Real estate FAQ

A) I want to buy an flat

1) Where can I look for a flat?

Currently the most common ways to search for a flat are through real estate portals on the Internet, through a real estate agency or through a Real Estate Personal Shopper (REPS).

In the first case, the portals with the greatest real estate offer are Fotocasa, Idealista and Habitaclia; all have search engines so you can select the characteristics of your ideal flat.

The agencies have their own portfolios, with the advantage that they know all the details of the floors, so you will save time and be advised by a professional.

The Real Estate Personal Shopper (REPS) is a professional specialized in finding, among all the offer of agencies and individuals, the floors that fit your preferences, select the best ones and negotiate their price for you.

2) Where should I go first, to the bank or to the real estate?

If you need financing to buy a flat, it is advisable that before you start visiting flats you will be informed of the mortgage conditions in several entities or through a financial advisor. Although not yet decided by any mortgage in particular, the important thing is that you have the information on how much it can cost the mortgage you want to pay. This will allow you to focus your search on prices that fit your needs. Once you have located the floor that interests you, it will be time to negotiate with the entity that offers the best conditions.

3) What expenses will I have to pay?

When making the purchase of a flat, you must take care of several expenses:

  • Notary: You must pay the fees of the Notary for making the deed of sale. The fees are fixed by the Government, but may vary depending on the price of the apartment or the length of the deed. They tend to oscillate between 1% and 1.5% of the purchase price. Property Registry: Once the Deed is signed, it is registered in the Property Registry, so that the change of ownership is publicly recorded. The registration fees are not fixed and will vary according to the value of the property and its characteristics. It does not usually exceed 1% of the final price. You can delegate this management to an agency paying your fees.
  • I.T.P. (Property Transfer Tax): It is a tax that taxes the purchase of a second-hand home. The amount varies according to the Autonomous Community. In Catalonia, the purchase deed is 10% of the purchase value indicated. It must be paid once the deed of sale has been made and this management can be delegated to an agency or to the Notary paying its fees.
  • Mortgage: If you buy the house with a mortgage, you must add to the expenses of Stamp Duty Tax, in addition to the expenses charged by the financial institution (appraiser, opening costs ...). The amount of this tax varies according to the Autonomous Community and ensures the registration of the mortgage in the Land Registry. If the home buys it in Barcelona, it pays 1.5%.

4) What is a Real Estate Personal Shopper (REPS)?

It is a real estate professional specialized in the search and selection of flats among all the market offer of individuals and agencies. Its functions are to guide and advise you throughout the search and purchase process, find flats that meet your specific criteria in the areas you need, present all that are available in the market and recommend the best ones to choose the ones you want to visit . Once you have made the purchase decision, the Real Estate Personal Shopper will be responsible for the negotiation and closing of the home, with the advantage that is an expert in the market and will always look after your interests. Your goal is to find the floor you need safely and efficiently, saving time and doubts.

5) What is an deposit contract?

The deposit or deposit contract, also known as advance, is a private contract where the buyer and seller express their mutual interest in the sale of a property or home and agree on the conditions and terms for the purchase thereof, giving as evidence a quantity of money in concept of signal (on account of the price). It is part of the so-called pre-contracts, given that what is being hired is the obligation to sign a contract (the purchase agreement) in the future.

There are three types of arras based on the intention of the parties: Confirmatory, criminal and penitential. The most usual thing is to sign some penitential deposits, which indicate that in case the buyer desists to buy he will lose the amount delivered and if the seller is the one who gives up, he will have to return the amount received twice; according to article 1454 of the Civil Code.

It is usual that if the sale is made through the intermediation of an agency, is it the person who draws up the contract, since their position is assumed neutral and watch over the interests of buyer and seller. Anyway, it is always advisable that you consult the document with a lawyer before signing, since it will be able to indicate what you are committed to with the signed clauses.

6) What documentation is required to give me the real estate / owner?

As possible interested there is a series of documentation that we can consult and that will help us to make sure that the fundamental aspects of the property are in order. It is the duty of the real estate agency or the owner to have this documentation available to potential interested parties:

  • Certificate of habitability in force.
  • Energy efficiency certificate.
  • Informative simple note: Document issued by one of the Property Registries that tells us who owns a specific property, the charges you may have and a brief description of the property. It can be obtained in the Land Registry.
  • Accreditation of the expenses that affect the property: A recent receipt of the quota of the community of owners and the last receipt of the I.B.I.. (Real Estate Tax).
  • Regarding the necessary documents for the signature before a Notary, it will be the one who will ensure that all the pertinent documentation is presented the day of the signature of the purchase, specifically the original Title of property, the Certificate of aptitude (ITE) and the Certificate of the community of owners, in addition to those that we have already listed above.

