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  • Writer's pictureRaf De Greef

Buy a house or apartment in Almeria

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

What you need to know when purchasing a property in Almeria


Although the European community is trying to standardize regulations, purchasing a house or apartment in Almeria remains a complex matter that requires proper guidance.

But because for most of us investing in real estate is one of the most important (financial) decisions in our lives, it is very important to be well aware of the differences between the Spanish purchasing process and the purchasing process in most other European countries. to land.

Of course, no one likes to be confronted with legal and/or tax problems after receiving the keys to their dream home in Almeria. The differences in the purchasing process have a major influence on all aspects of the purchase. The first major difference is the role of the different professionals. In Almeria, in addition to the real estate agent and the notary, the lawyer also has an important task during the transfer process. The lawyer does most of the work that is done by the notary in other countries.

The second big difference is that in Spain you have not one but two official bodies for registering your property: the Land Registry (Registro de la Propiedad) and the Catastro. Below we go over all the steps for a correct and safe purchase transaction. It is always up to the buyer and seller to determine the exact steps of the process, depending on the situation. 1. Viewing phase (Estate agent) a. The search for your home in Almeria In this phase you contact me to indicate via the search form which type of property you are looking for in which area. It is a very important task for me to find you the house or apartment in Almeria that optimally meets your wishes and needs. I do this based on my market knowledge and experience and in most cases I can give you much more background information about the house and the surrounding area than you can read on the internet. I will also negotiate the purchase price and the initial purchase conditions for you with the broker/seller. However, it is not my job as a broker to give you legal or tax advice. For this purpose, I refer you to a lawyer with whom I work closely, as he is a specialist in this area and is specifically experienced in this type of work. b. The reservation contract and reservation costs Once we have reached a verbal agreement with the estate agent about the purchase price, it is customary in Almeria to sign a reservation contract. At this time you must also pay the reservation costs. This cost usually varies between €3000 and €6000. By paying these reservation costs you temporarily take the property off the market until all sales conditions of the private purchase contract have been negotiated (contracto de Arras). The reservation costs can be transferred to an escrow account of the broker. If the seller withdraws from the sale, you will receive your money back in full. On the other hand, you will lose this money if you cancel the purchase yourself. 2. The investigation phase (lawyer) a. The legal investigation The lawyer has an important role in the Spanish purchasing process. This person takes care of most of the work, which is done by the notary in most other countries. The lawyer is responsible for the legal investigation with the official authorities and he checks all possible debts related to the property. He also checks whether the house and land are correctly registered and whether the seller is really the official owner. Based on his training and professional experience, he can make a plan to resolve any problems or irregularities that come to light during the investigation. Your lawyer will also provide you with independent legal and tax advice and ensure that you know exactly what you are purchasing and under what conditions. As a buyer you are well protected, because a Spanish lawyer is officially required to be a member of the Spanish organization for lawyers, el Colegio de Abogados. He is also legally required to have professional liability insurance for lawyers. These documents guarantee you high-quality, responsible and independent service.

As a house hunter, I can always refer you to lawyers we work with and who are guaranteed to deliver good and complete work. b. Estimation of costs and taxes Once you have chosen a lawyer, the first thing he or she will normally do is give you an estimate of all the costs and taxes involved in the transaction. Typically, these costs are approximately 10% to 12% of the purchase price. The costs are divided as follows: Lawyers' fees This is usually around 1% of the sales price, depending on the work required. ITP - Taxes You must pay 8% of the stated value in the public deed.

Notarial costs Depending on the work, this varies between 300 and 600 euros.

Registration These can also vary between 300 and 600 euros. Example - house with a sales price of € 100,000 Lawyer's fee 1% = € 1,000

Purchase tax of 8% = € 8,000

Notary costs € 500 - € 600

Entry fee = €500

Total cost of ownership, fees and taxes included is €110,100.

c. Power of attorney It is best to give your lawyer power of attorney so that he can officially act on your behalf during the entire process.

This can be very useful if you do not (yet) live in Almeria. This way you don't have to travel up and down all the time. You can use this P.O.A. if desired, cancel at any Spanish notary whenever you wish.

It is easier, faster and cheaper to sign the power of attorney in Almeria, but if necessary, a foreign notary can also take care of this document for you.

The power of attorney can be used for the application for the Spanish tax number (NIE), the opening of a bank account, the signing of the purchase contract or the title deed, the payment of taxes, the transfer of the service contract, etc. But of course there are never made important decisions on behalf of our customers without first informing them in writing. d. Official authorities Spain has a highly decentralized organizational structure and therefore many bureaucratic procedures cannot yet be arranged via the internet. This situation often makes it necessary to go personally to the authorities to request documents and sort out paperwork. This makes the lawyer's legal research relatively time-consuming. By conducting research at official bodies such as the Land Registry (Registro de la Propiedad), Catastro and town hall archives, the lawyer checks the legal status of the property and its owner. e. Debts and legal correspondence Your lawyer will check whether there is legal correspondence about the property at the Land Registry (Registro de la Propiedad), the Catastro or the town hall. He also checks whether there are any debts such as mortgages, seizures of real estate or unpaid taxes. This is very important information because in Almeria these types of debts are automatically transferred to the new owner. f. Inspection of the boundaries (rustic ground) When you buy a house in Almeria in the countryside, the legal investigation sometimes needs to be carried out in more depth and more extensively. It is often wise to have a technical architect conduct a technical investigation into the exact boundaries of the land. g. Don't take any risks. It is sometimes advised to skip the inquest to save money. I recommend that you be very careful with this suggestion. In fact, if this step is skipped, the collaboration breaks down.

