Design & Build Your Dream Home

Although most of our clients are interested in resale Javea properties for sale or new builds, we sometimes have clients who prefer to design their dream home just 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 constructed to exactly satisfy your requirements. Alternatively, you can use existing plans that an architect or builder can provide. Building your own home from the ground up allows you to design a dream home, and you can also choose the quality of all materials used and make sure the workmanship is first-class.

Although you are eventually likely to be delighted with your custom-built Spanish home, you should be aware before starting that you could become entangled in red tape, and the process may be lengthy. However, if you are determined to build a home in Spain, this should not put you off. In Javea, there are reputable builders who do excellent work and can also offer you standard designs, which makes the issue of getting permission to build considerably easier.

Check future town hall plans

When you decide on the area where you would like to live, you first need to check out if there are 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 select a plot that is ideal because it is in peaceful surroundings, you will not be happy 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 construction is prohibited. The land will also need to be of a specific size depending on the dimensions of the property. An experienced estate agent will know what permits are required and help you obtain the necessary paperwork from the town hall.

Spanish building regulations

Building regulations vary even in the same urbanisation depending on the type of plot. Regulations often change, so don’t assume just because a neighbour has built a mansion-like property that you can do the same.

You should probably avoid very steep plots as they require extremely strong and expensive foundations. If you are looking at 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 will be money well spent. A survey will check the boundaries as sellers commonly miscalculate plots. It will also reveal if the plot has water rights. You will also discover if the plot has any restrictions, such as if it is a public 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 an idyllic country plot you could not 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 licence in Spain

Before you buy land, you need to specify the contract of purchase is only valid if you can obtain a permit to build. Your solicitor or lawyer can check to ensure the land has planning permission or that you can get a licence.

Prices

The cost of your plot will depend on many factors and can vary tremendously from one part of a town to another. You can expect to pay anything from €50 to around €300 per square metre on the Costa Blanca. If you are prepared to live a little inland, you will find cheaper plots than those located near the popular resorts.

For the build itself, expect to pay between €700 to €2,000 per square metre in a resort such as Javea. The price will vary depending on the quality of the materials used. If you want a swimming pool, it makes financial sense to include it when you construct the house, as the VAT is only 7% compared to 16% if you add a pool later.

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 to pay tax on construction, installations, and work. This tax is collected on all builds requiring a municipal licence. The tax is between 2 and 4 percent of the total work cost and is typically payable when you receive the building licence.

Hiring a professional architect and builder

When looking for professionals, ask for recommendations from local people. 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. You can also acquire valuable insights by talking to expats and owners of properties in the area.

Many Spanish architects speak good English, or you can often find architects from other EU countries. Architects charge a percentage of around 5% of the build cost.

A good architect may recommend reliable building firms, but it is a good idea to check out a builder’s reputation before hiring any company. Be wary of an architect who says he has his own builder. The architect needs to make sure the builder works according to specifications, so you don’t want them to be too familiar with each other.

Contracts

You should obtain written quotations from several builders before signing a contract.

The contract must describe the building materials as per the architect’s plans, the home’s location on the plot, and a schedule regarding construction stages and payments.

The contract should detail all costs. It must include architect’s fees, any landscaping that may need doing, and the cost of obtaining the necessary permits. It should state the cost of connecting 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 and your lawyer, of course.

Check the guarantee

Under Spanish law, builders have to guarantee their work against defects for ten years. The architect is also responsible as defects could result from his poor supervision or instructions.

If you experience any issues during a build, you must be persistent while also exercising patience. If you are dissatisfied at the end of the project, get a structural surveyor to check for defects and make a report that determines who is responsible for any defects.

This article is a basic guide to purchasing a plot and building a home in Spain. It is not intended to replace legal advice. We advise you never to buy property or land in Spain without consulting a legal professional. If you would like further information on designing and building your dream home, please get in touch.

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