Building your own home in Spain
Although most of our clients are interested in resale Javea properties and new builds, we sometime have clients who prefer to design their dream home exactly as they envision it, and have it built from scratch. If this is a project that appeals to you, you can purchase a plot (parcela) and have a custom-designed house built to satisfy your requirements exactly or use existing plans that an architect or builder can provide. Building your own home from ground up no only allows you design a dream home, but with due diligence you can also choose the quality of all materials used and make sure the workmanship is first class.
Although you are likely to be delighted with your custom-built Spanish home, you should be aware before starting that you are likely to become entangles in red tape and the process is likely to be lengthy. However, if you are determined to build a home in Spain, this should not put you off. In Javea there are a number of reputable builders who carry out excellent work and who can also offer you standard designs which makes the issue of getting permission to build considerably easier.
Checking future town hall plans
When you decided on the area you would like to live in, you first need to check out if there are future plans to develop the region. You don’t want to waste time looking at plots when there are plans to build roads or railways in your chosen spot. If you choose a plot that is ideal for you because it is in ultra-peaceful surroundings, you are not likely to be delighted when road workers turn up to start work on a new section of motorway that will practically pass through your garden.
You also need to make sure the plot you choose is approved for building, and that it is not in a green zone where any type of construction is prohibited. The land will also need to be of a certain size depending on how large the property will be.An experienced estate agent will know what permits are required and help you to obtain the necessary paperwork from the townhall.
Beware of Spanish building regulations
Building regulations vary even in the same urbanisation depending on the type of plot and also because regulations often change, so don’t assume just because a neighbour has built a mansion-like property that you will beabe to do the same.
Some really steep plots should be avoided as they will require extremely strong and expensive foundations. If you are looking a plot with a sharp incline, it is worth the cost to consult with an architect who can inform you if your project is realistic and how much you can expect to pay for foundations or retaining walls.
A land survey will typically cost about 2000€ but if you have any doubt about the suitability of the plot for building it could be money well spent. A survey will check the boundaries as rural plots are commonly miscalculated by sellers and also if the plot has water rights. You will also discover if the plot has any restrictions like water pipes, electricity lines or if it is a right of way that may interfere with your plans.
Before buying any land, especially in a rural area, you should consult with a lawyer or solicitor. If the owner or an estate agent tells you it is no problem to obtain planning permission, it is prudent not to take their word for it. If you were to find yourself the new owner of a an idyllic country plot you cannot build on, you certainly would not be the first foreigner to be in this situation. So always make obtaining building approval a condition when buying land.
The building license in Spain
As previously mentioned, before you buy a plot you need to specify the contract of purchase is only valid if you are able to obtain a permit to build. Your solicitor or agent can check to make sure the land has planning permission or that it can definitely be obtained.
The cost of your plot will depend on many factors; and can vary tremendously form one part of a town to another. You can expect to pay anything from 50€ to around 300€ on the Costa Blanca, though if you are prepared to go some way inland, you will find plots that are a lot cheaper than those located near to the popular resorts.
For the build itself, you can expect to pay anything from €700 to €2,000 per square metre in a resort such as Javea, though this will depend largely on the quality of the materials used. If you want a swimming pool it makes financial sense to have it built when you construct the house, as the VAT is only 7% compared to 16% when you add a pool separately.
It is wise to add at least 10% to your original estimated costs as there are invariably unexpected costs when building a home.
You will also be liable o pay ‘tax on construction, installations and work’ which is collected on all builds that require a municipal license. The tax is between 2 to 4 per cent of the cost of the work and is typically payable when you are granted the building license.
Hiring a professional architect and builder
When looking for professionals it’s a good idea to ask for recommendations from local people. You can also acquire valuable insights by talking to expats and owners of properties in the area you like. If you rely on an estate agent’s referral you should know and trust the agent as they may recommend a particular builder or architect to receive a commission.
Many Spanish architects speak good English or you can often find architects from other EU countries. Architects’ usually charge a percentage of between 5 and 10% of the cost of the work.
A good architect may recommend reliable building firms, but it is a good idea to independently check out the reputation of a builder before hiring. Be wary of an architect who says he has his own builder. The architect’s needs make sure the builder works according to specifications, so you don’t want the to be too familiar with each other.
You should obtain written quotations from a number of builders before signing a contract.
The contract must describe the materials to be used as per the architect’s plans, where the building will be located on the plot and schedule with regards to building ad payments.
The contract should detail all costs. <<it must include architect’s fees, any landscaping that may need doing and the cost to obtain the necessary permits. The connection of utilities to the actual house rather than to the site.
Before accepting a builder’s estimate, it’s a good idea to run it by a building consultant as well as your lawyer, of course.
Check the guarantee
Under Spanish law builders have to guarantee their work against defects for a minimum period of ten years, and the architect is also responsible as defects could be a result of his poor supervision or instructions.
If you experience and issues during a build, it is important that you are persistent, while also exercising some degree of patience. If at the end of the project you are dissatisfied in any way, get a structural surveyor to check for defects and make a report which determines who is responsible for any defects.
This article is written as a basic guide to purchasing a plot and building home in Spain. It is not intended to replace legal advice – At Javea Property, we advise you never make a purchase of property or land in Spain without consulting a legal professional.