How to Buy Property in Barcelona
A Guide for Foreigners
Barcelona is a great place to buy property, but proceed with caution and plan it out. Doing business in a foreign country is not easy. Below is an nine-step guide to buying property in Barcelona for non-Spaniards.
Step 1. Calculate the property’s Total Cost
You have to know the ‘Grand Total’ so you can make a budget. Below is a summary.
(A) Paying in Cash. The property’s price + *10% sales tax on the purchase price + app. 5.000€ for closing and legal fees. As a general rule, add 12% to the purchase price.
*This is 5% if certain conditions are met.
(B) Paying with a Mortgage. The costs above + app. 2,000 to 4,000€ for the mortgage set-up costs (varies depending on the bank). Add about 13% to the purchase price. For mortgage questions we recommend Mortgage Direct: Contact Mortgage Direct Here
Click here for details on the total cost.
Step 2. Calculate how much You can Spend
(A) Make a Budget. It should have a lower and an upper limit. The lower being what you would like to spend and the upper your maximum. Save some money for renovations; buying a lower-priced apartment or flat that needs renovations can save you money.
(B) Mortgage. You must use a Spanish bank, preferably in the area where you buy. Talk to banks or contact a respected intermediary such as Mortgage Direct. They specialize and can give great advice. See their link above. Most banks grant up to 80% of the purchase price to Spanish residents and up to 60% to non-residents. Fixed interest rates range from 2.5% to 4.5%.
Step 3. Create Search Parameters
Use these parameters as search tools:
(A) Property Price. The listed price is normally inflated by up to 15%, but there are no guarantees. Search for properties no more than 15% above your maximum budget.
(B) Area. Where would you like to live? It’s important to visit Barcelona and walk its neighborhoods to see where you, and your family, feel comfortable. My clients are glad they did. See this post for a review of Barcelona’s neighborhoods.
(C) Size. Most of the flats in Barcelona are quite small (40-120 square meters). Prices jump once you get above 100 sm. Consider how much space you need now and 10 years from now. As children grow they require more room.
(D) Property Features. List what the property must have; you can’t compromise on these. Enter your online search queries accordingly. Then list what it would be nice to have. These would be great, but not necessary.
(1) Common Must-Haves. An elevator, a certain number of bedrooms or bathrooms, quiet (flats facing the interior are normally quieter than those facing the street), near a school, near a metro station, in a certain neighborhood, etc. There’s no sense buying the ‘perfect, but highly-inconvenient’ flat.
(2) Common Nice-to-Haves. A terrace or patio (large outdoor spaces are hard to find so they’re more expensive), underground parking, near the beach, good view, in a certain neighborhood, etc. You might have to sacrifice space for one of these.
Step 4. How to Search for Property in Barcelona
Once you know what you want, use the following search methods:
(A) Online. There are several websites that carry a large variety of properties for sale in and near Barcelona. Most are in English and easy to find through google.
(B) Visit agents. Go to the area where you want to buy and visit local real estate agents.
(C) Hire our Service. We rarely search online because the best deals are gone before they’re posted. We work with a network of agents, owners and investors who send us their new properties before they’re posted online. See this link for details.
Step 5. Visiting Properties in Barcelona
(A) Reluctant buyer. While in the property say nothing positive; look for defects and ask about them. Never express excitement; once the agent knows you’re interested, they won’t negotiate.
(B) Don’t negotiate the price. You need more information first. After investigating the property carefully you’ll probably find something negative that you can use to negotiate.
Step 6. Due Diligence
You found the property you want, but is it safe to buy? Research it’s legal condition (true owner, dimensions, liens, zoning laws, etc.) and physical condition (building damage, upcoming repairs, etc.) to find out. Building repairs are expensive in Barcelona and the flat owners have to pay them. Hire an architect if necessary. We can recommend some.
Step 7. NIE and Bank Account
Once you are certain you will buy, you must obtain a Spanish identification number called a NIE. It’s a tax number that connects you to the Spanish government. See this page for details. You will also need to open a local bank account to pay for the property and taxes.
Step 8. Pre-purchase Contracts
There are normally two:
(A) The ‘Reserve’. The agent will show you a form called a ‘reserve’. You write your offer on it and pay a deposit of app. 1% of the purchase price. If the owner accepts you proceed, if not they must return your deposit. But beware, the ‘reserve’ does not reserve the property for you unless it says so. Thus, read it carefully before signing. And some agents charge the buyer, in which case they’ll keep part or all of your deposit as their fee even if the owner rejects your offer. See this post for details.
(B) The ‘Arras’. This is the point of no return. You pay a deposit of app. 10% of the purchase price and must buy or you lose it. The seller must sell to you, or repay you double the deposit. Negotiate and draft the terms with caution as they will be incorporated into the property deed. See this post for details.
Step 9. Signing the Deed
Once all issues are resolved you can sign the deed. It’s done before a Spanish Notary Public. The notary is a trained attorney who qualifies as a public official. He confirms the identities of the parties, the property and witnesses the signing of the deed; but he does not provide legal advice. They charge for their services. Once signed, you exchange the purchase check for the keys and the property is yours. The deed is then filed with the land registry office (registro).
Call or email if you have any questions. Mention this post and we’ll offer a 1-hour free consultation. Email Mark at [email protected] or +34 664 665 365.
Updated: Dec. 16, 2018