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Buying a used car in Spain

Where you are buying a used car from a dealer, typically the dealer will handle most of the process. Nonetheless, it is important that you understand the legal process that should be followed to ensure a trouble free passing of title. In any case you will definitely need to be aware of the process where you are buying a used car from another individual.

Buying from an Individual

  • You should retain a copy (can be a photocopy) of the 'Contrato de Compra Venta' signed by both parties. This details who the buyer and seller are and the details of the car as well as the form and amount of payment
  • You should also retain two copies of the Identity Card of the seller, one for paying the Impuesto sobre Tansmissiones Patromoniales (a local tax on buying and selling anything) as well as a copy for presentation at the Jefatura de Trafico where you request registration of the car in your name
  • You must receive a copy of the Permiso de Circulacion (log book) signed on the back by the seller. This is somewhat similar to the process in the UK and Ireland where the certificate of registration (log book) is signed to transfer ownership
  • If the car is more than 4 years old then it must have a valid ITV (MOT) certificate
  • A copy of the latest proof of payment of the Impuesto Sobre Vehiculos de Traccion Mecanica (Road Tax) as if not you will be liable for payment upon registration of the car of all back taxes relating to the vehicle
  • There are a further two forms that must be filled in by both buyer and seller: the Notificacion de Transmision de Vehi­culos and Solicitud de Transmision de Vehiculo. These are effectively written requests by the seller and the buyer to transfer the official registration of ownership of the vehicle. There is currently a 52.80€ charge for this (26.40€ for motorcycles)
  • The purchaser should then take a copy of the Contrato de CompraVenta, the sellers DNI (ID document) and the Permiso de Circulacion as well as copies and original of their own passport to their local Hacienda office and pay the Impuesto sobre Tansmisiones Patrimoniales. This will amount to 4% of the taxable value of the car (this will be less than the actual value of the car)
  • With all of the above documents you may then proceed to the Jefatura de Trafico to hand in all of the above documents as well as pay the relevant taxes. You will receive the Permiso de Circulacion in your name and address via the post shortly afterwards
  • It is advisable to go to the Jefatura de Trafico with the seller as it is at this point any outstanding fines on the car will become apparent. If these are not extinguished by the seller at this time, they become the responsibility of the buyer
  • Updated March 2014