One thing that interests many expats who are looking to move to Andorra is the idea of buying property here. Purchasing property isn’t just about investment, it is also a way to permanently put down your roots in the country of your choosing.
We understand that navigating the property market in a new country can be an overwhelming endeavor. Figuring out the legal requirements and local customs is confusing by itself — even more so when all your paperwork has to be 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.
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 in Andorra and enjoy all that the lifestyle here has to offer, keep reading below. We’ve created this handy guide to help you with your journey.
What to Expect When Buying a Property in Andorra
As is the case with buying a property in any country, buying in Andorra does include some legal hoops to jump through as a foreigner. Most of this can be avoided by having residence in Andorra. This can greatly ease the process as under the new Law for Foreign Investments, all Andorran residents can purchase property without limitations.
While non-residents can buy without limitation as well, but you will have to apply for authorization 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 authorization from the Andorran government to purchase property
- Commercial property can only be purchased for use of your own business
It is also important to keep in mind that as a foreigner, you will be facing a language barrier. Almost all legal transactions conducted in Andorra are done so in the 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 in the process. Below, we’ve outlined the simple step-by-step guide to buying Andorra property, a process that typically takes anywhere from four to six weeks total.
Commitment to Sale Agreement
Whether you’re looking for houses for sale in Andorra la Vella or elsewhere in the country, 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 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.
Authorization for Foreign Investment
If you’re a non-resident, now is when you’ll want to head to the government offices and pick up an authorization for foreign investment form. This form contains every piece of information about the property you intend to buy and the sales process. Authorization typically takes between one to two weeks. Keep in mind, the form is in Catalan.
Possess a Habitability Certificate
If you’re a current resident or possess government authorization 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.
Hire and Contact a Notary
Before you can take the final step of buying your home, you’ll need to hire a notary. They will oversee the final steps of your purchase. 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. You will be responsible for any and all notary fees as the buyer.
Things to Consider Before Buying Andorran Property
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 considering Andorran property will turn out to be major selling points. 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 considerations you will have to make 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, 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 don’t often understand. It’s recommended to know exactly what you’re getting into in terms of weather during each season before buying.
Things like how well 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 other considerations, 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, it can 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,” finding 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.
Purchasing Property Made Easy
Buying a property in Andorra is a pretty standard process. Sure, the steps can feel a bit dated, but as long as you do your due diligence at each step of the process you should have no issues.
Once you jump through the legal hoops and following buying procedures, you’ll be in a property in no time.
Still unsure about buying a property? Let us help! We’re a skilled team looking to ensure that your property buying process is as seamless as possible. Contact us today for more information!