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Buying a home in Spain if you are a foreigner: what you should know

To buy a home in Spain if you are a foreigner, the process does not have to be complicated if you have the right advice and time. In this article we tell you what you should know when buying a home and what procedures must be carried out if you do not reside in this country.

Are you a foreigner and want to transfer your next residence in Spain? There are many ways to acquire a property in Spanish territory, if you are a non-EU citizen now you have more options and facilities than ever. Let's see what they are and how you can use them to your advantage... And become the owner of a highly profitable real estate investment!

It is common for many foreign citizens (EU community or not) to decide to come and live in our country. Not only because of our gastronomy or cultures, but also because of the good reputation of the Iberian climate and the facilities that we find when buying a home in Spain. Especially, if you can take advantage of the new law for digital nomads (Startups Law) who want to live in Spain, since it is the most comfortable way to acquire your home and with it, your residence permit in Spain.

The best way to acquire your next home in Spain, and despite the fact that we guarantee a totally safe and trustworthy process, is moving to Spain.

But how to buy a home in Spain if you don't live in this country yet?

First of all, you should know that to buy a home in Spain it is not necessary to live in the country at the time of purchase. In fact, the only requirement to buy a home in Spain is to be in possession of a NIE. How do you hear it! On the other hand, to start the residence procedures, the first thing we must know is that to reside in Spain the main difference is made by your country of origin: if you are a non-EU citizen, with few exceptions, you must start a visa application process. . And if you come from a member country of the European Union, nationals of the European Economic Act (that is, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) or Swiss, you will not need a residence permit or visa to live and work in Spain.

To buy a home in Spain you need a NIE

As we said, whether or not you are a citizen of the EU and reside in Spain or not, the only mandatory condition that you must meet to acquire a home in Spain is to have a valid NIE (Foreign Identification Number). You should know that in Spain, unlike other countries, all resident citizens must have a DNI if they are of origin, or a NIE if it is acquired by a non-Spanish citizen. Depending on its origin (from an EU member state or not), the NIE will be used for a residence permit (for EU citizens) or will also require a short, medium or long-term residence permit (or visa). 

And how do you apply for the NIE?

If we want to process the issuance of your NIE, you can start it at the Spanish embassy in your country, or in Spain (you can be in the country for reasons, for example, tourism) at any Spanish police station by filling out the application form . This request must also contain the necessary reasons (economic, professional or social reasons) that justify its issuance. Even so, do not worry, since one of the reasons why they will provide you with a NIE is, precisely, the acquisition of a home in national territory.

You should know that... If you have requested your NIE at the Spanish Consulate located in the country of origin, it takes a week to send it by mail.

Are there different types of NIE? Yes, one for EU community residents and another for non-EU residents, being for these a NIE requested to be able to reside in Spain for more than three months. This document is called NIE for non-residents, and it is the legal document that allows you to carry out legal transactions such as the acquisition of a home.

How long does it take to get it? The NIE as a non-resident is obtained the same day that we have the appointment with the Police. What takes longer is to obtain an appointment to carry out the procedure, for this reason we recommend that you start the procedure at the Spanish consulate of the country in which you legally reside.

When does it expire? This NIE for non-residents, apart from not allowing you to work or reside in the country, expires after three months, and you must renew it if you have not finished your procedures. We must say, however, that for the acquisition of a property, if it is for an amount greater than 500.00 euros, you can directly request the golden visa (a residence visa that meets ideal economic criteria for a capital investment) we will personally inform you of their requirements and application process.

You should know that... Currently, the acquisition or sale of a property is one of the few reasons for which this non-resident NIE is granted.

The second procedure is to visit the real estate property that is to your liking.

It is true that the digital world and AI are making online business transactions increasingly easier for us. However, in the case of buying a home it is always better to be able to carry out a physical visit to the property, where you will be able to meet your real estate intermediary (who must be an API or Real Estate Agent).

Many non-resident homebuyers take advantage of their vacation periods to visit the farm and collect additional information, such as information about the environment, location... In the case of not being able to travel, it is also common for a relative, friend or representative to do so, who usually also act as a translator or interpreter. In this case, it is best to find out not only about obtaining the NIE, but before that, request a tourist or temporary residence visa that allows you to start or follow the procedures in the country.

Be that as it may, it is likely that due to your situation you will not be able to travel as often as you want to be able to manage the sales process.

In this case... How to trust the sale?

Security comes to us as always from knowledge. And there is no better and greater knowledge of the world of real estate buying and selling than a real estate agent. At this point you should know that in Spain, unlike other countries, we still do not have legislation that protects and defends our activity, with which professional intrusion is possible, although by the way, a non-professional does not usually venture into international sales for the knowledge and processes that it includes.

Not all real estate agents act comfortably either, since this type of transaction requires experience and extensive knowledge of the real estate market. Our advice is that you always go to someone you trust who can guide you on the best professional in the area where you are going to buy your home.

What if I want to take advantage of the Startups or Digital Nomads Law?

The majority of international buyers who wish to acquire a residence in Spain do so as a second residence or retirement residence. If so, we recommend the following reading: How does the process of buying a property in Spain work? But it is very possible that you are considering a radical life change for you, your partner or even your family. In that case… And if you are lucky enough to be a digital worker, you can take advantage of the new Startup Law and come and try what it is like to live in Spain.

First of all, we are going to make the concept of digital worker clear: according to the law, the digital worker is someone who can work autonomously for a company (whether internally or self-employed) remotely, depending solely on computer resources. that the company makes available. Well, the new law on digital nomads is valid so that workers from third countries (non-EU) can now take advantage of a tourist visa and stay in Spain for a period of one year, extendable without necessity, and that is the best of everything, to stop working and pay taxes in their country of origin.

Later, thanks to this law, and after a few years, you can apply for a residence visa. Its facilities for the acquisition of housing in Spain, as they are simpler, since from origin, you will have a work visa that can be extended to a long-term residence and later, be able to apply for Spanish nationality.

If you want more information about the procedures to follow to be able to access a home in Spain, whether or not you are a resident of the EU, we inform you, especially in the event that your purchase is made as a non-residential real estate investment. If you want us to inform you about our home purchase options, do not hesitate to contact us, wherever you are, technology unites us ;)