Buying property abroad can almost seem a bit intimidating. After all, if you’ve actually decided on buying property in Marbella, this means you will likely join the millions of expats currently residing in the south of Spain. And, this means you will be planning on a very big move.
The buying process actually starts the minute you find the desired property. Today, the internet has become a fan favourite when searching for the perfect property. It’s best we begin the process right there, because even though online searching is convenient and smart, you still have to avoid a few pitfalls.
Searching for Marbella Property Online: Here are the first Steps to Success
Step one: Create a shortlist
We can completely agree that starting online for your Marbella property search is the right step, and the first step should be creating yourself a short list. Choose at least 5 properties or try and narrow your choices down a bit.
Step two: Contact real estate agents
The next step or second step to the Spanish buying process is where things can get a bit tricky. You will need to contact all those agents on the shortlist, likely many are different Marbella real estate agencies, and you need to be sure the agency is actually there on the Costa del Sol.
The trouble with buying property in Marbella is too many individuals think it’s easy to be a real estate agent on the Costa del Sol. Many flock over just in the nick of time when the buying really begins – usually before the summer. So, basically what you want to make sure of when buying property in Marbella is you are not dealing with a purported agent working with a Mobile phone out of the trunk of his or her luxury car.
Step 3 in the Buying Process: Look for the About Us section of a website
The key here is looking for an office location and above all else a landline number. Calling a mobile should set off some alarms immediately. Taking a trip over to Marbella is time consuming and you certainly don’t want your time wasted.
Once you’ve established that an agency office actually exists, you can then begin making appointments to view your chosen Marbella properties. Now comes the time when you put the online imagery to the test. In some cases, the images don’t show you everything that is around the property. You want to make sure there is no construction taking place around your property. The point here is you are looking for either a new home to retire, a second holiday home to relax or you are looking for some rental based income in form of an investment. With that last option, you still want your guests to be comfortable.
- Make sure nothing new and big is being built close by
- Make sure the urbanisation is fully developed and mature
- Make sure the Marbella villa is complete and upgraded
We promise that no one will make fun of you if you bring a clipboard of your own check list. As we stated previously, living and working on the Costa del Sol and owning an agency for real estate – we completely understand.
The Best Option when Considering Buying Property in Marbella, Spain
We wouldn’t be very good at our job if we didn’t mention one final and safe option for your buying experience. It might be best to seek out a qualified and experienced estate agency or real estate agent on the Costa del Sol.
There are indeed several fantastic agents on the Costa del Sol. Some have been for years, and are completely established. Taking advantage of their experience would certainly speed things up.
When reviewing Marbella Real Estate agents, look for:
- Years of experience
- A good knowledge of product and the areas
- An agency that strictly adheres to a code of ethics
- A list of references or testimonials about the agency in question
- A good understanding of the Spanish property market
- A good understanding of comparable sales
- A real estate agency that has no trouble sharing commission if they don’t have what you want within their own property listings.
That last point means, the agency or real estate agent in Marbella has no trouble talking with other property agents in Spain, then sharing any commission based sale.
Do you need a Lawyer when buying property in Marbella?
This question comes up quite a bit, and although it is always recommended that a lawyer be retained for the notary,
you don’t necessarily have to find one on your own. Well established and qualified estate agencies in Marbella will already have a lawyer on staff or will recommend one they’ve worked closely with for years.
Reasons why you should retain a solicitor before the buying process
A qualified solicitor, combined with a qualified financial advisor can help you deal with tax issues. To foreigners, the tax rules in another country can take quite a bit of time to learn, and you certainly don’t want to make any mistakes that may come back and bite you in the future. Once the final decision has been made to buy property here in Spain, establishing a relationship with a solicitor while you are in Marbella can help you out a lot. The last thing you want to do is consult long distance, if only to avoid any important miscommunications.
Here’s a list that helps the buying process go smoothly:
- Having a lawyer
- Having an NIE number in place
- Having a Spanish bank account opened and ready
Having the above all set to go including an account on standby for immediate deposit, will make the buying process in Spain that much easier for you.
Here is a quick breakdown of the buying process in Spain
- The stages to complete the process are:
- The property is selected and terms agreed
- The property must then be secured through contracts between both parties
- 10% of the purchase price should be paid at this point
- Upon completion of the sale, a deed of conveyance, known in Spanish as “escritura pública”, will need to be signed by both parties in front of the Spanish Public Notary
Buying Property in Marbella, The Legalities – Quick Q&A
Q: Do you have to appoint a notary?
