In Spain it is normal that the seller of the property pays the real estate agent’s commission, ownership transfer expenses and taxes. The commission for the agent is generally a percentage of the sales cost, this can vary slightly between agents and different types of properties but is usually 5% in the Marbella and Costa del Sol area. This is almost always paid by the seller, but if a buyer has requested an agent carry out a search for a specific property, then this can be open to negotiation with regards to the buyer paying the commission costs.

The seller of the property is accountable for the following fees:

Notary Fees except for the first copy cost that is payable by the purchaser – these notary fees are fixed by law.

There is also a municipal tax (plusvalia) that is a tax on any increase in the land value, this may be subject to negotiation with the purchaser.

By law as from 1st January 2013, proof of payment of the “plusvalia” tax must be provided in order to register the sale and new ownership at the Land Register Office.

A seller who is non-resident in Spain is subject to a 3% withholding tax on account of any possible capital gains. Capital gains tax is 19% of the profit of the sale. This profit is the difference between the selling price and the purchase price plus all purchase-related expenses and costs on improvements of the property. If the seller’s liability is less than the 3% withheld at the time of the sale, the seller can claim it back from the Tax Office. If higher, the seller will have to pay the difference to the Tax Office. The above 3% retention does not apply when the vendor is subject to normal income tax for residents or to companies’ tax.

All the following property taxes have to be paid up to date by the vendor as well as all utility bills before the completion of the property transfer. The basura (rubbish collection), the community fees (the upkeep of the communal areas), and the IBI (Impuesto sobre Bienes Inmuebles) which could be translated as “property tax”. This is a municipally levied tax and varies widely from one municipality to another and from one type of property to another, you may for instance, pay as little as 50 euros per year for a simple property in a rural area. If all of these exact figures are unknown at the date of signing, then it is normal that the buyer or their representative requires an amount of money to be deposited to cover any outstanding payments.

The information provided in this guide is intended for informational purposes only and does not substitute legal advice. The contents herein may be subject to errors, omissions and amendments. Accuracy is not guaranteed.