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Today we are going to respond to one of the most difficult questions that our clients have.  How long does the purchase process of a house take?  Do kindly note that we can only give you an estimated time as every property is different depending on many factors, including documentation , and availability of both parties at the time of completion.  For example if you have two couples involved it could be that four people need to arrange time of work and travel to Spain.    Giving your lawyer a power of attorney can solve this problem.

You have thought about it a lot and now you are ready to make your dreams come true but in this busy world time is of the essence and perhaps you find it difficult to get away from work or you have a young family at school  and you simply do not have time to come to Spain for a long period to find the paradise you are looking for and complete the necessary procedures.  So you need to know among other things.

01 How long does the purchase process take?

Normally the purchase process takes between six weeks and three months and in general is a very simple procedure which your lawyer will handle with ease. However the time scale can vary for various reasons including the following;

    • Neither seller or purchaser lives in Spain and a suitable date has to be arranged when both parties are free of work commitments and can come to complete the process.
    • When it is necessary to wait for paperwork- many properties which were legal at the time of purchase now do not comply with new laws. Sellers are responsible for making any changes necessary to the paperwork but, of course, cannot be accountable for the time needed in the town hall or government departments.
    • In the case of the seller having recently inherited the property they must have a new escritura of herencia ( probate ) to show they are the legal owners of the property.
    • If the purchaser needs to obtain a mortgage . The bank send someone to value the property and the mortgage is based on this official valuation. This may take up to two weeks and then the paperwork has to be approved by the head office of the bank which could delay matters another two weeks.

Below we would like to give you the benefit of our experience in marketing properties and some idea of how long the purchase process will take.

02 Purchase process. buying the house of your dreams

First of all you have to find your little peace of Spanish paradise. Before you start it is best to have some idea of your specific criteria although sometimes you simply see a house and decide it is the one for you even though it is in the country and you wanted a town house or vice versa.

A Searching

    • How and where you are looking. - Do you spend hours on the internet looking for the perfect house or do you simply come to your chosen area. Research is important but can be time consuming. You really do not know if you like an area until you visit it. The majority of people come once and see houses in different villages , they may well find their dream property in one visit but if they do not they will have narrowed down where they want to be and this will save time on their next visit . You must decide:

      • Whether you want to live in country or village.

        How far away from main town , beach or airport

        Do you drive or will you need a regular bus service

        Are the schools nearby if you have children

        What is the infrastructure of the nearest village

    • Having clear ideas about the type of property you are looking for will make your search easier

      • 1. New construction:

        A house or an apartment which has been recemtly constructed is an option that means you have a blank sheet on which to work. You can install the kitchen of your choice, floor tiling can easily be changed , and you can see clearly how it will look when you have personalised it to your preferences. It does mean that on the day of completion you will have a house with no kitchen or you may need to get builders in to change tiling . However you can prearrange an appointment with them on the same day or the day after you complete and work will be done promptly within only a few days

      • 2. Previously owned:

        This type of property will appeal to those who appreciate the care and attention to detail that previous owners have paid to the house. It is likely to have well established gardens and outside space with terraces taking advantage of the views if it is a country home and nicely decorated interiors if it is in a village or town. It will have the advantage of no time delay in moving in. Any work you may wish to do can be carried out at a later date VPO These are properties which are built for people with minimal incomes. They will only be available to Spanish people

    • Select from whom you wish to purchase

      • 1. Private seller

        Do remember that if you decide to buy privately and do not speak the language of the vendor this can lead to misunderstanding or misinterpretation of what is said. Including the paperwork, boundaries etc...

      • 2. Estate agent

        Local estate agents will know the area, and will be able to tell you about shops , restaurants etc. They will already have checked the paperwork on the property and told the owner about any necessary updates needed.

      • 3. Promotor

        When a block of apartments or an urbanisation has been constructed it is possible to buy direct from the builder who will have set up a sales department to deal with this.

      • 4. Bank

        When somone has defaulted on their mortgage the bank to whom they owe the money will sell the property directly through their real estate department. This can be a good way to get a property at a reasonable price but do remember that you may also be liable for any debts on the property such as water, electricity and these may have to be reconnected.

B Necessary Documentation.

    • Personal Documents needed when purchasing


      NIE ( numero de Identificación Extranjeros - Foreigners identification number) This is a number which you have to obtain from the main police station which for properties in this area is in Torre del Mar. Your lawyer or estate agent will help with this.

