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How to buy an apartment in Barcelona

We tell you what it takes to buy an apartment in Barcelona

Barcelona is undoubtedly one of the most important and exciting cities in Europe: its multicultural atmosphere and numerous cultural events, traditions, and gastronomic variety, its beaches and the sea, sports and outdoor activities favored by the warm climate, attract a growing number of people from all over the world every day, who intend to invest in the real estate field or buy their new property.

When deciding to buy a property without being a resident in Spain, it is important to consider some important aspects, have some specific documents, and take into account some basic premises. First of all, you have to choose the area of the city where you intend to buy. It is very important to consider what the intentions of use will be for the property, before choosing the type of apartment and its location. It is necessary to distinguish whether you prefer an apartment to stay in during sporadic visits to the city or if you prefer it for renting. In any case, it is always preferable to rent in the city center: its vitality and the efficiency of public transport will make your accommodation simpler and more pleasant or will help the apartment to be rented more quickly.

After choosing the area and calculating the amount you are willing to spend for the acquisition of the property and to cover related costs, you must decide the type of desired property, establishing a priority and preference order: a large or small apartment, with one, two or more bedrooms, already renovated or to be renovated.

Being able to rely on a trusted and recommended local agent is essential: their job is to interpret your needs and desires, make the search easier, and propose various options.

At the end of the selection process, when you decide to acquire a specific property, it is necessary to follow the following steps:

  1. After choosing the preferred property, it is necessary to formalize your selection by sending a declaration of interest to the agency. At that time, our agency will send you the Property Registry title, which certifies the owner’s name, the measurements of the property, the existence of loans or previous debts with reference to the property, thus avoiding unpleasant surprises. During this phase, no payment should be made.
  2. Reservation of the property. After knowing the legal situation of the property, it is necessary to formally declare your interest by submitting a purchase offer and paying a reservation fee. The purchase offer specifies the economic proposal and the preferred payment option, as well as the main duties of the seller and the buyer (this phase is entirely managed by the real estate agency).
  3. When the negotiation on the price is successfully concluded, the next step is the signing of the private contract with the seller. Between seller and buyer, it is indeed preferable to stipulate a private contract until the time of the deed is carried out. Normally, this is a document in which the seller declares his willingness to transfer the property to the buyer and that, in turn, the buyer expresses the decision to buy at the previously established price and conditions. In this circumstance, the buyer will pay the seller 15% of the value established for the property. In Spain, the typical model of pre-contract, called a “contract of arras,” establishes that if the buyer were to withdraw the offer, once the contract of arras is signed, he would lose the 15% paid. In the case that it is the seller who withdraws, he must pay the buyer twice the amount paid by the buyer. In particular cases, when the purchase process can be concluded quickly, point 2) can be avoided, and the two parties can proceed directly to the deed.
  4. The final step is the signing of the Public Deed. In the presence of a notary, the buyer will pay the remaining amount, and the seller will deliver the property title deed.

These are the necessary documents that must be presented to the notary:

  • an identity document (or an official delegation document) from both parties,
  • the original property title deed of the seller
  • and the buyer’s checks for payment.

Once both the buyer and the seller have signed the deed, the notary will affix his protocol signature. All that remains is to pay the taxes on the purchase-sale.

Taxes and expenses

For the buyer:

  • Property transfer tax (I.T.P.) – 10%
  • Notary expenses, stamps, and registration with the Central Property Registry: between 0.5% and 2%. This changes if the property is purchased with or without a mortgage.
  • The buyer will be transparently informed, at the end of the negotiation phase, about the total amount of taxes and fees, before signing the contract of arras.

For the seller:

  • The local tax called plusvalía (in some cases, both parties decide that the buyer pays it). With a copy of the deed, the seller must go to the municipal offices. After filling out the necessary form, he will receive information by mail about the exact amount to be paid. The amount is calculated based on the number of years the property has been owned and the real value of the property determined by the property registry.
  • The seller will also have to take care of the administrative expenses necessary for the cancellation of previous debts if necessary (mortgage, debts related to community expenses, etc.)

Real estate agencies in Catalonia

In Catalonia, there is an official registry of real estate agents (AICAT), through which each agent who wants to work as a professional in their city must certify their skills and present a civil liability policy. As a professional real estate agency, Casc Antic BCN has its own registration number (no. 3272) to be able to offer its clients the greatest guarantees of trust and credibility, especially for those foreign clients who need official protection in the real estate market jungle. Real estate agencies in Spain charge their costs to the seller; the buyer will not have to pay any commission to the agency for purchase transactions. The buyer can, on their own, request special services before and after the purchase. Assistance in obtaining a NIE (foreigner identity number), opening a Spanish bank account, applying for a loan. Bureaucratic management after purchase (for example, changing the owner of services such as water, electricity, or gas). Project for small and large property renovations, interior designs, custom furniture, etc.

