Property Overseas Group

A Buyers Experience


In 2017 my husband and I decided to take early retirement from our jobs in the UK and relocate to Coin, something that had been in our minds for a few years. These are the steps on our journey…

Buying Experience
Lots of thinking and setting a budget

There was a lot to think about! It was a big decision to relocate to Spain! We had visited previously and liked the area of Coin and thought we could make it our home but had to think what was important to us in everyday life and did the area offer us what we wanted? Living in Spain is not the same as coming on holiday. We had to think how we would be spending our time.

We had to think did we want to live in a town with amenities at hand or in the country? And of course there were financial considerations. We decided to sell in UK and purchase in Spain, rather than renting out our existing house out in UK and renting in Spain, believing we would feel more settled in our new location this way. We also had to think about monthly outgoings and what budget we had to fund this. It was also important to research the costs involved in buying a property in Spain including the moving costs, and set a budget for a house purchase accordingly. We did a lot of research on the Internet at this stage!
Click here for useful buying guide
Make contact with a local Estate Agent

Our next stage was to search for properties on the internet to see what we could buy within out budget. We found the Property Overseas Group website easy to use and made contact with Richard who we found very helpful.

We were advised to use an agent with an inland office rather than one from the coast as they were better acquainted with the area & inland contacts.

Visit Spain

We arranged a visit to Coin to view some properties to see what was available for our budget. We viewed a range of properties from rural fincas to town houses, and urbanisations outside the town. This helped us decide where we wanted to purchase and what sort of property would suit our needs, and reassured us that our project was feasible before putting our UK house on the market.

On returning to the UK we continued our search via and set timescales for our move to Spain.

Choose a house

Our property in the UK was put on the market and sold very quickly!

During our next visit to Coin we made contact with a local legal representative who would handle our house purchase here in Spain.

We narrowed our house search down and viewed more properties and deciding on the one that we wanted to purchase. We put a reservation deposit down, which took the house off the market and allowed the legal representative to complete the relevant checks on the property and draw up a private purchase contract. Once this was signed by both parties we were required to pay 10% deposit and a completion date was set.

We used a currency exchange company recommended by Property Overseas Group to transfer money from our UK bank account to our Spanish account ready to pay the deposit and other related costs. This started the purchase process while we returned to the UK to complete our house sale and arrange our move to Spain.

Open a Spanish Bank Account
During this visit we also opened a bank account as we had not previously done this. Sabadell in Alhaurin El Grande was recommended to us as the staff speak good English and you can view your account online. We opened an account and have found them to be very good so far.

Obtain an NIE Number

The NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero) is the identification number in Spain for everyone who is not a Spanish citizen. The NIE is not a fiscal residency identification; you can have a NIE and be fiscal resident in another country.

The NIE number is needed in order to file taxes, buy property, and for almost all other forms you fill out, so this was a task we completed shortly after we first arrived in Spain before purchasing.

Richard at Overseas Property Group kindly helped us to obtain our NIEs. This involved making an appointment at the Police Station and attending with our passports and completed forms.

If you're in Spain, you go to the police station or Oficina de Extranjeros. Outside of Spain, you go to the nearest Spanish Consulate (the "Consulate dept legalizaciones", not the Embassy).
You must bring:

  • The filled-out form EX-15.
  • A supporting document  showing why you need a NIE  (in our case the reservation document on the house we were purchasing)
  • A copy of your passport
  • A passport photo
  • Receipt of payment made at a bank (Approx. 12 €) in relation to Tax Form 790.

The relevant forms are available online or from the NIE office. As with all appointments it is best to double check exactly what is required to provide before you attend.

Travelling here

After a lot of thought we made the decision to bring our car to Spain. We found the journey down to be very easy after a 24 hour ferry journey to Santander. We took our time and enjoyed the journey staying just outside Santander on the first night and just south of Madrid the second.

Our belongings had previously been loaded onto a lorry that would deliver to our new house once the purchase was complete, storing our boxes for as long as necessary. Having never done anything like this before and reading all sorts of scare stories on the internet we kept our fingers crossed!
We arrived in Costa Del Sol (in torrential rain!)  and stayed in a rented apartment until the house purchase was complete.

