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5 things you need to know when buying or selling a property in Spain

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5 things you need to know when buying or selling a property in Spain
13 January

5 things you need to know when buying or selling a property in Spain

Vendors -  The list of documents may seem overwhelming, but don’t worry, your Gestor is used to compiling these documents for their clients.

Buyers - With the amount of paperwork that has to be completed these days, it is almost impossible to move in quickly (in less than 1-2 months), which we know is frustrating. However, we do everything we can to get you into your dream home as swiftly as the law permits.  

1.  The “Nota Simple”

Vendors – The Nota Simple document is really easy to obtain and only costs about 3 euros. For houses in Busot, Aigues and Jijona, you get this document from the Registro office in Jijona. It is a summary of all the important points detailed in your Escritura (your title deeds); a description of the property, a list of the owners and a list of any debts attached to the property.

You might think that it’s enough to provide the copy of the Escritura that you received when you bought the property, but it’s not. You need to provide a Nota Simple that is dated within the last few months for the buyers’ advisors to be able to see exactly what is registered at the title deed office NOW, not what was registered 10, 15, 20 years ago when you bought the property.

Buyers – once you have chosen your favourite property, ask your agent to send the Nota Simple to you and/or directly to your advisors. This may take 2 or 3 days as, if they don’t already have a recent copy on file, they will either need to wait for the owners to go to Jijona to get it or they can order it online for about 10 euros and it will come in about 24 - 48 hours.

2.  The “Declaración de Obra Nueva”

This document is only required if the information about the property that the land registry office have (it’s size, its description, its ancillary buildings such as BBQ, summer kitchen, sheds, garages, swimming pools,…) is not up to date.

It is very common for houses in Busot Aigues, Jijona and other surrounding towns to have certain elements missing from land registry records, VERY common.

Vendors - Please don’t worry if this turns out to be the case for your house. Albeit it’s a shock at first as you probably thought that everything about the house had been registered on the title deeds when you bought the property. Until recently, this process of checking that the title deeds reflect the current, real situation of the property was not systematic. There is a simple process to follow to have all the missing elements added to the title deeds which we can assist you with. This process is often referred to as a “Declaracion de Obra Nueva”.

Buyers – Please don’t worry if your favourite house does not have everything registered in the title deeds. You can still purchase the property – there is no law against buying property that doesn’t have all elements registered. It may be that you choose to negotiate the price of the property to the lowest possible and assume the responsibility of declaring the missing elements yourself in the future. Or you may prefer to reach an agreement with the vendors on the price which includes enough margin for them to pay for the registration of the missing elements to the title deeds prior to the completion of the sale.

The “Declaracion de Obra Nueva” process is a standard procedure that your advisors will be very familiar with. It can take between 4-7 weeks from start to finish depending on a few factors and therefore, if you are in a hurry to complete, please ask us about the routes that can be used to shorten this process. Or you will need to consider purchasing the property without these particular elements being added to the deeds.

3.  The CEE

The “Certificado de Eficencia Energetica” (or CEE for short) is a compulsory document in all EU countries. It is simply a report on the energy “performance” of the house (how well insulated it is, how much energy wastage there is, how economical it is to run etc etc). This can be useful to buyers in northern European countries where the weather is more of a problem, but I have never seen a buyer in our part of Spain make their decision on whether to buy a property or not based on the energy performance of the property.

Vendors – it costs in the region of 90 euros + IVA plus the 10€ tax that your architect will have to pay on your behalf to register the Certificate. We can put you in touch with an architect who is registered to produce these certificates, or your Gestor will arrange it for you.

Buyers – The Gestor of the vendor will automatically include a copy of the CEE when they send the document pack to your advisors. If the vendors bought the property less than 10 years ago the CEE from when they bought will most probably still be valid and a new one will not be needed (they are valid for 10 years).

4.  The “Cedula”

Referred to in several ways : The Cedula Habitabilidad or Habitation Licence or the Certificado de Segundo Ocupacion, this document is required so that the name on the water bills (and sometimes the electricity bills) can be changed from the vendor to the buyer. This document is only valid for a certain number of years (depending on when it was issued, but often for only 10 years).  The law is not 100% clear on whether it is the responsibility of the vendor or the buyer to arrange this document and I have lawyers and Gestors arguing both scenarios. However, interestingly Notaries themselves are starting to insist on seeing this document before completing the Escritura.

Vendors – The Cedula you received when you bought may no longer be valid. Despite the fact that it is not 100% clear whether you HAVE to provide this document, we are finding that circa 85% of buyers and their advisors only wish to purchase if this document is completed by the vendor prior to the completion of the sale. It is never worth losing a buyer over this document. The same Architect who produces the CEE for you can also do the work to obtain the Cedula. The rules have changed regarding what is required to get this document, for example, in some towns (in Busot for example) you now need to be connected to the mains sewage drains (if they are in your road) or you have to change your septic tank to a new EU-approved style tank, before the town hall will issue this document.

Buyers – Bear in mind that vendors have higher potential costs (connection to the mains sewage system/ updated septic tanks if found necessary) to get this document than in the past. This could mean that they cannot accept as much negotiation of the price if you require for them to obtain this document before completion. There is one scenario where it can actually be advantageous for a buyer to not insist on receiving this document prior to completion which we can talk you through.

5.  The Certificado de No Infraccion Urbanistica

This document is a summary/report from the town hall of the situation, as they know it, of the property.

Vendors – This document only costs 30 euros and whilst it’s not compulsory, we strongly recommend that you start the procedure as soon as possible (it can take 6-8 weeks) for getting a copy of this from the town hall “urbanismo” office in your town. This document enables you to show buyers that you are not hiding anything and can reassure them to move forward with an offer. If your buyers have the intention of building anything in the grounds or extending the property, then they will absolutely need this document.

Buyers - In most country towns like Busot, Aigues and Jijona, the main point to be aware of in this document is related to what is called “Fuera de Ordenacion”. The document may explain that, in the past, someone has built outbuildings or parts of the property that by today’s standards would be considered too close to the boundaries but, as they were built more than x years ago, they are not an issue and can remain. If you see this on the report, it is not a problem for you unless you are intending to make extensions to the property that require building licences (minor works do not apply). The town hall does not give new building licences to a property that has this remark (referred to as "Fuera de Ordenacion") on the Certificado de no Infraccion Urbanistica.


Vendors – bear in mind that those vendors who have already compiled all of the above paperwork (which can take up to 3 months to do) are able to negotiate a better price for their property, than those who have not.

Buyers – bear in mind that many vendors have not yet got around to even starting the process of getting the above paperwork organised and therefore it could take 2-3-4 months from the time you make your offer, to the time you can complete on the sale.

For more information on selling or buying a property in this part of Spain, feel free to call or email anytime…. We are happy to help you with anything that you are not sure about whether related to property or what it’s like to live in Spain or run a business here etc etc…

We look forward to helping you in the future.

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