How to Buy Property in Spain as a Foreigner

Who can buy property in Spain?

Any foreigner can acquire real estate in Spain. The key requirement is obtaining a Foreigner Identity Number or "Número de Identidad de Extranjero" (NIE for short) in Spanish, which serves as the identification number for foreigners in the country.

You can secure an NIE number from the Spanish embassy in your home country. Alternatively, upon your arrival in Spain, you can obtain it by visiting the Foreigners Office or a police station in person.

Spain also offers a Golden Visa program for foreign real estate investors, requiring a minimum investment of 500,000 EUR (mortgage-free) in Spanish properties.

Do the research

Investing in real estate in Spain can be attractive for several reasons. The sunny Mediterranean beaches and picturesque countryside enhance its status as a sought-after tourist destination. Its vibrant culture, rich history, and diverse landscapes. The country´s architectural marvels, like the Alhambra and Sagrada Família, which attract millions of visitors. And its renowned delicious cuisine, including paella, tapas, and sangria, among others.

Here are a few sought-after locations for real estate investments:

  • Barcelona - Known for its stunning architecture, cultural richness, and vibrant atmosphere, Barcelona is a top choice for real estate investment. The city offers a mix of historic and modern properties.
  • Madrid - As the capital and economic center of Spain, Madrid attracts investors seeking urban living, cultural experiences, and business opportunities. The real estate market in Madrid is diverse, with a range of property types.
  • Costa del Sol - The southern coast, including cities like Marbella, Malaga, and Estepona, is known as the Costa del Sol. It´s a popular destination for those seeking beachfront properties and a Mediterranean lifestyle.
  • Ibiza - Famous for its nightlife and beautiful beaches, Ibiza attracts real estate investors looking for luxury properties, including villas and waterfront residences.
  • Mallorca - The largest of the Balearic Islands, Mallorca offers a mix of picturesque landscapes, historic towns, and coastal properties. It´s a sought-after location for both primary and vacation homes.
  • Valencia - Known for its cultural events, historic architecture, and the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia is a growing destination for real estate investment.
  • Seville - The capital of Andalusia, Seville is renowned for its historic landmarks, including the Alcazar and the Cathedral. The city´s charm attracts those interested in historical properties.
  • Costa Blanca - Including cities like Alicante and Benidorm, Costa Blanca is known for its white sandy beaches and a range of real estate options, from coastal apartments to inland villas.
  • Tenerife - The largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife offers diverse landscapes, from beaches to volcanic terrain. It´s a popular destination for those seeking a second home in a unique setting.

Where to find properties online:


Foreigners can obtain property loans in Spain, but generally, non-residents are obligated to furnish a large down payment, ranging from 25 up to 40 percent. Additional requirements may encompass a minimum income threshold and the provision of evidence demonstrating sufficient funds to meet mortgage payments.

Preliminary Contract

A preliminary contract, also known as "contrato de arras" in Spanish, is not mandatory but highly advisable. This agreement formally outlines the property´s conditions in writing and binds both parties to the sale.

Due Diligence and Sales Contract 

Conducting a real estate due diligence procedure is advisable to identify any issues with the property. This process is strongly recommended before committing to the preliminary contract.

For those unfamiliar with the Spanish real estate market, utilizing the services of a local real estate lawyer can be a wise decision. Each region in Spain may have its own nuances in property laws. A local lawyer can ensure that all necessary checks and crucial elements before finalizing the deal are carried out accurately. It´s like ensuring that you´re purchasing exactly what you believe you are, and from the correct individual.

Property Buying Costs and Taxes in Spain

Transaction Costs
    Who Pays?
Property Transfer tax (IVA) 6.00% - 11.00% buyer
Notary Fees 0.50% - 1.00% buyer
Legal Fees 1.00% - 2.00% buyer
Real Estate Agent´s Fee 3.00% - 6.00% seller
Costs paid by buyer 7.50% - 14.00%  
Costs paid by seller 3.00% - 6.00%
Source: Global Property Guide

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