Alarcon EstatesHow to sell a house in Spain

What are the steps that I must take to sell a house in Spain?

Preliminary recommendation: Before we start, a recommendation for all those who are considering selling a house in Spain. The sale of real estate is one of the most important decisions that a person takes throughout his/her life. The implications for his/her patrimony are of utmost importance, so everything must be done perfectly. The sale of a home involves a series of complex decisions and steps, which require the expert hand of a professional who will ensure that all details receive the adequate attention. Some people choose to sell their home by their own means, but we strongly recommend that the buyer of a house use the services of a real estate agency (API). By explaining below the purchase process, we will understand why.

Property valuation

The first step when selling a property is to determine the price at which we are going to market it. It is obvious that every seller wants to maximize the profit obtained by what he sells, and the same could be said of the intermediary/facilitator, in this case the real estate agency, whose fees will depend on the sale price. However, both the seller and the real estate agency want to sell, so the selling price will have to be adjusted, sooner or later, to the market prices. Alarcon Estates carries out a free valuation of your house. Trust in our experience and criteria, justified by the satisfaction of our clients, allows us to recommend you to request this service not to one, but to several real estate agencies, so that you can compare different valuations —if we consider only those agencies that meet the necessary professional and ethical requirements, variations in valuation cannot be enormous—. In the event that no valuation is satisfactory, you always have the option of hiring the services of an independent valuation agency, which will logically charge the corresponding fees for this service.

Choosing the real estate agency that will carry out the sale

The way in which real estate agencies respond in our first contacts with them and in the valuation of our house will give us some clues that will help us to decide which one is the most convenient for us. We must take into consideration that large global agencies, with offices in dozens of countries around the world, have access to a huge number of potential buyers. Alarcon Estates is part of the Coldwell Banker* network, the world's largest real estate company, with more than 3,100 agencies in 47 countries and millions of visitors to its internet portals.

What we do strongly recommend is that, no matter which real estate agency you choose, always sign an exclusive sales contract with it. Some people think that signing an exclusive contract with a real estate agency means limiting the possibilities of sale, by closing access to a number of potential buyers. Although it may seem paradoxical at first sight, signing an exclusive contract with a real estate agency does not limit the access to potential buyers; quite the contrary, it expands it and, moreover, has a number of decisive advantages over the option of leaving this task in the hands of several agencies. It will be a pleasure to explain to you more details about this crucial aspect of the sale, if you are interested. Do not hesitate to consult us without any obligation.

Preparing the product: home staging

Once the price is determined, we will show our product the world and, logically, under the best possible light. Does this mean giving an unreal image of our house, so as to attract more potential buyers? By no means. What we intend is to show all the potential of a home. Sometimes a few details make a very important difference in our experience of the place where we live. We are specialists and we know how to take advantage of all the factors that maximize the well-being that our home brings us, all aspects considered.

Once the house is ready, our professional photographers will get high quality images to display on our website and, if desired, we will get video footage with drones. All this work is performed by the real estate agency without charging any cost in advance, since the payment of our fees will come from the sale amount, once it is done.

Organizing the visits

We accompany the potential buyers who wish to visit the house, without the owner having to take care of anything.

Verification of the legal and economic situation of the property.

A potential buyer of our home will need guarantees that everything is in order before signing the acquisition. As at any other stage of the selling process, we will take care of everything and promptly inform our clients of all our steps. Alarcon Premium Estates provides its clients with a list of trusted attorneys, who are specialists in real estate matters, so they can choose the one they deem most convenient. The lawyer may, if necessary, do the following:

  • Obtain a certificate of the property in question in the Property Registry. The certificate specifies who owns the property and whether there are any charges on it, such as mortgage loans that have not yet been paid.
  • Check at the town hall that the house has the corresponding building license and habitability certificate.
  • Check that all housing services, such as water and electricity, municipal taxes and community expenses have been paid. For this, he/she will obtain the corresponding certificates and/or invoices.

Signing an earnest money contract (contrato de arras) or placing a deposit

Once a potential buyer has made the decision to acquire our home, the next step is the signing of an earnest money contract (contrato de arras) or placing a deposit, by which the buyer makes sure to reserve the purchase of the house —all the ads at internet portals will be removed from that moment. An earnest money contract and a deposit do not have the same implications. Let's see the difference.

  • Placing a deposit: on the Costa del Sol, ir is customary that the deposit to reserve a house amounts to €6,000. If the buyer changes his mind and decides not to carry out the transaction, the seller will retain the deposit, as a compensation for the damage caused by the temporary halt of the selling process. In case the seller backs out, he would be obliged to return the signal to the buyer.
  • Earnest money contract (contrato de arras): When signing an earnest money contract, a deposit is placed as well to reserve the house, but there are two important differences. Firs, the amount of this deposit is usually 10% of the sale price; second, it not only obliges the buyer to complete the transaction, but also the seller. Moreover, if the seller changes his/her mind and decides not to complete the transaction, he/she will have to give the seller twice the amount received as a deposit (that is, 20% of the value of the house).

As we can see, an earnest money contract is a more secure way to guarantee the purchase and sale of a property than the mere placing of a deposit. The seller must be sure about his/her decision to sell, so as not to suffer a serious money loss. There could normally be two types of causes whereby a seller would withdraw from a sales operation after signing an earnest money contract: force majeure issues or a buying offer that surpasses the agreed selling price plus the refunding of the deposit (an infrequent case, by all means).

Preparation of the documents for the sale

The preparation of the deed of purchase and sale that will be signed before a notary is a complex task that must be carried out by a lawyer specialized in the real estate sector. This will avoid cumbersome and costly delays at the time of signing, and even possible legal problems. As indicated above, we provide our clients with a list of lawyers of our trust, who are specialists in real estate matters, so that our customers can choose the one they consider most convenient.

Signature before notary

Alarcon Estates accompanies its clients in this decisive moment of the selling process, in which the sale of their home is substantiated. According to the law, the seller is in principle bound to pay the notary for the costs of granting the deed, while the buyer must pay the expenses of the first copy of this deed. However, the law leaves the parties the option to agree and distribute these expenses as they wish. In practice, it is customary for the buyer to take responsibility for all the expenses of the notary's office, which is why he/she usually chooses the notary. In any case, Alarcon Estates provides its clients with a list of the main notaries in the area, with a broad professional background, so that they can make their choice.

Payment of taxes

Once the deed is signed, we will still have to pay the taxes that correspond to the seller and only then we will be able to declare that the job of selling a house has been done. Alarcon Estates, through the specialized lawyers with whom it collaborates, provides its clients with all the necessary advice, so that they can rest assured that they have complied with the Spanish Treasury.

In Spain, the seller of a property pays the following taxes:

  • Tax on the Increase of Value of Urban Land or "municipal surplus" (Impuesto sobre el Incremento de Valor de los Terrenos de Naturaleza Urbana or "plusvalía municipal").
  • Patrimonial Gains Tax or "state surplus" (Impuesto de Ganancia Patrimonial or "plusvalía estatal").

The details about these taxes are detailed in the section "Expenses of the purchase of a house in Spain".

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