Buying a car in Spain
When you go to buy a car in Spain, whether its new or second-hand,
make sure you have all this paperwork:
You'll need your passport or residencia if you have one, and
House deeds, or as Spanish call them, “escrituras”, or a
rental agreement that is minimum of a year.
Empadronamiento. Which is a piece of paper that proves you
live in the town.
Important: They only last 3 months, so try and get it as
close as you can to the purchase.
Make sure you have a photocopy of each item as well.
If you are looking to get a car through finance, you will
need your last 3 payslips, or anything similar that is a proof of income, for
example, a work contract.
The paperwork is similar if you buy from a dealer or a
private seller. If the seller is private, make sure you check all the original
documents before agreeing to anything.
You need to make sure you have your “permiso de circulacion” (the logbook). It is the proof that the vehicle
identification number matches the one on the vehicle’s registration document,
and provides the important information of the car, for example, the make,
model, number plate....
Transfer of ownership form.
ITV (Inspection Tecnica de vehículos (MOT).
Stamped and with the date of the next inspection.
SUMA. Road licence fee for the current year.
Buying a new car
The prices for the cars in Spain may vary from one place to
In certain circumstances, giving in your old car will
sometimes reduce the price of your new one.
The dealer sometimes will pay the registration fee, mostly
when it's new, and if you pay with cash.
Some government plans to reduce pollution, cars that are
dated over 10 years old might be taken in part-exchange and you might qualify
for a discount.
If for some reason the car model you like and have chosen is
not available at the time that you are looking to buy, you should fill in a
purchase order for a new car.
What should you try to avoid?
Make sure that the price of your car does not change while
you are waiting for it, and that the deposit you pay in gets taken off the
final car price.
The purchase order should have all the features of the car
you have chosen, as well as the date.
If in your situation you give your car in as part of the price,
ask for a copy of your old car's sales contract, so you can let Trafico know (Provincial
Traffic Authorities) and the Ayuntamiento (Townhall) about the new owner name
of your old vehicle, otherwise the taxes and traffic fines may still come to
When you have been handed your new car, the dealer should
give you these documents:
The vehicle circulation permit.
The technical sheet corresponding to your new car.
A written guarantee of the car.
The instructions and maintenance manual.
The purchase invoice of the car.
This is the general paperwork… Any other questions applicable to your case
should be sorted by a Spanish Lawyer.
Buying a second-hand car
If you by a second-hand car from a dealer, or privately, you
should be given this paperwork:
Permiso de circulación.
Signed on the back, with the technical sheet of the car.
Receipt of the years SUMA. Tax. It changes town to town.
Just make sure you keep it in your car.
ITV. The vehicle inspection to make sure your car is safe.
Check the vehicle history, make sure it has no debts.
Either the seller or buyer should apply for a new registration
certificate, to change the ownership of the vehicle.
The buyer must pay:
The transfer tax at the tax office at a rate of 4% of the
The Traffic fees, when applying for the transfer of the vehicle’s ownership.
The seller is liable for the later possible imperfections of the vehicle, which
could not be discovered by a non-expert car buyer. Private buyers may renounce
this guarantee; however, the dealer is mandatory responsible for imperfections
on the car.
About the car insurance:
If you buy a second-hand car you may subrogate (Subrogation is the right for an
insurer to legally pursue a third party that caused an insurance loss to the
insured; this is done as a means of recovering the amount of the claim paid by
the insurance carrier to the insured for the loss), the seller’s car insurance,
the insurance company shall be informed about this. Make sure that the seller
is up to date in his periodic payments, otherwise, once the vehicle is
transferred, you will be liable for the amounts pending of payment.
These are only general guidelines, other questions applicable to your
individual case should be directed to a Spanish Lawyer.