Buying property in Spain or Portugal – step by step
Dreaming of buying a property in Spain or Portugal is the easy part – it’s turning the dream into reality that can be tricky! Knowing where to buy and which properties represent good value for money can be time-consuming and confusing, particularly when you are buying from abroad. But don’t despair – Fastighetsbyrån is here to help.
Our detailed guide to buying property in Spain or Portugal will walk you through the entire process, from searching for the perfect property to ensuring the paperwork is in order and closing the deal. We explain step by step what you need to know, including tips for viewing properties, how to make an offer, what your responsibilities are as the buyer and much, much more.
From the outset, be clear what you are looking for from your Spanish or Portuguese property so that you can focus on homes that meet your requirements. Start by searching fastighetsbyran.se/utland/en to have a look through our current properties and to set up the free alert service so that you are updated on all properties matching your criteria.
As soon as you have spotted the house or apartment that you would like to take a closer look at, let us know and Fastighetsbyrån will help you to plan your visit to Spain or Portugal.
We can arrange viewings of as many properties as you would like to see and will also be available to show you around the local area(s) that you are interested in. Our expert staff can answer your questions on everything from the location of the beach and the golf course to the best places to go for tapas.
We recommend keeping the final day of your trip free to talk over the properties you have seen at our office, or to look at other houses and apartments – there is no pressure or stress, so you can use the time as flexibly as you need to. At all stages, we will listen to your requirements and support you to find the perfect property in Spain or Portugal.
Book a viewing trip through our offices
It’s best to sort out your financing situation before you visit Spain or Portugal to view properties. That way you can be certain before you travel of your budget and thus use the time productively to view properties that you know are within your price range.
To ensure you are one step ahead, we can assist you with finding appropriate local mortgage arrangements. Spanish and Portuguese banks are happy to use properties as security for mortgages, so we can put you in touch with local banks who can assist you. We suggest doing this before you visit Spain or Portugal to view properties, so that you know precisely how much you have to spend on your dream second home
Mortgages granted are generally for 60-80% of the property’s value and are arranged in euros.
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The prices of the properties that we sell have been agreed with the vendors based on estimated market value. A vendor usually closes a deal with a buyer who is prepared to pay the stated price – bidding up is uncommon in Spain or Portugal
At Fastighetsbyrån, we document and report all offers received. Our “most recent offer” online service provides an overview of what prospective buyers have offered.
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Most recent offer
The section below presents the most frequently asked questions about bidding and negotiations. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you cannot find the answer to your question here.
Is a bidding/negotiation process always necessary?
No. If the vendor is willing to sell at the price stated and the buyer is willing to pay this price then there is no need for bidding/negotiations. Negotiations only occur if the buyer wants to haggle over the price.
What does the initial price refer to?
The initial price that you see in our property adverts reflects an estimated value based on the current market conditions. The final price may sometimes differ appreciably from this price, depending on the level of interest and demand for a particular property.
Whom does the broker represent?
The broker is an impartial link between the vendor and the prospective purchasers. The broker may not, therefore, work as an agent for either party – he/she must help both buyer and vendor.
Is the property automatically sold to whoever makes the highest bid?
No. It is up to the vendor to decide to whom he/she wishes to sell – and at what price. The vendor is not bound to accept the highest offer, nor is he/she bound to sell at the advertised price.
Do I have to buy if I have made a bid?
No. Parties are not legally bound to stand by any bid they make – even if the bid was made in writing.
Am I allowed to withdraw?
Yes. Both vendor and buyer can terminate a sale at any point up until a purchase contract has been signed.
Can the broker promise a sale to a specific buyer?
No. The broker cannot make any decisions with regard to the actual sale. The broker is there to make it clear to prospective purchasers that the final decision rests with the vendor. However, the broker may provide the vendor with professional advice about choosing between different prospective buyers.
How do I submit my bid?
All bids are submitted to the broker, who then forwards them to the vendor. It is only the vendor who can decide whether to reject a bid for whatever reason. The broker cannot reject bids on his/her own initiative.
Will my identity be revealed to other bidders or the seller?
Prospective purchasers are not entitled to know the identities of any other bidders, nor will the vendor find out who the prospective purchaser is until a written agreement has been entered into.
