Barcelona real estate buying guide

Since Barcelona is a top destination in Europe,  there are many people interested to buy apartments here and invest in a good way. If you’re one of them, we would like to help you to have a correct information of the real estate buying procedure in Barcelona.

Assuming that you find the apartment you like and you want to buy it, here is how it should be done:

  • booking contract (contrato de arras in spanish)  Normally, the buyer leaves 10% of the agreed price to the seller and this amount guarantees that both parties are willing to buy / sell.  The booking amount is something that both parties agree on, and it can be more or less than 10%.  This contract normally has 1 month validity, and during this period both parties should gather at Notarius Publicus and sign the contract of sales. However, the validity can be much longer, for example 3 months, and that is something both parties should agree on.  By signing the booking contract, the buyer needs to buy and if he fails to do that, he loses the booking amount, and if the seller changes his mind and fails to sell, he is obliged to return the double of the booking amount to the buyer.
  • contract of sales (contrato de compraventa in spanish) is to be signed at Notary. The buyer is the one to choose the Notary he prefers, otherwise the seller can choose one. All notaries in Barcelona do the same job, and there’s no major difference among them. The only thing that really matters is how fast they can receive you and issue the documents. The notaries are always much busier in spring and summer, and they have much less work in autumn and winter. Here you can find all Barcelona notaries:

Documents that you as a buyer need to provide to the notary:

  • passport (from all future owners, as well as the percentage of ownership e.x if there are 2 co-owners, 50% and 50%, or 25% and 75%, or any other proportion you want.
  • NIE number  (from all future owners)
  • If you can’t be personally in Barcelona and sign the contract of sales, you can give the power of attorney to any other person to do that for you. This is to be done at notary as well, and the average price is 50€.
  • booking contract (in order to deduct the booking amount from the total apartment price)
  • payment cheques or cash: You need to prepare the cheques in advance, and provide a bank account number the cheques are linked to. Note that if there are for example 3 co-owners that sell, you may need to prepare 3 different cheques for every of them. The cheques should be issued on the seller’s name, or a company name in case you buy from a company. If you buy from a private person and the deal amount doesn’t exceed 100.000€, you’re allowed to pay in cash or to combine cash and cheque payment.

Documents that the the seller needs to prepare:

  • passport or ID
  • Cédula de habitabilidad:  It’s a special document that certifies that the apartment you buy is made according to the living standards. (note that there are many apartments in Barcelona without this document, and normally they are sold much below the market price because of this ‘lack’.
  • Nota Simple: It’s a registry note that shows the actual ownership and debts that property has if any.
  • Certificado de la comunidad: it’s a document issued by the building administration certifying that all community bills are paid.
  • IBI (Impuesto sobre Bienes Inmuebles) receipt: It’s a document showing that the seller has paid the property tax. The IBI tax is calculated on per year basis, and its amount depends on the apartment location, size, Barcelona municipality, etc.
  • Certificado de eficiencia energética: the energy efficiency certificate. This shows the level of the energy efficiency of the apartment you buy. We must say that almost all apartments in the Barcelona and especially in the Old Town of Barcelona get very low note, so this is a pure formality.

Once you sign the contract of sales, you get the original of the contract from the notary and here are the last steps:

  • go to the tax office and pay the property transfer tax called ITP (Impuesto sobre Transmisiones Patrimoniales). Right now, it’s 10% of the property price, but you can reduce it to 5% if you’re are younger than 32. Note that if there are many co-owners, all of them should be younger than 32 in order to apply the discount.
  • go to the Barcelona Property Registrar that the apartment you buy is registered in, and modify the registry information. You need to provide the contract of sales and leave it to the registry.  It takes around 1 week to register you as a new owner, and the fee to be paid when you collect the contract varies depending on the apartment. Normally it’s around 300€.
  • contact the building administration and provide the bank account number so they can charge the community fee

Meanwhile, you can contact the electricity, gas and water company and modify the contract details as a new property owner. In order to do that, you need to provide your name and surname, purchase date, notary name, number of cédula de habitabilidad, bank account number and NIE number.