    • House Documents

      We feel it is essential to use a lawyer or legal representative although you do not have to we would highly recommend that you do. They will ensure that all necessary paperwork for the property is in place. The owner will have to provide all the documentation of the house, that is to say, the title deed, the registry document, the last utility bills, the energy efficiency document, the last rates bill and in the case the property is on rustic land the DAFO, as well as their Identification certificate. If they do not have a DAFO it may take up to two months to obtain this but your lawyer will advice you.

    • Reservation contract

      This is the contract that you initially signed which states the price of the property and the payment details as well as the date of completion.

C Mortgage

    • As mentioned above the property must be valued by the bank and your request for a mortgage to be approved . This could take a month to six weeks .
    • Alternative forms of payment subrogation or cash. You can continue with the mortgage by changing it to your name. – Subrogation. You can liquidate the mortgage completely in the notary on behalf of the current owner. i.e when you make your payment the money owing to the bank or lending entity will be paid directly to them and the seller will only receive the amount left.
    • In any case your lawyer can take care of the necessary paperwork. All this can add a few weeks to the normal purchase time.

D Appraisal

The bank most first of all send someone to value the property. This is usually done within two weeks.

E Gestoría.

This is the necessary paperwork needed and documents such as the DAFO certificate which has to be applied for in the town hall. your lawyer needs time to check the documentation on the house is in order . It normally takes between 10 days and two weeks for them to have done a thorough property search and be assured that all is sufficiently in order to enable you to sign the contract in which you give the first 10% deposit to the seller.

F Notary

When buying or selling a property you must complete the sale in front of the notary who will also sign the title deed. An appointment must be made in advance. The time spent in the notary can vary but usually no longer than one hour.

G Taxes

    • New properties - When buying a new property you must take into account that VAT of 10% is payable on the price of the property. You must also pay for the notary and for the lawyer.
    • Previously owned properties- The transfer tax is 8% on the price of the property plus the aforementioned notary and legal fees.

H Registration

Your lawyer will register the property at the land registry and the cadastral office. Although the property is yours from the time of signing in front of the notary it will take about three months for your title deed to pass through the appropriate stages of registration.

02 Sales process : selling your house

The amount of time the sales process might take varies in different provinces. Here we are speaking about average length of time in the area covered by Cómpeta Properties.

A Class of Property

    • New

      A new property must have a licence of first occupation This confirms thst the property complies with all regulations and is going to be used as a dwelling The time taken depends on how busy the planning department is in the local town hall but one can estimate about two months.

    • Previously owned

      It is important that all paper work is up to date. The title deed must show how the property is at the time of sale . So, if for example you have added a pool, a bedroom , a garage etc since you bought the house you must go and see your lawyer and arrange to have it authorised by an architect and registered on your title deed. This can take a minimum of one month.

B Type

    • Country residence.

      Many clients are looking for homes in the peace and quiet of the countryside. If you want to sell quickly you must make sure this is what they will find. Keep pets under control and don´t have your radio or television going at high volume. This could be enough to put people off and lengthen the time scale needed to sell.

    • Townhouse.

      These properties appeal to a lot of people. Keep stairways clear and declutter rooms. This will enable people to see the rooms to their best advantage and hopefully sell the property within a short time.

    • Apartment.

      Be clear to your agent about the community fees payable. How the public areas are cared for, maintenance of lifts etc. The more information clients can have on their first visit the more quickly they are likely to buy.

C Location

Central or in the countryside - Both types of properties have individual appeal and it is impossible to say which will sell more quickly . Good access is important in the countryside so if you are trying to sell your property clean up the entrance driveway.

D Price

Lower price or higher price - obviously this depends on the quality of the property. If you overprice your house it is not going to sell and by the time you have come to terms with that and reduced the price you will have missed out on a lot of potential clients and equally important have wasted a year or maybe more

We hope that the above helped you and that you now know approximately how long the purchase process takes. As previously mentioned we can only speak from experience in our particular marketing area, other provinces could be different. So to reiterate from the moment of finding the house of your dreams to sitting on the terrace of your dream home and beginning your new life in Spain will normally take between 6 weeks and 3 months. Not a long time to start a new chapter of your life. !!

The time that is invested in the process of buying and selling any property is variable. And, in part, it depends a lot on having a positive attitude to doing what is necessary, applying for paperwork in plenty of time on the part of the vendor and clarifying what your essential needs are on the part of the purchaser. Do you not think so? Comment on our Facebook page and tell us how long it took you to buy or sell your house. And above all do not forget to share it if you think it's interesting. When you share, the good becomes better.

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