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Property in Spain: How much does it actually cost to build a house?

If you plan to build a house in Spain, there are many costs to factor in that go beyond the obvious land price, architect fees and building expenses. Before you decide to go ahead with your build, it's important to consider how much it's actually going to set you back.

Property in Spain: How much does it actually cost to build a house?
Photo: Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

Buying the land

One of the most important aspects of building your own home is the land. Land prices vary greatly throughout Spain, depending on which region you want to buy in, if the site is inland or on the coast, and the other types of buildings already in the area. Besides the price of the actual land however, there are several extra costs associated with it that you may not have taken into consideration before.

The first extra you might need is a topographic study, which involves a topographer coming to the site to draw a plan of where the house is going to be built. They will assess if any land needs to be moved in order for a house to be able to built safely in that location. According to SpanishArchitect.info, this will cost you around €400.

The second is a geotechnical report from a geologist, which looks at the characteristics of the land and can help calculate the foundations needed for the house. SpanishArchitect.info says this report will set you back around €800.

Keep in mind as well that the terreno (plot of land) you buy should be urbano (urban) or urbanizable (buildable); the first means the town hall has given permission for a propert to be built there whereas the latter theoretically has the permit but not necessarily the right water and electricity access for building to begin immediately, which could also mean extra costs and waiting. Do not buy a terreno rústico (rustic plot) as it is meant for agricultural and not residential purposes so your local ayuntamiento (town hall) is unlikely to change its mind on this front. 

Hiring an architect

Hiring an architect is an essential part of building your own home. There is only one established professional body of architects in Spain, which is the College of Architects CSCAE. However, they have various other groups around the country.

Architect fees in Spain can vary wildly, depending on their experience, design style and location. But most of all, it will depend on what type of house you want, whether it’s something basic or luxurious. The architect will provide you with a preliminary design of the house, which is revised until you are finally happy with the way it looks.

Once you are happy with the look of the design, the architect will carry out a detailed project looking at all the structural calculations and what’s known as the bill of quantities, which shows all the necessary structures and installations to be carried out in order to fulfill the design.

According to SpanishArchitect.info, architect’s fees cost around 5 to 7 percent of the total cost of construction of the property, however, Spain Property Guides, says you should expect to pay around 10 percent. 

SpanishArchitect.info states that people should keep in mind that houses with unique features such as big terraces or undulating facades will cost more. Flat roofs are generally much cheaper than sloped roofs and adding a basement can add on a lot of extra cost too. 

Find hundreds of move-in ready homes in Spain on The Local’s property listings page

Hiring an architect in Spain. Photo: Lorenzo Cafaro / Pixabay

Building license

In order to carry out your project, you will need to apply for a building licence with the local authorities. Spain Property Guides says: “The cost of a licence to build varies from region to region, but budget in the region of 3 percent to 4 percent of the projected cost of the construction. If therefore, your house is going to cost €350,000 to build, you’ll be paying at least €10,000 for the licence”.

According to SpanishArchitect.info, you must also pay a deposit for waste management and demolition, but you will get this back when the project is complete.  

Fees before works begin

When budgeting for your property it’s important to take everything into consideration, including the associated taxes involved. Before building begins, you will be expected to pay Tax on Constructions, Installations and Works, known as ICIO to your local town hall.

Property newsite Expansión Inmobiliario says this will cost you 3 to 5 percent of the total budget for construction. They also state that “You will need to pay VAT, which for individuals is 10 percent, a cost that must be paid monthly as the work progresses”.

Construction

According to SpanishArchitect.info, the average construction costs in Spain have risen a lot in 2020 and range from around €1,100 per square metre to €1,500/sqm. However, this is using standard materials and doesn’t take into account expensive finishes.

The construction will need to be supervised by your architect, as well as a building engineer, who will also be in charge of health and safety on site. SpanishArchitect.info states that fees for the building engineer typically cost around 1.5 to 3 percent of the total cost of construction.

Building a house in Spain. Photo: Borko Manigoda / Pixabay

Taxes and fees after completion

When your dream house is finally complete, there are yet more fees to pay in taxes. You will need to hire a notary to draw up the deeds and register your property for the first time in the Land Registry. Expansión Inmobiliario states that both of these will cost you 0.5 percent of the total value of the house.

Before you can legally live in your property, there is yet another fee to pay – the license for the first occupation or Tasa de licencia de primera ocupación, which according to Expansión Inmobiliario will cost you 0.5 to 1 percent of the total budget.

