Buying a house in Spain in 2024

If you are contemplating the purchase of a house in Spain as a foreigner, you’ll need to navigate through some essential legal procedures before you can call any property your own.

The Spanish property market is marked by its unique characteristics, and it’s imperative to conduct thorough research before taking the leap into homeownership in Spain. Knowing what to anticipate when embarking on a property acquisition journey in Spain can save you from potential pitfalls as you establish your life abroad. Factors to stay attuned to when purchasing property in Spain encompass guarding against property scams, navigating high capital gains tax implications, and staying ahead of fluctuations in the dynamic Spanish real estate market.

The steps to be followed when acquiring a house may not always seem straightforward, and it’s vital to have a crystal-clear understanding of the taxes and expenses you’ll encounter on your path to property ownership.

Whether you are seeking property in the idyllic coastal regions or bustling metropolises such as Madrid or Barcelona, this comprehensive guide is designed to offer you invaluable insights, ensuring a seamless transition to property ownership in Spain.

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.

37 thoughts on “Buying a house in Spain in 2024”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

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

  6. 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?

  7. 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.

  8. 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…


  9. 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)?

  10. 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?

  11. Hi! Eden here a permanent resident in Singapore interested to buy a flat in Spain for a budget of Euro 100,000. Please let me know the process and how to get the golden visa to stay in Spain. By the way my sister in law is a Spanish citizen.

  12. Hi there

    I’m interested in buying a property in Spain, possibly a renovation project in the Pego/Orba area. I am a New Zealand citizen and a British citizen and I would like to know where to start please.
    Best Regards

    • You can contact us using the contact form and one of our lawyers will help you through the whole process of buying your property in Spain.

  13. Nearly every answer is “one of our lawyers will be in touch” that is no answer at all.your description of payments ie taxes what are they in reality and what is needed yearly after your initial house purchase????

    • All our answers are similar because the taxes on the purchase of a house vary in Spain depending on the autonomous community in which you buy the house… So we can not put a general criterion, because all the related taxes vary according to the autonomous community, the value of the purchase, the town hall… If you need help in buying a property let me know and our team of lawyers will be happy to help you.

  14. Hello, I am planing to buy a property in Merida ASAP. Also apply for a resident permit and a NIE number now. I speak also French and I need some advices please.
    Thank you.

  15. Hi there. I know if i’m not an EU citizen , i can’t stay more than 90 days in spain and other EU countrys. My question is can i buy a property in spain less than 500000 and rent it just for investment?

    • Yes, you can buy a house in Spain and rent it, the only thing is that you will have to pay taxes as a non-resident on the rents you receive from Spain. We can help you in the whole buying process.

    • You have to invest 500.000€ in one or several properties, it is not possible to obtain the golden visa if the property or set of properties is less than 500.000€.


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