If you are selling or buying a second-hand car in Spain, like in every country, you need to complete a set of legal and administrative procedures to change the ownership of a vehicle. Failure to do that in due time might incur problems and fines to both parties.
The transfer of ownership needs to be duly entered in the General Registry of the “Direccion General de Trafico”, the Traffic department of the Police, in one of their offices, based on prior appointment. Those living in the province of Malaga need to go to the Trafico office in the city of Malaga. But first let’s look what needs to be done prior to that and what are general requirements to both parties.
If you are selling your car, always keep the original of the purchase and sale contract (in case of a private sale) or invoice (in case of a sale to a company) and a copy of buyer’s ID documents. It is important that the purchase and sale contract will state the exact date and time (up to minutes) of the sale and handover of the car to determine the responsibility in case of any fines or accidents occur straight after or before the sale. Remember that radar fines, road tax or fines for late ITV checks will continue coming in the name of the seller until the ownership is properly transferred. Along with the handover of the car the seller needs to provide to the buyer the originals of the car documents (circulation permit with technical characteristics and ITV card) and the receipt of last year municipal road tax paid.
The seller of the vehicle can request the buyer to provide within 15 days a copy of car documents stating that the car has been duly transferred in the buyer’s name. Absence of such notification gives the right to the seller to officially inform Trafico of the sale. By doing this the seller avoids any further liabilities associated with the vehicle.
If you are buying a second-hand car it is always advisable to first check the vehicle for the matters of any registered legal restrictions, problems, accidents etc – such report can be obtained from the Trafico department. Once the purchase and sale has taken place, it is the responsibility of the buyer to complete the transfer of ownership procedure and carry the costs of it.
Prior to registering the transfer of ownership in the Trafico department the buyer should pay the transfer tax (impuesto de transmisiones patrimoniales) and current rate in Andalucia is either 4% or 8% depending on the size and type of the engine. With this and other required documents (purchase and sale contract, copy of seller’s ID, car documents and confirmation of paid taxes) the buyer can complete the transfer of car ownership procedure in the Trafico department based on previously obtained appointment. The fee for transfer can be paid either beforehand or directly at Trafico.
If you are buying a second-hand car through a dealer the above ownership transfer procedure would be normally handled by the dealer and you will receive the car and the car documents already in your name.
In case of a private purchase and sale it is always advisable to turn to the services of a professional who will make sure all steps of the car ownership transfer process are completed in the correct order and will save you lots of time by freeing you from the long waiting queues in the department of Trafico. Malaga Expat Consulting will be happy to assist all expats living in Malaga and the Costa del Sol with this and other similar matters, so just get in touch and save yourself time and troubles, instead enjoy driving your new car!