Looking to design and build your own dream home? We have a wide offering of plots for sale in Javea and nearby, and can provide architect and building services if required. Prior to the sale, full certification and permissions are obtained and provided.
Spanish law, customs, and business systems are often different from those in Northern Europe. So before buying land, you need to obtain objective professional advice by hiring a skilled lawyer who will ask the right questions and advise you accordingly.
There are two types of land in Spain, “urbano”, which is usually earmarked for development, and “rustico” which is not. However, you might find an urban plot in a rural area near a village, for example, which has been passed as suitable for development. Likewise, you might find a rustic plot next to a built-up area, that will not be granted planning permission. It is a somewhat grey area.
Rustic land is, usually, by interpretation, not for construction. However, in distinct circumstances, a building license may be granted in these areas. Leniency on such matters will vary from one region to the next; for example, it may be possible in some districts to build on a very small percentage of the land, meaning you would have to buy a vast plot to obtain a modest construction. Or perhaps permission for agricultural buildings may be granted. Do not even think about buying rustic land to build on without first consulting a reputable local lawyer who will negotiate with the town planning department on your behalf.
Also, be aware that for rustic land, you must have the regional authority’s approval as well as the local authority’s approval. Getting authorization from both parties involves a lot of paperwork and red tape, and if you can find a plot of urban land that suits your needs, you will save a lot of time spent on bureaucratic issues.
Even if you are buying land to build on, or are buying an old building to restore, your lawyer or estate agent must determine the planning permissions are in place before you buy.
Costs associated with buying a plot
The first rule when buying a plot to build on is to make sure you do not pay more than the area’s going rate.
To make sure you do not get charged over the odds, do an online search to find all the similar plots in the area. Note down the total square metres and the price, to work out the average cost per square metre. Make an adjustment for what you might realistically pay after negotiations compared with the initial asking price. Also, factor in any special features, such as fabulous views, installed mains utilities and orientation, etc. This will give you a good idea of the value of land in the area.
The costs involved in buying a plot of land in Spain are similar to the additional charges you pay when purchasing a residential apartment, villa, or commercial property. There is the actual purchase price of the plot, and extra charges will be added depending on whether you are a cash buyer or applying for a mortgage.
You will need to pay for surveys on the land to ensure it is suitable for the type of building you wish to construct. You should generally have 10-18% of the purchase price budgeted to cover all taxes and fees.
The cost of the land usually signifies as much as 50% of the cost of building a new home in Spain, although in some areas, you can buy a cheap plot and build a larger and higher-quality home for less than the price of a resale property.
About building your own house
Building your own home is an exciting project that allows you to design every element of the property yourself and make sure the quality of materials and craftsmanship are top rate. Construction costs range from approximately €700 to €1,500 (or more) per square metre in popular towns, depending on the quality of the build and the area.
Nevertheless, you should always add 10 to 15% to the estimated price. Building a house is almost always impacted by unforeseen circumstances.
If you want a swimming pool or a garage, it’s wise to have it built at the same time as the dwelling when IVA is charged at 7%; if you wait and make additions later, you’ll pay 16%.
When looking for an architect and builder it is best to get references from local people you can trust, e.g., a bank manager, lawyer, estate agent, notario, or neighbours and friends. You can also obtain helpful information from property owners in an area that you like.
Many Spanish architects speak good English and there are architects from other EU member states based in large cities and resort areas.
Architects’ fees are customarily assessed as a percentage of the build’s total costs, normally between 5 and 10%.
A good architect can recommend reliable builders, but you should also do your own research. The financial standing and reputation of the builder are essential for successful completion. Be wary of an architect with his own builder (or a builder with a dedicated architect), as the architect has to make sure the builder does his job according to the plans and specs, so you don’t want them to be overfriendly.
Inspect other work of the builder and ask the owners if they are satisfied.
It is important a builder presents a ‘termination’ guarantee (backed by insurance) so you are covered if he were to go bust before completing the work.
You should obtain written quotes (presupuestos) from several builders before signing any deal.
The contract must state a complete building description (memoria de calidades) and note the materials to be used referring to the architect’s plans. The building’s precise location on the plot must be stated; disclose the construction and payment plan that will be made in steps according to progress; and a penalty clause for late completion, though this part may prove difficult as buildings are rarely finished on time.
Before accepting a quote, have it reviewed by a building consultant to verify that it is a good deal. You should investigate if the price (which must include 7% VAT) is an estimation or a set price. The cost can often fluctuate significantly due to unforeseen changes required during building work. It is important to have the contract checked by your lawyer.
In Spain, a builder needs to guarantee his work against structural flaws for ten years (15 years if he did not comply with the conditions of the contract) and an architect is also liable for ten years for errors due to poor direction, if inaccurate instructions were given to the builder, etc. It is not unusual to experience problems during construction, but these should be ironed out before completion.
If you have problems after completion, you must be very patient and persistent. You should have the completed construction reviewed by a structural surveyor and a report drawn up to state who is responsible for the defects.
Plot pros and cons
Topography and Geology issues can affect the usefulness and value of a plot significantly.
It costs considerably more to more to build a house on a steep slope compared with a level plot. You will have to dig a platform with expensive retaining walls, build the property away from the hillside on stilts, or put up with a building on several levels. Unfortunately, the plots with the best views are also often sloped.
Before an architect can design your new home, he will need a thorough topographical survey. However, he can give you an idea of what type of home would be most practical to build after a visual examination of the land.
Geology is a science regarding the solid Earth of an area of land, the rocks which form it, and the processes which can change the composition over time. The geology can only be revealed correctly with a geotechnical survey, which is a necessity for the College of Architects and to obtain a building license.
If an area has become unstable, it will frequently be obvious by cracks in nearby existing properties.
A geological survey involves drilling into the ground for soil samples. It can take a few weeks for the samples to be analysed and a report generated. Sometimes land is borderline suspect, and further testing may be required. A geological survey is a very technical job with significant legal and professional liabilities. The geological survey is am an important part of the land buying process, so you need an excellent geological surveyor.
Another disadvantage of buying a plot is the amount of planning and time involved before you have a house you can inhabit. The upside is your eventual home will be just as you dreamed it to be.