Buying a house in Spain in 2023

If are thinking of buying a house in Spain as a foreigner, you will need to sort out some bureaucracy before being able to purchase any property.

The Spanish property market has many quirks, and it pays to do your research before buying a home in Spain. Knowing what to expect when buying property in Spain can help avoid any pitfalls of setting up your life abroad. Factors to be aware of when buying Spanish property include property scams, high capital gains tax, and fluctuations in the Spanish real estate market.

The steps to follow when buying a house are not always intuitive. In addition, it is necessary to have clear which taxes and expenses we will have to pay to acquire the house.

Whether you are looking for a property in coastal areas or in a large city like Madrid or Barcelona, this guide is for you.

Are there any requirements to buy a house in Spain?

buy a property in spain
buying a property in spain

The only thing you need when buying a property in Spain as a foreigner (in legal terms) is the NIE (Número de Identificación del extranjero). This number, which is unique to each individual, is essential to carry out any transaction in Spain. Since it must appear on all documents that you sign or are issued in Spain, you must have it before signing the deed. The NIE is not complicated to obtain, but it does take a long time; ask your real estate agent to make it easier for you to obtain the NIE in order to speed up the process as much as possible.

In addition, although it is not compulsory, having a bank account in Spain will make all the formalities easier, as it will make payments faster and will probably save you some commissions.

Finally, remember that once you are the owner of a property in Spain, you must appoint a tax representative if you are not resident in Spain.

How to buy a home in Spain step by step.

buying a house in spain process

Although each buying process differs significantly, in general, the phases found in any real estate operation would consist of the following:

Tax and Budget Planning buying a house in spain

The costs of acquiring a house are mainly paid by the buyer, and vary from region to region. Taxes and other paid by the buyer include:

  • Property transfer tax 6–10% (existing properties) / VAT (or IVA) at 10% (new properties);
  • Notary costs, title deed tax and land registration fee 1–2.5%;
  • Legal fees 1–2% (including VAT).

Get your NIE

Contact the Spanish administration to get your tax identification number. You don’t need a bank account to buy a house, but we advise you to get one before buying the house. Here you can check out the best bank accounts in Spain.

Search for properties in Spain

buying a house in spain
how to buy a house in spain from uk

Our lawyers can help finding properties in Spain. If you feel confident enough, you can also search for a property yourself, by making use for portals like, fotocasa… etc. When looking for properties, you might want to make sure that the ads that you see are not scams. This is what you should look for when searching for a home in Spain:

  • The qualifications of the attorneys or real estate agents engaged
  • There is adequate planning approval, according to the land registration (Registro de la Propriedad).
  • There are no outstanding obligations on the property
  • That the structure of the property is sound (either a surveyor or an architect can do this).


The Spanish Land Registry (Registro Catastral) is a government-run database that keeps track of who owns what in Spain. It should be updated every time a property is sold and transferred, in order to safeguard ownership rights and prevent a property from being sold again.

Reservation agreement and letter of Intent.

When a buyer pays a fee and reserves the right to acquire a property in Spain for a set length of time (the reservation term), it is known as a reservation agreement. During the reserve period, the builder or developer states that the property will not be sold to another party.

In addition, a letter of intent may be presented by one party to another party and subsequently negotiated before execution (or signature).

Payment of the Property Transfer Tax or VAT

buy a house in spain
is it a good time to buy property in spain

Pay the applicable taxes and update the Land Registry with the new information.

Is buying a house as an investment in Spain a Good idea?

The Spanish property market has varied a lot in recent years, but it has been in a recovery phase since its terrible 30% drop between 2008 and 2014. Buying Spanish property is an excellent investment right now. Specially if you are looking to obtain a Golden Visa.


Yes! If you are British and you are thinking of buying a house in Spain to retire you are still allowed to do so. However, you will be subject to the Non-EU regulations, which make the path of buying property in European Countries a little bit more complicated. Applying for a Spanish Non Lucrative Visa might speed the process of purchasing the house.

Costs when buying a house in Spain

If you want to know which is the average price per square meter in the main cities, you can check out the following table:

LocationProperty price per sq.m
Santa Cruz de Tenerife€1527
Palma de Mallorca€2897

FAQs when buying a house in spain as an american.

