Now, buying property in Spain is not all that complicated, really. Even for a foreigner. You do however need an Foreign Identification Number — a Número de Identificación de Extranjero or NIE. (Pronounced Neeyuh by those “in the Know.”) This number is muy importante for any foreigner wanting to purchase property, a car, or even a cell phone.
Unfortunately I was not one of those who were “in the know” and so I did not know that I needed to make sure that we had NIEs before the purchase. Our estate agent emailed and let me know that we needed to apply in person at the foreigners office in Almeria or we could give power of attorney to the Spanish lawyer (when we finally chose one) and they could apply for us. Maybe I’m just paranoid, but giving a stranger power of attorney worries me, so I decided to do a little Googling and see if there was another option.
Oh Happy Day! I found out that we could apply via mail through the Spanish Consulate and the NIEs would be processed without us having to be in Spain in person. This was glorious good news because applying in person is one thing, but then you apparently have to wait and then return to the foreigners office to collect the NIE paperwork; and this would require way more vacation time than we had! I saw that there was a Spanish Consulate right here in downtown Dallas, so I took a personal day from work and planned to get down there lickety split to get the ball rolling. I didn’t actually CALL the Spanish consulate office, because it seemed easy enough to get to according to my bff GoogleMaps… (**cue ominous foreshadowing music here**)
I drove down to Dallas and followed the directions EXACTLY, but this building did not seem to contain the Spanish Consulate office. I went in one entrance and then another. I went up one staircase and then another. It started reminding me of this clip from one of my favorite movies “What’s Up, Doc” in which Eunice Burns get dropped off in a shady warehouse district…
Okay, so it wasn’t THAT shady, but it was awkward because I’d go up some stairs and then end up in the middle of an allergist’s waiting room with sniffy itchy people; then I walked into the middle of an architect’s office full of drafting tables… Those were two of the nicer places I burst in to, but the rest of the building was rather run-down. This really wasn’t the best part of town, so I figured I’d better high tail it back to my car and call the consulate.
I called the office and the entire recorded menu was in, of course, Spanish. I did recognize para Ingles push one, so luckily I spoke to someone who spoke to me in English. This was not a time to try out my weak Spanish vocabulary! The woman was so very nice and told me that this office in Dallas was not the main consulate office for Spain. This one dealt with more touristy things (my words, not hers) and that the office in Houston would have to process our NIEs. Yikes! Houston!! Have no fear, she said (well, again my words, not hers, exactly) we could do all of it via mail. Whew! What a relief! The nice lady told me it would be a couple of weeks and it would all be taken care of. This was the middle of October, so if our offer was accepted, we should have plenty of time to arrange a closing without dragging it on forever.
I got everything I needed in order, downloaded and printed off the NIE forms, wrote my $14 check, and dropped it in the mail. Curt was a little less worried about getting it done immediately, but I was too paranoid that it would be my procrastination that could hold things up, so I wanted to get it taken care of ASAP. He got all his stuff in the mail within the week, and then we just played the waiting game again.