Documents that the seller must present to the buyer:

  • Property title deed.
  • Note issued by the Central Property Registry.
  • Property tax (I.B.I.).
  • Certificate of regularity of payments in installments issued by the community administrator.
  • Habitability certificate.
  • Energetic certificate.

Documents required by thebuyer:

  • N.I.E (Foreigner Identification Number). It can be obtained through the foreign office in Barcelona, which is in fact a police station. To obtain an N.I.E., it is necessary to present the passport and fill out the assigned form. If it is not possible to present it personally, it is possible to formally delegate someone else to carry out the procedure.
  • Management Service: advice throughout the process of obtaining the N.I.E. (optional).
  • Opening a Spanish bank current account is another requirement. It will serve to transfer money for the purchase of the property from an account outside Spain. This step must be carried out personally by the buyer.
  • Deed registration. It must be done through the Registry Office. Normally the same notary by which the deed is signed takes care of this point.

Catalan bureaucracy is relatively fast and efficient, although it could be complicated for an international buyer. Therefore, our agency, Casc Antic BCN S.L., offers the necessary assistance to obtain the documents and meet the conditions necessary for the acquisition of a property.

Buying to rent in Barcelona

Barcelona is a constant attraction for young people, students, workers, and tourists from Spain and different areas of Europe and the world. This is due, among other things, to its strategic geographical position and being the second-largest city in Spain. Thanks to its warm climate, Barcelona is also overtaking Amsterdam as the gay capital of Europe, being one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world. Barcelona, a city of contrasts and continuous changes: its cultural activities, universities, sports events, tourist attractions, nightlife, beach, and good weather are just some of the numerous reasons to choose this city to buy a new property or make an investment.

The demand for rental apartments is high, especially in centrally located areas well connected by public transport. This demand has sustained the rent, keeping it between 4.4% and 6% of the property value.

average m2 price in Barcelona

Casc Antic BCN has specialized in dedicated assistance to property owners for rent. We choose the perfect tenant, ask for all the necessary references to ensure the landlords’ peace of mind. We also offer home repair and maintenance services.

With our experience, we will be able to advise you on when, where, and how to buy an apartment in the old town of Barcelona with the intention of renting it out.
It is important to clarify some points:

  • The growing demand for rental apartments is located in the central neighborhoods of Barcelona, particularly in the Ciutat Vella (the old town), which attracts young people from all over the world for its fervent cultural and social life, and for its proximity to the beach.
  • When renting an apartment, it is always recommended to show it furnished, fully equipped, freshly painted, and clean, ready to be inhabited. It is important because if the apartment is in good condition, the tenants will be better, we can rent the property more quickly, and better defend its value.
  • We have a very low risk of error, the profile of the tenants that our agency chooses and the legal precautions we take, allow us to affirm it.
  • Property sale prices have decreased by approximately 40% after the real estate boom that took place in Spain between 1995 and 2007.
  • If you choose us, you will not have to pay any commission to our agency for the rental. All location costs will be borne by the new tenants.
  • When we manage the rental of your property, we are able to rent it out quickly, through the publication and best positioning of ads on the most important Spanish portals, because buying and renting an apartment in Barcelona through us is the right investment.

Real Estate Investments in Barcelona

Barcelona, Capital of Catalonia, thanks to its constant growth, has become one of the most important economic centers in Europe, truly a good city for business. Thanks to its privileged position on the coast of the Mediterranean, together with the attention to innovation and technological development that is part of the city’s identity, in 2008 it was chosen as the headquarters for the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean and, in the same year, it was chosen as the fourth most important city for business after London, Paris, and Frankfurt (according to Cushman & Wakefield’s European Cities Monitor, in September 2008). It has also been chosen as the second city in the world for the organization of international congresses (according to the International Congress & Convention Association).
Barcelona is undoubtedly a young city, for its initiative regarding the future. Money invested in this city can generate high levels of satisfaction for a wide number of reasons. Here are ten of them published on the official website of the Barcelona City Council:

