Opening a bank account for buying a property in Spain is not necessary, but it is recommended for paying utilities, taxes, property related expenses, etc.
It is also recommended for making the final payment upon completion.
Nowadays, it is very complicated to make the payment through your lawyer’s bank account due to money laundering. Your lawyer could receive small amounts from you, but not for the total property price.
In Spain, it is common to pay the property price with a banker’s cheque (cheque bancario), so it is important to have the funds in a Spanish bank account.
If you are coming to Spain for looking for a property, we advise you to open a Spanish bank account. For opening it you will only need your passport. You will not need your NIE number for opening it, but maybe they will ask for it later. You can choose any bank and ask them to open a bank account, which they will do in the same day. It is very important to tell the bank officer that the purpose of the account is for buying a property, so they will be aware when you transfer the funds for completion.
If you are not in Spain, you can contact any branch and ask them to open the account in the meantime. Then, once you come to Spain, you will have to go to the bank and sign the bank account contract (until you do that you will not be able to operate with the account, but you will be able to transfer the funds from your foreign bank account).
Once the purchase has to be completed at the Notary office, you should bring the banker’s cheque issued by the Spanish bank. Please make sure to come to your bank at least 2 days before the completion, so the bank can have the time to issue the cheque.