General Information

This section is meant to provide you a summary of important information needed when purchasing or selling a property in Marbella and in Spain in general.

It can be a bit complex for foreigners to come to an other country and buy a property without speaking the language. This information is by no means complete and we suggest the use of a good lawyer at all times.

This area is divided into three sections. In the buying process we explain the most important factors you have to take into account when buying a house. In the selling process we do the same for people selling a house. The last section is the building process which describes the steps involved in building a house in Spain.

Buying Process

  • Search for the property, and make sure it's the right one for you.
  • Find an agent that has a good reputation and knows the area well. You want to use someone that is already an established agent in the area where you are looking. You agent should be willing to provide references from previous clients and be able to answer any of your questions.
  • Negotiating a purchase price. This should also include what the buyer gets for this price, such as furniture and certain fixtures on the property. It's better to agree on these things before the lawyers get involved because otherwise it could end up being a lengthy and expensive legal process.
  • Once both you and the seller are happy with a price, then determine how much of a deposit you'd like to put down. Offering a bigger deposit makes it more likely for you to be approved, since it shows you have a good financial history and you're serious about buying the property.
  • Involve the lawyers. They will coordinate with your estate agent to complete the purchase and take care of all the legal matters, such as going to the notary with you.
  • Purchase tax. All buyers in Spain must pay the I.T.P. (Impuesto de Transmisiones Patrimoniales). This is for all types of properties, except if the seller is a developer or if the buyer is in the business of reselling properties. The amount of tax to pay depends on the price of the property. Other taxes paid by the buyer are the IVA (VAT) and stamp duty, which also depend on the type and value of the property.

The total costs of purchasing a property of between 10% and 13% of the property price, and this should include your lawyer's fees.

Selling Process

  • Pricing your property. It's recommended to discuss this with your agent as they will know the best way to price your property depending on features, location and the current market. The first mistake sellers make is underpricing their home. If you are using multiple agents to market your property, it's important to make sure they they all offer your property at the same price, as this could confuse a potential buyer if the property is being shown at different asking prices.
  • Choosing an agent. It's important to choose an agent that has a good understanding of the local area, as well as current laws regarding real estate in the area. Look for agents with clients who are willing to give you references.
  • Prepare your property for showings and photographs. This is one of the key factors in selling a property, as you want it to look its best to show potential buyers. Your agent may be able to offer some advice, but the general rule is to make your home look as clean, bright and open as possible. Cluttered rooms can make them seem smaller.
  • Find a good lawyer. You want to make sure that you are well informed of all the legal and tax obligations regarding the sale of your property. This will prevent any unwanted surprises during or after the selling process.
  • Negotiate with the potential buyer. It's important to know what both parties expect out of the sale of your property. You need to discuss what the asking price includes and excludes, such as furniture or fixtures.
  • Although we advise you to hire a tax advisor to help with the sales process, it's important that sellers are aware that there are certain tax obligations following the sale of their property. The seller will be responsible for the capital gains tax as well as the municipal Plus-valía.

Building Process

  • Look for the plot to build your house on. Many plots in the Marbella area are already located within urbanisations or municipal areas, and therefore most of them come with building restrictions. When looking for the perfect plot, it's important to communicate to your agent what you wish to build so that they can find somewhere with the land that meets the restrictions.
  • Hire a lawyer. A lawyer that specialises in property law would be the best fit for you, as they can advise you correctly. Whether you're buying a plot or a property that is already in the process of being built, you want to make sure that you are properly covered.
  • If you're buying a home that is currently in construction, it's advisable to make sure the developer provides you with an insurance policy or guarantee so that you are protected and the project gets completed. Other documents you will require is proof of ownership of the property and all the planning permission and licenses.