03: Always plan ahead when purchasing a property in Marbella
By Artur Loginov on
Before we continue, it is worth mentioning that although another step in the guide, we suggest ensuring all your documentation is in place before or during your trip to Marbella. That way, you can have everything planned, making this less time-consuming and financially straining.
Once you have looked into companies and agents online, you are now ready to plan your trip to Marbella and get all your credentials in place before your visit. One thing worth mentioning is that Spain is huge on paperwork, so we recommend you ensure that all the appropriate documentation is in place before viewing a property if you want to save time in the future.
Although there are no particular restrictions for foreign non-residents when buying a property in Spain, you will need to meet specific requirements before beginning the purchasing process:
Apply for an N.I.E Number
An N.I.E Number (Número de Identidad Extranjero) is a sequential identification number allocated to foreigners, needed for identification purposes and practically doing anything in Spain: opening a bank account, obtaining a Spanish phone number, working or studying, etc.
If you are planning from abroad, you can apply for an N.I.E via a Spanish Consulate. If you are already in Spain, you can do this in person at the Police Station or via a legal administrator (this is what we call a gestor in Spanish).
In Andalucía, the documentation required to apply for an N.I.E is:
● If you have a European Passport: show your main identification page and have a photocopy of it.
● All Other Passports: show your full passport and have a photocopy of all the pages at hand, two ID photos and two copies of the Ex-15 application form filled out and signed.
● A valid reason why you need an N.I.E (e.g. for work, buying a car, buying property, etc.).
Opening a Spanish bank account
Once you have obtained your N.I.E, you can apply to open a Spanish bank account. We recommend looking into banks that accommodate to foreigners: Sabadell, CaixaBank, Santander, and Bankinter, to name a few. It must be noted that banks in Spain require you to be physically present at a bank branch to open a bank account.
However, other requirements need to be met to open an account:
● Proof of identity (e.g. passport or ID card) is usually asked to be presented in person.
● Proof of Funds / Tax Declarations
● Any other documents the bank deems necessary
As well as the standard documentation, you may be asked for proof of address (rental contract, recently paid community bills, etc.). Some banks (like BBVA) ask to provide a certificate of non-residency (Certificado de No Residente). To obtain one, you must apply at a Spanish police station, which typically takes 10 days to process.
The documents may need to be officially translated into Spanish, and if they are from abroad, they may need to be authenticated using an Apostille stamp. Most banks don’t charge for opening an account, but you will pay an annual fee for administration (monthly or quarterly).
When looking for your bank, you should pay particular attention to the fees that banks charge for receiving transfers from abroad, making transfers to foreign countries and issuing banker's drafts (the standard form of payment used in Spain when purchasing a property).
An important point worth mentioning is that, in our experience, there have been occasions where people have lost out on a great purchase opportunity due to not having the correct paperwork in place in advance. So we highly suggest people check their legal, financial and fiscal status before viewing properties in Marbella.
Find your Solicitor and Tax Advisor
We highly recommend finding a qualified, trustworthy solicitor and tax advisor if you purchase a property in Spain. Before you even start purchasing a property, you must establish a good relationship with these representatives, as it works in your favour in the negotiation stage. For your benefit, if you do not speak Spanish, make sure you hire a lawyer who speaks your language. And after all, Marbella is an international city home to many individuals who speak various languages, so it will be relatively easy to find a solicitor who speaks your language.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
What is an N.I.E number?
An N.I.E Number (Número de Identidad Extranjero) is a sequential identification number allocated to foreigners, needed for identification purposes and practically doing anything in Spain. You will most likely be asked for an N.I.E number to open a bank account, obtain a Spanish phone number, work or study. To get an N.I.E number in Spain, you can apply at the Police Station or via a legal administrator (this is what we call a gestor in Spanish). If you are planning from abroad, you can apply for an N.I.E via a Spanish Consulate. When applying for an N.I.E, you will be asked to provide proof of identification and a valid reason as to why you are applying for an N.I.E (purchasing property, buying a car, opening a bank…).
Can foreigners open a bank account in Spain?
Once a foreigner has an N.I.E number, they can apply to open a bank account in Spain. However, there are specific criteria that everyone must meet before opening an account. Apart from your N.I.E, you will likely be asked for Proof of Identity, Proof of Fund, Tax Declaration and any other documentation the bank deems necessary. Furthermore, many banks accommodate to foreigners: Sabadell, CaixaBank, Santander, and Bankinter, to name a few. Some banks (like BBVA) ask to provide a certificate of non-residency (Certificado de No Residente).
Should I purchase a property before selling my current home?
There are many pros and cons on both sides of this argument, depending on your financial situation.
The most apparent pro about purchasing a property before selling your current home is that you will have a property to go to once you sell your existing home, rather than having to rent in the meantime or live with another family member. Furthermore, you do not have to pay double the expenses for moving your belongings. However, the downside of purchasing whilst still owning a property means you may be subject to paying two mortgages. This could be financially overwhelming, mainly if your home does not sell fast.
When selling your current home before purchasing a property, the pro is that you are clear of having to pay for two mortgages. But, it also allows you more time to find the right property if you control your temporary living situation. Of course, the con is that you are left with the hope of being able to find a property that fits your lifestyle and financial situation.
Artur Loginov is the CEO and proud Partner of Drumelia Real Estate. He has over a decade of knowledge and…