Completion on house purchase

The completion involved more money transfers and signing papers in person at the Notary on the day of completion. Our household bills set were set up in our name by our legal representative.

Our boxes of belongings were then delivered to our new home in perfect condition and at the agreed time. We would certainly recommend the company we used.



Registering on the padrón

It is obligatory by Spanish law to register on the padrón at the Town Hall where you habitually reside.
The padrón is a list of all the people who live in a certain town. Empadronarse is the act of registering yourself on this list with your local town hall.
It is simply a way for the town hall to know how many people live in their area. They do not need to know your official residence status or financial affairs.
Simply go to the padrón office of your town hall and fill in the form they provide. Take along official identification, such as a passport, and also your NIE or residence certificate/card, a recent utility bill in your name, and the deeds to your house or a copy of your rental contract. You may have to return to collect your certificate. 
There was a bit of confusion as they asked for our water bill – which we did not have at the time so had to go to our legal representative for a copy from the previous owner and transfer it to our name at the Town Hall. Something no one had heard of being asked for before! But on the whole we found the process quite straightforward and the staff at the Town Hall in Coin were very helpful (although we could not speak Spanish and they could not speak English!)


Applying for Residency in Spain

It is required that all EU citizens planning to reside in Spain for more than 3 months should register in person at the Oficina de Extranjeros in their province of residence or at designated Police stations to apply for a Residence Certificate. You may be required to produce evidence of sufficient financial means to support yourself (and dependents). You may also be asked for proof of private or public healthcare insurance, depending on your circumstances.

Because there was so much conflicting information on the web regarding what was needed to obtain our Residence Certificates, and because we are only beginning to learn Spanish, we employed the help of a local specialist who advised us, gathered our paperwork together and made and attended our appointments with us at the Police Station. This made the process less daunting!

As we owned our own house in Spain, we took the paperwork for the house with us. We also took a statement from our Spanish bank and a copy of our bank statements certified by the bank. We had read differing advice – some saying we had to have 7,000€ each in our account for at least three months before applying for a Residence Certificate, or regular payments being made into the account. As we are both below the UK retirement age, but not working (so not entitle to Spanish National Health) we had to take out full private healthcare cover. This was a stumbling block as the first cover we took out was not sufficient despite being told it was by the person who sold us the cover! The healthcare cover needed to be full (no co-payments and no restrictions as to how many times we used the healthcare cover). This caused us to be refused our Residence Certificates at the National Police Station on our first visit. In Malaga where we registered the authorities were very keen that our health cover was full. We had to go back to our healthcare provider to change our cover and make another appointment.

We were then successful and both issued a credit card size Residence Certificate stating our name, address, nationality, NIE number and date of registration.

We believe that after five years residence registration we are entitled to apply for a certificate of permanent residence in Spain (to be investigated at a later date! One step at a time!)

Note: Once you are a resident visit your bank and ask if there is a better bank account you can now have without monthly charges….

Useful websites:


Re-registering our car

We chose to bring our UK car with us to Spain. Legally, you are allowed to drive a foreign-registered car in Spain for up to six months in any one year.

If you intend to keep it longer, as we did, you should have it tested and re-registered as a Spanish car. The test, equivalent to the British MOT, is called the ´Inspeccion Técnica de Vehículos´ or ITV, and can be carried out at an official ITV centre (located in Malaga or Fuengirola). You then have to have the car re-registered and obtain Spanish number plates.

Again we employed the help of an expert in this field who completed all the paperwork asking us to provide any paperwork he needed. We also had to obtain a certificate of compliance, which was quite straightforward with his help. We found the process very straightforward and only took a few weeks from start to finish. We were then able to take out our Spanish Car Insurance.

Useful website: this has a lot of other information on vehicle and traffic laws in Spain, much of it is in English.

Instead of importing a car into Spain, many people sell their car at home and buy a new or used one in Spain. Even for second-home owners, who need a car while here but don’t want to drive over every time, getting a Spanish car is worth considering – or investigate long-term rental.

Driving License

Our next task will be to investigate changing our Driving Licenses to Spanish ones. We have been told that this is a fairly simple process involving a simple medical and very basic road awareness test on a computer screen.


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