You will also need to pay the Impuesto de Actos Jurídicos Documentados por declaración de obra nueva, which is the fee you need to pay to declare a new building.  This will reportedly cost you 1.5 percent of the cost of your new build.

Finally, you will have to apply for a habitation certificate or cédula de habitabilidad, which shows that the property is habitable. For this, you will need to pay fees to connect your water and electricity. According to SpanishArchitect.info, this could cost you around €200 to connect each utility.

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PROPERTY

Home insurance in Spain: How does it work and what does it cover?

Home insurance in Spain has policies which may differ from what you're used to in your home country. Here's why Spanish home insurance may surprise you in terms of what it covers, what it costs, key info and whether it's worth getting.

Home insurance in Spain: How does it work and what does it cover?

If you’re moving to Spain and purchasing a property or even renting, one of the first and most important factors to consider is purchasing home insurance.

According to the latest data available, approximately 23 percent of households in Spain are uninsured. That percentage corresponds to around 6 million homes.

But with low prices and the wide range of situations Spanish home insurance covers, there’s little reason not to get it.

Contracting home insurance is only essential in Spain when you acquire a mortgage. The current Mortgage Law requires you to take out this insurance if you are going to buy a house with a loan and is an essential requirement for banks to grant you the money.

If you’re renting in Spain, you’re not obliged to contract home insurance, but it still may be a good idea.

Your landlord may have buildings insurance, but you may still want to take out some type of insurance to protect your own belongings or the contents of the property. 

In the UK, home contents insurance covers your personal possessions against theft, fire or other damage, while buildings insurance covers the structure of your property if the tiles on your roof are broken in a storm for example, the outside is damaged by fire or a tree falls on part of your property.

In Spain, home insurance works slightly differently. Like in the UK and other countries there are different types of insurance. 

READ ALSO: Is getting rental default insurance worth it for landlords in Spain?

What types of home insurance are there in Spain?

The most basic is seguros de daños or damage insurance which is similar to buildings insurance in the UK. This will only protect the structure of your property. This would be damage caused by major events such as fires, explosions, flooding, acts of vandalism or subsidence and you should still check the smallprint to be sure of the conditions. With flooding for example, most insurers cover flooding damage caused by rainfall greater than 40 litres per square metre per hour.

The second tier is seguros multiriesgo or multi-risk insurance. This covers both your building and its contents and is one of the most comprehensive types of home insurance in Spain.

This type of insurance not only covers big incidents like fire or theft, but it also covers a whole range of minor issues, which is very different from the type of contents insurance in the UK.

Home insurance is only essential in Spain when you acquire a mortgage. Photo: Louis Hansel / Unsplash

It can cover for everything from a blocked sink to a burst pipe in the wall or a broken radiator. Sometimes it may even cover the breakdown of your white goods such as washing machine and fridge, depending on how old they are and what your specific policy says.

It’s also especially useful for flat owners as it covers against damage to your neighbours’ property if something inside your apartment is at fault.

For example, if your shower or toilet breaks and starts leaking into the flat downstairs, your insurance should cover the damage to your neighbour’s ceiling so that you won’t have to fork out a fortune for fixing someone else’s property.

Many major cities in Spain have historic quarters and some of its nicest-looking apartment buildings are some of the oldest too, so it’s particularly useful if your property is old and prone to needing fixing regularly. 

The third and highest type of home insurance coverage in Spain is all-risk home insurance, which has extended coverage that includes robbery on the street, damage to extra storage rooms outside the main property or coverage for cosmetic damage.

What you need to know

Keep in mind that when you do claim or after you have claimed a couple of times, it’s normal that the insurance company won’t want you to be their client anymore and will terminate your contract.

This shouldn’t be a problem, however, you will simply contract a new home insurance policy with a different company. It helps to go with a broker so that they can present you with different options to choose from, so you know what’s the best.

Be aware that every insurance company will have a slightly different policy so just because a certain item may have been covered on your old policy, it doesn’t mean that will be on the new one or be covered to the same amount of money.

What are some of the most popular home insurance companies in Spain?

There are many different companies that offer multi-risk insurance policies in Spain, both international and national companies. Some of the most popular are:

  • AXA Home Insurance
  • Generali
  • Zurich
  • Mapfre
  • Caser
  • El Corte Inglés 

How much does home insurance cost in Spain?

As the multi-risk policies cover so many different aspects, you would imagine that they’re very expensive. Surprisingly though, these are quite affordable at under €200 per year according to the Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU).

The price isn’t too different from what you’d pay in the UK. Money Supermarket says that a combined home and contents insurance policy in the UK costs around £140 per year, but usually it will cover a lot less. 

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