Buying a Car in Marbella

Editorial Lifestyle

Expat Guide

The process of buying and registering a car in your name in Spain is quite different to what you may be used to in the UK and many other EU countries. If you are going to be buying a car in Marbella, this guide provides a useful overview.

If you’re buying a new car in Marbella, the dealer will take care of all the paperwork and costs, so you’ll not notice much difference. They’ll deliver your car and paperwork. It’s when you buy a second-hand car that you’ll see what’s involved in the process.

In all cases, to buy a car in Marbella you will need the following documents:
 Passport
 Residencia or NIE certificate
 Proof of residential address in Spain, e.g. “Escritura” (title deeds) of house, Certificate of Empadronamiento (Padron), or a long term rental contract.

When buying a second-hand car privately, you’ll also need the seller's passport and NIE / NIF, as well as a purchase/sale contract (Contrato de Compraventa) or invoice from the seller. You’ll also need the vehicle registration document (Permiso de Circulacion), the ITV document (ficha tecnica) and a receipt confirming that municipal tax (IVTM) has been paid. You can complete the vehicle transfer of ownership yourself at the DGT (Direccion General de Trafico); offices in Malaga, and to do so, in addition to the above documents you’ll also need to complete a transfer of ownership form (Solicitud de Transmission de Vehiculos) which both you and seller need to sign.  This form can be downloaded from the DGT (Direccion General de Trafico) website.

There is a fee, of approx €40 that has to be paid and a ‘transfer of owner’ tax. You’ll need a full morning to sort out the paperwork at ‘trafico’ and to know at least basic Spanish. Most people use a Gestoria to sort out the transfer of ownership when they buy a car in Marbella. This makes the process a lot easier, as you just provide them with the documents and sign a mandate so they can sort out the rest. They give you an official piece of paper called a ‘justificante’ which confirms that the transfer of ownership is in process.

It’s important to make sure the transfer of ownership is completed correctly when you buy a car in Marbella. If the transfer is not done, or not done properly, the seller of the vehicle could end up responsible for ongoing costs on the vehicle -  taxes and fines, and/or the buyer could end up having to pay costs left unpaid by the previous owner.

So to avoid this, make sure that you know exactly what you are doing, make the necessary checks, and make sure that you have a sales contract, the "Compraventa"; that clearly states the seller's responsibilities.

Finally, don’t forget insurance. You’ll need to give the insurance company your details, the car details and licence number (matricula) to get a quote. To set a policy up you have to send a copy of your passport, NIE and the vehicle documents or the purchase contract and "justificante". Dont forget you MUST carry proof of insurance papers in your car or you may get fined. 

This article has been curated together with Overseas Lifestyle Services who if you wish, can also help you with all of the matters mentioned above regarding buying a car in Spain.