Guide to buying a property in Balearic Islands Spain

The general broad brush rule is that a purchaser will need to budget for additional costs to cover all tax liabilities and fees somewhere between 12-17% of the purchase price.  Please note: all costs are determined at the time of purchase!! 

The following being a reasonable indicative breakdown:

  • 10% VAT plus 1.2%  Stamp duty – New Property purchases (only)
  • 8 – 11% ITP Transfer Tax – Resale Property purchases (only)
  • 21% VAT plus 1.2% Stamp duty – Commercial purchase/company purchases (only)
  • 2-5% – all properties, for notary fees, legal fees, property registry (land) and bank arrangement fees.

All subject to negotiation where possible and specific quotes at the time! 

Who pays what between seller and buyer?

Spanish Law states that unless stipulated in the Contract, taxes and fees are split between the buyer and the seller as follows:

The Buyer pays: The purchase tax or IVA, Registration fees, bank mortgage fees and Notary costs

The Seller pays: The estate agents fees, capital gains tax, the ‘plus valia’ tax and bank and registry charges to cancel an existing mortgage.

The following additional costs/fees will also apply buying or selling a property in Mallorca

Firstly, the Intermediary costs when buying property in Spain:

Real Estate Agency fees:

Despite the ability of the internet to bring together buyers and sellers without the need for an agent, most people still like to use agents or a private Property Search Agent to find or rent property in Spain. 

Generally, estate agency fees or commissions are paid by the seller, unless otherwise agreed. 

If the buyer appoints a personal Property Search Agent, then the search agents fees are paid by the buyer.

Normally such costs are more than offset by the personal service of the Property Search Agent, in terms of negotiating the best purchase deal, the potential access to off market properties, your own personal time and costs saved, plus generally improved legal fees!!

You should be aware that Real Estate Agents in Mallorca if not careful, may charge between 2% and 15% of the sale price, generally these are normally around 6%, but can vary depending upon the region and type of property.

Unless the buyer has specifically agreed to pay the agent’s fee, this cost will be built into the sale price.

Your Property Search Agent if appointed, should hopefully ensure all fees are kept to the most economic levels, including their own costs, whilst negotiating the best purchase price possible with you!

Legal  fees

You are strongly advised to engage a lawyer to help you during the buying process.

Your lawyer should  investigate all legal aspects of your property purchase, draft and review all contracts on your behalf and explain all the legal and administrative issues you face.

They should also carry out any necessary due diligence (checking the ownership claim of the seller, charges on the property, permits, etc.) and arrange all the required documents to complete the process (property registration, tax payments, etc.).

A lawyer – Abogado in Spanish – will charge you according to the service you require. This will vary according to the complexity of the purchase. Many lawyers charge around 1% of the purchase price in legal fees, but fixed price fees may also be negotiated!

You should be aware, some lawyers may seek to charge 1.5% or more of the sale price, which must also be guarded against. Even 1% can be unreasonably high given the work that is involved in a straightforward purchase of an expensive property with no legal complications.

Your best option is to try and find a good lawyer who is prepared to charge on an hourly basis.  Seek quotes for legal fees based on your specific purchase, without any complications and charged on an hourly basis. These should normally be in the region of 1.000 to 2.500 Euros, depending on the complexity involved.

Other Associated Costs 

Notary

Notary expenses are nearly always paid by the buyer and are calculated in relation to the purchase price declared in the deeds of sale.

To be on the safe side you should calculate Notary fees as being 1% of the purchase price declared in the deeds of sale. In many cases however Notary fees are more like 0.5% (or less) of the price declared in the deeds.

 The notary cost for buying property is the same throughout Spain and is fixed by the following rate established by Spanish Royal Decree 1426/89:

Depending on the value of the property, the notary cost is between 4.5 and 0.3 per thousand

If the value of the property is over 6M €, the cost will be agreed with the notary.

Property Registry

 Expenses related to inscribing the sale with the land registry are also nearly always paid by the buyer, and are calculated in relation to the purchase price declared in the deeds of sale.

To be on the safe side you should calculate 1% of the purchase price declared in the deeds, though once again it depends upon the property and the area, and the fee could be considerably lower.

The Land Registry cost buying property is the same throughout Spain and is fixed by Spanish Royal Decree 1427/89:

Depending on the value of the property, the Land Registry cost is between 1.75 and 0.2 per thousand

If the value of the property is over €6M, the cost should  be agreed with the notary.

Banking costs

You will need to open an account in a bank operating in Spain and transfer money there from the bank in your own country. 

The cost of transferring the money can go up to 0,4% of the amount transferred. Please check all rates with your Bank prior to sending! 

Other Ongoing expenses

A prospective purchaser should take into account that there will be regular expenses affecting the property itself. These include:

Community charges:

Although all properties sold in Mallorca are freehold, a purchaser will automatically become a member of the Community of Owners when the property is part of a development complex with shared facilities such as a swimming pool, gardens, parking spaces, roads and lighting to maintain.

Community charges are usually paid in advance by direct debit and owners are required to attend annual meetings at the complex to discuss costs and vote in a new President and Owners Committee.

Each complex has a separate administration company which manages the complex on behalf of the owners.

Owners are expected to know and comply with community regulations and statutes.

Refuse collection and council tax (Impuesto sobre Bienes Inmuebles or IBI) will be charged annually by the Local Authority based on the ‘catastral value’ or as we would call it, property value for council tax purposes.

Gas, water, electricity, telephone etc.

A prospective purchaser should always check that the vendor is up-to-date with all payments affecting the property and its services.