A: Yes. It is the notary who certifies the deed of conveyance as a registered public document.
Q: Who is responsible for legal fees?
A: As stated by law, notary fees are paid by 80% the vendor and 20% by the buyer
When it comes to legal fees, here is why we recommend a lawyer – appointing a local solicitor, who speaks the purchaser’s language, will help you carry out the title search. He or she will also advise the buyer on all aspects of the investment. The lawyer fees are usually around 1% of the purchase price of the property.
Q: How much are estate agent fees?
A: This will depend on the state or region you are making the buy. It can also depend on the type of property. Common sense dictates that if the property is a luxury property, with an asking price of over 1.5 million, the commission fees will be significantly more.
In some cases a fixed fee can be determined and agreed upon between the seller and the agent. The buyer may also wish to appoint a real estate agency to search the property, making sure specific requirements are met. In this case, the buyer would have to pay the agency in question for the work done.
Important Questions & Answers regarding Spanish Taxes
Q: Is there a tax transfer?
A: On new residential buildings, direct from the developer or builder, there is VAT (“IVA”) charged at 10% of the value, plus 1,5% Stamp Duty, these are paid by the buyer. However, on commercial premises and garages (not annexed to a home) purchased directly from a developer or builder, VAT is 21% plus 1,5% Stamp Duty.
On re-sales there is a property transfer tax according to a sliding scale, as follows:
Tax rate *Scaled All re-sale properties Garages not annexed to properties (2 maximum) 8% Up to 400.000€ Up to 30.000€ 9% 400.001€ – 700.000€ 30.001€ – 50.000€ 10% From 700.001€ From 50.001€
VAT & Stamp Duty – 10%
- For villas, apartments, or a garage that is annexed to an apartment or villa, where the vendor is a developer, promoter or habitual trader for brand-new properties. First sale or resale of parcels of land, and for the first sale of brand- new commercial premises where the vendor is a developer, promoter or habitual trader or a company. – 21% + 1.5%
Notary & Property Registry Fees – +/- €3,000
The cost increases according to the number of pages or complexity of the title deed, and value of the property.
Municipal Added Value Tax – as little as a few hundred euros depending
For example, on a property with a lot of land that has not changed hands in many years, the costs can go up in the thousands. It is a tax by the town hall based upon the increase in the index value of a property between the years of purchase to the year of sale. This tax corresponds, by its nature, to the vendor who is responsible for its payment, unless otherwise negotiated.
Quick Note on Official Costs
The total official costs involved in purchasing a constructed residential property should be around 10-11% for resale properties or around 12% for new properties if VAT is paid on the purchase price, plus lawyer’s fees.
For the total official costs in buying a constructed residential property, the fees normally fall in between 10 – 11% for re-sales properties or around 12% for new properties. If VAT is paid on the purchase price, and includes the usual 1% lawyer fees.
The Final Word – Why You Should Contact Marbella Dream Living before Buying a Property in Marbella
We can’t quite let you go without informing you on more benefits when retaining the services of a qualified estate agency to help you with the buying process. For one, we can help you negotiate the price. This is an area we excel at, and with over 25 years on the Costa del Sol, we know the market better than many here.
In order to get the best possible deal, lots of independent study must take place to make sure you are not being hamstrung for costs. One thing that is very important to remember is if your offer is too low, it will not engage any interest on the part of the seller – this might prove to be counterproductive. As we stated before, having your time wasted isn’t part of the overall plan.
MDL’s experience encompasses many things, and this includes articulated offers. Basically, we know exactly how to get the vendors/sellers attention. If going at it alone is the choice your sticking with, at least follow these few simple rules:
- Make your offer in writing if at all possible
- Deposit amount should be brought up and discussed or negotiated as well
- Make your expectations known, and vocalize what you expect in the purchase price (for example, furniture packs, fittings, etc.)
- Make sure all technical equipment, and appliances are in good working order
The solicitor you choose can also be very helpful at the negotiating stage. He or she can ensure terms are met, and above all else completely understood.
Even though we’ve went through quite a bit on our buying property in Marbella guide, it is at the end of the day a straightforward process. Getting all your ducks in a row, and doing some basic research is all you need before coming over to finally buy the home of your dreams.
Remember, a good estate agent is the perfect member of your buying team. With someone who knows and understands the property market, you can make the process even easier. Best part is, you get to move by the sea even faster than you thought!