Spain is a very decentralized country and there are many different levels of legal arrangements that are regularly updated. This is even more true if you want to buy a home in the Spanish countryside. If this phase is skipped, I can no longer guarantee a good financial investment and that is what we do it all for.

The lawyers I work with are trained to do exactly this type of work and they are in principle the only specialist who can oversee all aspects and consequences of the purchase in case of possible irregularities. h. The private purchase agreement The next important task of your lawyer during this investigation phase is to negotiate the precise terms and conditions of purchase with the seller (or his lawyer) on your behalf. Our lawyer will record these conditions in a private purchase contract that is the most important document of the transaction.

It contains all the details of the sale such as the agreed price, the payment plan, tax issues, the deadline for signing the official title deeds at the notary and unforeseen circumstances (for example if the bank does not grant you a mortgage or if important problems arise that are not can be resolved). The private purchase contract also makes clear what should happen to the down payment if one of the parties does not want/cannot proceed with the purchase with or without good reason. With this contract, your lawyer ensures that you can buy your new house or apartment in Almeria with all possible guarantees and free of all risks.

Both parties are free to include as many terms in this contract as they see fit as long as they do not conflict with Spanish law. Of course, your lawyer will ensure that all legal requirements are met depending on the type of property (apartment, villa, urban, rustic, etc.).

When signing the private purchase contract, a down payment of 10% is usually paid and this money is best left in the lawyer's "third account" until the title deed is signed at the notary. After signing the private purchase contract, the lawyer provides the notary with all the documents required to draw up the new public title deed. 3. Title deeds a. The signing of the title deeds The Spanish notary only comes into the picture on the day of signing the final title deeds and contact normally only takes place through the lawyer. He is an official of the Spanish state and his job is to check that the document has been signed correctly and to verify the identity of the people involved.

However, unlike other countries, in Spain it is not the notary's job to check the underlying documentation or the legal content of the agreement. Nor is it his job to take care of the necessary registrations after signing or to provide any aftercare. As we explained earlier, this is the responsibility of your lawyer. b. Remaining payment of the purchase price When signing the title deed, the remainder of the purchase price is also paid (purchase price minus the reservation and down payment already paid). This is usually done via an official bank cheque. This is usually more practical (and more convenient for the seller) than paying by bank transfer on the same day.

Of course, this is also the moment of the key transfer, after which you are the new official owner of the apartment or house in Spain. It is possible that the seller wants you to pay part of the purchase price in black money so that he has to pay less tax on the increased value of his property. Regardless of whether it is illegal or not, I strongly advise my clients not to accept this condition. In the event that you were to sell the house again in the future, you would have to pay these additional taxes yourself. Currently, the rate of this tax for non-tax residents is 21%. 4. Procedures after purchasing your house in Almeria After signing the title deeds, important administrative work still needs to be done. From a practical point of view, most buyers let their lawyer handle this because he already has all the information. Moreover, your lawyer knows exactly where to turn to arrange all this correctly. a. Land Registry & Catastro In Spain, as mentioned earlier, there are two authorities for the registration of real estate: the Registro de la Propiedad and the Catastro.

This can sometimes lead to confusion among foreign buyers. The Land Registry (Registro de la Propiedad) is a property register and here you can find official information about mortgages, seizures and tax debts. As I described earlier, debts in Spain are automatically transferred to the new owner. So this information is very important. The summary of this register is called the "Nota Simple". Registration in the Land Registry is not mandatory, but it is recommended. This registration is always necessary when taking out a mortgage. It is possible to become the full legal owner of a property by only signing the private purchase contract. However, by signing the title deed and registering it in the land registry, you avoid all possible legal disputes.

The Catastro is part of the Spanish tax authorities (Hacienda / Agencia de la Tributaria) and terminates the tax value (cadastral value) of your property for, for example, the IBI (annual local property tax). The Catastro also records the exact boundaries of the land, which can be extra important for homes in rural areas.

Unlike the Land Registry, registration with the Catastro is mandatory, but in the event of conflicting information, the Land Registry takes precedence over the Catastro. Of course, it is of the utmost importance that both registrations are carried out legally correctly. b. Transfer tax (ITP) Your lawyer will take care of the payment of the 8% transfer tax (Impuesto de Transmisiones Patrimoniales) on your behalf, which is based on the purchase price in the new title deed.

This must be paid within 30 days after signing at the notary. If, in very rare cases, the tax value of the property would be higher than the purchase price, the transfer tax must be paid based on the tax value of the house or apartment in Spain. If part of the purchase price is paid for furniture, the ITP Transfer Tax on this amount is 4%. c. Contracts for services/utilities This requires little explanation, but it is of course important that they are carried out correctly and on time. Most of these fixed costs (electricity, water, internet, telephone, etc.) can be automatically debited from your Spanish bank account. d. Will Finally, I always advise my clients to have a Spanish will drawn up for their new Spanish property. Spanish inheritance law, which applies by default, is inflexible and usually has negative financial consequences for the partners and heirs. Real Estate La Vida Feliz is a specialist in new and second-hand properties in coastal areas and inland areas of the province of Almería, such as Vera, Mojácar, Garrucha, Arboleas, Albox, Cantoria, Oria, Zurgena, Partaloa, Huércal-Overa, Albanchez, Los Gallardos, Lubrín, Turre, Tabernas and the entire area of the Almanzora Valley. If you are looking for an apartment or a house in Spain within my region, you can always contact me via Contact your real estate agency in | Almeria | Real Estate La Vida Feliz (huisspanje.be) or send an email to info@huisspanje.be


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