Buying properties in Javea

Spain’s most recent nationwide census in 2019 showed that Javea’s 27,604 resident population was 47.5% foreign-born with many British, American, Canadian and EU English-speaking citizens among them.

But there are many more foreigners in Javea than its year-round residents.

The census in 2011 recorded a total of 25,274 properties in Javea, of which up to 51.5% were second-homes or vacation villas and apartments.

Many first-time visitors who fall in love with Javea or discover it online will ask themselves ‘can foreigners buy property in Javea?’ – clearly, the answer is a massive ‘Yes, you can!’.

Below, we’ll cover the process of how to buy a property in Javea, the costs involved, as well as the requirements for British, American, Canadian and EU citizens to acquire Spanish residency.

WARNING! – Read before house-hunting in Javea as a foreigner

If you don’t currently live in Spain, here are five important considerations:

  • To buy property in Javea you’ll need a Spanish bank account – ideally one with a local branch (Santander, BBVA, CaixaBank, Sabadell, Bankinter) 
  • You’ll require the services of a lawyer for the entire property purchase procedure
  • It can take months to get mortgage approval – if you need a loan, start talking to banks before you start house-hunting
  • If you’re a British, American or Canadian citizen, you’ll need a visa to live in Spain for more than 90 days in a 180-day period
  • If you buy a property in Javea and it doesn’t become your primary residence (i.e. you remain an overseas tax resident) you will still have annual costs including an imputed income tax if you leave your property empty

We hope the above does not put you off buying property in Javea!

We’ve just seen too many dreams fall apart as buyers realise one of the above considerations too far down the road. 

It’s the last thing we want for you.

That’s why we’ll go over each of them below, so you can close this tab feeling fully prepared to buy property in Javea as a foreigner.

(Don’t forget to check the FAQ section at the bottom for any unanswered questions you might have.)

How to buy property in Javea

Below, we’ll cover X steps to how to buy property in Javea.

Step 1 – Get a NIE

There’s only one legal requirement to buy property in Javea as a foreigner: the NIE. 

NIE stands for numero de identidad de extranjero which literally means ‘foreigner identity number’ and is essential for any economic transaction within Spanish borders. You can get a NIE at the Spanish embassy or consulate closest to you in your country of residence.

You can also get a NIE within Spain. Here’s how:

  • Make an appointment at your nearest immigration office (most likely a Policía Nacional station in rural areas, or the Oficina de Extranjeros in a city)
  • Fill out the EX-15 application form (in Spanish)
  • Fill out the Modelo 790 Código 012 form and pay the fee (around €12) at a relevant bank branch
  • Take the two forms to your appointment along with your passport, two passport photos, and a notarised letter explaining why you need a NIE (e.g. to buy property in Javea)
  • Expect to wait three weeks before being contacted that your NIE is ready to be picked up at the same immigration office where you applied

NOTE: if you want to apply for your NIE within your country of residence, expect to wait at least four weeks for it to arrive. Read more about how to get N.I.E in Javea

Step 2 – Get a Spanish bank account 

Whether you might buy property in Javea with cash or with a mortgage, we strongly recommend you open a Spanish bank account (you’ll do this only once you’ve got your NIE).

This is largely to save you time.

Spanish banks are obliged to perform anti-money laundering checks, which will take significantly longer to approve funds arriving from an overseas bank account. You might agree to a property purchase only to have the seller’s bank refuse to receive your funds.

You’ll also save unnecessary fees if you transfer funds to your Spanish account in advance.

If you’re planning on taking out a mortgage, we recommend you get talking to Spanish banks about your eligibility before you even start house-hunting. The banks will want to look at evidence of your earnings, age, employment status, credit or debt history and any other evidence of your financial security.

