One of the questions we are asked most regularly is
“How long does it take to buy a property in Spain?
The answer is always
“Well, it depends!”.
If you are ready to purchase then the process can be done in a week or less, at least in the city of Valencia itself where the conveyancing process for the lawyer is quicker. However the answer could even be 3 months or longer depending on the circumstances of the seller and of course your circumstances as a buyer!
Therefore if you are ready to go, at least in terms of being ready to look for your perfect Spanish property, what would it be useful for you to have ready in order to be able to jump on that perfect property that has just come up and to give the seller reassurance that this is not going to take forever? Make sure you have the following things in place or at least in process. (We have also included links to our previous posts for more detailed information about each aspect of this process if applicable, just click on the images which should open in a new tab so you don’t lose your place)
The NIE/TIE Number
You cannot buy a property without having your NIE or TIE Number, effectively a Spanish tax number. Therefore along with opening a bank account it should be your first step and you should start by getting this. You can do this in your own country before visiting Spain and have it ready although in certain non EU countries (Including the UK) you will need to tell them which property you intend to buy with property registry and catastro details. (Contact us if you want details of how to get one of these)
Nevertheless, if you need to do this in Spain when here then make sure you have a lawyer doing it for you who knows they can do it quickly because they pre book appointments through the online system lawyers have access to. If you try to do it yourself you will most probably not be able to get an appointment and you will get frustrated. It’s money well spent if you get a good lawyer or gestor doing it for you, especially if you give them a POA to represent you.
If you need a mortgage then start this process early as it is the one thing which can take a long time from your side if you have not moved as far forward as you would initially like.
Obviously you cannot get a mortgage approved on a property until the bank have valued it so if you have not yet found the property then you cannot do a mortgage.
What you can do is to get a bank to pre-approve you for a mortgage dependent on valuation by looking at your income levels. This will also give you an idea of what price range you can or should be looking at when you eventually look at properties.
If you can say to a seller that you are pre-approved for a mortgage and all that needs doing is a valuation then you may well be able to negotiate better conditions with them for quick completion although a mortgage in itself will take around 45-60 days to get ready and you also have to sign for the mortgage ten days before you sign for the property now to allow for a cooling off period. Therefore a mortgage doesn’t necessarily help with fast tracking a purchase but if you need one to purchase then it’s best to have everything in place.
Open a Bank Account
You cannot open a bank account without being here as the banks have a Know Your Client requirement (KYC) to avoid money laundering. Therefore your first visit should include a visit to a friendly bank to open a bank account.
What is a friendly bank?
One that let’s you open an account using your passport, a non resident account. You can change this to a resident account once you are living here and avoid many of the bank charges that banks so love to charge even to their friendly clients. Some banks make it easier for you to open an account than others but we have out own suggestions which you can see in this post.
And yes! You will need a bank account for direct debits of bills and initially for getting a bank draft to pay for the property.
Have Your Money Ready and In Spain
Having your money ready to purchase is an obvious thing I suppose but you would be surprised at the numbers of people who don’t have it ready or will only have it ready once they have sold their current property. If that is the case then you are not ready to purchase. Also having your money in Dollars in the States, Pounds in the UK or even Euros in another EU country isn’t being ready for purchase as you cannot draw up your bank draft and buy the property until it is in Spain (Mostly due to money laundering regulations again)
Therefore, make sure you have opened your bank account as above and that it is operative and that you can send your funds immediately using a money transfer company, see below, in order to speed up the process of purchase.
Have a Power of Attorney in Place
Having a Power of Attorney smooths a lot of processes as your actual physical presence isn’t needed. If you know which property you are going to go for you can instruct your POA to sign for it on your behalf as long as they have access to your funds. This means you don’t have to catch last minute flights or even not be able to travel because of local restrictions.
On your first visit when opening your bank account make sure to grant a POA too.
Be Ready To Place a Deposit
Again this means having the money available in the right place. These days it is becoming more normal to place a reserve on a property in order to make the offer you want to make, many agents require this step. That reserve then becomes a part of the deposit contract when the full, usually, 10% gets paid. Having quick access to around 3000 Euros to make a reserve is usually enough. Make sure this can be done quickly by having 3000 euros in an account and an app on your phone from where you can send up to 3000 Euros if required.
Offer More For Quick Completion
You can make an offer on a property easily enough but what if you make two offers, a higher amount if the owners can complete quickly to encourage them to get a wriggle on and a lower amount if they want to take a longer time. This is highly unusual but could convince an owner to move more quickly if they have somewhere to go. You can also do this after your initial offer is accepted if for example the owner says they want 60-90 days to complete for example. Offering them more money may well help them to make the decision to move more quickly. Obviously we don’t recommend this but it has been known to happen to concentrate people’s minds.
Appoint Your Lawyer
Appoint a lawyer before you have even found a property so you can then just get the agents involved to forward any paperwork to them and they can quickly get on with their job. Let them know that you will call them and tell them to start the work on a property and put them in contact with your agency or the sellers.
Usually the lawyer will be your POA too and you can then instruct them to sign paperwork for you and get them to provide you with the information on payments and timescales so you can ready yourself for the final signing.
Have Your Money Transfer Company Ready
Having your money transfer company ready too is an essential part of any transaction. We have talked plenty of times in this blog about avoiding transferring directly from bank to Spanish bank as you will not get as good a deal for your Pounds/Dollars/Krona and others as you will using a money transfer company.
Sign up early with the transfer company so that you can get your money to the right place, be that your account or the seller’s account for the deposit as soon as possible.
When You Are Ready…
Then it’s time to start looking around properties knowing that you have everything ready to move quickly. At this point contact us at Valencia Property, browse the main website, let us know your requirements and we will start looking for what you want even if we don’t have it. That’s what we do, we act as your property finders in Valencia.
And if you like this article and want to know more then why not take a look at our series about the areas of Valencia. Just click on the images below.