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How to buy a property in Spain as a foreigner?

05 Nov
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The practical aspects linked to the purchase of your Spanish property as a foreigner.

Are you allowed to buy a property in Spain as a foreigner? Who is buying? How do you finance?


This article is the second part of our main paper: “Your ultimate legal checklist of your Spanish property.” Have a look at the bottom of this article for the other parts of this article.


Before starting with the legal aspects of buying a property in Spain as a foreigner, here are two interesting articles about the foreigners’ real estate activity in Spain:

Last but not least, if you are looking for an easy step-by-step guide for property purchase have a quick look at our paper: “The 9 steps of your property purchase in Spain“.

Anyone could buy a property in Spain but if you want to live more than 3 months in Spain and

  • If you are Eu resident or from Switzerland or Norway, it’s ok. you should prove that you have a health insurance and enough financial means to live in Spain
  • If you are from anywhere else, you need a Visa, have a quick look at our paper related to the conditions to get a long-term Visa in Spain: How to get a Golden Visa in Spain?



Who is buying the Spanish property?

As a reminder, if you want to buy a property in Spain, all the people involved need an NIE or “Número de Identificación de Extranjero”, have a quick look at our article The Spanish NIE number? Learn everything here: What is it? How, Why, Where get it? for more information on that subject. The NIE number is a tax number in Spain for foreigners. You can get it at the consulate in your home country, in Spain directly, or your lawyer could assist you to get it.

You could buy a property yourself, with your partner or with family members, there are many ways to buy a property. Some people close to retiring could as well be interested in a Property purchase in Spain with usufruct and bare ownership.

A final suggestion for a more sophisticated investor could be to purchase within a company either existing in Spain or in a foreign country.

If you buy a property in Spain, being married in some countries such as France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Canada, the United States, Latin America, etc., it is important to confirm the marriage status and the marriage system.

What are the impacts of your matrimonial regime if you are buying a property in Spain?

First, let’s have a closer look at the different matrimonial regimes: there are two main “wedding contracts”:


A. A community of assets:

In these countries: France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Luxembourg, USA (in some States) the standard wedding contract is the community of assets.

Interesting to know: many French, Belgian and Dutch citizens are married under the “separation of assets” regime contrary to the standard practice in their country.


B.Separation of assets:

In other countries, such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Scotland, the United States (some of the States), Turkey and Muslim countries, the standard contract is the separation of assets.

A modified version of the Separation of assets exists as well: Separation of assets with Community of Acquests. For instance, it could be the case if you buy a property after your marriage and have it declared as a community of assets. Of course, you would keep the rest of your assets separated.


Alicante surroundings


What documents should you provide if you are buying a property in Spain?


Buyers who are married in “separation of assets” in any of the countries with the regime of “community” of assets is “the” legal matrimonial regime, must obtain one of the following documents:

  • Original marriage contract: in this case, it shouldn’t be certified. In fact, certain countries, such as France, Belgium, etc., have concluded agreements with Spain stating that, when the document comes from a public entity, it is exempted from the obligation to be authenticated. But, as a general rule, our partners recommend that it is always better to get the apostille in all cases. It will give us security.
  • Copy of the notarial marriage contract– In this case, it must be authenticated by a public entity as it is a document from a notary.

In the other case of buyers coming from one of the countries where “the” legal matrimonial regime is the community of assets and married by separation, and purchasers do not provide the marriage contract, the sale can be completed. In other words: The notary will authorize the sale.



However, the following problems may occur:

  • If the property is purchased by one of the spouses privately, the property may be registered in the name of both (in “community”).
  • If the buyer buys with a mortgage, the bank may refuse to approve the loan if the matrimonial regime is not proven.

Therefore, we recommend, if you desire to buy a property in Spain you live in one of the countries where the basic marital system is the community of property, to:

  1. Locate the original of your marriage contract and let it be authenticated by a public entity. If you do not have the original, you should go to a notary who proves your matrimonial regime by notarial act, then certify it or obtain an extract from the Civil register then certify it.
  2. Translate any document in Spanish by an official translator if your notary is not comfortable with your language.


We want to thank our legal partner in the region of Alicante, Juan Carlos, for his help for writing this article.


Canary Islands


How do you finance your purchase? Do you need a mortgage?

Your lawyer will assist you to make sure that the mortgage is well-written and that the different clauses protect your interests.

If you buy your property for investment purposes, it is important to note that you could have a tax incentive to take a loan, as you have to pay a tax on your “net income” and you are allowed to deduct some charges from your rental income. (see Part IV for more on that).

Have a quick look at our last paper: Your definitive guide to your Spanish Mortgage: How to apply? How to get the best rates?


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This article: “Part II. Buying a property in Spain as a foreigner: Are you allowed to buy a property in Spain as a foreigner? Do you need a Visa? Who is buying? How do you finance?” is part of an extensive article covering the legal and tax aspects of a property acquisition in Spain:

Introductory paper: Why do you need independent legal and tax partners for your property acquisition in Spain?
Part I. Buying a property in Spain: Is a Spanish Notary enough? Why is an independent Spanish lawyer strongly advised?
Part II. Buying a property in Spain as a foreigner: Are you allowed to buy a property in Spain as a foreigner? Do you need a Visa? Who is buying? How do you finance?
Part III. Legal due diligence on your Spanish property
Part IV. Tax aspects related to your Spanish property: acquisition, ownership and sale of your Spanish property
Part V. Inheritance, Estate Planning and Granting a Will in Spain

For the easiness of reading, it is split into five different articles: they could be read one after the other or separately.


FAQ Buying property in Spain

Is buying property in Spain a good idea?

There are many reasons for buying a property in Spain: one of the first is that real estate is cheap and the cost of life is low. Of course, you need Beach and 320 days of Sun. But there are many others, that's why Spain is the number one tourist destination in Europe

What taxes do you pay when buying a property in Spain?

The taxes for buying a property in Spain are different depending on the fact that it is a resale or a new build. Each region in Spain as well as some tax authority. The rule of thumb is that taxes are between 10 and 15%. Read our dedicated article on that: What are the cost of property acquisition in Spain?

Do I need a Spanish bank account to buy a property in Spain?

The obvious answer is yes. You want to finance a property in Spain, you will have taxes, utilities, ... Get it right away. In order to open your bank account, you will need a NIE, see our news on that.

Can foreigners buy real estate in Spain?

Yes foreigners can purchase a property in Spain. In order to do that, they need a NIE. Read more in our article: the 9 steps to your Spanish property


Looking for a real estate lawyer in Spain? Follow the link and get one of our local lawyer.

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Senior analyst and strategist at HTBIS

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