Are foreigners allowed buying a house in spain?

Of course! There are no restrictions on buying property in Spain, whether it’s commercial, residential or land. In fact, Spain encourages investment by foreigners, both resident and non-resident. Remember that if you buy a house worth more than €500.000 you can apply for a Golden Visa. If you do not buy a house for this value, you can apply for a spanish retirement visa or NLV Spain.

What are the taxes I need to pay when buying a house in spain?

All property owners in Spain are required to pay three different taxes each year. If you are a resident, you are subject to Income Tax (including Capital Gains Tax) and Real Estate Tax (IBI).
If you are a non-resident in Spain, you are subject to Income Tax (including Capital Gains Tax), Property Tax, plus an additional Non-resident Property Tax. Here you can find more info about property taxes.

Can I get citizenship if a buying a house in spain?

Sure! Spain encourages new home buyers by offering its Golden Visa residency program.

Do I have to pay the downpayment directly to the seller?

Yes, that is usual in Spain. Unlike in most western countries where the down payment is paid to an escrow agent (closed account, trustee, Notary, etc.) instead of to the seller, the local practice in Spain tends to surprise foreign buyers.
Any risk can be reduced to very little with some basic reviews, for example, making sure that the time between the payment of any deposit and the final sales deed is not excessively long, making sure the seller is not a company on the verge of bankruptcy, and confirming that the outstanding amount of the mortgage does not equal the purchase price (in which case the down-payment cannot be paid to the seller because the whole purchase price has to be paid to the bank). With the right due diligence, it is acceptable in Spain to do as the Spaniards do – pay the down payment directly to the seller at the time of signing the down payment agreement.

Buying a house in spain: Deposits and Mortgages

In general, non-resident buyers in Spain can enjoy the same mortgage conditions as Spaniards, i.e. up to 80% cover in the case of a first home, and between 60 and 70% in the case of a second home.

This means that you must have a minimum of 20% of the price of the available property, plus approximately 15% extra on the cost of the property to pay taxes, lawyer’s fees, notary fees, etc. In addition, your debt cannot exceed 30-35% of your income.

Other important information to bear in mind is that mortgages in Spain are normally taken out for a minimum of five years and a maximum of thirty, with the maximum age of 75 years for completing the mortgage. It should also be noted that each institution has its own risk criteria, in which the country of residence can be included, and that properties abroad are not usually accepted as collateral, as it is difficult to reach them.

You can read more about getting a mortgage in Spain in this article.

Taxes to buying a house in spain

When you buy a property in Spain, you will be obligated to pay some taxes. Property taxes vary wether you are buying a brand new property or a resale property.

Taxes when buying a house in spain

When buying a brand new property, which is being sold for the first time, you will have to pay 10% VAT on the value of the property and the additional 1.5% on behalf of the Legal Documentation Tax.

Taxes when buying a resale property

When buying a resale property (a property that has changed hands at least once) you will be required to pay the Transfer Tax or ITP in Spanish, that is levied on a sliding scale depending on the purchase price.

For more information about property tax in Spain, you can check the linked article.

Property lawyers in Spain for buying a house in spain

If you are going to buy a property and want to save yourself future problems, it is advisable to seek advice from a property lawyer in Spain. The savings far exceed the cost of legal fees.

Buying your home is usually the largest investment for most individuals. Even those who own several properties tend to invest cautiously in the real estate market. Real estate companies always use the services of lawyers before making an investment.

In short, the services of a lawyer are often more useful for preventive than corrective purposes. But most people still hire them when it’s too late.

The effort to find a good advisor can save you a lot of trouble.

How a lawyer can help when buying a house in spain

Before entering into the purchase of a property, basic tasks of research and analysis must be carried out. It is important to check that the property is in order and that the contracts of purchase and sale and, where appropriate, mortgage loan, will not end up causing problems.

In addition, tax burdens represent a significant percentage of the operation. Together with the associated costs, they can increase the sale price by up to 20%. It is therefore a good idea to know this extra before you get a fright.

