Mar 22, 2024

Buying Property in Marbella: Important Things to Know Before Your Purchase

Linus Norman, CEO & co-founder of heimo

For many people, buying a property on the Costa del Sol is a dream, and in recent years, more and more people have turned that dream into reality.

Warm days, year-round sunshine, amazing environments and natural experiences attract many people from all over the world to Marbella, Fuengirola, Estepona, Nerja, and other popular coastal cities in Spain. However, the journey of finding your place in the sun isn't always that straightforward.

Buying a property in Marbella and its surroundings is, for a lot of people, quite different from what you might be used to, so there's a lot of important things to be aware of. In this article, we list everything you need to know to avoid common pitfalls and make your property purchase a smooth and safe ride.

🏠 Real Estate Listings in Marbella

Most people begin their home search in Costa del Sol by scrolling through real estate listing after real estate listing on various property portals. 

It's important to be aware of that in Costa del Sol, the same property often appears on the most popular portals multiple times, listed by different agents. Properties that have long been sold might still linger on many platforms, and some listings for the same property feature different photos (of questionable quality), a variety of descriptions, and sometimes even prices. It's also not uncommon to spot agents, pets, and sometimes even homeowners (!) in the property photos. 

💡Tip: Instead of starting your property search on the Costa del Sol on your own, contact a reliable and recommended real estate agent directly who can assist you in finding a property to buy.

Typically, you don't pay a buyer's agent fee to an agent who helps you find a property; instead, the seller covers the fee shared between your agent (the Buyer's Agent) and the listing agent (the Seller's Agent).

If you want to get personally matched with a recommended real estate agent in Marbella, you can create a free service request here.

💼 The Role of Real Estate Agents in Marbella

In most countries, we're accustomed to real estate agents having both licensing and educational requirements, which often ensures safety and quality for both buyers and sellers. In Spain, however, in most regions (including the Costa del Sol) there's no requirement for an official license or formal education for real estate agents. This means many individuals without relevant education, experience, or expertise enter the profession. 

Luckily, these agents usually don't last that long in the business, and it's essential to note that there are many reputable and knowledgeable real estate agents in Marbella, who go above and beyond to help you find a property. But, it's important to ensure that you properly compare your options before you decide who to proceed with.

⚖️ Work with a Reliable Lawyer in Marbella - as Early as Possible

As real estate agents in Spain don't have the same legal responsibilities as in a lot of other countries, it's crucial to seek help from a reputable lawyer knowledgeable in property law.

A strong recommendation is to contact, compare, and ultimately work with a reliable lawyer in Marbella as early as possible in your property search. They will securely assist you with the legal aspects of your upcoming property transaction. 

You can easily get matched, free of charge, with trusted lawyers in Marbella fitting your needs and preferences here.

💸 Keep Track of All Costs: Buying and Owning a Property in Marbella

In addition to the property's purchase price, there are several other costs to consider when buying your dream home in Marbella. 

Typically, around 10 - 15% of the sale price needs to be paid in cash, in addition to your down payment. These costs are divided as follows when buying a property in Spain:

🏡 Costs When Buying a Property in Marbella:

  • 10% of the sale price in value-added tax (VAT) when buying a newly constructed property for the first time (applies only to new construction) + 1.5% stamp duty
  • 6 - 11% (varies depending on the property's municipality) of the sale price in transfer tax when buying used properties
  • Approximately €1000 - €2000 (about 0.5%) in notary fees + registration fee
  • Around 1 - 1.5% (+ 21% VAT) of the sale price in lawyer fees
  • About 1% of the sale price in arrangement fees, if you take out a mortgage in Spain

Additionally, there are ongoing costs for property ownership:

⚙️ Costs of Owning a Property in Marbella:

  • Service connection fees (e.g., electricity, water) for new constructions
  • 0.5-1.2% of the taxable value in municipal property tax
  • Home insurance at about €400-€500 per year (varies depending on size, type of property, area)
  • Community fees at about €100-€200 per month
  • Garbage collection fees (varies by municipality)

📄 Keep Track of all Administrative Aspects of A Property Purchase in Marbella

In addition to the process itself and the various stakeholders involved in your property purchase in Spain, it's crucial to manage all the administrative tasks required to successfully complete a property transaction.


  • You'll need to obtain an NIE number, your unique Spanish tax identification number. This is typically something your real estate agent or lawyer can assist with.

Reservation Deposit: 

  • Once an agreement on price is reached, you pay a reservation deposit, sign a reservation agreement, and the property is reserved. However, this isn't a purchase contract, and we want to emphasize again the importance of having a lawyer by your side before signing any agreements.

Purchase Contract, Title Deed & Land Registry: 

  • When you sign the purchase contract, you also pay 10% of the purchase price. Your lawyer assists with legal conditions, clauses, and similar matters, and the title deed is registered with a notary, which is later recorded in the land registry (this may take a month or so).


  • It's the buyer's responsibility to thoroughly inspect the property's condition, and your lawyer helps with the legal aspects concerning documents, debts, licenses, registrations, and other legal matters.

Are you considering buying a property in Spain? Hire a trusted real estate agent and lawyer as early as possible, to ensure a smooth process from start to finish. You can easily, and completely free of charge, get matched with recommended real estate agents and lawyers in Marbella here.

Do you have questions about buying property in Marbella? Reach out to us at [email protected], and we'll help clarify any doubts you may have.