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PROPERTY

Property in Spain: What is the ‘nota simple’ and why is it so important?

If you're interested in buying a particular property in Spain, one of the documents you have to make sure you obtain before paying for or signing anything is this land registry certificate called 'la nota simple'. Here's why it matters so much and how to get it.

Real estate agents work wearing masks at the Remax / Casagrande real state agency in Sevilla on May 28, 2020
Make sure you get the nota simple before you sign a deposit contract for a property you like in Spain. Photo: Cristina Quicler/AFP

If you’re house hunting in Spain, it probably feels as though there’s a hundred different things to remember in order to cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s of the Spanish property system.

While there can be a number of hoops to jump through, one thing you must not forget is the nota simple.

But what is it? And why is it so important?

In basic terms, the nota simple is a detailed report of a property that is on the market.

They are crucial because they contain a full description of each property, what condition it’s in, who the legal owner is, when they bought it, any debts or legal charges against the property, defined use of the land, and any community costs for which prospective buyers would become liable. 

This Land Registry Certificate also contains the IDUFIR (Identificador Único de Finca Registral – Unique Property Identification Code) and practical information like the square footage, physical boundaries, alterations made to the property, and, most importantly, confirms who the legal property owner is so you can’t be defrauded. 

That’s why, in the event that you view a property that you like, it’s very important that you request the nota simple before you sign a deposit contract on said home to guarantee it’s reserved for you. If you discover something about the property which dissuades you from buying it, many banks and investment firms will not reimburse you the reserva (deposit) amount from this agreement, which is usually between 1 and 5 percent the value of the property.

Discrepancies 

It is not unheard of in Spain for property owners to not update the nota simple when they make changes to the property. If this happens to you during your house hunt, be sure to raise it with the owner immediately, and any third-party estate agents or letters you are dealing with.

Discrepancies between the nota simple and what you see when you go to view the property can have legal and financial ramifications: if, as is common, the nota simple is not up to date, mortgage lenders are obliged by law to make offers based on the lower reported value.

 

How to get la nota simple

You can request the nota simple in person at your closest land registry office, but note that it will only be available in Spanish and there should be a legitimate interest in buying the property.

If you’ve viewed the property through local estate agents, it’s also worth asking them if they can provide you with a copy. 

Alternatively, the process can be completed online at https://sede.registradores.org/site/home. 

The price of getting a nota simple varies depending on where you are in Spain but it’s usually cheaper to get it in person (around €3) and more expensive if done online (around €9). 

You’ll need the name of the owner – whether that be an individual or company – and their ID or passport numbers, or alternatively you can search the property’s finca number.

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PROPERTY

How does Spain’s new website to find cheap homes up for auction work?

Spain’s Tax Agency has created a new web page where you can find great bargains on properties sold at auction. Here’s what you need to know.

How does Spain's new website to find cheap homes up for auction work?

If you’re looking for a property to buy in Spain, one option you may want to consider is buying a home at auction, where you will often pay below the market value.

In Spain, the Agencia Tributaria or Tax Agency owns many properties, most of which have been repossessed or seized due to outstanding debt.

Many of these properties are put up for auction, enabling you to get some great bargains. Up until now, it has been difficult to find out when these auctions are held and the details of the homes being sold, but recently the Agencia Tributaria launched a new web page providing all this information.

The page provides details on all the properties in all the different provinces across the country and is dedicated to the sale of homes, garages, plots of land and commercial spaces with prices from just €20,000. You can access the site here

When you get to the page, simply click on the province that you’re interested in and you’ll find a list of all the properties to be sold at auction there, including photos, information on the size and number of rooms, a description, and a guide price.

The site will also give you financial information such as the minimum bid amount, the auction value and an appraisal of the property.

When you find some properties that you’re interested in, you can go and log-in with your [email protected] PIN to save them to your favourites list and receive notifications to your phone about the date of the auction.

READ ALSO: How to save lots of time on official matters through Spain’s online [email protected] system

According to property giant Idealista in order to place a bid, you must pay 5 percent of the starting price and when the auction is over, if you are the highest bidder, you will have to pay the remaining amount within a particular time frame. You can pay this in cash or through a mortgage. 

Be aware that you may also have to pay several fees, as well as the price of the property such as the Patrimonial Transfer Tax and Tax on Documented Legal Acts. 

If you register on the Auction Portal with your digital certificate or a username and password, you will also be able to see the bids that have already been made on the home, as well as the cadastral reference. You may also be able to place provisional bids ahead of time.

For those who are unsure of how the auction process works in Spain or are nervous about going to their first auction, the Tax Agency website also details all the auction and bidding procedures. For any other information that you can’t find online, you can call 91 598 63 34.

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