94 thoughts on “Buying a house in Spain in 2023”

  1. Hello and thank you for such great information and guides to buying properties in Spain.
    I would like to know in order for a foreigner to apply for NIE, for the purpose of buying a property in Spain, does the applicant have to present a signed purchase contract from the seller or the real estate agent as the reason for applying for NIE?
    Thank you in advance,
    Ali Jannati

      • I would like to talk to a lawyer because I need help buying small property as investment here in Spain. Please contact

  2. Hello I’m a Filipino based in Dubai. I wanted to buy house and lot which is around 60,000 Euro. I’m working having an average salary.
    Can I be able to purchase one? I’m dreaming of living there.


    • Hi Doray, one of our lawyers should be in contact with you shortly for your questions about buy a house in Spain


      • Hello, me too i wanna Ask if an algerian citizen that live and work in Dubaï Can buy a property in spain ? And if with thé property will bé able to get a résidence permit . Thank you in advance

  3. We have sold our property in Britain. We are just unsure of how difficult it is to buy a property in Spain since Brexit! Can you advise us on procedure
    Many thanks

    • Hi Marilyn,

      one of our lawyers should be in contact with you shortly for your questions for buy a property in Spain


      • Hello I am interested in moving to Spain and in process of selling my property. Would like to get in touch for some more technical questions

  4. Hello!

    My husband is from London, England but is now a United States citizen and my son and I are both United State Citizens. We would like to move to the Costa Blanca area and I have been an estate agent in the United States for 15 years. How do I go about making myself legal for work as an estate agent? Also my husband does HVAC work for air conditioners and heating. Would we both be able to get legalized to work once we purchase a home?


    • Hi Evie!
      Our situation is very similar! we dont want to work in Spain but I have the same citizenship situation and my husband and kids the same as you! We also want to move to Costa Blanca from the Wash DC area. Please let me know how you get on.
      Hope to see you on the Costa Blanca!

      N. Sanchez

  5. Hi I want to buy a property in murcia spain I want to pay cash or bank transfer how difficult is it to do this and what other costs are there in this process

    • Hi David,

      one of our lawyers should be in contact with you shortly for your questions for buy a property in Spain


    • Hi Charles,

      The foreigners can a buy a property in Spain.
      One of our lawyers should be in contact with you shortly for your questions for buy a property in Spain


      • Hello my mom wants to buy a property in Spain and move over there to live , she is hoping to go over this year to start searching she is 49 years old and a British citizen is it still possible to become a resident and move over there permanently after brexit ? Also my sister is hoping on following her over with two children aged 2 and 3 What requirements would she need to meet please as she has the children. Aswell

        • Hi Chris,

          one of our lawyers should be in contact with you shortly for your questions about buy a property in Spain


  6. I’m curious if I transfer my downpayment for a home from a USA bank account to a Spanish bank account if I must pay taxes on its arrival in Spain.

  7. I have a quick question:

    “This means that you must have a minimum of 20% of the price of the available property, plus approximately 15% extra on the cost of the property to pay taxes, lawyer’s fees, notary fees, etc.” Does this mean I need to have 35% of the value of the property on hand to be able to make an offer? EG: if the property is worth 300k, do I need a downpayment of 60k + another 45k for extra fees? (total of 105k)

    Is there any difference in this for a foreigner wanting to move to Spain? Does it vary based on location?

    • Hi Caitlyn,

      one of our lawyers should be in contact with you shortly for your questions about buy a property in Spain


  8. I have found the property i wish to purchase and a local real estate agent, do I still need a lawyer? Do you have a sample NIE I can use as a guide to ensure I’ve completed the application correctly?

    • Hi Don,

      one of our lawyers should be in contact with you shortly for your questions about buy a property.


  9. Hi we currently own a property in Spain and both have NIE numbers.
    Now with brexit and living in the uk, in the future will it be possible to get a TIE number and stay for more than 90 days at a time like pre Brexit?

