How to buy real estate in Barcelona step by step

Published: 12 November of 2020

Whether you are looking at purchasing a property for your own private use or as part of an investment strategy, Barcelona Flat Hunter is here to ease the whole process. You will find in this section a detailed description of each of the steps required to buy real estate in Barcelona and how we will make it a hassle-free experience.

1. Project Definition


If you haven’t done so yet, feel free to fill out our Property Search Form, for a free consultation with one of our Barcelona Flat Hunter experts.

This consultation would allow to:

1. Validate your search: your dream property’s characteristics & budget versus current real estate prices in Barcelona.

2. Define the extent of the support needed: at Barcelona Flat Hunter we do not believe in “one package suits everyone”. Each client is unique and as such should only be charged for the services he actually needs. Whether you wish to do all pre-research but need someone to be your “eyes on the ground” and conduct the pre-visits on your behalf, or have already identified the potential property but wish to be assisted moving further, Barcelona Flat Hunter puts its expertise to your service.

3. Answer your questions: from general explanation on the purchasing & financing process to the market characteristics, real estate prices in Barcelona and trends, we are here to answer your questions.

4. Validate your financial plan: once the ideal property has been defined we will review together the financial structure of your future purchase. Should financing be needed, banks/brookers will be approached to ensure you get the adequate financing.

In Spain, offers require in most cases a down payment of 1% of the value of the property. The owner has then up to 7 days to give his answer, keeping in mind that the first person who makes an offer tends to have priority over all subsequent potential buyers (possibility to make a counter offer). If the offer is accepted, the 1% is considered as a first down payment, if it is refused then the amount is refunded entirely by the seller agency. Lastly, in case your offer is accepted but you change your mind, you would lose this deposit, it is thus essential to ensure all aspects of the future purchase have been addressed in writting within the offer document.

2. Flat Hunting

Picture on hand, we do all the groundwork, from liaising with our extensive network to checking online and going through pre-visit, we hunt on your behalf for your dream property.

Upon identifying and visiting properties that match your requirements, a visit report with pictures will be sent to you together with an assessment of the property real value based on real estate prices in Barcelona, state of maintenance of the property and specifics of the building. Renovation estimated budget and rental value can as well be provided upon demand to have a full potential return on investment estimate. Visits of selected apartments can then be organized to fit a short trip to Barcelona.

3. Offer

Once you found the gem you were looking for, we will assist you to make an offer in writing. This first step is essential as it not only states the amount you are ready to pay for the property (and we will ensure that it is in line with actual real estate prices in Barcelona after negotiation)  but as well the timeline within which you wish to complete the transaction and any conditions to be met to move forward.


At Barcelona Flat Hunter, client interest comes first. As such, prior making an offer, all aspects of the property will be cross checked to ensure that what was announced is correct and that there are no unpleasant surprises further down the road*.

Some of the verifications we carry out on your behalf:

1 – Property registry to check the owner name, capacity and whether there are any limitations on the property

2 – Land registry and urban planning to check that the property is not affected by any restrictions & was built according to the municipality plan

3 – Certificates of habitability & energy

4 – Building community decisions when it comes to any upcoming renovations of the common areas & state of the annual accounts

5 – Touristic appartment(s) (with licence) operating in the building

6 – Building Inspection Status & certificates

*Whenever any of the above points could not be checked prior to signing the offer, Barcelona Flat Hunter will condition your offer to these points to ensure your interest is protected.

4. Earnest Money Agreement / "Contrato de Arras"

The owner has accepted your offer and as such both sides are now ready to sign the earnest money agreement also usually referred to as “Contrato de Arras”. This contract is essential as it states all key aspects of the sales (price, timeline, description of the property, specifics), any conditions that would prevent the public purchase deed to take place as well as penalties in case of termination of said agreement. A payment by bank transfer of a minimum of 10% of the property value is required and you can either be present for the signature or mandate us or another person of your choice as your representative to sign on your behalf (in such case a power of attorney would need to be done in Barcelona during your first visit). The terms of this agreement will be carefully checked together with the documentation and a translation to English will be provided for your reference.

In Spain, under the earnest money agreement (referred to as “Contrato de Arras”), in the event of the buyer backing out of the agreement with no justified reasons (keeping in mind that these have to be specify in the agreement), the full amount of the deposit will be lost. If it is the seller who changed his mind, he must pay the buyer twice the amount of the deposit that was paid when the Arras was signed. Both sides’ interests are thus protected.

5. Formalities

The moment the arras contract has been signed and if you have not already done so, the following steps will need to take place right away:

1– A spanish bank account would need to be opened

2– The NIE (ID number for foreigners) requested

3– Should you be requesting a loan the assessment of the property value (called “tasación”) will need to be requested. This report will then be sent to the selected bank to move forward with the financing process. Do note that in Spain, banks tend to lend money based on the lowest amount between the purchase price and the assessed price.

Barcelona Flat Hunter will be able to assist you for all three and ease this part of the process too.

Once the account open, you would then need to transfer the amount needed for the purchase to this account for the spanish bank to prepare the certified bank checks that would be needed on the day of the signature.

Barcelona Flat Hunter will as well ensure that the notary of your choice receives all requested documents from the seller side prior to the day of the signature. These very same documents will be explained to you so that everything is clear prior to the signature day.

6. Deed Signature

All original support documents provided by the seller will be handed over to the notary and on your side upon presenting the original NIE, loan agreement and the certified bank cheques you will be all set.

Once the “escritura” signed, the seller will hand over the key of the property to you and the notary will prepare a copy of the signed agreement called “nota simple”. The original signed contract will be kept by the notary who will then carry forward all remaining procedures (taxes, registry) upon receiving a provision of funds from your side (approx 11% of the amount of the purchase).

7. Post Purchase Support

The support from Barcelona Flat Hunter includes a post signature assistance that includes ensuring all utilities contracts are changed to your name and your details provided to the property management company (and invoices domiciled to your account).

Wish to take a few steps further? Barcelona Flat Hunter can as well be your eyes on the ground for the renovation/decoration of your newly purchased property and assist with the furnishing/home staging as well as rent it out when you are away.

Validate your real estate project feasibility and get a free consultation with one of our experts

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