Property Ownership in Marbella: A Guide For European Investors

Property Marbella

Spain, particularly the luxurious coastal city of Marbella, has long been a popular destination for property investment. Whether you’re a European citizen looking for a holiday home, or a company seeking to expand its real estate portfolio, understanding the nuances of property ownership in Spain is crucial. This guide will explore the various ways to own property in Spain, the associated tax implications, fees, and potential benefits, with a special focus on Marbella.

Ownership Models

  1. European Citizens: European Union citizens can freely purchase property in Spain without any special permits. The process is straightforward and similar to that for Spanish nationals. You’ll need to obtain a NIE (Número de Identidad de Extranjero) number, which is a tax identification number for foreigners.
  2. European Companies: Companies based in the EU can also purchase property in Spain. The company will need to obtain a NIE number and register with the Spanish Commercial Registry. This process may involve more paperwork than individual purchases.
  3. Spanish Companies: Creating a Spanish company to purchase property is another option. This can be advantageous for tax purposes, especially for larger investments or multiple properties. The most common types are:
  • Sociedad Limitada (SL): Similar to a limited liability company
  • Sociedad Anónima (SA): Similar to a public limited company

Tax Implications

  1. Property Transfer Tax (ITP): When buying a resale property, you’ll need to pay ITP. The rate varies by region but is typically around 8-10% of the purchase price in Andalusia, where Marbella is located.
  2. VAT and Stamp Duty: For new properties, instead of ITP, you’ll pay VAT (10% for residential properties) plus stamp duty (usually 1.5%).
  3. Wealth Tax: Spain imposes a wealth tax on worldwide assets for residents, and on Spanish assets for non-residents. Rates vary depending on the region and the value of assets.
  4. Non-Resident Income Tax: If you’re a non-resident owner, you’ll be liable for a nominal income tax, even if you don’t rent out the property.
  5. Capital Gains Tax: When selling a property, you’ll be subject to capital gains tax on the profit. The rate is 19% for EU residents and 24% for non-EU residents.

Fees Associated with Property Purchases

  1. Notary Fees: Typically range from 0.5% to 1% of the purchase price.
  2. Land Registry Fees: Usually around 0.4% of the purchase price.
  3. Legal Fees: It’s advisable to hire a lawyer, which typically costs around 1% of the purchase price.
  4. Real Estate Agent Fees: Usually paid by the seller, these can be 3-6% of the sale price.
  5. Mortgage Costs: If you’re taking out a mortgage, expect additional fees such as the mortgage arrangement fee, valuation fee, and mortgage stamp duty.

Tax Benefits of Different Models

  1. Individual Ownership:
  • Simplest structure for small investments
  • Potential tax deductions for mortgage interest (for residents)
  • Possible to claim expenses against rental income
  1. Company Ownership:
  • Can be more tax-efficient for larger investments or multiple properties
  • Easier to manage inheritance and succession planning
  • Potential to offset property expenses against company income
  • May offer more privacy as the company, not the individual, appears on public records
  1. Spanish Company vs. Foreign Company:
  • Spanish companies may have easier access to local financing
  • Foreign companies may benefit from double taxation treaties between Spain and their home country

Additional Considerations for Buying Property in Marbella

  1. Golden Visa Program: Previously, non-EU citizens investing at least €500,000 in Spanish real estate could apply for a “Golden Visa,” granting residency rights in Spain. However, it’s crucial to note that the Spanish government has recently announced plans to eliminate this program. The exact timeline for this change hasn’t been finalized as of my last update, but it’s expected to happen in the near future.

For investors considering this route:

  • Urgency: If obtaining a Golden Visa is a key factor in your decision to purchase property in Spain, it’s advisable to act quickly. The window of opportunity is closing, and delays could result in missing out on this program entirely.
  • Due diligence: While there’s a sense of urgency, it’s still crucial to conduct thorough due diligence on any property investment. Rushing into a purchase without proper research could lead to complications later.
  • Alternative options: Start exploring alternative residency options in case you’re unable to secure a Golden Visa before the program ends. Spain offers other residency permits, such as non-lucrative visas or entrepreneur visas, which might be suitable alternatives depending on your situation.
  • Legal advice: Given the changing nature of this program, it’s more important than ever to seek current legal advice. An immigration lawyer can provide the most up-to-date information and guide you through the process while the program is still available.
  • Investment considerations: Remember that while the Golden Visa program is ending, investing in Spanish property can still be beneficial for other reasons. Consider your long-term goals beyond just obtaining residency.
  • Monitor official channels: Keep an eye on official government announcements for the most accurate information about the program’s end date and any potential replacement schemes.
  1. Location Matters: Marbella has various zones, each with its own character and price point. From the exclusive Golden Mile to more affordable areas like San Pedro de Alcántara, research thoroughly to find the best fit for your needs and budget.
  2. Property Types: Marbella offers a wide range of property types, from luxurious villas and penthouse apartments to more modest townhouses. Consider your intended use (holiday home, permanent residence, or rental investment) when choosing.
  3. Rental Potential: If you’re considering renting out your property, be aware of local regulations. Short-term holiday rentals in Andalusia require a license and must meet certain standards.
  4. Community Fees: Many properties in Marbella are part of communities with shared facilities. Be sure to factor in annual community fees when budgeting.
  5. Construction Quality: Spain has strict building regulations, but it’s still wise to have a survey done, especially for older properties.
  6. Energy Efficiency: Since 2013, all properties for sale or rent must have an Energy Performance Certificate. This can impact both running costs and resale value.
  7. Off-Plan Purchases: Buying off-plan can offer good value, but comes with risks. Ensure you’re working with reputable developers and that your payments are protected.
  8. Water Supply: Some areas of Marbella have faced water supply issues. Check the property’s water rights and supply situation before purchasing.
  9. Future Developments: Research any planned developments in the area that could impact your property’s value or your enjoyment of it.
  10. Healthcare: Consider proximity to healthcare facilities, especially if you’re planning to retire in Marbella.
  11. Inheritance Laws: Spanish inheritance laws can be complex, especially for non-residents. Consider how you want to pass on your property and seek legal advice on the best way to structure ownership.

Buying property in Marbella can be an excellent investment, whether for personal use or as a rental property. However, it’s crucial to understand the various ownership models, tax implications, and additional considerations before making a purchase.

While the process of buying property in Spain is generally straightforward, especially for EU citizens, it’s always advisable to work with local professionals. A good lawyer, tax advisor, and real estate agent can help navigate the complexities of Spanish property law, ensure all necessary due diligence is completed, and help you structure your purchase in the most advantageous way.

Remember that tax laws and property regulations can change, as evidenced by the upcoming changes to the Golden Visa program. Always verify the most current information when planning your property purchase. With careful planning and professional advice, owning property in Marbella can be a rewarding experience, offering a blend of lifestyle benefits and potential financial returns.


About Agent

Magdalena Ringel

Real Estate Broker

+48 733 773 777

Get in touch if you would like further guidance on this subject or want to know anything else about the lifestyle you could have living in Marbella

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