7) Who decides in which Notary office the purchase will be signed?

The election of the Notary corresponds to whoever corresponds to pay the notarial fees. In the case of Catalonia, Article 531.6 of the Catalan Civil Code states that "the costs of granting the deed and issuing the first copy and the other expenses subsequent to the transmission are borne by the purchasers, except that a special provision or a pact establish otherwise."

That is to say, it will be the buyer who will decide the Notary's office and pay the transmission costs.

8) What procedures should I perform once the deed of sale of my apartment has been signed?

Once the deed of sale has been signed, the new owner has 30 working days counted from the date of transmission to pay the Patrimonial Transmission Tax (I.T.P). The payment of this tax must be made in the Treasury Office that corresponds to the place where the property that is acquired is located, regardless of where the deed of sale has been signed.

The next step, once the I.T.P. is paid, is to present the deed in the corresponding Property Registry for proper registration.

It is convenient to communicate the sale and the data of the new owner as soon as possible to the administrator or president of the community.

On the other hand, it is necessary to change the ownership of water, electricity and gas supplies or initiate the procedures to request their registration with the respective companies.

9) Who is responsible for changing or registering the water, electricity and gas supplies?

It must be the new owner, or the person duly authorized by the latter, who makes the arrangements to change the ownership of the supplies or to register them with the respective companies. It will be very useful to have the latest invoices, certificate of habitability, installation certificates and bulletins.

B) I want to sell my flat

1) What is the certificate of habitability? Where can I get it?

The certificate of habitability of a home is a document that certifies the fulfillment of the minimum requirements so that a space can be inhabited by people at the level of health, hygiene and soundness.

It is legalized by the autonomous communities and expires after 15 years of being issued. This accreditation regulates the useful area, minimum, of the spaces of the house as well as the minimum equipment that must have: toilet, kitchen, hot water, etc. The requirements are not very demanding so the most common is that the houses meet the minimum.

According to Law 18/2007 this document is required when a flat is rented or sold and also when hiring and registering water, electricity and gas services.

If you do not have a certificate of occupancy or it has expired, you can contact a technical architect, who will perform a visual inspection of the property and check whether or not it complies with current regulations.

Once the Certificate is available, it must be delivered to the corresponding administration along with the rest of the necessary documentation. The response to this process usually does not take more than a month, although it depends on each Autonomous Community.

2) What is the housing energy certificate? Where can I get it?

In compliance with Royal Decree 235/2013, of April 5, every owner who wants to sell or rent their used home (built before 2007) must have the energy efficiency certificate.

It is a document that includes the qualification of energy efficiency and the consumption of a building or part thereof (housing, premises, office etc.), procedural information, description of energy characteristics and viable improvement recommendations. The qualification must be registered in an official organism of the corresponding autonomous community so that it has the character of a certificate.

It is valid for 10 years and the owner is responsible for its renewal or update. It will be issued by a competent technician (Architect, Technical Architect or Engineer) who is approved for this purpose and who will be chosen freely by the owner.

3) What taxes do I have to pay if I sell my apartment?

I.B.I. (Real Estate Tax): although its payment is usually divided, the I.B.I. It is an annual tax, so that the owner who sells your apartment is responsible for paying the I.B.I. of the year in which you sell it. For example, if you sell your apartment on February 21, 2016, you must pay the I.B.I. of all 2016

Municipal goodwill (Tax on the increase in the value of land of an urban nature): The seller has to pay it, and its amount is calculated on the increase in the value experienced by the apartment during the time it has been owner. In the case of Barcelona, the City offers on its website a tool to calculate the amount and posI.B.I.lidad to process it online.

I.R.P.F. (Impuesto de la Renta a las Personas Físicas): Si el piso que ha vendido era su vivienda habitual (estaba empadronado en él), tiene un plazo de 2 años para reinvertir los beneficios, pero si no lo hace en el primer año, debe dejar constancia en la declaración de la renta de ese año para no pagar por "ganancia patrimonial". Podrá descontar el importe del nuevo piso que se compre del beneficio obtenido por la venta del suyo. Mayores de 65 años o personas en situación de dependencia severa están exentas de pagar este impuesto (si el piso era su vivienda habitual).

