The word escritura occurs in property transactions; frequently known also as escritura pública. It simply translates as a notarised document. Often it concerns thereby the notarised sales contract of property. This notarised sales contract has the same function in Spanish legal transactions as a document of ownership. This viewpoint, while not entirely correct, serves as a useful paradigm. Do not confuse escritura with a private contract.

registro de la propiedad (= land registry office)

Security concerning the legal title to a property is afforded by the land registry (= registro de la propiedad) in requesting a nota simple (= simple extract from the land registry), which anybody, even without proof of entitled interest, can usually receive within 24 hours. It is only safe to buy directly from the registered owner, otherwise we recommend further investigation. Even in the case of a correctly registered owner registered, it is still possible that there are some liens on the property, so that further inquiries by a lawyer are needed, to avoid foreign legal problems later on.
We can request a nota simple (extract from the land registry) for you:

  • this costs 65€ at present including postage. A condition is that all land registry data is available.
  • if only the name of the owner is known, then a search must be done, costing about 130 €.
  • these costs must be pre-paid!

traducciones juradas (= official translations)

These are frequently required for legal transactions e.g. in property and inheritance matters as well as in other legal matters in Spain.. Translations from ordinary translation agencies, without an official stamp, are not recognized. In Spain, this authorization is given by the Ministry of Justice in Madrid. Official
translations are also needed to receive an inheritance, when the certificate of inheritance must be translated into Spanish. Where no international (if multilingual) death certificate is present, then a national death certificate must be officially translated. More information can be obtained from the qualified translator Ramon López:


This is a kind of pre–certification which can secure your right to the property registration, but whose validity is limited. There will be a confirmation in the daily report (= diario protocolo) of the land registry office that an entry-requiring procedure has been taken out, for example an escritura serving as a purchase contract. This procedure called‚ ’asiento de presentación’ gives a 60-day protection and waiting period (extendable up to 180 days) in favour of the person entitled in the document. There is also asiento (de presentación) via fax. The notary sends these upon request of one party and not automatically to the land registry office. This also is a kind of pre –certification, which protects the buyer for a period of ten days. Within these ten days the original document must be submitted to obtain the full 60 day asiento. These protective instruments are useful, but must be applied for and then followed up by the attorney or a Gestoria (tramitacion).