For many foreigners purchasing a property in Spain is an investment, a second property or possibly winter residence. While most people leave everything in the hands of their solicitors to complete, they are often unaware of all the things that need attending to after the purchase of a property. So here is what I have composed as my list of most important items. However they are not in any particular order of importance.
1. Electricity. For most the provider of electricity is Endesa or Iberdrola, whichever your provider you will need to make sure that this is changed to your name. There is often an administration charge of €20.00 euro and they will ask for copy of NIE or DNI, copy of purchase contract or escritura. Even if you are renting, it might be advisable to change this to your name or your tenants name as any unpaid bills or insurance claims nowadays request that the contract be in your name. The process is not too difficult if you have all the paper work and if the previous owner had a proper installation.
You can often save by applying for a permanent contract of fixed durations of 12 or 18 months for discounts of around 6 to 10% and installation of a consumption controller known as ICP to get approximately 4 to 10%. Check this website from Endesa to see what discounts you can get http://www.endesa.es/ES/comunidades/teofrece/ofertas_luz/index.asp
2. Telephone. Just because you have a telephone socket in your house does not mean that there was a telephone line in the house before or that you can have one. Always enquire to make sure that if the property has an existing line or a previous line as in many areas, it is still difficult to get a line. Although past invoices do not pose a major problem, the telecom companies are closing the loop and properties with bad debts are equally marked with a red cross.
You do not need to take over a telephone contract, unless you want to keep the line. If you do wish to take over the line and the contract comes with ADSL service, you may want to reconsider the ADSL contract as you will often find a better or a different service that will suit your needs at a better rate. For a full list of all ADSL deals and price you may wish to visit www.electronbox.net/ADSLcompare/
3. Local taxes and garbage collection fees. You will need to visit your Town Hall to make sure that you are registered as a resident and in most cases if you setup a direct debit service for these payments you will find that there is a 5 to 10% discount depending on your Town Hall. This is a fairly simple procedure but you will need proper ID (DNI or NIE), passport and escritura.
4. Community fees. If your property is in a private area, gated or not gated or an apartment block, you are automatically part of a community of properties, where the common hold law is applicable, and you will undoubtedly have to pay your share towards the maintenance of this shared areas (shared by your community members and owners and also private to all your community owners and members/tenants). All communities must have a president and some have an administrator. Make sure that you also find out who the president and the administrator are. Your community fees will be due at fixed intervals and delays may incur surcharges and or fines.
Many communities have started setting up websites in order to improve communication between neighbours and provide information as of required. If your community does not have a website, you can set one up for free on www.ocm-online.com. OCM offers a multilingual platform for communities that can be setup in a few minutes and managed by any group of neighbours, president or the administrator and in the long run is the only way to run a community and reduce the unwanted costs of posts and photocopies.