Bear in mind these considerations when seeking a non-resident mortgage:

  • Non-residents will receive shorter mortgage repayment terms, typically over 20 years instead of up to 40 years for residents
  • Non-residents will receive a loan-to-value of up to 60% – 70% on a property’s price, compared to the common 80% and even up to 100% for residents
  • Non-residents will likely be offered fixed-rate mortgages with higher interest rates and may be required to take out other financial products with the bank (e.g. insurance policies, credit cards, and so on)

NOTE: From 2022, many Spanish banks began charging both residents and non-residents annual fees up to €300 if they did not receive a regular salary into their account or had no other financial products with the bank. Research the small print in advance. Read more about how to get a bank account in Javea

Step 3 – Find your dream property in Javea 

There’s no better way to find your dream property in Javea than by driving around and seeing as many properties as possible.

These are the main property types on the market in Javea:

  • Piso – A massive 66.5% of Spaniards live in apartments, or pisos, and in Javea they’re the best located for access to beaches, shops, restaurants and supermarkets
  • Chalet adosado – The chalet adosado typically refers to houses of one to two floors which are joined together in an ‘urbanisation’ of similar properties that share a common swimming pool, gardens and underground garages
  • Villa or casa independiente – A villa in Spanish more commonly refers to a ‘town’, but alongside casa independiente can mean a detached property usually with a swimming pool and garden
  • Finca rústica – This refers to a property on rustic or agricultural land, which can have lots of space and even orchards but lacks planning permission for extensions or new-build properties
  • Terreno – In Javea you can buy many plots of land that have planning permission to build a new house 
Montgo mountain

Javea itself is divided into three main nuclei of populations: the historic Old Town on the hill, the Port and the Arenal beach area. 

On the flanks of the Montgo mountain to the north you can find the regions of Ermita, Montgo-Toscamar, Castellans, La Corona, Putxol and Nova Xabia. The regions of La Lluca, Les Capsades and Tarraula cover the flat valley area in the middle of Javea. To the hills in the south you can find the areas of Cansalades, Pinosol, Cala Blanca Portitxol, El Tosalet, Trencall, Costa Nova, Balcón del Mar, Cabo de la Nao and La Granadella.

It’s in these southern hills of Javea overlooking the Mediterranean sea where you’ll find the famous Calle Franz Joseph Haydn – the most expensive street in the Valencian Community, with an average asking price of €3.4 million. Read more about housing prices in Javea

Step 4 – The reservation

Once you’ve fallen in love and want to buy a property in Javea, it’s common to sign a reservation agreement once an offer is agreed.

The contract freezes the offer and takes the property off the market upon payment of a fee – often from 5% to 10% of the purchase price – which is held by a notary or lawyer in escrow. The reservation contract agrees the terms which the buyer and seller must abide by, with the buyer losing their deposit and the seller often paying a sum in case of infringement.

If you insist on paying the seller from a foreign account, you must have this agreed in the contract or face losing your deposit on the day of signing the deeds. 

Step 5 – Checks, funds and mortgages

You, the buyer, now have a few months to gather funds or secure a mortgage and complete final checks on your Javea property.

Here’s where a lawyer becomes essential. In Spain, any debts follow the property, not the person. You may find yourself signing up for a mortgage you never took out, community debts you never incurred or municipal fines for unauthorised works you never carried out. 

A fee of up to €500 for a lawyer’s services could save you many times that amount thanks to specialist expertise and experience. Read more about mortgage in Javea

Step 6 – Contrato de Compraventa 

Though not essential, you will most likely sign the purchase contract before a notary in Javea. 

The notary’s main function is to confirm the seller has the full documents needed to sell the house:

  • Nota simple. This document specifies who the owner of a property is, and discloses any charges or debts on a property.
  • Energy performance certificate. This document has been a requirement for any property transfer or rental agreement in the European Union since 2013. 
  • Cédula de habitación. The certificate of habitation is required after a property is built or undergoes significant renovations. It confirms that a property complies with legal requirements for habitation, and is valid for 10 years in the Valencian Community.
  • Inspección Técnica del Edificio. A certificate of technical inspection of a building is required for any building over 50 years old in the Valencian Community.
  • Recibo del último Impuesto sobre Bienes Inmuebles. The last receipt confirming an owner has paid the annual property tax in Javea is a requirement before signing a transfer deed. 

