spanish property tax on it. The tax is graduated, with assets over €10 million subject to a tax of up to 3.5% of total assets in Spain.
If a couple legally resident in another country buys a property worth €1,400 000 with a 50/50 ownership, their individual property in Spain will be €700,000. On top of this, they may each have a further €300 000 in assets, which means €2 million in total. If this is exceeded, property tax is payable on the excess and is always charged on the last day of the year.

If a person is registered in Spain and/or stays in Spain for a fairly continuous period of more than 183 days, they are considered resident and all their assets, not only in Spain but also elsewhere, for example their property and securities in their original country, are subject to property tax. When buying a more expensive property, careful tax planning can save you money. For example, you can buy a property in the name of a foreign company owned by a person and rent the property from the company for your personal use. Property tax is only levied on individuals. Unikk Home has a network of several tax advisers. We are happy to help with these matters and direct you to the right person.