Dreaming of buying a house in the south of Spain? We understand. You can sit on your own terrace with your own garden furniture, cook your own food in your own kitchen or on the barbecue and not least visit the house as often as you like. All on your own terms.
Plus, you don't have to worry about getting a hotel stay on certain dates, the fluctuating prices and much more. You only need to worry about the flight ticket. Something that, by the way, can be purchased very cheaply if you are well in advance.
But to buy a house in Spain you need to make several considerations. First, you have to decide where in Spain you want to live. Spain is a very diverse country with many regions. The location should therefore suit you as a person.
Also bear in mind that the more popular the area you move to, the more likely it is that many tourists will also live there. Big cities like Madrid and Barcelona, and areas like the Costa del Sol is very popular.
The prices for buying a property in those areas are a lot higher than other places in Spain. If you are considering buying a property on the Costa del Sol our real estate agency are specialist in that area, and we can answer all of your questions regarding that.
You'll also need to get a NIE number and a residencia, otherwise you won't be able to buy a house according to the Spanish authorities' rules. And that's the most important thing when you're buying a house in Spain.
That's why we've put together a little guide for you that tells you the essentials about NIE numbers and residencia. So that you can start your home purchase with peace of mind.
What is a NIE Number?
When buying a house in Spain, it's important that you first apply for a NIE Number. A NIE Number is the national identity number for foreigners.
The reason it's so important to get a NIE number if you have your eye on the Spanish housing market is that a NIE number is what you use when you buy a car, house, choose a doctor, get a job and much more. You also need a NIE number even if you don't want to live permanently in Spain.
You can pick up the application form at your local police station. The application is in Spanish, so you need to be aware of what the different things mean. However, you can write your answers in English. When you go to the police station, you will need to make two completed applications and take your passport and two photocopies of this with you.
It can take a while to get your NIE number
It varies from area to area how long it takes to apply. Therefore, it is wise to check with the local police station in advance about their application procedure. In some places, you'll need to be there two hours before the station opens to get a place in the queue.
However, in some places you can make an appointment at the police station to avoid queuing for most of the day.
When your papers are to be collected, it is important to check when this is to happen. It depends on which area you have applied in, and in some places, it can take up to six weeks. Also remember that you will be given a stamped copy of your application to show together with your passport when you collect your certificate.
Under the 2007 rules, you must have a NIE number when you purchase a home. If not, extra fees may apply. At the same time, the NIE number must be present at the time of the actual trade. It used to be one month, but that has changed. Again, an important reason to get a NIE number as soon as possible.
Fortunately, you can also get help with this, and if you do have a solicitor involved in the home purchase, you can kill two birds with one stone.
Here you can watch a video showing how to get a NIE number.
What is Residencia?
Residencia is what you apply for when you spend more than 183 days a year in Spain. It doesn't matter if the days are consecutive. So, you can't spend 182 consecutive days down there, go home and come back shortly afterwards.
So, if you spend all those days down there in the heat, you'll be considered a resident. It is for tax reasons that you must register as a resident in Spain, but this does not affect your rights in the UK at all. Being a resident in Spain is not the same as having a nationality.
Before 28 March 2007, you had to have a resident permit. Today, the rules are that you must have a residencia certificate. This means that you no longer have to carry a card in your wallet, which is also very practical because you don't risk misplacing it. It also means that it is no longer a long process until you get your card.
To get your residencia certificate, you must apply to be registered in the Central Register of Foreigners. You can do this at the local immigration office in the city where you live in Spain or at the Spanish National Police, also known as Policía Nacional.
Give yourself plenty of time to get your residencia.
It is important that you submit your application within the first three months of your stay in Spain, otherwise your application will not be processed.
It is also important that you have plenty of time during these three months. This is because you will need to call in to the Central Registry or the police to make an appointment. This can often take a very long time, sometimes a whole month, but on the other hand you don't have to queue. Do it right away.
On the day of your appointment, all you need to do is turn up with documentation. That's your NIE number, passport and so on. If you're not sure what documents you need, you can ask the Central Registry.
Once you've got your application through, you'll get your residencia certificate after a while. The certificate will state your name, address, nationality, NIE number and date of issue.
If you ever have to sell your home, you will also avoid paying five percent tax if you can show that you have residencia.
Seek legal help
If you have difficulty understanding the system, it is always a good idea to seek legal advice.
A lawyer can help you with many things, such as getting your applications through. It's also worth having a lawyer look at your case if you need help buying a house, writing a contract or making a will. This is because you need to make sure that the house or land you are buying has no debts or other financial commitments.
This can be your responsibility, and not everyone has the financial resources to take care of this in addition to buying a home.
Buying existing projects or new developments
If you want to take over a building project that already has a debt, it is also important to seek legal help with the transfer. Even when buying new developments, legal help is a good idea. You do not want to get caught up in some rules you did'nt know.
It is important to remember that Spain has different rules. You may be a housing genius back in your own country, but you can't expect other countries to work exactly the same.
You can also hire a gestoria in Spain, which can handle all the bureaucracy and administration involved in obtaining a NIE number and a residencia. This is a good option for those who don't have the time to go through all the red tape involved in such an application process.