Maura Hillen, MBE, Hillen Real Estate
If you have decided to sell your house, save yourself time, unnecessary stress, offers substantially below your asking price and even the loss of a sale by getting your paperwork in order prior to putting the house on the market.
As a homeowner and campaigner with over 10 years of experience of the Spanish property market, I have prepared a brief guide of practical, though not legal advice, for prospective sellers written from the perspective of one who has encountered many pitfalls. It is based on property sales in Andalusia but the general principles remain the same. It gives my personal opinion, based on my experience.
FIRST CHOOSE YOUR LAWYER WITH CARE
Before you head to the nearest estate agent it is a good idea to ask a reputable lawyer to review your documentation and to explain the costs involved in selling your property, including your tax liabilities.
When your buyer is on board, ensure that THEIR lawyer is not also YOUR lawyer to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.
CHECK YOUR TITLE DEEDS (ESCRITURA)
The title deeds should accurately describe the property that you wish to sell.
If your deeds do not match your property, take specialist legal advice before putting the property on the market as such discrepancies may, in some instances, take time to resolve.
OBTAIN A NOTA SIMPLE
A Nota Simple can be obtained from the Land Registry (Registro de Propiedad). This document confirms that, according to public records, you are indeed the registered owner of the property and that the property is free from any financial liens which could affect the sale (a mortgage, a tax bill etc).
PROVIDE EVIDENCE OF PLANNING STATUS OF THE PROPERTY
If your property was completed after 1975 you will be expected to provide a copy of your Licence of First Occupation or an AFO, also known as a DAFO certificate.
Identity Documents Copies of your Passport(s) and your valid NIE Number Certificate(s).
Utility Bills Copies of recent Electricity and Water bills in your name showing that you are not in arrears.
Municipal Taxes & Charges Copies of IBI bills for the previous four years showing that you are up to date with your property taxes. Copies of your Basura bills for the previous four years showing that you are up to date with your Refuse Charges.
Community Charges (if applicable) If your property is subject to community charges for the general upkeep of the communal areas of a block of flats or an urbanisation you will need to provide the contact details of the Community Administrator and copies of the minutes of the last three General Assemblies. You will also need to provide a certificate from the Community of Owners confirming that you have paid all of your contributions.
Fiscal Residency Certificate If you are tax resident in Spain you will need to produce a fiscal residency certificate. Otherwise, the buyer will be obliged to withhold 3% of the sales proceeds on selling for payment to the tax authorities.
Copy of Power Of AttorneyIf you are using a lawyer to sell the property you will need to provide their details and a copy of the Power of Attorney authorising them to act on your behalf.