Rules for Buying Property on the Costa del Sol

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  • Author Philip Nott
  • Published April 23, 2010
  • Word count 972

Buying property in Spain and in particular the Costa del Sol is still a wise investment choice, as long as you have the right professional team behind you and advising you on the best course of action. Despite the world economic climate that we have all experienced and lived through, if a ready buyer has cash in their pocket, the simple fact of the matter is that they are king, and only then do the "mythical" bargains actually start to exist. Also, if a prospective buyer definition of bargain is of a realistic making, and taking into account the surrounds, location, amenities and so forth, then yes there are good property deals to be had.

However, it is essential and absolutely necessary that people, who want to buy in Spain, must seek professional advice and not to be swayed by fantastic prices and good salesman talk. Amongst the deluge of available property from existing villas, to new apartments, and even too plots of land, there are property gems everywhere, but finding them is what takes the time.

Buying and Plot of Land

First things first, insist the seller shows you a copy of the Escritura (Title Deeds). This Notarised document will describe the land and its boundaries. Be aware as this is most important simply because if the owner's name is on the Escritura it does not necessarily mean that they own the land. Every time a property is bought and sold a new Escritura is created and it is very important before entering into any agreement to purchase land, to ensure it is free from fines, charges or other encumbrances. For a very small fee you can obtain on-line details of any embargo's mortgages etc, listed against the land in question.

Second, visit the local Town Hall and ask to see the general plan (P.G.O.U) and enquire if the land in question is categorized as building land, urban or rustic and is not classified Restricted or Protected?

Thirdly, seek professional advice and guidance as every country is different, so why take this risk of spending hundreds of thousands of Euros buying a plot of land, when you can pay a small fee to be 100% certain.

Architect and the Professional Team

Choose your architect carefully and ensure he works for you. Often architects are retained by builders, either in house or independently so for your own security it is very important that your architect has your interests and your interests only in mind. The builder should follow the architect's plans and directions to the letter. The architect is one of the key people to be involved in your project, they should be available to discuss every detail of your plan, several meetings may be necessary before the project is finalised and the plans produced. Language can sometimes prove to be a problem; if your architect can speak your language this is a great advantage.

A Project Manager / Coordinator controls all the key aspects of the project whilst ensuring that you, the Client have had all your key objectives met that you put forward right from the beginning of the project. Dealing with the local authorities, the architect and at the same time ensuring the budget is kept on track and the build quality is inline with the specification is all part of the Project Management role.

The Builder

If you can arrange a credit check on the builder it could save you much heartache in the future. Regrettably a minority of builders has created an unfortunate reputation for the building trade in general; a few have been known to declare bankruptcy half way through a job. Stage payments should be controlled according to a schedule laid down in the building contract. Under no circumstances should the builder be allowed to be ahead on payment. At various stages in the building, his work will be inspected, if it is up to standard then payment for work completed is authorised. It's worth establishing the total number of men employed by the builder in his business. A one man and his dog operation could take a very long time to finish the job! Ensure that the building contract is drawn up by someone other than the builder and is as comprehensive as possible. Builders have an irritating habit of adding extras, as the work progresses. Beware an additional wall, a modified window, an extra archway or a new architectural feature will be regarded as an extra and is likely to be expensive!

Time Scales and Costs

Generally speaking from the time the site is cleared ready for laying out the foundations an average sized house (250m² - 350m²) should be completed within eight to 10 months. In the course of construction there sometimes are other bureaucratic factors, which could delay the project. Building Licences and Planning permissions can sometimes take an extraordinarily long time to complete. This can be due to a number of factors depending whether you are building on Rustic land (outline planning permission from the government department can take six months or more) or Urban land (anything from two to six months, depending on the Town Hall.)

Building costs on the other hand do not tend to vary quite so much; the price quoted by a builder generally reflects the standard of the finish. The following table may serve as a general guide:

Basic Quality:

900.00 per m² (No frills, inexpensive wall and floor tiles basic sanitary ware.)

Standard Quality:

975.00 per m² (Wall and floor tiles to max cost of 15.00 m², regular pine carpentry, basic kitchen.)

Superior Quality:

1080.00 per m² (Air conditioning/heating, double glazed windows, quality carpentry. Wall and ceramic floor tiles to 20.00 m², good quality sanitary ware.)

Top Quality:

1300.00 per m² (As for Superior quality but may include natural stone work, marble floors, employing special skills and imported fittings.)

Written by: Philip Nott

Philip Nott is a Technical Architect, also a

member of the Chartered Institute of Building UK

and a Director of P.S.I - Properties, Surveys and


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