Buying Property in Barcelona: 10-Step Guide for Foreigners

3.4/5 - (15 votes)

It is a great choice to purchase a property in Barcelona. The “Ciudad Condal” is a city that perfectly combines the Mediterranean lifestyle and remarkable architecture. However, you should proceed with caution. Doing business in a foreign country is not easy. Therefore, we prepared a to-do list that you should follow before buying a property in Barcelona as a foreigner. Follow our ten-step guide for foreigners below!

Step 1. Calculate the total cost before buying a property in Barcelona

You have two options for the calculation to buy property in Barcelona depending on your payment method: Paying in cash or with a mortgage.

  • Paying in Cash: The property’s price + 10% sales tax on the purchase + app. 5.000€ for other fees. As a general rule, add 12% to 14% to the purchase price. The tax is 5% if you’re under 33 and meet other requirements.
  • Paying with a Mortgage. The mortgage bank must pay all closing costs associated with the mortgage (set-up costs). The bank may charge an opening and other fees. For mortgage questions, we recommend Mortgage Direct: Contact Mortgage Direct Here

For further details, read our article that explains the total cost of buying property in Barcelona.

buy property in barcelona - total cost
You have several options to calculate the final price of your property in Barcelona

Step 2. Talk to banks if you need a mortage

No sense going any further until you are sure you qualify for a mortgage. It would be best to use a Spanish bank, preferably in the area where you buy. Visit banks, or hire a respected intermediary such as Mortgage Direct for buying a property in Barcelona.

👉🏻ProTip: Most banks grant up to 80% of the purchase price to Spanish residents and 60% to non-residents. Interest rates are very reasonable.

Step 3. Calculate your budget

Once you know what you can borrow, you can make a budget. Place a lower limit for what you would like to spend and an upper limit as your maximum. Include the tax and closing expenses. Save some money for renovations as buying a property in Barcelona that needs work can save you money.

Step 4. Create search parameters

Draft a “Wish List” of your specifications for buying a property in Barcelona as a foreigner. This list could include the following topics:

Your Budget

You should determine your budget first. But, keep in mind that listed prices are normally inflated by up to 15%. Thus, consider properties about 15% over your maximum budget.

Choose the area or neighborhood

You must visit Barcelona and walk its neighborhoods to see where you, and your family, feel comfortable. See this post for a review of Barcelona’s neighborhoods.

Consider the size of the flat

Most Barcelona flats are quite small (40-120 square meters). Prices jump once you get above 100 sm. Consider how much space you need now and ten years from now. As children grow, they require more room.

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. For example:

  1. Common Must-Haves. An elevator, a certain number of bedrooms or bathrooms, quietness (flats facing the interior are normally quieter than those facing the street), near a school, near a metro station, in a certain neighborhood, etc. 
  2. Common Nice-to-Haves. A terrace or patio (large outdoor spaces are hard to find so they’re more expensive), parking, near the beach, good view, etc. You might have to sacrifice space for one of these.

Step 5. How to search for buying a property in Barcelona

  • 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. Some of the best deals, however, are sold before they go online.
buying property in barcelona as a foreigner- online search
There are plenty of sites to search for a flat in Barcelona
  • Visit agents. Go to the area where you want to buy and visit local real estate agents.
  • Hire our Service. We rarely search online because the best deals are gone before they’re posted. We work with a network of agents and owners who send us their new properties before they’re posted online. You should discover property search strategies in Barcelona that deliver results.

Step 6. Visiting Properties in Barcelona

  • 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.
  • 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 7. Due Diligence

You found the property, but is it safe to buy? Bear in mind, real estate agents in Barcelona have a minimal duty to reveal any defects about the property. You must research its legal condition to identify the true owner, bank liens and zoning laws. And you must inspect its physical condition for damages. Building repairs are expensive, and the flat owners have to pay them. Hire an architect if necessary. We can recommend some. 

Step 8. NIE and Bank Account

Once you are certain you will buy a property in Barcelona, you must obtain a Spanish tax number called an NIE. It’s needed to get a mortgage and to sign the deed. Learn how to get Spanish NIE. You will also need to open a local bank account to pay for the property and taxes.

Step 9. Pre-purchase contracts for buying property in Barcelona

There are normally two:

A. The ‘Reserve Contract’. The agent will show you a form called a ‘reserve’. You write your offer and pay a deposit of app—1% of the purchase price. If the owner accepts, you must buy or lose the deposit. If they reject it, they must return your deposit. Beware: the ‘reserve’ does not reserve the property for you unless it says so. Please read it carefully before signing. And some agents charge the buyer, in which case they’ll keep your deposit as their fee even if the owner rejects your offer. For further details, please read our article about the Reservation Contract in Barcelona.

B. The ‘Arras Contract’. You pay a deposit of the app—10% of the purchase price. You must buy or lose it. The seller must sell to you or repay double the deposit. Negotiate the terms with caution as they will be incorporated into the property deed. For further details, please read “Arras Contract in Spain”.

Step 10. Signing the Deed

Once all issues are resolved, you can sign the deed. It’s done before a Public Notary; a Spanish attorney qualified to supervise the signing of public documents. He does not provide legal advice. 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 about buying a property in Barcelona as a foreigner. Contact Mark Carr at [email protected] or +34 664 665 365.

7 Comments on “Buying Property in Barcelona: 10-Step Guide for Foreigners”

  1. Mark,

    Hope you are well. My wife and I have been trying to find a place under 175,000 USD as an investment. We would need to secure financing. Would love some advice on the rental market (support of short-term Airbnb vs long-term) and how hard it is to secure a loan. We don’t need a large space.

    Thanks,
    Jared

    1. Jared, Thanks for the message. Based on your budget, 175,000 USD, the apartment would have to cost a maximum of about 140k€. There is a 10% tax on the purchase. A tourist license is required to rent short term in Barcelona, such aa on AirBNB, and they are no longer issued in Barcelona. I would look in a town outside of Barcelona, such as Badalona; lower prices and possible to rent short term. Banks will grant 60% of the purchase price for investment purchases. Email me at [email protected] for more information.

  2. My father is planning to buy a property in Barcelona and since its the first time we are looking to buy abroad I will definitely share this article with him. I am sure this will definitely help him out and guide him through the buying process.

  3. Thanks for the info! I’m currently looking for a house in surroundings of Barcelona. Could you help me?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.