Skip to main content

Buying a Car in Spain

Buying a Car in Spain
Once you arrive to live or spend long periods of time in Spain you will need transport. If you become a resident of Spain you are only allowed an English registered car for 3 months and then you have to return it to the UK or re-register it on Spanish Plates.

If you decide to purchase a car in Spain you will notice that the second-hand value of cars is quite high, a lot higher than in the UK. There are many thoughts on why this is, but it seems that the Spanish value second hand cars more. It could be the number of cars on the market, less new cars being bought to enter the re-sale market, no-one really knows but unfortunately it is the case. Although you may find the coastal areas are more expensive than some inland towns and it’s worth shopping around if you are looking for a second-hand car.

As the second-hand car market is strong, it means a new car value depreciates less, which to some extent encourages ex pats to buy new. It is also less stressful not knowing what could be wrong with a second hand car.

There are several ways of buying, leasing and renting a car in Spain similar to the UK.

Renting from the bank

Some banks offer rental cars for several year contracts. You pay a monthly fee and in some instances they will cover maintenance and insurance, so you just pay one figure every month. You never own the car.

Lease Purchase

This is a way of buying a car in part payments. There is an initial deposit then a monthly fee for several years, once this period is up then there is a one off payment to buy the car outright or you give it back and start again with the deposit and monthly payments. Because car dealerships make money out of the finance, you will often find the starting prices of these cars are lower than if you were to buy with cash. But in the long run it works out the same price or more.

Buying with Cash

Unlike the old days when paying cash often meant a discount- this is no longer the case, as all large purchases have to be declared to the tax authorities and it is difficult for a seller to use this money or deposit in a bank. You will often see a price advertised for a car, but when you want the deal in cash it will be more expensive- the price is only offered if you take finance.

Like making any large purchase the best thing to do is, shop around or visit dealerships away from the coast. Another tip is that it seems some of the big dealerships want to meet their target by the end of the year and December is a good time to get a deal.


George B, UK

"I was impressed by the level of service provided by Mike and his team right from the beginning. He quickly understood what we were looking for and shortlisted a few properties, one of which we bought. His advice throughout was no nonsense and always scrupulously honest. When he thought there would be costs involved which we had not appreciated, he told us and his estimates turned out to be spot on. He was just as frank with the vendor when it came to negotiating a price and agreeing a timescale. He led us through the buying process by the hand and made sure it all went smoothly. This included transferring utilities and paying by standing orders. I could not have done this without help. Mike said that he made a point of personally making sure all his clients left him happy in all respects and he went out of his way to do so. He helped us for months after the sale had completed until we had fully settled in. For example he found all the tradesmen and specialists we needed to upgrade the property. Mike's level of service is by far the best we have ever come across and much better than I have ever experienced from any estate agent."