The selling process in five steps
1. AGREEMENT WITH AN AGENT
Before a sales process begins, an agreement is made with the agent, which regulates the process.
2. CONTRACT – “ARRAS” OR “OPCIÓN DE COMPRA”
When you’ve agreed the sale with your purchaser, you sign a contract of sale known as an “arras” or “Opción de Compra”. This contract specifies details such as the price and the completion date. When the contract is signed, the purchaser pays a deposit as a down payment on the final settlement, which will be paid on the completion date. This contract is later replaced by a new contract at the notary’s office.
3. “ESCRITURA PÚBLICA DE COMPRAVENTA” – CERTIFICATE OF OWNERSHIP
On the completion date, you meet with the purchaser at the notary’s office together with the agent and your legal representatives. The purchaser chooses the notary and is responsible for booking the appointment. The identities of the purchaser and vendor and the legal status of the property are checked at the notary’s office. This is the point at which the purchaser receives the certificate of ownership, known as an Escritura pública de compraventa.
The notary receives the payment and is responsible for paying taxes and fees and paying over the final settlement to you. You hand over the keys to the purchaser, who will then be able to access the property after the meeting.
5. PAYMENT OF TAXES
If you’re selling a property and are domiciled for tax purposes in a country outside Spain, you will receive only 97% of the purchase price at the point of sale. The purchaser pays the remaining 3% to the Spanish tax authorities. This is a form of security, ensuring that you’ll meet your tax obligations and declare the capital gain on your sale in Spain. This 3% – or part of it – will later be refunded to you when you have met all statutory requirements. Your legal representative will help you get back “your” percentage, but the process can take up to a year. The agent will carry out a preliminary estimate of taxes, but your legal representative is responsible for the final tax return. You’ll have to pay property tax, association fees, capital gains tax and your agent’s fees.