Home-Buyer’s checklist for buying Spanish property OFF-PLAN

Lawyer Raymundo Larraín gives us an overview on the points we should cover on buying off-plan in Spain. This article is the first of a three-part series on buying & selling property in Spain.

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By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Lawyer – Abogado
8th of March 2020

Spring is almost upon us, infusing nature with renewed life and painting the countryside with beautiful tones of bright yellow.

Which means the real estate high season has also arrived one more year and buyers and sellers are busy gearing up to meet expectations. It is in this context that you have fallen in love with an off-plan property in Spain and now it’s time to take the dip and sign the contract!

This short article is written with the aim to provide buyers with a basic guideline on what they should be asking a developer for. It is not meant to substitute professional legal advice.

Whilst it is possible to buy a property in some overseas jurisdictions, including Spain, without having to appoint a lawyer, it would be very unwise to do so. Buying a house is one of the biggest investments most people make in their lifetime. So why take the risk by not obtaining proper legal advice?

Banks and notaries are not your own personal lawyers and will not carry out stringent legal checks to protect buyer’s legal interests; that is not their job. This is a common blunder buyers’ make, particularly non-resident ones.

Instruct your own independent lawyer and never under-declare; besides being illegal, you will pay a massive Capital Gains Tax bill on selling it later on. It is illegal, it is stupid and only benefits the seller, not the buyer.

Remember to store safely the following invoices on buying which can be used to GREATLY mitigate your tax bill on selling:

  • Lawyer’s fees (on buying).
  • Notary fees (on buying).
  • Land Registry fees (on buying).
  • Taxes (on buying) yes, these can be offset in full on selling
  • All property-related improvements (not maintenance costs). Providing you have VAT invoices to back them up. You are welcome.

Buying Off-Plan Checklist

  • Verify the plot of land is registered under the developer’s name whose contract you are signing.
  • Request a copy of the developer’s Building licence.
  • Request bank guarantees or insurance policy securing ALL your stage payments, including the initial holding deposit paid to the developer/estate agent. These will act as a safety net safeguarding your interim payments should the developer complete the property late, or not at all.
  • Ensure the development is compliant with Coastal Laws.
  • If the development is finished, request a copy of the Licence of First Occupation.
  • If the development is finished, ensure you do a snagging list before completion.
  • Post-completion: ensure your property is now registered under your name at the Land Registry and never take anyone’s word for it! Verify it yourself, request a nota simple.
  • Post-completion: arrange payment of local rates (IBI & basura) as a direct debit against your Spanish bank account. With offplan, IBI is normally available on the following year. You will be notified in your Spanish address.
  • Post-completion: if you are non-resident, ensure you pay every year your Non-Resident Imputed Income Tax (NRIIT) on your Spanish property.

“Ring-a-ring o’ roses,
A pocket full of posies,
A-tishoo! A-tishoo!
We all fall down.” – Popular British nursery rhyme that sinks its roots deep in the Middle Ages.

At Larrain Nesbitt Abogados we can assist you buying & selling property in Spain and deal with its taxation. Ask us.

Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers, small on fees, big on service.

Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers is a law firm specialized in taxation, inheritance, conveyancing, and litigation. We will be very pleased to discuss your matter with you. You can contact us by e-mail at info@larrainnesbitt.com, by telephone on (+34) 952 19 22 88 or by completing our contact form to book an appointment.

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Original article published at Larrain Nesbitt Abogados: Home-Buyer’s Checklist – OFFPLAN

Please note the information provided in this blog post is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice. This article may be posted freely in websites or other social media so long as the author is duly credited. Plagiarizing, whether in whole or in part, this article without crediting the author may result in criminal prosecution. VOV.

2.020 © Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt. All Rights Reserved.

* This article has been written by a third party not owned or controlled by Spanish Property Insight (SPI).
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About Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt

After completing his dual law degree in Madrid (ICADE) in 2003 Raymundo went on to work for prestigious Spanish and English law firms in Spain before moving to the UK for several years to work for a British multinational. He is a prolific writer of legal & financial articles in English, with well over 300 articles published and widely used in the Spanish real estate sector. Raymundo now runs his own law practice in Marbella, where he advises local and foreign clients on all legal matters with a focus on conveyancing and non-resident taxation. He is regularly quoted by the international press as a reliable source in his field of expertise.