Barcelona Tourist and Expat Guide – I'mMovingToBarcelona



Buying a flat in Barcelona may seem like a dream. However, it can be also scary. Buying a home is one of the most important decisions in a lifetime and not an easy one. Even in our native tongue, the lawyer’s jargon can be difficult to understand, now let’s imagine it in Spanish.

To give you an idea of what to expect and where to start if you are thinking about buying a flat in Barcelona, we have gathered here 12 steps of the process.

Buying a flat in Barcelona |

1. Know your budget

As a starting point, it is necessary to know the maximum amount you can spend on buying a flat in Barcelona. Then, calculate the “ideal monthly payment”. It’s recommended that the amount destined to monthly payments (mortgage installment + service charge) does not exceed 35-40% of your net monthly income.

2. Choose the payment method

Buying a flat in Barcelona |

It’s time to decide how to pay for the new property. There are, basically, two most popular options:

  • Cash payment, represents the total outlay of the price agreed with the seller.
  • The mortgage loan. Depending on the age of the buyer and other circumstances, the financial institutions offer repayment periods of up to 40 years. Typically, banks offer up to 80% of the property value, 20% must come from the savings of the buyer. More about how much money you need in order to ask for a mortgage loan read our previous article.

3. Search and decide the housing type

What kind of housing are you looking for? A new home, second-hand… Here we share a brief explanation of the features and advantages of each one:

  • New housing: they are newly built homes, also called first transmission housing (Spanish: viviendas de primera transmisión). To those, you need to add 10% VAT.
  • Second-hand housing is those houses that have already been transmitted at some point and lived in. In this case, you need to add ITP tax (Spanish: Impuesto de Transmisiones Patrimoniales) can also reach 10% of the value. Read more about additional expenses here.

4. Choose the vendor

Buying a flat in Barcelona |

Buying a flat in Barcelona, draft of a flat

The negotiation and facilities when buying a flat are conditioned by the seller you opt for.

  • Private ownership. It allows you to interact directly with the person selling the house so that negotiations are more direct and fast, although there is the disadvantage that you are not advised by professionals and can face unwanted technical and legal problems.
  • Real Estate Agencies. Real estate consultant will advise and counsel you throughout the buying process, this can be very useful as they can solve all your technical, financial and legal concerns.
  • Developers. Acquiring a property directly from a developer means living in a new house but you have to keep in mind that sometimes your decision will have to be based over a plan not an actual building.
  • Banks. It means buying a flat owned by a bank.

5. Visit the home and inspect the community

Buying a flat in Barcelona |

When you have selected the home you want, the visit will be key, in a few minutes you will have to inspect the property and imagine living in it. During your visit take notes and photos. What would you have to fix? Look at the room layout, the orientation of the house, ventilation of bathrooms and kitchen, the walls, the state of the electrical installation, painting, layout of walls and doors, nearby businesses, noises … Ask for the energy certificate.

  • Talk to the neighbors. Who better than your future neighbors can tell you about the life in the community?

6. Make an offer

Time to position yourself as a buyer of the apartment is the time of bidding. Depending on the Autonomous Community, the buyers discount ranges from 10% to 30% of the initial sale price, although in case of buying a flat in Barcelona the discount may be rather symbolic.

  • Go to the registration office (registro de la propiedad). To check registered data concerning the description of the property. Check the ownership and charges that may weigh on the property to take no last minute surprises. Ask for “nota simple” that costs between 9 and 20 €.
  • Confirm the preauthorized mortgage. Try not to advance any money until you get a confirmation of the viability of mortgage credit requested.

7. Sign the first contract

Buying a flat in Barcelona |

This document is the first contract signed and is often as important as the later, notary one. It seeks to safeguard the rights of both buyer and the seller. When it is signed you usually advance to the seller up to 10% of the purchase value. You have to keep in mind that by signing the contract you assume some obligations. Take care of the deadline to formalize the sale which is normally about 30 days from the date of signing it. If you have to apply for the mortgage loan the bank will have to perform some preparatory work (housing tax, internal authorization request …) that are delayed a few days.

8. Finalize the deal

The notary statement should include the property description, the data from the registry, the agreed price, form of payment, the applicable tax and apportionment of costs.

To check:

  • Energy certificate. It must be included in the notary statement.
  • Proof of payment of the last IBI (Impuesto de Bienes Inmuebles)
  • Certificate of the housing community.
  • Copy decennial insurance, if any.

9. Other costs and taxes

Buying a flat in Barcelona |

Buyers often forget about the costs of buying property. And it is quite a significant part of the whole price. It can be up to 14% of the purchase price.

The main expenses are mentioned in the previous article.

10. Keep all the documents

Do not throw away any documents, receipts and invoices related to the acquisition, you never know when you may need them. And of course … Do not forget to collect the keys, remotes, and other property documentation – finally, you are buying a flat in Barcelona!

Enjoy your new home!


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