BIG MONEY QUESTION: I have a small holiday home in Spain that I want to sell – how do I go about it?

In our new series, we answer YOUR burning money questions…

I have a small holiday home in Spain that I have decided to sell. How do I do this? IC, Lincolnshire.

Ruth Jackson-Kirby answers: Selling property can be stressful under the best of circumstances, but add in currency exchange and another country’s laws and things get even more complicated.

Fortunately, hundreds of thousands of Brits own property in Spain, so there is plenty of support for those looking to sell.

For sale: Hundreds of thousands of Brits own property in Spain, so there’s plenty of support for those looking to sell

Peter Robinson, executive chairman of the Association of International Property Professionals (AIPP), says the good news is that you should get a listing with an agent fairly quickly as the market in Spain is currently strong and agents are short on inventory.

“Just be careful who you choose, or your property may not sell in the timeframe you want or it may not be a pleasant experience,” he adds.

The best way to find a good agent is through referrals from people you know. If you can’t get a personal tip, make sure you contact several different agents and choose the one you think offers the best service.

Look for agents who have previously bought and sold properties for UK owners.

Also check if your preferred agent is a member of a professional body such as Agente de la Propiedad Inmobiliaria (API). Members are regulated and there are complaint procedures and liability insurance for your protection. AIPP also has a list of 180 agents who specialize in selling real estate internationally. Go to

Sales commissions can be around five percent, reflecting the higher costs of international marketing, typically in the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Scandinavia.

If you have an agent, make sure there is a clear written agreement that covers the fee you pay and any other expenses.

You don’t have to have an attorney, but it’s a good idea. Find someone who speaks good English and they can take care of the selling for you.

You can find a list of English-speaking Spanish-speaking lawyers at gov. uk/government/publications/spain-list-of-lawyers.

As you no doubt remember when you bought a property, Spanish law requires you to have a notary public. Their role is to check the correctness of all sales documents, ensure taxes are paid and register the sale with the Spanish Land Registry.

The notary is a neutral party and you must agree on one with the buyer. There are thousands of notaries in Spain and they work on fixed rates, so you don’t have to shop around – just look for someone with a good reputation.

Fortunately for you, the buyer usually pays the notary fees as part of the sale price.

To make your sale go smoothly, get all the paperwork in order right away.

You will need to provide title deeds to the property, as well as receipts proving that you have paid local council property tax, details of your community bylaws, a list of any furniture that will be included in the sale and copies of your utility bills.

The sales process is quite similar to the UK, but with one key difference. After the contracts are signed, the buyer puts down a deposit – usually 10 percent of the sale price. If the buyer refuses, he loses the deposit; if you change your mind, you may be required to pay a double deposit as compensation.

Once the sale is complete, you need to consider how you are going to transfer the Euros you received back to the UK into pounds sterling.

“Be careful who you use to transfer your proceeds, your bank will give you a terrible conversion rate,” says Robinson.

“We recommend using an independent, regulated currency provider.”

Finally, don’t forget about tax. In Spain there is a capital gains tax that will need to be paid.

In addition, there is a ‘capital gains tax’ on any increase in the value of the land your home is on, which is paid to the local Spanish municipality.

The sale may also be subject to capital gains tax in the UK, but the UK and Spain have a Double Taxation Agreement, so you only have to pay tax in one country.

If you’re a UK resident, HMRC will usually credit any tax you’ve paid in Spain.

Your notary will ensure that you pay all taxes due in Spain. Your solicitor should be able to help you sort out if you owe UK tax.


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