Sally Veall of the helps readers with their questions about buying and living in Spain.

If you need a question answering, please email Sally here.

“We are hoping to buy a Spanish car from an English couple who are returning to the UK. We will not actually be in Spain when they return home but a friend will take charge of the car for us for a while. We have sorted the money out with them but we wondered whether you have any details as to how to complete the changeover of the documents, including the insurance. We want to make sure everything is in order before we part with any cash”.

As a foreigner, you may buy a Spanish-registered car in Spain if you have one of the following:

  • an official residence permit
  • proof that you are a Spanish home owner (by showing title deeds)
  • documentation which proves that you are registered as an inhabitant of a town, issued within the three months prior to the purchase of the car
  • a rental contract for a duration of minimum one year
  • an NIE/NIF number (Foreigner’s Identification Number) in Spain

    When buying a second hand car it is important to see all of the original paperwork. This is particularly important in your case as you are buying privately. You need to ensure that the person selling the car has the right to sell it.

    Once the sale is agreed, the seller needs to provide you with the following:

  • Vehicle registration document (Permiso de Circulación)
  • Proof of roadworthiness (a valid ITV test certificate)
  • Receipt for municipal vehicle tax (Impuesto Municipal sobre vehículos de tracción mecánica)
  • Personal identification such as an NIE/NIF card (plus photocopy for the buyer)

    The buyer and seller should draw up a sale agreement or otherwise, the seller can provide an invoice. Both parties should note the details of the vehicle, names of buyer and seller, the sale price agreed and date and time that the transfer takes place. This final point is very important because if there are traffic fines associated with the vehicle they can be assigned to the correct person.

    It will be your responsibility as the buyer to provide a transfer of ownership form (Solicitud de transmisión de vehículos) which is signed by both the buyer and the seller. This is a duplicate form and both parties keep a copy.

    It is worth noting at this stage that this list of documentation is not exhaustive – further documentation may be requested from some province or autonomous region authorities. You will need to take out your own car insurance and in some cases the insurance company will send out someone to check the car over before covering it.

    When buying property in Spain, every penny counts, that’s why it’s incredibly important to get the best rates when you are transferring money from a UK account to an account in Spain to make essential purchases such as this. For more information on how currency experts, Smart Currency Exchange can help you to get the best rates, visit the Currency Zone or download their free guide by clicking here.

    To understand the full step-by-step process to buying a property in Spain, collect The Overseas Guides Company’s ‘Spain Property Buying Guide