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Countries Information & Lifestyle
 Spain Spain

Country Information & Lifestyle

 The romance of yesterday meets the excitement of today

The romance of yesterday meets the excitement of today

Spain is in southwestern Europe bordering Portugal, Andorra and France and consists of 19 autonomous regions including the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands and three small possessions off the coast of Morocco - Islas Chafarinas, Penon de Alhucemas and Penon de Velez de la Gomera, along with the enclaves in North Africa, Ceuta and Melilla.

The climate is considered temperate, with clear, hot summers in the interior, more moderate along the coast, cold winters in the mountains with snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains near Granada where there is an up and coming ski resort, whilst the Canary Islands have a sub-tropical climate and the Balearic Islands have cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers.

The official language is Castilian and this is spoken by 74% of the population with Catalan, Galician and Basque spoken in certain area and in Andalucia they speak a regional dialect, Andaluz.

The lifestyle is relaxed, laid back and unhurried, manana not necessarily meaning tomorrow, and the afternoon siesta an important part of life.

Spain is predominantly a Catholic country and in some areas it is still common to see girls chaperoned whilst courting their boyfriends.

When the sun sets over the sparkling blue waters of the Mediterranean the coasts come alive and in cites like Valencia, Barcelona, Seville and Granada there is plenty to do on a warm summers evening.

The mainland is mostly plateaus with forestry in the north and open arid land in the south, interspersed with mountains, pine forests, olive groves, rivers, natural parks.

There are wonderful heritage cities such as Toledo, Avila, Huesca and Teruel, and the capital Madrid is world famous for museums, architecture, and nightlife, whilst Salamanca, in Castilla y Leon, has one of the most magnificent squares in all of Spain surrounded by the finest restaurants and excellent shops.

Segovia, a World Heritage City, has been given the nickname of the Stone Ship owing to the profile of the Alcazar castle perched on the rocks resembling the prow of a ship, and is a magnificent city full of beautiful buildings set in a walled town.

Spain has so much to offer it is impossible to mention everything here, it is a vibrant country, full of passion, history, beauty, YOU SIMPLY MUST PAY A VISIT.

Purchasing a Property

There is no restriction on foreigners owning property with the exception of military land or land near international borders.

Once you have located your property it is important to appoint an English speaking lawyer and you will need to apply for a NIE, (NUMERO DE IDENTIFICACION DE EXTRANJEROS), Foreigners Identification Number, and open a Spanish bank account, your lawyer, Estate Agent or Gestor will usually assist you with this.

Your lawyer will the request the ESCRITURA, (TITLE DEED), from the seller and carry out a search at the LAND REGISTRY for debts, encumbrances, mortgages and obtain a Nota Simple stating that the property is free of all charges and that the seller is the legal owner.

It must be stated that these searches are very important as debts go with the property so it is vital to obtain the Nota Simple.

A CONTRATO DE COMPRA/VENTA is drawn up by the lawyer once all searches are clear, and it is normal to pay 10% deposit.

The contract will state the details of the property, the vendors and purchasers details, agreed price, completion date and any clauses, and it is also important to check that all utilities have been pad up.

The final signing is before a NOTARIO, (NOTARY PUBLIC), and then the balance is paid and the ESCRITURA DE PROPIEDAD, (TITLE DEED), goes to the REGISTRO DE PROPIEDAD for inscription into the new owners name.

On the day of signing the final deed you will receive a ESCOPIA SIMPLE, and the original deed will come back via the notary office within 4-6 weeks.

Prior to signing the final deed on the day the NOTARIO will obtain an up to date NOTA SIMPLE to ensure that there have been no changes since the contract was signed.

The Transfer taxes, legal fees and all other taxes are paid at this time.

Whilst it is no longer obligatory to appoint a fiscal representative it is advisable as there are certain taxes to be declare during the year whether you are a resident or non-resident.

Fees & Taxes

Calculate 11% on top of the purchase price to cover all taxes involved with the purchase.

Legal fess are normally a percentage of the purchase/sales price and will incur IVA (VAT) at 16%.

Notary fees are based on a sliding scale becoming proportionally cheaper the more expensive the property and should be between 300 euros - 1200 euros.

Land Registry fees are approximately 0.5% of the purchase price of the property.

Gestoria are official intermediaries between individuals and government bodies, such as the tax office and the land registry, and their fees are about 300 euros plus IVA (VAT).

Stamp duty (AJD) is only payable on the purchase of off-plan properties and is currently 1% regardless of the value of the property and is payable on completion.

IVA(VAT) applies to off-plan purchases and is 7% and is payable with each instalment.

Transfer tax (ITP) is payable on re-sale properties and is also 7% + IVA and is payable on completion.

Plus Valia or impuesto sobre el incremento de valor de naturaleza urbana), is a one-off tax levied by the Local Authorities and is calculated by reference to the increase in value of the land since the last sale of the property. For most properties this will only be a few hundred euros and is normally payable by the vendor on completion.

In addition Estate or Council Tax (Impuesto sobre bienes inmuebles) called IBI or contribucion, will also be payable yearly. This is paid to the appropriate Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) and is normally paid from 2nd October to 30th November, or 0.3% for bienes de naturaleza rustica (rural areas).

Agents fees usually between 5-6%.

Stamp duty ITC (Impuesto sobre tranmisiones patrimoniales) is levied between 6-7% of the purchase price depending on the Autonomous Region, (Comunidad Autonoma) involved, the tax does not apply to newly built properties but just to privately owned or resale properties. The tax is paid by the buyer after the final exchange of contracts to the Tax Authority, Agencia Tributaria.

Patrimonio - Wealth Tax is levied on assets in Spain i.e. property, bank accounts, cars, bonds, stocks and shares.

Capital gains tax is charged to the vendor and is calculated on the increase in the property rather than the land value.

If you are resident in the country for more than 180 days in any year you are classed as a resident for fiscal purposes and will have to make an income tax return for personal obligations and on worldwide income.

If you are non-resident you will only have to make income returns on assets in Spain.

Spain has a double taxation agreement with a number of countries including the USA & UK so before you decide which country you will be tax resident in it is important to take professional advice.


Visa regulations are liable to change at short notice so intending travellers should check with the Embassy/Consulate in their home country prior to departure.

EU citizens do not require a visa and the majority of nationals will not require a visa for up to 90 days.

It is important to check the up to date regulations before leaving for Spain.

Spain offers a Golden Visa for purchases over 500.000 euros. Please request our PDF with full information

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