Property Purchase Glossary for Barcelona

If you don’t speak much Spanish, or are not familiar with property sale procedures in Barcelona, buying your first property in this fabulous country can be difficult. Here’s a quick glossary on some unfamiliar terms you might come across!

Property Purchase Glossary for Barcelona

N.I.E/F.I.N Number

N.I.E stands for Numero de Identificacion de Extranjero, also known as F.I.N – Foreign Identification Number. If you are an ex-pat you must obtain one of these numbers in person from a police station or the Spanish Consulate in your home country. You must fill out the appropriate form, a photocopy of the form, two passport size photos and your original passport. You should then receive your number in four weeks. Without this number you cannot buy property in Spain.


This is as it sounds – when you find a property you like you will need to note interest by signing a reservation and placing down a deposit. This is so no one else can buy the property.


Within a week of signing the reservation you will be required to sign the “arras”. This is a contract that contains the completion date and legally binds you to your purchase and the seller to the sale. You need to pay 10 per cent of the purchase price at this point and if you back out of the sale you will not be able to claim this back. However, if the owner decides to back out they will be required to pay you double the amount you paid on signing the arras.


This is the final signing of the title deeds for your purchased property and happens within a month of signing the Arras. All parties or their representatives go to the notary and sign the deeds. You then pay the balance of the purchase price, any fees and taxes and the notary registers transfer of ownership in the land registry. Although this can all seem to be over and done with very quickly, the transfer of ownership can actually take a few days.

Property Purchase Glossary for Barcelona
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