A Sellers Guide

8th July 2022
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All you need to know before selling

Dolan Property

Your trusted Marbella real estate agent and property specialist on the Golden Mile.

A seller’s guide….

6th July 2022

By Michael Dolan


Buying and selling a property can be a stressful experience, and we can help you through the whole process. We have an expert team, who have incredible knowledge of the Costa del Sol real estate market; and will be by your side, every step of the way.


Having an idea about what to expect when selling, what documents you will need, and the costs involved, can also take some of the anxiety out of what can be a nerve-racking process – so read on for more information.


And if you want to know more about the steps involved in buying a property, see our blog post. A buyers guide ….. https://www.dolanproperty.es/news/a-buyers-guide


Is now the time to sell your property on the Costa del Sol?


The simple answer to that question is YES. The second half of 2021 was spectacular for property sales throughout the Costa del Sol, and 2022 is looking to break those records with sales not only back to pre-pandemic levels but set to exceed them.


We are seeing a huge demand for all categories of real estate - apartments, townhouses, detached villas - and we are actively looking for all types of properties for our buyers. It is a vendor’s market and if you are looking to sell, now is the time.



The process – selling your property in Spain


These are the main steps of the sales process here in Spain.


First you will need to advertise the property. Making your townhouse, apartment or villa look its best, and then getting it seen by prospective purchasers are key factors. One of the easiest ways to do this is to find an estate agent that will work on your behalf. Whilst you don’t have to use one to sell your home here in Spain, you can do it yourself. It is money well spent.


Not only do agents have the local knowledge and expertise to sell your property at a good price, but they can advise you on any maintenance that would help to make it more saleable, arrange for professional photos to be done, and take care of time-consuming tasks like showing potential buyers around.


When choosing an estate agent ask friends and colleagues if they have any recommendations, a personal reference from someone you know is the best way to be sure that the agent you use is up to the job.


Also check they are registered with a professional body such as Leading Property Agents of Spain (LPA) or the Official School of Estate Agents (Colegio Oficial de Agentes de la Propiedad Inmobiliaria).


Secondly you will need to find a solicitor and choose a notary. You are not legally required to have a solicitor to sell a property in Spain, but it is a good idea to appoint one to advise you on all aspects of the sale and oversee the administration and paperwork.


Any lawyer practising in Spain should be registered with the local bar association (Colegio de Abogados). You can verify their registration number with the bar association. Again, personal recommendations from friends will go a long way when choosing someone you can get along with.


Here in Spain the final contract of sale and/or the title deed is signed in front of a notary. They also manage all the paperwork, taxes and notify the registry office that a sale has taken place. They are there to make sure everything is done correctly and in accordance with the law.


Thirdly you need to prepare all the documentation. To ensure the sale proceeds smoothly you/your legal representative will need the following -


  • Title deeds to the property.
  • Occupancy certificate.
  • Receipts to confirm payment of the IBI – local municipal tax.
  • Copies of utility bills.
  • Details of any relevant community statutes.
  • Latest community fees receipt.
  • Your residency card if you have one (Residencia/TIE).
  • Details of furniture, fixtures, and fittings to be included in the sale.


Your legal representative can advise you on where to get copies of these documents should you need to.


Once a buyer is found for the property it will normally move through three stages -


Reservation – At this point the buyer makes a deposit, typically around €6,000. You will sign a reservation document or holding agreement and take the property off the market. This deposit amount is repayable by you to the seller if you fail to meet the terms of the holding agreement or change your mind about the offer.


Deposit - The lawyers for both sides will check that all the legal aspects of the property are in order and then draw up a preliminary private purchase contract (contrato privado de compravento), sometimes called an option agreement. This is a legally binding document signed by both parties agreeing all the details of the property, the price, payment terms and the date for completion.


In conjunction with signing the agreement the buyer pays a further deposit, usually around 10% of the total purchase price. If the sale does not go ahead, then this deposit is retained by you. If you pull out of the deal then you must refund the deposit; and in addition, could potentially be liable for paying the same amount again, as compensation.


Completion - The sale will be complete once the buyer’s ownership has been registered and the purchase price has been paid in full. To do this the contract of sale (escritura de compravento) and/or the title deed (escritura publica) is signed in front of a notary.


At the time of signing, you will receive the balance of the full sales price, and all taxes and other costs are settled.



Costs and fees for selling a house in Spain


As the seller, you can expect to have to pay the following costs:


Estate Agency commission


Estate agents typically charge between 3-6%commission on the properties they sell in Spain. This fee can be deducted from any capital gains tax that is due.


Lawyers fee


Lawyers will normally charge around 1% of the selling price of the property for any due diligence done, plus paperwork and contracts.


Notary costs


The notary fee is completely dependent on how much work they are required to do. Often the buyer pays the largest proportion of the cost of transferring ownership of the property, with any seller’s costs relating to any required changes in the necessary paperwork.


Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) (Certificado de la eficiencia energética (CEE))


EU and Spanish law state all property owners who want to rent out or sell their property need a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This certificate must be issued by a qualified certifier such as a technical house engineer, a surveyor, or an architect.


The cost of the certificate varies according to the size of the property but is generally between €100 and €500.


Occupancy Certificate (Cédula de habitabilidad)


Sometimes called a first occupancy certificate, this is an administrative document required by Spanish law when selling a property. It states that the property complies with habitability conditions and renders it a legal dwelling.


The cost of the certificate can vary depending on the size of the property and starts from around €50.


Capital Gains Tax


Capital gains (CGT) is the tax due on any profit you make on your property sale. This is calculated after deducting the following:

- official costs relating to the sale and original purchase of the property, such as real estate commission, lawyer, and notary fees.

- any building works or home improvements made.


For residents Capital Gains Tax is worked out at:

  • 19% for the first €6.000
  • 21% from €6.000 to €50.000
  • 23% €50.000 upwards


For non-residents it is 19%. If you are non-resident then 3% of the purchase price is withheld by the buyer to be used as a down payment, paid to the Spanish Tax Office on your behalf, against your CGT liability. You will then need to submit the appropriate tax forms to either receive a rebate or pay any additional CGT due.


You are exempt from CGT if you are a resident, the property is your main residence, and you are using the money to buy another property to live in. (Further conditions do apply – check with your lawyer). There is also an exemption for people over 65 years old who sell their habitual residence, irrespective of whether they buy another property.


Plusvalía Tax


Plusvalía is the tax on the increase in the value of the ground the property is built on. The land appreciation tax is paid to the local town hall (el ayuntamiento). Three factors are taken into consideration when making the calculation: the cadastral ground value, the location of the property and the length of ownership. No plusvalía is payable if there is no increase in the urban land’s value.


Buying and selling property in Marbella


If you are looking for a holiday retreat, a permanent residence, or you want an investment property -

Marbella’s mix of luxurious gated developments, picturesque mountains and beaches, and private tranquil urbanisations make it the place to buy on the Costa del Sol.


We are based in the heart of Marbella’s Golden Mile and specialise in high quality, desirable properties in prime residential locations; Nagüeles, Sierra Blanca, Cascada de Camoján, East and West Marbella, Istan Road, Nueva Andalucia, Benahavis, and the new Golden Mile in Estepona.


We understand that choosing a new home is a big step, and for those of you buying or selling a property in a foreign country, it can be very stressful. Our team of real estate experts provide a full ‘hands on’ service. We work in partnership with you (our client), your lawyer and any other professional advisers or consultants.


Dolan Property specialists are committed to the highest levels of business and ethical standards, and we are proud members of the Leading Property Agents of Spain (LPA).

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