Pitfalls of buying a property in spain

pitfalls of buying a property in spain

Are you looking for more information about the pitfalls of buying a property in Spain?

If you are looking for a property in Spain because you would like to live here, you should know certain characteristics about the real estate sector in the country, as well as the possible pitfalls that you could face.

At our luxury real estate in Barcelona we always take care of our clients, which is why we want to prevent your money from being manipulated. Below, we explain the most common pitfalls when buying a property in Spain (all we will give you, are based on our extended experience in Barcelona city and surroundings). Let’s start.

The most common pitfalls when buying a property in Spain

Buying a property requires time and money, but not only that, it also requires a lot of attention since there are many traps in the real estate market which can even lead to bankruptcy.

If you want to avoid having problems in the short and long term, we recommend you to read below what we at Bcn Advisors have prepared for you. Here you have all the things you must have into account in case you are looking for a house in Spain, and available too if you are looking for apartments for sale in Barcelona.

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Purchase tax

When the fiscal value of a home is declared, there are two prices: estimated valuation and purchase price on the market. If the price of the first is higher than that of the second, you will have to pay the difference in taxes, in addition, the Spanish authorities will claim the difference if you pay below the tax rate, so you should pay close attention to the purchase tax. We recommend you to read one of our articles where we talk about the cost of buying a property in Spain, having into account the transfer tax on resealing a property in Barcelona.

Illegal properties

Believe it or not, it is very common for some buyers to try to sell a house that is not registered in the land registry, that is, it was built in a totally illegal way, so the town hall registry does not state that the house exists. If you have a property in the catalan city, here we will help you on how to sell your house in Barcelona.

To avoid this we recommend two options; that you buy your house through a professional real estate agent or that you hire a good lawyer to investigate the land (this second option is more expensive, both in terms of money and time).

In case it turns out that the house was built on illegal land, you will need to instruct the seller to resolve all legal issues, otherwise you will lose your deposit.

Residence in Spain

Can a foreigner buy a house in Spain? Which documents do I need? Do I need to have a residential visa for buying a property in Spain as an American, for example? These are the most frequent questions people make us.

Foreigners can only stay in Spain for a maximum of 3 months. After this, you will need to acquire a residential visa.

These visas are fairly simple to fill out and apply for, so you won’t have to go through an expensive process.

If you want to move to Spain during the winter, you will have to face additional residence costs.


If you buy a villa or an apartment in Spain, you will have to pay an extra maintenance fee for common areas, such as the pool. You should always keep this in mind as the lack of a payment can lead to large legal actions and even the loss of a property.

Luckily, at Bcn Advisors we always notify our clients of each and every one of the extra payments that they will have to face with the purchase of a property. According to that, here we let you another article where talk to you about the cost of living in Barcelona (something useful in case you choose the catalan capital if you are comparing the cost of living in Barcelona vs Madrid).

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Not understanding the contract

It is very common for foreign buyers to think that the process of buying a house or flat is the same as in their country of origin, so they never take enough time to understand the contract. This can cause great economic problems because, when they sign it, they are assuming certain payment obligations that, sometimes, they cannot meet.

We recommend that you read the contract carefully with the help of your real estate agent. In this way, you will avoid costs that the seller would have to pay.

Financial mismanagement

Before starting to look for a house or flat, it is important that you order all the financial matters that you have pending. Remember that you will need to factor in mortgage fees, additional purchase costs, maintenance, and annual running costs (among others).

If you manage your financial situation, it will be much easier for you to find a house to buy.


When buying an older property, keep in mind that renovations or extensions have most likely been carried out. There are many owners who, in these cases, decide not to declare the changes in the property and, in this way, illegally save a little money.

Everything must be declared, whether it is an additional room or a swimming pool. For this reason, it is important that the real estate agency with which you are going to buy your house be as professional and effective as possible. Otherwise, the burden of the debt will fall on the buyer.

These are just some of the aspects that you will have to take into account if you want to buy a property in Spain. We recommend that you always contact a real estate agency that has great professionals in order to avoid any type of trap.

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In case you are looking for a property in the wonderful city of Barcelona, at Bcn Advisors we can help you find it and avoid scams. We’re here to serve you!

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