One question we get asked often is do I have to be in Valencia (Or Spain) to buy a property? Many people, especially investors, want to buy their property now but for various reasons (travel restrictions, Covid, timing, work) they cannot get here right away. This week we even had a client who asked if the owner could wait until September to start the process to purchase a property they wanted to buy because that will likely be the first time they are able to visit. Of course the answer was “No!” (* See end of article *).
However, the answer to the initial question of whether you can actually buy a Spanish Property online is now a yes! It requires a bit of preparation and visits to Notaries etc… in your own country to give a power of attorney but as you will see the whole process of buying online is now possible as long as you have an excellent estate agent (*Coughs*) working with you. Let’s take a look at the process below.
The first step you need to make is to find your property of course….
No! Stop right there!
Get Your NIE Number
That is not the first step. The first step is to make a decision to buy and start the process of getting your NIE number sorted. Why? Because you cannot really purchase without the NIE number so having this step in place is ultra important so you can move on purchasing a property.
So, you need to contact your local Spanish consulate or embassy and ask when they have appointments available for applying for a Spanish NIE number. If you are in an EU country this isn’t a problem but if you are outside the EU (especially looking at you Brits and Yanks) then you may need to provide a reason for applying (A signed deposit contract for example. Ask us about how to get one easily) They will provide you with the paprwork you require to fill in and deliver with your application and within a few weeks/couple of months, depending on the Embassy or Consulate, you will have your NIE number.
Find Your Property
Next you need to find your property. Now, if you have visited the area you want to buy in before you will have an idea of where you want to be. As we always say it’s better to know the area and then search for the property rather than finding a property you love but then discovering you don’t like the area for whatever reason after you buy it.
Finding the properties you like online is easy, some would say too easy due to images that are photoshopped, wide angle lenses and home staging. What we like to do at Valencia Property is to give you a “real” view of the property so no photoshop, no wide angle lens and generally no specific home staging. What we do is provide you with 360 degree tours, aerial shots, video walkthroughs, virtual visits and more. You get a real idea of what the property is like both inside and oftentimes out too. We also have a dedicated YouTube channel where we upload videos of areas, properties and lifestyle in Valencia. Check it out and subscribe when you get there.
However, these days it is also easier than ever to get acquainted with the area surrounding the property. Tools such as Google Maps and Google Earth, Street View, Youtube for walking tours of areas and more can help you get an initial idea of an area. All you need to do to investigate an area like this is for the agent to give you the location of the property (NB. A lot of Spanish agencies and portals won’t do that for you!)
You can also find out what amenities are in the local area, compare properties nearby and find out average prices in the area, average rental returns, who lives in the town or village, whether a place is safe, how long it takes to airports/towns and cities from the property and a whole host of information that will help you to make the decision remotely. It’s not perfect of course but this, allied to the expertise of your appointed buyers agent, will get you a huge amount of information.
Narrowing Down the Field
If you have quite a few favourite properties and cannot decide between them you can narrow the field down easily by using the following method. Send us your favourites either with the links you have found or by giving us login access to your favourites you have marked on Idealista, Fotocasa, Pisos dot com and other portals. We will comment on the properties you like because the likelihood is that we know them.
Arrange A Virtual Viewing or Call
Sometimes it’s difficult due to timezone differences, especially with North and Central American clients, or internet coverage but we can often arrange a virtual visit or Facetime call where we take you around the property and into the house and surroundings. This helps to establish that the images you see online are real.
Once you decide to move forward either on a specific property or properties then it’s time to make the next steps towards a totally online experience. This involves banking, legal representation and currency transfer.
Unfortunately trying to explain the intricacies of paying with Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies to a little Spanish granny is going to be rather difficult and even online transfers are difficult at times at least for completion. Spain doesn’t really have a reliable escrow service for payments either so we are left with traditional payment methods requiring a Spanish bank and opening a Spanish bank account for foreign clients has always required the banks to “Know Your Client” (KYC).
This is now easier as, due to the pandemic, certain banks have moved into this century and will onboard you to an account remotely, they have realised that travel is difficult. Of course you have to supply a lot of paperwork and some of that paperwork may require it being notarised depending on the bank but it is possible now. We are working with La Caixa to open accounts for clients remotely which allow them to operate in the account and also give access to your lawyer to make payments for you. Contact us for more details.
Power of Attorney
You need a lawyer or a representative here. We usually recommend a lawyer but you also have the option of a friend, agent or gestor to do this job for you. See our article here about appointing a lawyer for your Valencia Property purchase.
