The legal process of buying a property in Ibiza is different from most countries. Ibiza has specific regional laws as well as national and EU legislation. Because of its size and status, there are necessary bureaucratic processes you need to go through to protect yourself when purchasing a property. Here’s a step by step guide of what you need to do, what you are legally obliged to do and what you should do to make your life easier at every step of the process.
Step 1: Decide to move to Ibiza
The first step when buying a house in Ibiza is applying for an NIE number. This is a government issued number that acts like a Social Security or National Insurance number. You need it to pay your taxes in Spain and won’t be able to purchase a property without one. Check out our previous blog to know more about it.
Step 2: Find the right house to buy
The Nota Simple is one of the most important documents when buying a property. This is a document outlining what is registered with the Land Registry. It makes clear who owns the property and whether there are any outstanding debts on it.
Step 3: Get legal checks done
Consider either appointing a lawyer or a gestor. A gestor is a licensed administrator you can hire to carry out state-related paperwork. They can make sure the documentation is in order, but they can’t offer legal counsel. Usually a lawyer is more expensive than a gestor, but as an independent legal representative is obliged to act in your favour, alerting you to issues or problems with the property and will make the contractual amendments to protect you against them.
Step 4: Make an offer on the property
Make sure to protect your interests. Once a seller has accepted an offer, it’s wise for you to both sign a Reservation Contract. This requires the seller to take the property off the market in return for a small deposit. They must take the property off the market and are bound to sell you the property at the agreed price. You will lose your deposit if you pull out of the sale (unless there are legal problems with the property).
Step 5: Commit to a sale
This is the moment when you will sign the Private Purchase Contract (Contrato Privado de Compraventa). At this point, you’ll need to pay a full deposit, usually around 10% of the property price, and agree to a time frame for completion. If the buyer pulls out after signing this, they are liable to return twice the deposit you’ve paid.
Step 6: Finalise your purchase
Appoint a Public Notary (notario publico) and make an appointment to finalise your purchase. A notary is employed by the Spanish government to certify legal documents. They don’t represent your interests, their sole role is to make sure all the legal boxes have been ticked, but you have the right to choose which notary you will use. People usually appoint one from the local municipal Town Hall to the property, so it’s easy for all involved to attend the meeting.
Step 7: Final payments
Transfer all the money for fees and taxes. Sign the Title Deed (Escritura) to complete the sale and receive your new keys! The Land Registry has to be informed of the change of ownership within 10 days of completing and your notary will be able to arrange this at your appointment if you request it in advance.
Step 8: Move into your Ibiza property
Appoint a gestor to help you with your application for residency, a driving licence or help you to register as self-employed or set up a limited company. A gestor is a wholly Spanish profession, which stems from a time when illiteracy was common and bureaucracy was complicated in Spain. For a small fee, they will direct you to the right place and the correct queue to get all manner of civic obligations sorted.