iNMOspector.es - Buying a house in Spain safely

Markus Hoffmann,  Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Spanish rural landscape with mountains 

How to buy a house in Spain

Vacation or retirement home, permanent move or plain investment - real estate in Spain is very attractive if done correctly.

Where to buy

In any real estate transaction, anywhere in the world, this is always the first question. Within Spain, there are many very different choices to consider. Most of you considering a home in Spain have a firm idea on the area they like, but I advise to zoom out and check out some of the less explored spots of Spain. Without naming areas, there is some real value for your money if that is what you are looking for.

5 Official Languages

Do no expect everyone to speak your language. Unless you are in the international hotspots, you may not find English speakers - and many of the foreigners also prefer their mother tongue. Also consider that Aranese, Catalán, Basque/ Euskera, Galician and Castellano (mostly referred to as "Spanish") are all official languages you may have to deal with, especially if your children go to school or you work for the government.

...now the houses

Structure and Building

This is the south. The climate is less rough and buildings tend to be less... well, meticulously built. Especially during the real estate boom in the 90´s, which burst in 2008, anyone with two strong hands got into the business and raised bricks and mortar. There are excellent architects and builders in Spain, but do take a close look at main walls, electric circuits and water installations.
Insulation and building materials are especially interesting to look at in roofs. Until 2001 asbestos was widely used. Check windows and doors if they close well, especially in areas with mostly summer homes. Energy efficiency is a quite new item on the Spanish property menu.

Some Legal Issues are "normal", but watch out!

It is amazing how many properties in Spain are not 100% legally built, extended, renovated, do not have access from a public road (and therefore all other infrastructure like electricity, water, phone/ internet), not to speak of financial deeds. Do make absolutely sure that what is in the register coincides with the house you want to buy. Check any modifications and even the plot size and shape. You can really avoid surprises by not buying into someone else´s problems!

You can get rid of Plagues/ Pests, but not their damage

Most pests you can get rid of for a reasonable price. In our case, the main structure was completely eaten by termites, which is very hard to detect until you start taking a house apart for renovation (our case) or it simply collapses. So do get that checked especially in houses with wooden structures or roofs.

Prices from €15.000 - €2,5 Million

Real estate prices are sometimes very surprising to foreigners, partly because we value different aspects than locals. So if you are looking in areas with few foreigners, this can be a real advantage. Do get a local to negotiate the price for you though, since central Europeans are considered to have money... so why not take it.
If you need a mortgage, the official valuations often do not have much to do with real value. So get a second opinion and look at agencies in the areas with comparable objects.

Bottom line:

Now this may all sound horrible, but it is actually great as long as you know what you are doing. You can get some real value compared to central and northern Europe. Wether you are looking for sun, beach or coastline or simply an affordable house with some land, Spain is an excellent choice.

Markus Hoffmann Inmospector
Markus Hoffmann - Lives and works in Spain since 2004


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