  10. Hi,
    I am doing research on possibly purchasing my first house in Spain, I am a Canadian citizen. I know that ideally I need to have 30% of the total cost of the house as down payment/legal fees. The remaining 70% the bank would lend as mortgage. I’m wondering if as a foreigner you can still get a mortgage from a Spanish bank? Or do I have to get that sorted in Canada from a Canadian bank?

    • Hi Mariela,

      one of our lawyers should be in contact with you shortly for your questions about buy a property.


      • Hello,
        I have the same question as Mariela. We are American citizens and have credit in the US but we wanted to buy a property in Spain and we were wondering if we can get a mortgage in Spain.



  11. Hello, thank you for your helpful information, I wanted to know I used to study in Barcelona for 5 years and I have my NIE, but now am in Egypt and I want to come back to Spain but I want to buy a flat for 60,000 70,000 can I do this transaction??

    • Hi Amiir,

      one of our lawyers should be in contact with you shortly for your questions for buying a property in Spain


  12. Hi
    My husband and I have lived in Cyprus for 22 years but want to sell our property here and buy in spain. We have residency here and on the national health scheme. Do we still have to reapply for all this again in spain. Thankyou

    • Hi Tony,

      one of our lawyers should be in contact with you shortly for your questions for Buy a property in Spain


  13. Hello, I want to apply for teaching jobs in Spain and move there with my husband, would I then get residency to buy a house? Would my husband then get residency? We’ve seen some sites saying that we would need to have £30,000 in the bank after buying a house? Is there a certain amount we have to spend to buy a house? It’s confusing as I would want to pay into the Spanish system but am I allowed to do it as a British citizen after Brexit?

    • Hi Anna,

      one of our lawyers should be in contact with you shortly for your questions for Buy a property in Spain


  14. Hello
    We are a couple with a daughter looking to emigrate to Spain from Switzerland. We do not have work in Spain yet, but hope to find something eventually, and have enough savings to keep us afloat for a while.
    We would be thankful for some pointers.

  15. Hello,

    We are a couple from Albania and want to buy a property in Valencia 100.000-120.000 €.
    As we are not EU citizens are we allowed to buy a property in Spain even we are not resident there?

    I would like to be clear about that.

    Thank you

    • Hi Toni,

      one of our lawyers should be in contact with you shortly for your questions for buying a property in Spain.


  16. Hi

    I live in dubai and i want to buy a house for holidays in marbella. Now i would be ready to buy 500‘000 in cash, but is it smarter to take a morgage or pay it all at once? I need some advise!

    Thank you

    • Hi Davide,

      one of our lawyers should be in contact with you shortly for your questions about buying a property in Spain


  17. Hi guys
    I’ve put down a deposit and have signed a contract to purchase a property in Spain, with the completion date being 31st October.
    Ideally I’m looking to get a mortgage with a Spanish bank – but could also borrow the money from family and friends initially and then remortgage at a later date, as a backup option.
    If I were to choose to purchase the property in cash, what steps are required? Find a lawyer, arrange appointments with the notary, get a bank account, etc. etc?


    • Hi Paul,

      one of our lawyers should be in contact with you shortly for your questions for buying a property.


  18. Hi,
    I am looking for a lawyer and I found one who told me that her fees are around 2800 euro TTC. I see in her list that there are a few services that I don’t need like opening a bank account.
    Is this too much?

  19. Hello. I’m thinking of buying a property (2 bed flat) in Barcelona, to use as holiday home, and when not used short term holiday lets. I know there are tourist restrictions on locations (zone’s) within Barcelona and therefore looking for advice on regions that should be looked at, and application for licence etc etc which I assume may need before I put an offer on a property.

    Would ideal like zone 2 and 3 as more central but does depend on licence availability and chance of getting one, and where these would be situated within the region of the city.

    I am a United Kingdom British citizen.

  20. Hi!
    We’re currently in arras for a property with 31st October being the completion date agreed upon in the compraventa. Due to one of the sellers not having her inheritance status properly updated/filed(there are 14 heirs in total), we haven’t got a firma date confirmed yet because all the documentation has been presented to our gestoria. Our notice in our current flat is also 31st October. We’ve been assured by the estate agents that we should be able to sign mid-October instead of the original guesstimate of 30th September. Today we have our first meeting with the notary to sign the Acta de Transparencia. Is there someone there who may be able to offer some advice on what we can do, if anything, to avoid further problems. We are worried about not getting everything processed and the keys on time to be able to move.
    Many thanks in advance!

