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How to buy an apartment in Barcelona, step by step guide

Buy an apartment in Barcelona

For those who want to buy an apartment in Barcelona, the city offers a range of high-quality properties and well-connected neighbourhoods to choose from. However, purchasing a property in Barcelona, whether to use as a residence or an investment, requires an understanding of certain factors to make the entire process proceed smoothly.

What are the steps you need to undertake to buy an apartment in Barcelona?

STEP 1: A Deposit – Reserva

After finding a property that you would like to buy, the first step is to enter into negotiations with the owner regarding the price. This is a non-binding process, and solicitors can be recommended to make the transaction more understandable.

Usually making an offer means signing a short and straight forward agreement – acceptance of the offer by the buyer, and paying of approximately up to 1% of the property price (reserva) to show you are serious about your offer and willing to go through the negotiation process. If the offer is not accepted you are eligible for refund.

Buy an apartment in Barcelona

STEP 2: The Private Contract – Arras

After your offer has been accepted, the next step is to sign an Arras. This is a simple agreement between the buyer and seller, containing all the relevant details, such as property description, purchase price, date and place of signing the Deed at the Notary (chosen by the buyer), and other particular terms of the deal.

Before you buy an apartment in Barcelona, a legal check should be undertaken. The standard list of documents required by the buyer would include:

Ownership: Nota Simple (official land registry report of the property), POA, Deed of incorporation, Board meeting Certificate in case of a company doing the purchasing;

Community related: latest community meetings´ reports, building compulsory inspection report (ITE, certificado de aptitud), community fees & building improvement expenses;

Property related: Cedula de habitabilidad (Certificate of habitation), CEE (Electricity certificate), apartment floor plans, in case the property was renovated lately – City Hall construction permission, utility bills, property tax payments.

After checking those documents, you can include some specific requirements in the Arras, e.g. providing additional information or documentation, fixing something in the property or emptying it. These requirements should be fulfilled by the buyer before the date of the Public Deed.

Another clause can be included in the private contract should either party wish to withdraw from the sale. Both parties are bounded by the Arras agreement and the buyer might lose the deposit amount if steps back from the deal. On the other hand, if the seller revokes the agreement, they must pay the buyer double the deposit amount.

Once Arras is signed, the buyer pays a deposit, normally into the seller’s bank account, of approximately 10% of the agreed purchase price (this amount may vary).

Buy an apartment in Barcelona

STEP 3: Completion of Public Deed

Prior to completion, non-Spanish buyers will require a Spanish tax number (or NIE) and a bank account in Spain. As there is almost a month between the Arras and Public Deed (although the time terms may vary as per the agreement between the buyer and the seller in the Arras) you will be able to obtain both. For mortgage seekers, they will have to secure a bank before the Notary date as well.

After signing the Public Deed, the buyer and the seller exchange the purchase check for the keys. The deed is filed with the land registry office (Registro) afterwards.

In this article we haven´t covered the costs you bear when you buy an apartment in Barcelona. We will explain it in our next article. Happy home hunting!