EDITION: February - April 2012


Texto: Anja Sämann-Gutschick y Armin Gutschick

In this article we will deal with what is worth bearing in mind if you wish to sell a property, and how sellers can prepare for an uncomplicated sale process both for themselves and for the buyer.
Firstly, sellers will have to decide whether they would like to sell through an estate agent or if they prefer to find a buyer themselves. Most estate agents in Ibiza charge a 5% commission of the sale price plus IVA (VAT), and it is the seller who pays this commission. Of course, you must formalize the assignment in a written contract. It is rarely advantageous to offer your property exclusively through one sole estate agent.
In order to simplify negotiations with the buyers, it is advisable for sellers to have previously prepared the documents that prove ownership, for example a purchase deed, title deed, will, etc. If the seller cannot find such a document, a legalized copy can be requested from the notary who authorized it, or request from the Property Registry (Registro de la Propiedad) a certificate, which is also accepted as proof of ownership.
As well as the deed, a current issue of a certificate called “nota simple” should be available. This document details who is registered as the owner in the Property Registry, the description of the property itself (plot size, built area, etc.) and the charges it may carry (mortgages, rights of way, etc.). When signing the purchase deed, the seller has to provide proof that the property tax (IBI) has been paid. On this receipt, the cadastral reference number and the present cadastral value are indicated.
If what you wish to sell is an apartment, be aware that sellers have to prove that they do not owe anything to the homeowners’ association the property belongs to and that they are up to date with payment of all the community charges. The buyer may also ask to see the occupancy certificate (cédula de habitabilidad), which is necessary to contract with the electricity and water companies. It is advisable to keep this certificate together with the rest of the documents. If the property is a new build, it is compulsory to provide it, and if it is a second-hand property and already has a water contract, most buyers will only ask for the last water and electricity bills.

A well-advised buyer will check the description of the property not only at the Property Registry but also at the cadaster (catastro). Should there be any discrepancies between these registries and the physical reality of the property, the seller should consider requesting that these details are updated at said registries, to avoid any complications. Especially when buyers are requesting a mortgage from the bank, they will demand that the entries are correct. The process will depend in each case, but it is always necessary to have a notary’s deed in order to carry out corrections at the Property Registry.
Before finalizing the sale, sellers should seek tax advice. Generally they will have to pay property gains tax and the tax on land value increase for urban plots (municipal capital gain).
To sum up: before putting a property out for sale, sellers would be wise to ask a professional to check all the documents in order to ensure an easy and trouble-free sale process.