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FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions about Buying a house in Spain

1.What is a N.I.E.?

Recent Spanish legislation makes it compulsory for anyone selling or buying property in Spain to have a NIE - Número de Identidad de Extranjeros which, translated, means "Identity Number for Foreigners". People applying for a NIE used to get a plastic card which fitted neatly into any wallet or purse, but the modern NIE is actually just a piece of paper with your name and number and a official stamp so, as friend of Euroresidentes Angus Wallace suggests, "remember to make about 20 photocopies of the original and keep those for everyday use, it's surprising how quickly that very important piece of paper becomes a mini jigsaw after it has been folded umpteen times and stuck in your wallet".

Until recently, foreign non-residents in Spain could buy or sell property without a NIE. Then, once it became necessary to have one, their legal representative could get one for them. But recent legislation passed in Spain has made it necessary for anyone paying money to the Spanish Inland Revenue (Hacienda) to have a Spanish identity number, and to obtain it in person.

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2.How do I get a NIE?

In theory it's easy. All you have to do is to go to the Extranjeros department of your nearest Policía Nacional station, fill in and sign an application form, and hand it in together with a recent passport sized photo. (N.B. When you get your photo done and if you wear glasses or earrings, take them off beforehand), a photocopy of your passport and your original passport. You must do this IN PERSON - you can't get anyone else to do it for you.

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3. How do Unpaid Bills and Taxes on a Property affect the New Owner?

Given the number of enquiries we are receiving regarding the legal implications of unpaid previous bills, invoices or mortgage installments on the property, we have done a short report showing how the new buyer would be affected in this scenario. Although we may sound repetitive, and certainly biased, take no chances and hire a Lawyer: a property purchase is possibly one of the most important decisions in life. more »

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4. What is the Plusvalía Tax in Spain?

The Plusvalía Tax is a tax set by the local authorities and based on the increase of the value of the land from the date the owner acquired the property to the time of the present sale. more »

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