  1. A privileged position. Barcelona is the gateway to Southern Europe, the center of an emerging economic Euroregion, the capital of the Mediterranean area, a bridge to North Africa, and a connection platform with Latin America.
  2. Accessible and connected toother countries. With a new intercontinental airport, a seaport in constant expansion (leading port in the Mediterranean), and land connections through the railway and the European road network.
  3. Engine of a wide, dynamic, and varied economic area. With a great industrial tradition and a large business fabric, Barcelona is committed to intense economic activity based on research and particularly on advanced services and the new economy.
  4. Success of foreign investments. Catalonia hosts approximately 25% of foreign investment in Spain. Barcelona hosts more than 3,300 foreign companies established in Catalonia, approximately 90% of the total.
  5. Great future projects. Barcelona is currently undergoing a major process of historical transformation, with significant public investments and greater opportunities for private initiative.
  6. National and international human capital. Barcelona hosts the best economic schools in Europe and top-level universities internationally. This makes it easier to create and attract talent. Studying in Barcelona is a guarantee of success.
  7. Wide real estate offer. Barcelona has a large number of offices, commercial premises, and commercial buildings available at truly competitive prices and truly high-quality standards. Due to its attributes, the city attracts many people from all over the world every day. Even having experienced, like the rest of Europe, the great real estate crisis of 2007, which produced a drop in prices of approximately 40%, the city has found a way to react. Thanks to its intense economic activity, Barcelona has been able to increase the level of real estate investments in the old town area, where the demand for rental or sale properties is very high, especially by students, researchers, and businessmen who choose to live in this part of the city. Today, the number of real estate transactions in the old town has returned to grow, as well as the attraction that Barcelona creates in foreign investors. The possibility of acquiring properties at convenient prices, compared to those of other European capitals, is real.
  8. Cooperation between public and private sectors. The Barcelona model, recognized internationally, has developed thanks to the perfect cooperation between the public and private sectors.
  9. Excellent quality of life. A city in which to work and live, a city that, in addition to its warm climate, with sun all year round, offers a range of cultural and commercial opportunities, a modern healthcare system accessible to all, safe and efficient public transport, a Mediterranean lifestyle, and an urban environment with peculiar characteristics.
  10. Worldwide recognized prestige. Various studies and statistics carried out by independent international organizations indicate the primacy of Barcelona.

Our Services

Comprehensive real estate advice:
Casc Antic BCN S.L. is our agency in Barcelona. We will guide and advise you until the purchasing process is successful. Our knowledge of the city’s real estate market allows us to offer you the best service if you intend to buy an apartment, as an investment or second home, if you are thinking of moving permanently to Barcelona. We specialize in the buyer and seller market, our salespeople can assist you in local languages, Spanish, Catalan, and also in English, French, and Italian.

We can offer, thanks to our associated architects, the restructuring of your apartment and the complete decoration of your newly acquired property.
We can show you various design alternatives to renovate, refresh, and modernize the apartment you have purchased, take care of the works, and return it in perfect condition, ready to be inhabited and rented.

Bureaucratic procedures:
Processing and bureaucratic management represent undoubtedly a difficult obstacle when you intend to buy a property, especially from abroad. Our lawyers can visibly simplify this process and your relationship with the Spanish public administration.

Legal and tax assistance:
If you wish, at any time you can count on the lawyers who collaborate with our agency. They can explain the legal requirements for purchase operations and resolve your doubts regarding these types of operations.

We can rely on the availability of a prestigious notary in Barcelona and thus guarantee our clients the highest level of security in legal terms and personalized assistance when signing the purchase-sale contract and the deed for the acquired property.

Rental of acquired properties:
Through Casc Antic BCN S.L., our agency based in Barcelona, we offer the best services for renting your property purchased as an investment. We have all the experience and necessary tools to ensure a rental with the best guarantees of tranquility, security, and regularity in payments.

Management and administration of rentals

This department is intended to provide comprehensive service to owners of rental properties, facilitating the management (collections, solution of various problems, maintenance, etc.) of their assets even if they are living in different countries outside of Spain.
This management has a cost of 6% plus VAT of the monthly rent, assuming our department all the problems that arise on a day-to-day basis with the tenants of the rented properties, giving the owner all the peace of mind.

Our Customers Help Us Improve Every Day

tommaso argenton
tommaso argenton
9 Marzo 2024
¡Mi experiencia con Casc Antic y Federico fue absolutamente increíble! Adquirir mi piso en el Barrio Gótico fue una experiencia sin igual gracias al impecable trato que recibí. Federico se destacó por su profesionalismo y dedicación, asegurando que cada paso del proceso fuera fluido y sin complicaciones. Recomiendo encarecidamente esta inmobiliaria a cualquier persona que busque realizar sus sueños de propiedad en Barcelona. ¡No podrían haber hecho un mejor trabajo!
Daniela Mascheroni Fankhauser
Daniela Mascheroni Fankhauser
20 Octubre 2023
Fui atendida por Carlos, he recibido un trato muy amable y profesional me ha acompañado y aconsejado durante todo el proceso de compra, se ha encargado de resolver los inconvenientes que fueron surgiendo siempre con total predisposición a diferencia de otras inmobiliarias el trato es muy personal recomendable 100%
20 Octubre 2023
Vendi mi piso con esta inmobiliaria y la súper recomiendo. Carlos muy amable, servicio rápido y eficiente. Gracias!
David Asensio
David Asensio
19 Octubre 2023
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Our Team of Experts

Paula Ghiotto

Paula Ghiotto

  • Properties: 3
  • Language: Catalán, Castellano, Portugués e Inglés
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Jenaro López

Jenaro López

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  • Language: Catalán, Castellano
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Carlos Cieza

Carlos Cieza

Office Managing Partner
  • Properties: 12
  • Language: Castellano, Inglés
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Claudio Lo Curlo

Claudio Lo Curlo

Founding Partner
  • Language: Castellano, Italiano, Inglés
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