Why compromise? Build your own in Spain

Constructing the perfect Spanish property

Conveyancing Thursday, October 6, 2016
Build your own property in Spain

It’s often said that to find your perfect property you must compromise. After all, you can’t expect to have everything you want in one location. But perhaps there is an alternative- why not build your own in Spain? In this article we find out more about what this might entail.

Only need two bedrooms but want more living space? Prefer a small garden but need lots of parking? Finding the perfect Spanish property can be difficult if not impossible and people will often tell you that you must be prepared to compromise - that you can’t have it all. To some extent that’s true when you’re buying re-sale or even new build and off-plan property. But what about if your property is built to order?

We’re not talking Grand Design projects here exactly but ones that mean you can specify in more detail the features you would like in your property and where you would like it to be built. This option can appeal not just to people buying their first property in Spain but to those who have lived here for a while too.

After living in the city or on the coast you can long for a more peaceful, inland location, for example. Perhaps having lived in Spain for some time, you might have a clearer idea about exactly what it is you need from your property in terms of size and specification. Building from scratch, particularly if you build inland, can save you money and be completed in only nine to twelve months. So, how do you go about such a project?

The right people

You need to find the right people to help you, starting with a good builder. They must have an excellent reputation and the capability to put into motion everything that you have in mind. They should have their own architect, technician, suppliers and local links to enable the process to go smoothly.

It’s important that you do not pay a large amount in advance for the property. There should be arrangements in place instead to pay in phases and you can request regular updates and photographs if you are not able to visit the property yourself.

If you can, it is highly advisable to visit some properties previously constructed by the builder. It is useful to gather ideas from these and to have opportunity to talk with their owners, explore their experiences and ask their views.

You will also need the services of a good solicitor to make sure that all the legal checks are in place and the correct Spanish licences have been applied for and received. And you must ensure that you can communicate easily with the people who are representing you.

The right place

Once you have the right people then you must firm up your location in Spain. You can ask the solicitor about the best areas to buy land in and the builder will have land that they can recommend too. It is worthwhile asking their advice.  

On a practical level, it is likely that wherever you choose you will want to be connected to utilities and your property should be accessible from a public road. You will need water supply, sewage and electricity as a minimum.

What is most important is that the land is 100% legal and ready to build on. Your legal representatives should be particularly careful to check the current status of the land. Always make sure that legal checks of Spanish property are completed before you pay a deposit and commit to purchasing the plot.  

The right budget

Building your own property in Spain can be significantly cheaper and even more so when you’re building inland. Do be careful though to budget for everything. There is a temptation to underestimate all the little extras there can be when you are starting from scratch.

Coastal land is much more expensive and therefore inland you get much more for your money. The size of plots on the Spanish coast are usually between 800 and 1,000 metres whereas inland they can be up to 10,000 metres. Plots that have already been bought by the builder and do not require any intermediaries, will be cheaper too. 

When budgeting, do allow for the purchase of the plot, the cost of building work as well as professionals’ fees, taxes and licences. You will have VAT (IVA) to pay on the building work itself that will come to around 10% of the contract budget.

VAT will also be payable on architects’ and technicians’ fees and materials at a rate of 21%. Costs can increase if you choose higher quality building materials and by building an individual residence you will not benefit from economy of size either.

Your ideal home

The total cost for your custom-built home in Spain is still likely to be less than an off-the-shelf property that would probably not have met your brief. With a little time and a vision of your ideal home, you might be surprised just how little compromise you need.

Do you have any questions?

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