  21. Hello,
    I am a German resident , working as dentist. I want to buy a property in Mallorca. I have enough money to pay for more than 35 percent forthe property I choosed to buy. Can you please contact me so I can ask you about the next steps for this. Or is it possible to take mortgage from a spain bank?

  22. Hey!
    Im from Morocco and would like to buy a flat in spain around 50k Euro , is this will guarantee me a residency card?
    Can i buy a property in spain when the only way to enter spain is by tourist visa?

    Thank you

    • Hi Ahmed,

      For buy a property you need a NIE(we can help to obtain a NIE) and you can enter with a tourist visa.

      Let me know if you have any question.


  23. I am looking for more information about how to sell a house. It is good to remember that a house must be prepared before being sold. Looking into certain home improvements might be something that would help the process move faster. Something else to consider would be to have the home inspected. This could resolve other possible problems that might stunt the house’s chances of selling.

  24. Hi I’m looking to buy property in South Spain in Costa de Sol or Costa de Blanca I’m British Citizen and I’m in process in selling my residential house in U.K. and I can be cash buyers but would I get permanent Spanish residency and how much taxes need to pay and how guarantee I can get permanent Spanish residency and how long does take ?
    Kind regards

  25. I’ve found a property i would like to purchase once the sale of my home is complete in the UK, what are the next steps to secure the property in spain?

  26. can americans buy property in spain? What do I have to do? I am in love with Ibiza and I would like to buy a property there to spend 4-5 months there, can you help me with the whole process? I would like your advice on the whole process of buying my summer house.

      • Hi there

        Me and my partner are looking to buy a property in Spain. We are polish but living in Scotland. I own property which I would like to rent it out in Uk . What taxes we will have to pay in Uk and Spain for having properties in both countries?
        Is it worth applying for NIE now ?
        We are planning to buy on the end of this year .


  27. Hello,

    We are planning to buy a property in Spain in the next 3 months. We need the support and advise of a lawyer with the proceedings.
    Also, any recommendation for an English speaking real estate agent is welcomed.

  28. Hi There,

    I’m looking at buying a property in Spain in the next 6 months, giving myself time to ensure I have everything in order.

    Is there lawyers/ estate agents that can apply for the NIE, and represent myself in Spain? As I travel a lot for work and will not be able to visit Spain very often.

  29. Good afternoon!

    My fiance & I (both from different EU countries) would like to buy a property in Spain (not sure yet which area) It will be in his name, so I guess he needs to get NIE first & after I can get it too. Does it matter where we apply for NIE? Should be the region of the property we purchase?
    Thank you very much indeed.

  30. Hello. We are looking at Portugal and Spain for retirement. We have our Portuguese NIF and and joint bank account in PR. Do you have someone who can answer questions about Spain home purchase chases?

  31. Hello! I am a citizen from Georgia and would like to buy an average flat in Spain. I wonder what are the steps I will have to follow and if there is some restriction on buying apartment for non-EU residents. Also, what are the documents I will need for buying the property.

  32. Hi there,

    I would like to buy a investment property in Spain. If I purchase, would I be able to stay in it for holiday and for how long at a time? Plus, when it is not occupied by us, can we rent it out? thanks

    • Colby,

      Yes, you can buy a property, rent it and when it is not rented you can stay in it… if you are not an EU resident you can only stay for 90 days. One of our lawyers will contact you to explain the whole process of buying…


  33. Hello,

    I’m an EU-citizen living in another EU-country and I’m considering buying a house in Spain. I’m still looking for a property and it could take some time before I decide on one. Would it be advisable to apply for a NIE number already (and is this possible before even finding or deciding on a property)?

  34. To qualify for a golden visa must the purchase of 500k be made at one time for a single property? Or if someone purchased multiple properties over a period of time that equated to $500k could they qualify for the golden visa?

    Also must the property be paid off in full before qualifying for the golden visa?


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