We understand that navigating the property market in a new country can be an overwhelming endeavour. Figuring out the legal requirements and local customs is confusing by itself—and becomes even more so when all your paperwork has to be completed in a language that you probably don’t speak.
Then there are considerations of comfort, such as weather, ease of access, building quality, and pricing. To fathom all of this, the best form of support you can receive is through local consulting firms like ours. We can help you find your dream home here in Andorra. Along with that, we can also help you streamline your relocation process.
If you want to settle down and enjoy the many benefits of living in Andorra, our handy guide is a good place to start. It outlines in detail what it takes to purchase your first home in the principality. Let’s get started.
What to Expect When Buying Property in Andorra
As is the case in any country, buying property in Andorra as a foreigner does involve jumping through some legal hoops. However, obtaining residency in Andorra can go a long way to easing the process. Thanks to the new law for foreign investments, all Andorran residents can purchase property without limitations.
While non-residents can buy without limitation as well, you will have to apply for authorisation from the Andorran government. One more thing to keep in mind is that commercial property can only be purchased by foreigners if used for their own commercial activity.
Can Foreigners Buy Property in Andorra?
Yes. However, there are a few legal requirements you’ll need to bear in mind. Restrictions for non-resident foreigners include:
Explicit authorisation from the Andorran government to purchase property
Commercial property can only be purchased for use by your own business
It is also important to keep in mind that as a foreigner, you will be facing a significant language barrier. Almost all legal transactions conducted in Andorra are done in the country’s official language: Catalan.
We recommend having a translator or a known local resident help you out with documents and legal texts during the buying process. If you don’t have access to someone like this, we’d be happy to help.
The Purchase Process
The Andorran buying process has made transactions standardised throughout recent years. You won’t be consistently left asking “What now?” after each step along the way. Below, we’ve outlined the simple step-by-step guide to buying property here—a process that typically takes anywhere from four to six weeks in total.
Commitment to Sale Agreement
Whether you’re looking for apartments or houses for sale in Andorra la Vella, or anywhere else in Andorra for that matter, the process of buying a property starts with a commitment for sale.
This is a standard agreement that is made between the buyer and seller. It is much like most standard real estate contracts you’ll find in other countries. Here, the price is established and additional conditions on the sale are documented.
Once you’ve agreed to your commitment to the sale, you’ll be tasked with paying a 10% non-refundable deposit. This allows the buying process to continue, while at the same time protecting the seller in case you decide to walk away. It also protects you against gazumping, which is when a seller attempts to rescind your original contact.
Authorisation for Foreign Investment
If you are a non-resident, now is when you’ll want to head to the government offices and pick up an “authorisation for foreign investment” form. This form contains all the necessary information about the property you intend to purchase as well as the sales process.
Authorisation typically takes between one to two weeks. Keep in mind, the form is in Catalan.
If you’re a current resident or possess government authorisation as a non-resident, you’ll need to arrange a habitability certificate. Think of this like an inspection certificate you’d get in most countries.
Here, an architect is hired by the seller to inspect the property for habitability. If it passes, it means your home meets all requirements for living in Andorra.
The last box to check is hiring a notary to oversee the final steps of the purchase of your new home. The notary will write the Public Title Deed, which will be signed by the buyer and the seller. This will complete the sale of the property. As the buyer, you will be responsible for any and all notary fees.
Things to Consider When Buying a House in Andorra
Andorra is a unique place to say the least. As a result, the property market here is quirky—things that you probably didn’t think of before deciding to purchase Andorran property will turn out to be major points for consideration.
Because these features can significantly impact the quality of your overall living experience here, you need to give them some serious thought. Here are some of the most important factors to take into account before sealing the deal.
Seasonal Weather Conditions
Weather can have a dramatic impact on your overall living experience in Andorra, and even your mood. It’s a big deal here—because the weather can be quite different from one parish to another.
For example, it can be warm and sunny in Sant Julia, while cold and windy in Ordino. This is one of the reasons why finding the best place to live in Andorra is so subjective.
Additionally, conditions will vary seasonally, which is something many foreigners often don’t understand. It’s recommended to know exactly what you’re getting into in terms of weather during each season before buying property.
Things like how good the insulation and building quality is, the type of heating equipment the house has, how much sunlight it gets, how the snow might affect your accessibility and so on, need to be given serious thought.
In most countries, getting adequate sunlight to your property isn’t really an issue. However, the mountainous geography of Andorra means that many properties don’t get much, or any, sunlight at all during the winter months.
Adequate sunlight won’t just improve your mood, but it can also reduce heating costs, help to melt snow build-up and provide you with some much-needed Vitamin D during the cold winters.
Access and Roadways
One thing we’ve noticed about foreign buyers is that they aren’t always aware of how unforgiving the Andorran terrain can be in terms of accessibility. Sure, the mountains and valleys are beautiful, but they can be tricky to drive on during the winter.
Make sure any property you purchase has easy access and roads that are accessible year-round. The perfect property won’t be so perfect if you can’t actually make it there!
Overall Building Quality
Finally, you want to consider the overall building quality of your purchase. Too often, we find that foreigners discover properties that are “too good to be true” and then find themselves let down.
You’ll want to make sure you get the proper heating choice for winter and find a building with good insulation and access to sunlight. If possible, look to inspect and buy a property in early winter so you can see how the building works in the cold.