As a Spanish & English solicitor specialised in property transactions in Spain, one of the most common questions that I get from a new client who is in the process of buying a property in Spain is the following: “what should I do while I am in Spain searching for a property to buy?”. My answer is always the same: “open a Spanish bank account!!”.
Spanish banks do not need much documentation to open a standard debit account (usually your passport, a bank statement and your recent tax returns will suffice) but they want to see you in person. This means that it is really advisable to open a bank account while you are in Spain doing your property hunting. But what happens if you were unable to open one while you were in Spain? Having a Spanish bank account is paramount as whenever you are ready to complete on the property you are purchasing you will need to have the funds in that account and issue a Spanish bankers´ draft to pay the price. If you are not planning to return to Spain until completion day then your lawyer could open a bank account for you with the aid of a Spanish power of attorney. The bank account will be open but will not be fully operative until you fly to Spain and you sign certain forms in person. For this reason, if your lawyer is opening the bank account for you, then remember that you would need to fly to Spain at least one day before completion to sign the remaining documents and then obtain the banker´s draft on the following day .
To summarise, always try to open the bank account while being in Spain. If you could not open one in your first trip, then open it in your second trip to Spain (provided that this is before completion) and if for whichever reason you are not planning to return to Spain until completion day then instruct your Spanish lawyer to open one for you and grant him Spanish power of attorney. Last but not least, remember that you will need to go to the branch at least the day before completion to make the account fully operative and dispose of the funds that you have transferred.
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