Buying Guide

At Aqua Estates our aim is to help and guide you through the entire purchasing process to ensure that you buy safely and follow the correct procedures, so we have prepared this property buying guide Spain. Buying a property in Marbella should be a fun and exciting event and here at Aqua Estates we work very hard to ensure this is the case, introducing you to all the best recommended partners along the way (see the services section). This is your step by step guide to securing your property in Spain.

Step 1: Find your property in Spain!

The first step is the exciting part! Contact us to discuss your requirements and we can arrange to come and visit you with a selection of property, or send you the information via email. Once you are ready to begin viewing, simply book your appointment with us and one of our property experts will pick you up in a clean and professional car and arrange a tour of the properties we find most suitable to your needs.

Our staff are marbella locals and extremely knowledgable of all the areas and properties and can offer advice on every aspect of buying in Spain. We offer a relaxed, no-pressure atmosphere and we guarantee that at no time will you feel pushed in any way. Our philosophy is to work our very hardest on finding you what you want, and then let you decide how you would like to proceed. We always recommend keeping your top properties in mind and once we have viewed all the best properties for you in Marbella we can start with second viewings. Then it’s down to you to decide! Onto step 2.

Step 2: Make an offer!

Now that you have selected your property it’s time to make it yours! You will be informed of all the purchasing costs and taxes for the property in question before you place your offer (see fees & taxes below). Placing an offer is very simple, just inform your property advisor of the offer and he/she will contact the vendor and make the offer.

At point of offer there are 2 main options:

  • One is the traditional way of placing the offer verbally and waiting until the vendor answers, at which point negotiations are under way. Once a verbal agreement is made we would proceed to the next step.
  • The second option is to place a reservation deposit alongside your offer and send the offer on contract. This usually gives you a stronger negotiation position since you are committing to your offer if the vendor agrees.

We will forward whichever option you choose to the vendor.

This process is of course subject to the property being legal and the vendor having the correct documentation. Which leads us to step 3!

Step 3: Reserving the Property and legal check

Once we reach this point it means we now have a verbal or written agreement for the purchase of your property in Marbella, now we have to ensure that the property is reserved and off the market. We would provide you with a reservation document for you to sign in which all the terms of the agreement are set out.

If the option to place a deposit with the offer was not taken then at this point a reservation fee would be charged which will vary depending on the property and vendor requirements (usually 6000 EUR). This is to officially take the property in Spain off the market and acts as an intent to purchase to the vendor. The reservation form would be sent to the vendor for signing and once this occurs the property is officially reserved. The reservation fee is non-refundable however it is subject to legal searches, therefore if these were to not come up clean a full refund would be available (as per the terms & conditions of the reservation form).

At this point we would highly recommend to instruct a law firm to represent you in the purchase. If you do not have a lawyer for your property in Marbella we can recommend one for you, as we have over 10 years of experience with local law firms and can advise accordingly.

The lawyer will carry out all the necessary legal procedures which include but are not limited to:

  • Determining who the owner of the property is to verify that the vendor is entitled to sell the property.
  • Checking that the property is legally registered in the corresponding property registry.
  • Checking that the property is free from charges & debts (mortgages, seizures, etc.)
  • Checking that the property has been granted the corresponding municipal building permit by the town hall.
  • Ensuring that the legal prescriptions of the planning and building law are complied with.
  • The study, preparation and signing of private contracts (reservation agreement, option contract, sale contract) or public ones (purchase/sale deed) which are deemed necessary to execute the purchase operation. The normal procedure is to sign a private contract first, and after a reasonable lapse of time, to sign the sale/purchase deed.

The lawyer will then proceed to pay all the expenses and taxes arising out of the purchase on behalf of the client. This includes registering the public deed in the corresponding Land Registry.

Simultaneously, the lawyer will effect, when applicable, the change in ownership of all bills, supplies and taxes concerning the property, and if you wish, will arrange the direct debiting of those bills (from your own bank account in Marbella Spain).

An additional and recommended service offered by law firms is the drafting and registration of a spanish will.

Once the lawyers have finished their legal checks they will inform you of the results, and if they are positive the next step would be either:

• Exchange of contracts (if applicable); Go to Step 4.
• Completion; Jump to Step 5.

Step 4: Exchange of Contracts

This will depend on the agreement made with the vendor. If it has been agreed to exchange contracts usually a payment of 10% (minus reservation fee already paid) would be paid to the vendor and a contract signed. A mutually agreed completion date will be stipulated in the contract.


Step 5: Completion

The big day has come and today you get your keys! By completion day your lawyer and property advisor will have prepared everything so that the signing goes as smoothly as possible. Completion can be done in person, however if you cannot be there you can also give your lawyer power of attorney to sign on your behalf for your new property in Marbella.

If you wish we can accompany you to the property after completion to discuss any further services you may require, like decorators, painters, locksmiths etc. We can recommend experienced and trusted partners in Marbella and the Costa del Sol for all property needs.

At Aqua Estates we encourage you to contact us for any help you may need before and after your purchase as well, we like to keep in touch!

Fees & Taxes

It is important to be aware of the purchasing costs in Spain, as these are usually not included in the advertised selling prices. The purchase costs are approximately between 9-12% of the purchase price and the exact amount will depend on various aspects of the purchase such as if a mortgage is being taken out amongst other factors.

Approximate Breakdown of Purchasing costs:

Government Transfer Tax (ITP or IVA) ~ 8%-10% (Depending on type & price of property)

Legal Fees ~ 1% (may vary depending on law firm and services offered)

Notary & Registry Fees ~ 1%

Mortgage Fees (optional) (if applicable) ~ 1-2% (may vary from this depending on mortgage)

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This information is offered to you as a guide and should be used as such, and is not intended to replace professional legal advice. All the information offered here is approximate. Please contact us for more detailed information or questions.