Blanca Property Buyers Guide
By Colin Scriven
2 - Legal Issues for Costa Blanca Property Buyers
An NIE Number is a tax identification number to be used in
Spain. Prior to purchasing a property, selling a property, obtaining a
mortgage, starting up a business, working or simply residing in Spain, it is a requirement by
law that every individual possess an NIE Number.
The actual NIE Number, when produced from a National Police
Station in Spain is printed out on a piece of paper, and this sheet of paper
is often used as a form of identity. Once you have been issued an NIE
number, it is yours for life.
Spanish law states very clearly that the person must apply
for the documents in person. However, the Spanish law also clearly states
that a legalised, Spanish power-of-attorney document enables any individual
to be represented by another for all legal purposes in Spain (as long as it
is declared as such within the power-of-attorney).
Of course, anyone that can enter Spain legally can apply for
their own NIE number. To do this they must present themselves at the
National Police Station in whatever town they are living. Unfortunately,
contrary to countries such as England and Ireland, there is very little
standardization for exactly how the physical process of application works
from one police station to the next, so if you chose to apply in person,
please make sure you find out beforehand which are the requirements to apply
for a NIE Number at your local police station. This will save you from
having to arrange several trips to have your application presented, with the
corresponding lengthy queues.
You can also apply through a Spanish Consulate. The average
time required for an individual to obtain their NIE number via applying
through a Spanish consulate is 12 weeks. This varies from one country to the
next. We encourage people to contact their closest Spanish consulate first
and enquire about their turnaround time.
If you intend to stay in Spain for a significant period, it
is advisable to open a bank account. It is a very simple procedure which can
be done at home or upon arrival. All you need to bring with you is your
valid passport and the initial deposit. Banking hours for most banks are
between 9am and 2pm on weekdays and from 9am until 1pm on Saturdays.
A Bank account will also be useful in the event that you wish
to set up direct debits for payments such as mortgages, utilities,
There are many banks and all banking activity is controlled
by the Bank of Spain (Banco de España), which has its central office in
Madrid and branches in all provincial capitals.
Most Banks tend to provide English Speaking staff and these
are some of the things you should take into account prior to choosing your
Do they have
English speaking staff?
Do they have
English internet banking facilities in English?
What type of
Bank do you want? I.E. a Savings bank (Caja de ahorro) or a regular bank.
will they make? Most things that a Bank does for you are chargeable here in
Spain but you will need to find out the costs involved, especially for large
transactions such as transfers from or to a U.K. Sterling account.
to your property. Will you have to drive miles to your nearest ATM or to
visit your Bank?
One of the most important things at this stage is making sure
you have legal representation.
You probably wouldn't buy or sell a property where you
currently reside without using the services of a solicitor and the same
should apply here in Spain.
Your consulate can provide a list of English speaking
solicitors although this is not a recommendation in any way. If you have
internet access you should do a search of the Spanish Property forums and
either look for an English speaking solicitor that has been recommended, or
ask on the forum if anyone can recommend one in the area that you are
looking in. Quite often someone will be able to give you the details of a
solicitor they have used.
Alternatively, speak to your bank, look in your local English
speaking newspaper or magazine or, and this is probably the best way to find
a good lawyer, ask around for recommendations.
You solicitor must be fully conversant with Spanish Law and
must be able to speak Spanish and English.
Solicitors are regulated by the Ilustre Colegio de Abogados
and you are able to complain to this organisation if you need to.
Fees for lawyers vary as they do anywhere, but a general rule
of thumb would be around 1% of the purchase amount. Some, however, will try
to charge more if they can get away with it.
Establish an agreed fee before employing a lawyer and you
won’t be disappointed.
There are many, but it need not be as complicated or time
consuming as it is in the U.K. Among the duties of your Lawyer -
Checking the Escritura: Every property should have an
Escritura. Some of the things your lawyer will ensure are that the plot on
which the house stands is where it says it is, the size is correct and the
owners are who they say they are. These are just a few of the checks he will
undertake but among the most important.
Checking the Referencia Catastral and Certificado Catastral
Obtaining a Nota Simple (land Registry Certificate) which
will show if there are any debts or encumbrances on the property.
Checking that there are no outstanding bills for:
Note: Debts remain attached to the property and not the
individual and it is therefore important that a local lawyer conducts the
necessary searches and checks to ensure that your property is free of any
debt before completion.
Checking the contract for any irregularities prior to any
deposits being paid and to explain the contents to you so that you
understand fully what will happen if anything goes wrong.
Advising you of all the fees and taxes involved.
Explain the process of paying for your property at the Notary
and helping you organise any financial transactions that need to take place
prior to and at time of completion.
Explain the post completion process and what will happen to
Colin Scriven has worked as an estate
agent for 17 years, the past 5½ years of which have been in Spain. Currently
he is the General Manager of Hamiltons of London SL with 4 offices covering
the Costa Blanca North area, from Benidorm to Gandia (Costa de Azahar), with
headquarters in Jalon.
Colin lives near Denia and has two young children who attend local Spanish
Buying or selling Costa Blanca property? –
Consult Hamiltons of London, the Costa Blanca estate agents, with over 2,000
properties listed, and offices & affiliates in all Costa Blanca areas.
Hamiltons Homepage for
Properties for Sales in Costa Blanca or
the Costa Blanca area offices for -
Albir Properties |
Calpe Properties |
Gandia Properties |
Jalon Properties |