Once you have found your Spanish property and your lawyer assures you that there are no potential problems, you will have to pay a deposit, usually 10% of the agreed price. The vendor must also allocate an amount equivalent to twice the buyer's. If either party pulls out after the agreement to purchase has been signed, they lose the deposit to the other party. (In some cases, it is possible to have get-out clauses written into the contract).
An agreed completion date is set. On the completion day, both parties or their authorized agents (and the banks if mortgages are involved) complete the signing, payment and transfer of deeds in the office of a public notary. (The notary is an officially recognised witness to the fact that a transaction has taken place in his or her presence, and the notary will see that this becomes a matter of public record. The notary will not offer any advice or tell you if the contract is likely to cause you problems).
Your lawyer will register you as the new owner. Make sure this is done immediately as you may not be able to raise finance or sell the property if you are not recorded as the owner.
Once the documents are signed, you will be given the keys to your Spanish property. From this point on, you assume responsibility for all bills, such as community charges and utility bills associated with the property.
It is very important that you contact electricity, gas and water companies with your contact details. Do not assume that bills will be sent to your new home - the previous owner may not have lived there. If bills are being issued and you are not aware of them, you may find your services being cut off.
It is also important to register with your local town hall so that municipal bills are sent to you.
Finally, if your property is part of a community scheme, let the community president know that your are now the owner