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Things To Consider Before Buying A Car In Spain

When it comes to buying a car in Spain, there are things to consider. It isn’t simply a case of finding a great car and making a purchase. In order to avoid complications, you should:

  • Find out whether the car has the documents to show that it is legally allowed to be driven. As soon as you buy a car, you’ll need these documents. It’s often beneficial to see these documents when you first view the vehicle.
  • Check that the car has its log book, as this is a requirement. Similarly to when you own a car in the UK, the log book will provide all of the important vehicle details such as the registration number and model. In Spain, this is called the Permiso De Circulacion.
  • Ask about the Inspeccion Tecnica, which is similar to what we call an MOT in the UK. The Inspeccion Tecnica proves that the car is safe to drive and roadworthy; these are usually valid for up to two years at a time.
  • Ask about the Impuesto Sobre Vehiculos, which is similar to UK road tax. The Impuesto Sobre Vehiculos is a yearly fee that must be paid and it should be addressed to whoever owns the vehicle. This is something that will need to be changed once you become the owner of the car.
  • Check all the documents are in the name of the seller before purchasing any car and ensure all of the car details are correct across the board. Asking for ID is not uncommon and sellers are unlikely to mind showing proof of ownership.

How To Transfer Ownership of Vehicles in Spain

When you buy a car in Spain, the easiest route to take is buying a car through a legitimate car dealership as they tend to take care of everything for you. If you choose to buy a car privately the following steps should be taken:

  • You will need to go to the Jefatura De Trafico in order to organise all of the required paperwork. Though it is not always necessary for the seller to attend, having them there can avoid problems and any outstanding fines or payments can be dealt with immediately. For example, if the Impuesto Sobre Vehiculos is outstanding, this will need to be dealt with.
  • Once at the Jefatura De Trafico, all of the forms for transferring ownership of the car will need to be completed and this is called the Solicitud. Though this can be completed elsewhere, it must be handed in to the Jefatura De Trafico as a fee is required; this is around $44. Once you have paid the fee you will receive a ticket and receipt for proof.
  • Once everything at the Jefatura De Trafico is complete, you will need to head to the Ayuntamiento or Town Hall. Here, staff will check that the road tax is not outstanding.
  • After paying the fee and completing everything, a member of staff at the Jefatura De Trafico will finalise and confirm everything. It can then take a full day for the transfer to be approved.

Potential Problems At The Jefatura De Trafico

Though many people find no problems with buying cars in Spain, problems can sometimes occur when transferring ownership. For example:

  • If the tax isn’t paid completely then another trip to the Ayuntamiento is required before finalising everything back at the Jefatura De Trafico; this all wastes time.
  • If the documents are not completely correct or if information is missing, further time can be wasted. It’s advised that you check everything before visiting the Jefatura De Trafico.
  • Many people who are not Spanish citizens will need to have extra copies of all of the documents involved in transferring ownership of the car, so bare this in mind to avoid delays.
  • Some cars will have outstanding traffic fines and if these are not paid before ownership is transferred, you become liable. By taking the seller to the Jefatura De Trafico, these can be paid by the seller.

Potential Problems Elsewhere

When you buy cars in Spain, there are problems that can occur outside of the Jefatura De Trafico. Problems between the seller and buyer are rare, but they do happen. For example:

  • Sellers may ask for a deposit for the vehicle and then buyers later find this isn’t refundable. As issues can arise at the Jefatura De Trafico, you should always ensure the deposit will be repaid if you then decide to cancel the purchase.
  • Buyers do not ask for a copy of the Permiso De Circulacion. The Permiso De Circulacion should be in your name and this proves the sale is complete, making it a legal document. If the document is not in your name, the vehicle still legally belongs to the seller.

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