To pay the tax, you must declare the transaction in the income statement, which must be presented in the month of June of the year following the sale. This tax is only paid if a profit has been obtained between the value of the property when it was purchased and the value it has when it sells it. For example, if the property cost € 100,000 and sell it for € 200,000 you will have to declare the € 100,000 profit. The amount to be paid ranges from 21% for the first € 6,000, to 25% for € 6,001 to € 24,000 and 27% for € 24,000. Therefore, in the case of the previous € 100,000, we should pay the hacienda:

  • Net profit obtained from the sale: € 100,000
  • 21% from € 6,000: € 1,260
  • 25% from € 18,000: € 4,500
  • 27% from € 76,000: € 20,520
  • Total payable on the income statement: 1,260 + 4,500 + 20,520 = € 26,280

4) How can I know how much my apartment is worth?

There are three key points when it comes to knowing how much a floor is worth:

  • Technical criteria: Those that have to do with the characteristics of the floor and its surroundings. It takes into account the equipment and infrastructure of the area: transport, proximity to schools, health centers, green areas, supermarkets, shops and if there are factors that may affect the rest and welfare of the inhabitants. The building, its design, the exact location, the antiquity, the conservation and the infrastructures and services (elevator, garage, rubbish bin, cleaning services or the presence of a doorman in the community) are also taken into account at the time to value the property. Finally the housing is taken into account: The surface is a key condition, as well as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. It is taken into account that the square meters are well distributed between the rooms, the passage areas and the terraces that, if closed, compute in the total surface calculation. The storage room and the garage are also included in the surface if they are registered in the registry.
  • Market criteria: More important than the value of your apartment is knowing what price you will be able to sell it for. To get an approximate idea, it is a good idea to consult other flats with similar characteristics to yours, either approaching the real estate agency for a market valuation, or consulting the announcements of the main real estate portals. It is important to bear in mind that the prices you are going to see are of flats that are for sale, which does not mean that they are going to be sold at the price that is requested by them. Market studies indicate that the real sale price is usually between 10% and 20% below the average value found in real estate portals.
  • Exceptional criteria: There are a series of characteristics that add value to the floor and that are not contemplated in the market or technical criteria. They are those particular details of a floor that make it extremely attractive for a person who wants to live in them. A clear example would be an attic with a terrace overlooking the sea or the Sagrada Família, another the brightness of the floor, etc ... If you are lucky enough to sell a flat with a similar feature, keep in mind that it is very likely that people are willing to pay an overvalue for him.

5) Is it worth to hire an estate agent?

Currently the real estate market has a very large offer of flats for sale, so the determining factor when selling a floor is the client portfolio that an agency can offer. You have to take into account that potential buyers have many floors at their disposal so unless you sell cheap, the best way to bring them to your floor is through a professional who already has a relationship with many of them. The determining factor when deciding on an agency or several is that you value the number of buyers in your portfolio and the relationship they have with them. A local agency will normally have more options to sell their apartment, since buyers usually contact the agencies in the area where they are looking. In addition to having dealings usually with the buyer, they know exactly how much they are willing to pay.

Another point in favor of hiring an agency that the advertising media that are served are much broader or new, and can reach many more people who are looking to buy a home with the characteristics of theirs.

Finally, it is a guarantee that the operation will be in the hands of a professional at all times, who will watch over their interests and why the operation can be carried out without any sudden or unforeseen events. In case the agency operates within Catalonia, make sure they are registered in the A.I.C.A.T. (register d'Agents Immobiliaris de Catalunya), since legally it is obliged to do so and for you it is a guarantee of professionalism.

6) What fees does a real estate agent usually charge?

There is no regulation in the matter, so always prioritize what you agree with your real estate agent. We can say that the fees in the sale of real estate range between 3% and 10% for second-hand properties. Beware, that does not mean that all real estate agents charge these fees. In this sense, in recent years, there has been an increase in them, basically because the sale of the property is much more difficult than it was years ago.

The important thing is to make sure that the fees they charge are commensurate with the services they offer. As with any other service, the value of the same should be consistent with the services offered.

7) Is it advisable to sign an exclusive contract with an estate agent?

It is usual that you have your doubts when signing an exclusive contract with an agency. It may seem that entrusting the sale to several agencies will make it easier to sell the apartment, although usually the agency that works its floor without exclusivity will have a very large portfolio of flats, since in the same way it does not ask for any commitment, either They usually commit to their particular floor.

In contrast, the agency that works with exclusive usually has a reduced portfolio, so they invest more hours of work and effort in the sale of their apartment. The disadvantage with the exclusive is that before signing you have to be convinced that the agency will correspond to your commitment to the services and the dedication that corresponds.

8) I'm not happy with the management of the agency, how can I end the contract?

