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Finding, Buying and Renting Property for Expats in Spain

Author: Jim Newham
Submitted: July 2013

Finding Property

In Spain, flats account for most of the available accommodation. If you are already in Spain, you can start your search for accommodation by looking through the classified adverts (anuncios clasificados) in local newspapers and small ad publications. You can find these in newsagents or at kiosks on street corners. Alternatively, you could go around the area looking for Se Alquila (For Rent) or Se Vende (For Sale) signs; you may even find adverts on lamp-posts.

You can use the same methods if you are buying property, though it is more common to use a local estate agent in this case. If you are not in Spain, whether renting or buying your best option is the internet. Some popular property web sites are:



Prices for rented accommodation are relatively low in most of Spain, and currently falling in many areas. The current average rental price for flats in Spain is €667 per month. You can find a full list of average rental prices by province here:


The down payment you will have to make when you start renting is typically the standard first month’s rent in advance plus one month’s rent as deposit. Landlords of furnished properties often ask for two or even three months’ deposit. If you go through a letting agency, their standard ‘administration’ fee is an extra month’s rent. Some rental properties may additionally require a bank guarantee. This means that the bank keeps six month’s rent as security in case you violate your contract. This is probably not worth it even if you find it affordable.

There are two main types of rental contract in Spain. Short-term (temporada) contracts are chiefly aimed at Spain’s massive holiday rental market, and are therefore most commonest in those areas. These contracts last the length of the holiday, that is, only last for a fortnight or so.

If you want rent a property in Spain for a longer time, you will need a long-term (vivienda) contract. These are cheaper than temporada contracts. In places away from the main tourist areas, such as Madrid, you may not be able to find anything shorter than a 12 month contract.

Buying property

The Spanish housing market is in a bad state at the moment. After an unsustainable property bubble collapsing at the start of the current global crisis, mortgages are hard to come by and house building has all but stopped. The average house price in Spain is currently €220,000, and prices are continuing to fall. Nevertheless, the domestic market has been harder hit than the market for second homes. Non-resident house purchases have seen increases recently; no doubt some people feel there are bargains to be found. 

If you find a house you want to buy, you will of course need to check that it is structurally sound and does not contain any defects. For more information on surveying and likely structural defects to be found in Spanish buildings, you can go here:


You will also need to check there are no legal problems with the property, such as already having a mortgage, which is a possibility in Spain. You can apply for this information at the Property Registry (Registro de la Propriedad) which registered the house. For more details, see:


When the time comes to reaching an agreement, you should be aware that, unless you are not financing the purchase with a mortgage, you will need a notary to be present. The notary draws up a notarial deed containing the purchase agreements from both sides, what both sides want to get out of the agreement and other essential information. Once this is done, and the funds are delivered, the sale is effectively completed.



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