As the buyer, you are responsible for examining the property carefully before you sign the purchase contract. If you discover anything that may indicate a fault or defect, you should report it immediately. You can use a professional to support you in this, but you must cover the cost of doing so – such associated costs are not the vendor’s responsibility.
Many people often take it for granted that the seller is responsible for covering the associated costs. This is true in some – but far from all – cases. As the buyer, you are responsible for examining the property carefully before you sign the purchase contract. And it is important that you report anything that may indicate a fault or defect. Generally speaking, houses and apartments are sold "as viewed" with regard to their age, price and use. Talk to your agent for more information about your responsibilities.
When you examine a property, be sure to:
-Use a torch to examine dark areas thoroughly
-Lift carpets to check the condition of the floors
-Look behind curtains to check the condition of the walls, windows and any shutters
-Study every part of the property, including the attic, the basement and any land
-Pay close attention to the façade and roof
-Inspect any other buildings or facilities, such as garages, wells or drains, that belong to the property
Generally speaking, houses and apartments are sold “as viewed” with regard to their age, price and condition. Talk to your agent for more information about your responsibilities in relation to this, but remember that it is not the agent’s task to carry out the examination.
When you and the vendor reach agreement, a purchase contract is prepared stating the price, take-over date and other pertinent details. At this stage, you will make a down payment and confirm your intention to complete the deal, so be sure you have arranged sufficient financing for this to go ahead.
At this point it is time to apply for a Spanish tax identification number (NIE) or a Portuguese (NIF), if you don’t already have one. This is so that your property can be recorded in the title register.
On the agreed take-over date, you and the vendor meet at the office of the Public Notary, who will prepare the public deed of purchase (Escritura Pública de Compraventa/Compra e Venda) and take care of legal niceties, such as confirming the identities of the parties and checking the legal status of the house or apartment.
As well as taking care of the preparations for this meeting, we can also accompany you to it, should you so wish.
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The deposit is paid when signing the contract. It is usually about 10% of the purchase price for resale properties and a fixed sum of between €3,000 and €6,000 for new builds. The deposit is proof of the buyer’s commitment to the purchase of the property.
Once the property has been purchased, the title deed is registered in the title deed registry. This is proof that you are the new legal owner of the property.
In Portugal you generally pay 10% of the purchase price for resale and new builds.
To buy a property in Spain or Portugal, you need a tax identification number (known as an NIE/NIF). You also need an NIE /NIFnumber if you are going to work, open a bank account or set up a phone or internet subscription in Spain. Applying for a NIE number usually takes several weeks, so prepare the application in well advance of your planned property purchase, so that it doesn’t cause a delay. We can put you in touch with companies that can assist you in obtaining an NIE.
In Portugal, it is easy and quick to apply for a NIF, you do this at the local tax office (Finanças) showing your passport.
The Notary Public is an officially appointed law professional who in this case is obliged to check the identities of the buyer and vendor and the legal status of the property. The Notary Public also prepares the transfer deed, which forms the basis of your title deed application.
The completion date is the date that you get access to your new property. The purchase is finalized and you pay the remaining part of the purchase price. After that, the home is yours.
It’s almost time to kick back and relax, but there are still a few practical details to sort out after the take-over, such as registrations, tax payments and utility agreements. Don’t worry though – if you would prefer to spend your time enjoying the sunshine then that’s fine. Fastighetsbyrån offers an additional service whereby we take care of all this paperwork for you, so all you have to focus on is enjoying your new home and exploring the surrounding area.
If you have any questions or queries after your property purchase, you are naturally welcome to contact us – we are here to help.
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Good to know about tax representatives
“Hidden faults” means faults or defects of which the purchaser was unaware – and could not reasonably have been expected to discover – when making the purchase. For the vendor to be held responsible for a hidden fault, the fault in question must result in the property deviating from what the buyer could reasonably expect.
For example, as a buyer you cannot reasonably expect a 20-year-old pool pump to be in perfect working order; you should realise that you will probably have to replace the pump in the immediate future.
In practice, the types of hidden fault for which the vendor is likely to be held responsible relate to defects in the design or construction of the building. However, as properties are bought and sold "as viewed" (cuerpo cierto), the chance of successfully filing a claim for compensation is very limited.