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Buying a Property in Spain: A Step-by-Step Process

Property buying process at INSPIRE

The first thing that comes to mind after deciding on purchasing a property in Spain is “What to do next? What are the steps?” I’m here to solve your doubts, save your time and money.

Here are the points I will cover in this article:

  1. A step-by-step buying process.

  2. Pitfalls of buying a property in Spain.

  3. The liability of realtors.

  4. The role of the notary public and a real estate lawyer.

The property buying process in Spain (10 Steps)

When making important financial and lifestyle decisions like buying a property in Spain, a clear buying process can come in extremely helpful to prepare and to navigate the landscape. Whenever a process is embedded in a robust framework with clear roles & responsibilities of various players (agencies, landlords, notary, banks, etc.) with clear liabilities, licenses-to-operate and legal guarantees, it gives you a handhold, reliable, predictable outcomes and ways to resolve issues when they occur.

  1. Preparation phase. Define realistic expectations, characteristics, location and budget, obtain mortgage simulations etc. Decide whether you’ll be doing it alone or with experts.

  2. Search and visit properties, shortlist your favourites.

  3. Identify potential red flags.

  4. Decide negotiation potential. Understand the value for money and negotiation potential (be mindful because price points are constantly changing because of the Covid-19). Negotiate.

  5. Reserve the property

  6. Undertake a substantive due diligence test. Protect your interests legally, technically, financially.

  7. Sign a robust Arras contract and anticipate potential buyer-seller conflicts that might occur.

  8. Prepare for signing at the notary (calculate amounts to be withheld from the purchase price, order bank cheques, align between all parties, etc.).

  9. Go to the notary and purchase. Sign your purchase at the notary.

  10. Post-purchase obligations

In our Real Estate webinar Series, we share property purchase tips, derived from our longstanding experience, explain the full process and warn about pitfalls of buying a house in Spain.

On October 6th we conducted a webinar “The buying process and where it often goes wrong” covering all the steps in detail. What is more, we also touched upon:

  1. Where it often goes wrong in the buying process.

  2. Mistakes you shall avoid when buying a property in Spain.

  3. How long does it take to buy a house in Spain?

  4. When to start looking into a mortgage in Spain?

You can view a full recording absolutely for free below.

Next webinar scheduled for November 4th will cover “Mortgages”. Sign up for free, ask your questions on a webinar and approach one of the most important financial decisions of your life with a clear head.

Pitfalls of Buying a Property in Spain

Why is it complicated to do everything by yourself? The origin of many headaches for buyers is that the housing market in Spain is a non-regulated playing field without a fence around it. A walk through the jungle with minefields and misleading indicators is probably a fair comparison. This means that:

  1. Anyone can sell properties in Spain. There are nearly no entry barriers and no or poor training or qualification is required for agencies. In many parts of Spain, you don’t even need a license and agent registration to sell properties.

  2. Liability in Spain is a joke. Realtors are not obliged to tell you everything about a property. You also cannot hold them accountable if they hide information regarding problems with a property. I’ll share even more examples in the next webinar.

  3. The notary public in Spain has a very restricted role, totally different from what you might know from your home country. The notary is neither involved in the process nor responsible for the due-diligence of your purchase. You will only see the notary in the last hour of a several-month journey.

  4. Lack of transparency. The information and documentation you need to review about a property is nowhere centralized and cannot be accessed online.

The Reliability of Realtors in Spain

Good properties sell quickly. Taking quick decisions is an essential element of performing a proper review before committing to buy. In this context, a buying process or a checklist alone itself won’t lead you to the results you expect.

Realtors in Spain love this. Nobody bothers about how they run their business, how they pressure buyers to put their signature down for a property knowing that the buyer might be poorly-informed.

Buyers in Spain are initially exposed to mistakes, problems and surprises and visiting properties is often a frustrating and disappointing experience. There is a fine line between an excellent purchase and an awkward one, and adhering to certain principles may save you tons of money and future peace of mind.

The Role of the Notary Public and a Real Estate Lawyer

You may say: “Yes, but I can hire a lawyer”. True. I wouldn’t recommend anyone to buy a property in Spain without a lawyer. That’s why we have expert real estate lawyers in our team at INSPIRE. But equally, I have seen plenty of cases where people have bought poor properties in Spain with a perfect contract (It is usually related to technical issues, overpaying, community problems, etc.). So it’s not just about the lawyer.

Over one-third of owners in Spain indicate that they wouldn’t have bought their house again if they could go back in time. I don’t want you to end up on that list!

50% of buyers are wrong and would start off trusting the wrong person.

In Episode nº 1 of our Real Estate Series , I asked a simple but a crucially important question: “When buying a property in Spain through an agency, who is the client of the real estate agency?”

The answers were the following:

A. The buyer. B. The seller (landlord). C. Both buyer and seller.

The only correct answer is B. Agencies are contracted by sellers (they have a sales mandate), defend their interests and are paid by landlords as well. As a buyer, you are on the other side of a non-regulated playing field.

This poll reveals a dramatic response error rate and means that 50% of the buyers would start their buying journey by putting trust for one of the biggest financial decisions in their life in someone who only cares about a counterparty.

This is why years ago I decided to launch INSPIRE Property Experts. To provide professional and independent advice to buyers and investors and guide them through the jungle, help them find better properties, access off-market opportunities, and de-risk the entire process. Or as one buyer recently told us: “Deciding to get expert advice from INSPIRE has been the most profitable decision in the entire purchase process.”

Imagine Being Better Informed Than Other Buyers…

If you want to be well-versed, save money, avoid disturbances and conflicts of interest, this is what you can do:

  1. Join our Real Estate Series with monthly Episodes (webinars) with no-nonsense insights & tips to make better decisions and avoid mistakes.

  1. View recordings of the previous webinars on our YouTube channel (among them are “Must-know tips before buying your home in Spain during Covid”, and the recent one “The Buying process in Spain”).

  2. ‘Contact me to discuss your plans and receive my personal recommendations.


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