When signing the transfer contract, the house becomes yours. On the same day you will receive the keys and pay (or have your bank pay) the seller the agreed remaining funds. 

Step 7 – Utilities, ownership and the padrón

Once the notary has signed the contract, you can take it to the Land Registry office (Registro de la Propiedad) to have you inscribed as the new owner of the property. This final step can take months but will become a legal document in case of any future legal dispute, and will block any third party from taking out debts on your property.

You can also now take out service contracts in your name (telephone, water, electrics) and put yourself on the municipal register (padrón) in Javea – congratulations, you now officially make up part of Javea’s 48% foreign-born community we told you about at the beginning!

NOTE: The notary only performs an administrative duty confirming the presence of required documents – they are not required to check the documents’ validity or search for any undeclared debts or charges.

Costs of buying a property in Javea

Javea has grown exponentially in the past years, and is commonly featured on luxury Spanish property portals alongside Madrid, Barcelona, Sitges, Marbella, Sotogrande, Mallorca and Ibiza. 

Unsurprisingly, property prices in Javea have gone up along with its prestige.

At the end of Q2 in 2022, Javea became the fifth most expensive municipality in Spain with the average house price rising to €721,003.

But relax for a moment.

These high prices are propped up by the luxury villas on sale in the hills surrounding Javea. You’re just as likely to find houses in the Old Town and apartments selling in a price range between €100,000-€200,000.

Once you’ve found the right property in Javea for you, here’s what you need to know:

  • If you’re planning to pay cash when buying property in Javea, you’ll need 11-15% more than the purchase price
  • If you’re planning to secure a mortgage when buying property in Javea, you’ll need 31-35% of the purchase prices if you have Spanish residency and 41-45% if you’re a non-resident

NOTE: The extra mortgage costs when buying property in Javea as a foreigner are because non-residents can typically only borrow up to 70% of the purchase price.

Extra purchase costs when buying property in Javea

The additional costs when buying property in Javea account for:

  • Impuesto sobre Transmisiones Patrimoniales – 10%. For a second-hand home in Javea, you’ll pay an extra 10% of the property’s purchase price to cover the property transfer tax, or conveyance tax. 
  • Impuesto al valor Agregado, IVA – 10%. For a new-build home in Javea, you’ll pay 10% of the property’s purchase price to cover the VAT. 
  • Public notary – €350+. The final property deed or contrato de compraventa in Spanish is usually signed before a public notary. An online survey put the average cost of a notary at €343.
  • Property register – €500. Once you have a contrato de compraventa or property deed, you will need to register yourself as the new owner with your local registro de la propiedad or property register. The process can cost €500.
  • Lawyer – €500+. You can contract the services of a lawyer or specialised agency to conduct checks on the property, pay the 10% property tax, register the property deed with a relevant property register and other related services for a minimum of around €500 up to €2,000 or more. Read more about property lawyer in Javea

Taking out a mortgage will also come with extra costs, such as an opening fee, or for the bank’s valuation of the property. 

Annual costs when owning a property in Javea as a foreigner

Once you own your property in Javea you will still have annual costs to pay:

  • Income tax – you will pay income tax on any rental income from your property. If you’re a tax resident in another EU country, you pay 19% on rental income. If you’re a foreigner from outside the EU/EEA you will pay 24% on rental income.
  • Imputed income tax – you will pay imputed income tax if you leave your Javea property empty. If you’re a tax resident in another EU country, you pay 19% on imputed income. If you’re a foreigner from outside the EU/EEA you will pay 24% on imputed income. The imputed income amounts to between 1.1-2% of your property’s rateable value, or valor catastral, which is typically lower than the purchase price and can be found on any annual property tax bill (the IBI). 
  • IBI – you will pay the impuesto sobre bienes inmuebles (property tax) every year to the Javea town hall. This tax is calculated from the property’s rateable value and is typically between €250-€1,000 per year for an apartment and €600-€2,500 for a villa or detached house.
  • Community bills – if you buy an apartment in a block, or a property in an urbanisation, you will become a member of a community of owners. You will need to pay for the maintenance of any communal spaces, pools, gardens, gyms, tennis courts, etc. – costs can be between €60-150 per month.
  • Rubbish collection – you will need to pay around €125 per year for municipal waste services.