It is better if the POA is a general Power of Attorney to effectively be YOU in Spain. Don’t limit it as long as you trust the person who has the POA implicitly. The lawyers we recommend will always ask for specific written permission to do the things they are able to do with the POA to cover their own back.
Having a legal representative in place allows them to sign a reserve document for you, get the bank to emit a bank draft for completion and pay for the property you want to buy remotely.
Bear in mind one thing though, the bank will need to see the full POA supplied and may take up to a few weeks to approve the POA for use within the account.
If your funds are in another currency other than Euros you will need to make a currency transfer into your Spanish bank account. If you can avoid it you never really want to transfer funds directly bank to bank. You will be charged at both ends probably and the rate your bank applies will be considerably lower than you will be able to get through a dedicated Currency Transfer company. Our currency partner here in Valencia and Spain is Currencies Direct. They have an office in Valencia and will contact you with any information you need regarding transferring money to Spain. Importantly they also have a European Banking Licence and a licence for operating in Spain and Europe required after the UK left the EU. And even more importantly they have an agreement with La Caixa bank to make sure you are not charged at the Spanish bank for receiving your funds (Yes, Spanish banks often charge for this service).
If you need a mortgage for your purchase then it’s best to get a pre approval of your mortgage and we find that it’s best to use a Mortgage Broker used to working with foreign buyers of Spanish property in order to get the best offer on your mortgage. Mortgage Direct are based in Valencia and offer a great service. We also have other options available if you are a particularly difficult case, perhaps with income from rentals, investments or crypto. Contact us for more information.
A pre-approval of mortgage will make it much easier to decide on offers you can make on property. It will also make it easier for you to work out how much of your own funds you would have to supply to make the deal happen.
Make An Offer
We finally get round to it. Once you have seen the area and property and have decided that it might be for you, once you have your NIE on track or in place and you are the proud possessor of a Spanish bank account, a legal representative and a contract with the currency company to transfer your funds then you may decide to make an offer on that property you like.
At this point everything becomes easier because the negotiation starts and you can put everything through your legal representative to perhaps reserve the property with an offer, make the deposit on the property (Although both of these steps can be done by you remotely with simple bank transfers or through your currency company) and sign your contract committing you to purchasing the property within an agreed time period.
Your Date at the Notary – Completion
You have found your property, placed your deposit, your lawyer has made sure of the legality of the property, you have your funds in place to make your purchase and the owners have moved out. It’s time to sign on the dotted line at the notary.
And again you don’t need to be there.
Your legal representative will take the POA and sign for the property, make the required payments and arrange to pay your tax and notary fees for your purchase. They will pick up your keys, arrange the changeover of utility bills and tie up any loose ends and if you are buying for investment they can even sign the rental contract for your first tenants.
The property is now yours and you have never set foot in Spain.
So, yes, it is possible with a little bit of preparation to buy Spanish property online. If you are interested in doing it then contact us and we will hold your hand through the whole process. We start with a video conference or phone call where you can ask us all sorts of questions regarding the process of purchasing Spanish property.
Golden Visa Property of the Week
A wonderful property with endless potential, set on a huge flat plot of land in the centre of Naquera, with everything to hand and also some of the cleanest air in Valencia on the incredible mountain hikes through the Sierra Calderona. Let’s just say the owners are motivated to sell and if I had the money I would jump at the chance to restore the house to its former glories. You might be able to get it just over the 500k limit for the Golden Visa
A 2 Storey Mansion comprising 6 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, Large Living Areas, Independent Kitchen, Covered Terraces, Garage Space and enough Nooks and Crannies to play hide and seek for quite a few hours. The large Plot of 3500m2 has a fantastic pool, wonderful Racquetball Court (I have a great idea what to do with this) and a Self Contained Apartment with Lounge, Bedroom, Bathroom and Kitchen, great for the guests who stay for longer than 3 days, or to create an impressive office if you now work from home and don’t have to live in (Insert Crowded City here)
What an opportunity, please come and see it because I love to go there and I want to be your friend (I make great paellas and barbecues too).
* Note from first paragraph
It is actually possible to wait up to six or even nine months before buying. It depends on a few factors, chief of which is the willingness of the owner to wait for you to be ready to buy. If they are not willing to wait then forget it but some owners will say yes as long as there are certain conditions met. Chief among these conditions is that in order to do this you will definitely have to put down a large non refundable deposit of up to 20, 30 or even 40% of the sale price. If you only want to put down a more standard 10% they are likely to refuse point blank to set a longer time period that 60 days to complete or 90 days at the outside.
This post is important but we also have a whole host of other essential posts to read about buying property in Valencia and Spain as we move towards being an essential part of your toolbox for buying property here.
Visit our Essential reading pages below, just click on the images.