Spain Housing & Property – Retiring to Spain, Part 6

Spain Housing - Villa for Sale Example Listing
Example of a Property for Sale Listing from

Finding a wonderful house in which to live is sure to be one of the first things you want to sort out when you relocate. Spain has a big property market and the current economic problems mean that it is also far better value for money currently than you might expect it to be.

Where to Find Rental Properties Online

There is plenty of online information and resources to help you find the ideal property easily when retiring to Spain. A good example is the Think Spain site. There are rental properties on offer here from different parts of the country.

The Kyero site also provides an extensive listing of properties of all types, with an easy search facility. Many other sites focus on short term vacation rentals but Eye on Spain has some excellent long term rentals in popular expat areas.  The LPG website is another useful resource.

Where to Find Properties for Sale Online

Good to Know

Right Move and Zoopla let you choose between various currencies, including the US Dollar. The other sites display prices in GBP and Euro.

If you are ready to check out Spain housing properties for sale then there are a number of interesting sites to take a look at. Right Move is a UK real estate firm with a big selection of Spanish homes on sale.

Place in the Sun has more properties for you to look at, with many of them at low prices. For more exclusive properties, the Prime Location site has some incredible villas on offer. Zoopla has a number of great places too, with some of them being foreclosures at bargain prices just now.

The Price You Can Expect to Pay

The prices in Spain vary as widely as you would expect in such a big, varied country. In general terms, rental prices for a small apartment in a popular expat area start at about $500 monthly. You will probably pay more than this in Barcelona or Madrid.

In coastal areas as Alicante and Marbella you will find that even the cheapest apartments are often within easy walking distance of a fantastic beach.  Of course, there are also far more luxurious and expensive rentals too, with monthly prices running into thousands of dollars.

Now (i.e. at the time of this writing in 2015) is a fine time to find a property to buy in Spain, with prices depressed and many foreclosures on the market.

The starting price for a modest apartment in a popular area is well under $100,000. If you want something more impressive than you will find a massive range of villas, bungalows and apartments at higher prices. If you have millions of dollars to spend then you can choose from some of the planet’s most exciting homes. If you don’t then you are still likely to find something ideal at the price you budget for.

Additional Spain Housing Considerations for Foreigners

There are no special legal issues for foreign purchasers to take into account when buying a home in Spain. However, if you use an expat agent or adviser to help you find a property then you may end up paying more than is necessary.

There is no shortage of real estate firms in Spain, so finding somewhere on your own shouldn’t be an issue. They also tend to employ staff who speak the language of the local expats, so in an area with a lot of English speaking expats you should be able to find English speakers in most of the real estate firms.

Property Taxes in Spain

When you buy a new build property you need to pay VAT, which is called IVA in Spain. Expect to pay around 10% on this. In the Canary Islands it is lower at about 4.5% and called IGIC. Tax is levied at a different rate on existing properties and is called ITP in this case, which is a transfer tax. Expect to pay between 7% and 10% on a transfer. There is also a charge for stamp duty of up to 2%.

After this, there is an annual property tax which is levied by the local authority and varies from one region to another. This is known as Impuesto Sobre Bienes Inmuebles, or IBI. This is typically set at between 0.4% and 1.1% of the administrative value allocated to the property, which is usually a good deal lower than the market value.

IBI can come in at not much more than a hundred dollars a year for a small property but can run into thousands of dollars for bigger and more expensive houses.

Related: Cheapest Places to Buy Property in Europe

How to Purchase a House

The process of purchasing a house in Spain is straightforward, especially if you are buying in cash rather than taking out a mortgage. Once you see a property you like and agree on a price you will want to hire a lawyer to deal with the legal aspects of property law in Spain. You will also need a Spanish bank account, fiscal number and insurance.

In addition to the taxes mentioned above, you’ll have to calculate expenses for the lawyer, notary and property registry inscription fees. This detailed article published by estimates that you should allow for up to 15% of the purchase price in taxes and other costs.

Once the legal work is all completed you will need to visit the local notary, to hand over the payment, sign the paperwork and receive the keys to your new dream home. At this point the house is yours and you are ready to start a thrilling new stage of your life in a new home.