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Normally consisting of two to three floors, townhouses in Javea often include a garden area and those that form part of a complex, provide the benefits of a community and its services.
Until recent years, villas or apartments were the top property choices among newcomers to the Costa Blanca, but since the revival of the property market in 2015, we have noticed increased interest in old pueblo casas or townhouses.
Traditional village townhouses are usually part of a terrace, often with a small private garden or yard at the back of the house. Many of these properties can be purchased at a relatively low price because they need extensive work to bring them up to today’s standards, which will often turn out to be more expensive than buying a new or resale home.
In town centre dilapidated houses, you can almost guarantee the kitchen and bathrooms will need ripping out entirely. The remaining rooms in the house will more often than not be oddly distributed with small high windows and inadequate natural light.
Having said that, if you have your heart set on such a project, it is worth looking into. This type of townhouse is usually very centrally located. It has the same advantage of a central apartment within walking distance to many amenities, without the lack of privacy that sometimes comes with apartment block living.
The other type of townhouse you will find in Spain’s resorts and towns is a modern purpose-built townhouse within a complex. Based on the traditional architectural Mediterranean style, this is where the similarities end, as these new townhouse communities are frequently constructed with large airy rooms and offer all mod cons. They are often inside a gated community with a pool and communal gardens, and a small private garden for each owner’s personal use.
These communities are a perfect solution for those who like the communal aspect of apartment life, while also having some outdoor space and greenery to enjoy.
Costs associated with buying a townhouse
Other than the previously mentioned possible high costs for renovating a derelict townhouse, just as when buying an apartment, plot or villa, there are some extra fees and taxes you will have to pay on top of the purchase price when you buy a townhouse. What you have to pay will depend on whether you buy a brand-new townhouse in a complex from a developer or a resale property from a private individual.
When buying a new property, you will be charged VAT and stamp duty, and in the case of a resale property, a transfer tax. There are additionally notary fees, lawyer fees, and where necessary, expenses associated with obtaining a mortgage to budget for. Every real estate sale is different, but to be on the safe side, you should add between 12% and 15% of the townhouse purchase price to get a realistic idea of extra costs, and then factor in renovation costs on top of that where appropriate.
About a community of owners
As with buying a villa which is part of an urbanisation, or buying an apartment in a block of flats, when purchasing a townhouse that forms part of a complex, you’ll become a member of the community of owners or comunidad de propietarios . Each community has a president and is controlled by an “administración de fincas” or a building management company. The admin firm supervises the running of the complex and collects annual or monthly fees from each townhouse owner.
Each complex or urbanisation has rules which as an owner, you will be expected to follow. In a townhouse, you have more freedom with what you can do to your home’s exterior decor than if you live in an apartment block, but there may be rulings on the colour of paint permitted for gates, window bars, etc, and what you may or may not be allowed to display on a balcony. If there is a communal pool or a children’s play area, there are likely to be some rules concerning their use.
To change or introduce a rule or new community feature, owners can make proposals at the community’s AGM and the members will vote.
Owners on complexes must pay community fees, which are spent on its maintenance. It is important to make your payments in a timely fashion as when it comes to selling; you need a certificate declaring your fees are paid to date. Furthermore, if fees remain outstanding for various years, the home can be auctioned without your agreement to settle the debt. Generally speaking, well-kept complexes with shared facilities or security staff will have higher fees than complexes or urbanisations without communal areas. Before committing to buying a townhouse, make sure you know how much the community fees are, so you budget accordingly.
With an older pueblo townhouse, there are unlikely to be community fees as the house is not part of a building, complex or urbanisation. The upside of this is you can make your own choices when it comes to maintenance, but you will have to meet all costs yourself. You will still be liable to pay the IBI, a municipal annual tax for all residential and commercial properties.
Townhouse Pros and cons
One of the main advantages of living in a townhouse, whether you opt for an old traditional townhouse or a property on a complex, is it is likely to be close to all local facilities and amenities. Another advantage is that a townhouse offers more space than an apartment provides, as townhouses usually include a small garden. Because they comprise several floors, they often have more than one balcony. If the property has a flat roof, that’s all yours too.
Modern townhouses have few disadvantages other than they aren’t entirely as private as a detached villa, and you might have more communal restrictions than with a villa on an urbanisation. However, if you are interested in an old pueblo-style townhouse, possible disadvantages include expensive renovations, and convenient closeby parking could be an issue.