When it comes to selling property in Spain, the first thing to remember is that patience is a virtue. Quick sales can happen, but it can also be a protracted process with the average time for completion estimated at around eight months. This does vary markedly by region, though, with homes in the Madrid, Barcelona and Zaragoza areas spending less time on the market. The message is clear, however, so when you decide, for example, it’s time to sell Marbella property or to sell my property Spain-wide, you just need to be patient and don’t be in too much of a hurry.

Employing an estate agent

It makes sense to employ an estate agent as they will be able to market the property in the best way to maximize the selling value. While you may be a resident overseas, estate agents, whose commission fees are usually between 3-6%, not only have access to a number of buyers from their own marketing activities, but they are also on the spot for visits from interested parties and to arrange viewings.

Make sure your property is legal

If you want a quick and smooth sale, it’s imperative that the property is fully legal with all the correct plans and permissions in place before it goes on the market. With many sellers building extensions, renovations, pools or other works on their property without legalising it fully after, it can be very problematic for the buyer, especially if they need to take out a mortgage. Some vendors may not even be aware of this if they paid for the property outright and didn’t get the full legal checks when buying it, or it was prior to certain regulations being introduced, so it’s best to check with your agent or a notary to make sure all the correct permits and licences are in place.

Get clued up on the taxes involved

Familiarize yourself with the taxes which will have to be paid. These differ whether you are a tax resident or non-tax resident and will vary from those in your own country, so it’s a good idea to get professional advice and employ an English-speaking solicitor. If you don’t live in Spain, you will have to pay a 3% income tax provision (retención), which covers any taxes resulting from the sale. Capital gains tax of between 19-23% will apply if you are selling for more than the price you originally paid, and you will have to pay for an energy efficiency certificate of between €100 and €500 depending on the size of the property.

There is also the plusvalía – a municipal tax based on the estimated increase of the land value between the purchase and the sale date. This usually amounts to a few hundred euros. If you haven’t granted power of attorney, you should be able to travel to a notary – who you will need to agree on with the buyer – for completion. They deal with legal formalities, check that all applicable taxes are paid, and register the property with the Spanish Land Registry. Usually, the buyer pays the notary’s fees.  You can find out more about these taxes in this article: Selling your property in Spain: taxes you must pay after sale.

Try and avoid extra costs in bank transfers

It’s important to be aware that money can be lost repatriating the proceeds of selling property in Spain to the UK. Transferring monies to a UK bank from a Spanish one usually incurs charges and after the draft has been cleared, exchanging the euros into pounds between accounts will involve a fee. Specialist currency firms can help avoid additional costs.

If you want to know all the costs of selling property in Spain, check out our other article: The cost of selling property in Spain.

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