What are the main pitfalls of buying a property in Spain?

In this post we will highlight the main problems you could face when purchasing a property in Spain. This is useful for any person wanting to understand the property purchasing process no matter the reason.

Spain is one of Europe’s top destinations due to its warm climate and high quality life standards. Many people, especially in colder corners of the world, end up buying a property in Spain to retire or just as a way to escape the colder weather. However, what often happens is that, once they start the buying process they realise that being a different country, the process of buying is completely different to their home country, which can result in postponing it to the extent of never even purchasing anything at all.


Properplan helps you navigate through these issues and prevent any hiccups that can arise along the way. Our service specialises in people outside of Spain looking to purchase a property in Spain. We will help you find your ideal home, analyse its neighbourhood and understand the future trends, assist you in financing the property, negotiating the best price and gathering all the information necessary to complete the purchase.

However, a good first step before doing anything is to have a basic understanding of the main pitfalls you might encounter when purchasing a property in Spain. Here is a list of the that we think are the most usual problems you could face:

Hidden costs

One of the most common pitfalls of buying a property in Spain is the presence of hidden costs. These can include taxes, legal fees, and maintenance costs, which can add up quickly and eat into your budget. 

To avoid this, it’s important to budget for these costs and to be aware of them before making a purchase. Make sure to get a detailed breakdown of all costs and fees associated with the purchase, and factor them into your calculations. 

A good rule of thumb is to account at least an additional 10% of the purchase price. 

Legal issues

Another common pitfall of buying a property in Spain are legal issues. Some properties may have outstanding debts or disputes over ownership that can cause problems down the road.

It’s important to conduct a thorough legal check of the property before buying to ensure that there are no issues that could cause problems in the future. A good place to find the property’s legal stance can be found in a document called “Nota Simple”, the simple note. This document can be acquired at the land registry (“registro de la propiedad”) for a price of 3.64 €, however if you want to receive this online the cost increases to 9.02€. 

With Properplan we can help you acquire this document and understand the terminology behind it.

Building regulations

Some properties in Spain may not comply with local building regulations and may have issues with zoning or planning permission. 

It’s important to check for these issues and to make sure that the property is in compliance before making a purchase. This can include ensuring that all necessary permits and licences are in order, and that the property meets local building codes and safety regulations.

Mortgage and financing

Obtaining a mortgage or financing can be difficult for foreign buyers, as the process may be complicated, and the interest rates may be higher than for Spanish citizens. It’s important to do your research and to work with a reputable lender who can help you navigate the process and secure financing.

Normally it always helps to open a Spanish bank account beforehand, as it facilitates the buying process. 


Buying a property in Spain can be a bureaucratic process, with many legal and administrative tasks that need to be completed. This can include obtaining a NIE (Foreigner Identification Number), opening a bank account, and registering with the local town hall. These steps on their own can be slow and tedious, so preparing at least some of these beforehand will save you many headaches.

Language barrier

For non-Spanish speaking buyers, language can be the biggest barrier when buying property in Spain. It’s important to work with a translator or lawyer who can assist with communication and ensure that all documents are properly translated. This can help ensure that you fully understand the process and can make informed decisions.

If you feel somewhat overwhelmed by this, do not worry because it is completely normal.

With Properplan we help you navigate all of these issues, our bilingual agents are experts in the field and can help in any real estate subject. 

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