The exclusive sales order notes can be revoked by the client as long as there is just cause, that is, it is not an arbitrary revocation and contrary to good faith. The real estate professional will only be entitled to be compensated when there is a revocation of the order of any of these last two forms.

How to end the contract will depend mainly on what you have signed with the real estate agency. If you have not signed any contract or the one you signed does not indicate anything about the termination, you will simply have to respect those clients who have seen the apartment with the real estate company, since once the contract is finished, if you sell your apartment To a client that has brought you the real estate company, this one could request the payment of your fees. It is highly recommended that you communicate to the agency in writing (ideally a bureaufax) your willingness to rescind the contract.

If, on the other hand, if you have signed a contract and it establishes the way to solve it, you will have to abide by the agreement. In any case, it is advisable to consult the case with a lawyer so that he can advise you of the possibilities to terminate the contract in advance.

At the moment of signing the contract it is advisable to check carefully if there is any self-renewal clause. It is usual to sign contracts of 2-3 months that are renewed automatically if the real estate company or you do not indicate otherwise. You have to be careful.

9) Can I accept cash when selling my apartment?

If the sale is made between individuals there is no limitation regarding the forms of payment. However, this does not imply that you do not have to justify the origin of any cash delivery.

On the other hand if the management of the sale is carried by a professional, it must be borne in mind that in 2012, Law 7/2012 came into force, where the use of cash money is restricted and it is established that "They can not be paid in cash. the operations, in which any of the intervening parties act in an entrepreneurial or professional capacity, with an amount equal to or greater than € 2,500 or its counter value in foreign currency, thereby using nominative checks or transfers as a means of payment, endowing thus to the operation of greater security and transparency ".

10) What procedures should I perform once the deed of sale of my apartment has been signed?

Once the deed of sale has been signed, the seller has 30 business days from the date of transmission to pay the Tax on the Increase in the Value of Urban Land (Municipal Capital Gain).

On the other hand, the seller should coordinate with the buyer for everything related to the change of ownership or low and high water, electricity and gas supplies.

C) I want to rent my flat

1) My tenant does not pay me, what can I do?

The most advisable thing is to dialogue with the tenant in the first instance. Try to solve the issue by proposing a payment plan and if the situation is irremediable, agree on a specific day for the departure of the home. Our experience has shown us that most payment problems are solved in this way.

In case the first option does not prosper or the tenant ignores us, the decision to initiate an eviction process must be IMMEDIATE. For this the most advisable thing is to contact a lawyer specialized in this type of situations. In case an administrator has been hired to manage the rental contract, we usually take care of the paperwork (not of the costs).

There is also the option of contracting a non-payment insurance. There are several products according to the insurer, but most cover 6-11 months of non-payment, all costs and legal proceedings of the eviction process. Its cost tends to oscillate around 5-6% of the value of the rent.

2) What happens if the floor is destroyed?

Taking into account our experience, this is a situation that is given very little. Normally, if there is a good relationship between tenant and property, this type of incident usually never occurs.

To cover possible damage to the apartment, there is a deposit (1 month's rent) that the tenant delivers at the signing of the rental agreement. However, this amount can cover small damages (such as scratches on a door, a broken tile ...), common after a few years of living on the floor.

There is also the Additional Guarantee, which is any amount that the owner decides to add to the deposit. However, it is not advisable since it makes it extremely difficult to find a tenant who is willing to pay a significant amount of money for an additional guarantee, when in most floors it is not requested.

There are other products, such as payment protection insurance, or the option of adding a supportive guarantor for example, which are points to take into account when initiating a rental contract, which help greatly, in the case that this happens, and finally, we always have to start a legal claim process.

3) Is it worthwhile to hire an administrator?

It is highly recommended, because if you are not familiar with all the usual procedures and incidents when renting a flat, hiring a Property Manager will save you a lot of time and problems. The Administrator will always watch over the interests in the legal field, providing the tranquility and security that the owner seeks, so that his only concern is to collect the monthly rent. The fees of a property manager are usually around 5% of the rental value.

4) What is the usual duration of a rental agreement?

For contracts signed after June 6, 2013, the date of entry into force of the new Urban Leasing Law, it is established that the duration of the lease will be freely agreed by the parties; Reading the lease carefully before signing is essential: what you put there is what counts. If the duration is less than three years, the renewal will be mandatory for annual terms up to a maximum of 3. Therefore, unlike the previous law that guaranteed the tenant a minimum of 5 years, now is 3 years. If neither party manifests anything against the three years after, the contract is renewed tacitly 1 year more.

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