How to get residency in Javea after buying a property

You may have noticed significant reductions in costs and obligations if you obtain residency in Javea, and if you make your Javea property your primary residence.

If you’re not an EU citizen, buying a property does not grant you residency in Javea.

Under Schengen terms, non-EEA citizens cannot spend more than 90 days within any 180 days in the Schengen zone without a visa. Once you’ve used your 90 days, you cannot return to a Schengen country until another 90 days have passed. 

These are the three main visas you will need to look at:

  • Visado de trabajo y residencia. You can live and work in Spain with this visa. For a standard work visa you need a job offer in Spain, or if you fulfil minimum income requirements and can prove appropriate qualifications and experience you can apply for a self-employment visa. There is no minimum income requirement, but it’s advisable you seek professional help to apply for the self-employment visa in Spain.
  • Visado de estudios. You can study in Spain for the duration of your course.
  • Visado de residencia. You can retire in Spain, but may not work there. To qualify you must prove you have 400% of the IPREM on your bank account – in 2021, this was a minimum of €6,778.80.

Depending on your circumstance there are other ways to obtain residency in Spain:

  • Golden Visa. If you invest at least €500,000 in Spanish real estate you can be fast-tracked residency. You can read more in this English-language brochure from the Spanish government.
  • Visado de reunificación familiar. Visa for family members of foreigners who already have legal resident status in Spain.

Read more about Buy a Property and obtain a Golden Visa for Europe

FAQ

Can foreigners buy property in Javea?

Yes, foreigners can buy property in Javea so long as they have a NIE (foreigner identity number). This number can be obtained from the Spanish embassy or consulate in your country of residence, or from within Spain at the nearest foreigner’s office or Policía Nacional station. Though not mandatory, it’s advisable you also open a Spanish bank account and contract a lawyer to help you through the property purchase process.

Is it a good idea to buy property in Javea?

The property market in Javea is booming – in Q2 of 2022, Javea became the 5th most expensive municipality in Spain. While it’s the luxury villas and newbuilds in the hills of Javea which fetch the highest prices, there are many old apartments or rustic properties which will appreciate in value following reforms. The direction of the property market in Javea likely means any investment will fetch a higher price in the years to come.

Can you buy property in Javea without being a resident?

Yes, you can buy property in Javea without being a resident – and you can rent it out and later sell it without ever obtaining Spanish residency. All you need is a NIE (foreigner identity number). However, you will pay higher income tax on any rental income as well as imputed income tax if you are not a tax resident in Spain.

Can I buy a house in Javea and live there permanently? 

Yes, a foreigner can buy property in Javea and live permanently – but if you’re not from the EU you will need to gain Spanish residency if you wish to live in Javea beyond 90 days in a 180 day period.

Can a foreign national buy property in Javea?

Yes, a foreign national can buy property in Javea so long as they have a NIE (foreigner identity number). Though not mandatory, it’s advisable you also open a Spanish bank account and contract a lawyer to help you through the property purchase process.

What documents do I need to buy a property in Javea?

As a foreigner, all you need to buy a property in Javea is a NIE (foreigner identity number) as well as your passport. The seller is obliged to present a series of documents about the property when you meet at the public notary’s office to sign the transfer deeds.

How much money do I need to get residency in Javea? 

Residency in Javea, Spain, depends on whether you are applying for a work visa, a student visa or a non-lucrative residence visa. For the latter, in 2021 you needed a minimum of €6,778.80 in your bank account. For a self-employment visa the minimum financial requirements depend on your profession and experience – it’s advisable to use professional services to help process your visa. You can also invest €500,000 in Spanish real estate to receive the so-called Golden Visa.