Surveyors in Spain

As with lots of aspects of  buying a property in Spain, there is a lot to know about what to do and not to do and the information can often be conflicting and confusing. The question of whether or not to instruct a surveyor in Spain to inspect your potential new Spanish property is no exception!

So is it necessary to have a property survey in Spain?

Having a survey in Spain is not a legal requirement, however it is strongly recommended that you do, despite what people may tell you.

Many people who buy in Spain would not consider buying a property in their home country without carrying out a survey and there are additional elements present in Spain that can have an effect on a property, such as the weather and the possibility that the property may have been left unattended for significant periods of time.

There are also many examples of residential properties in Spain that have been built with poor construction or limited quality control during the construction process.

It is not uncommon for Spanish property surveys to find structural defects in properties, even for properties built in more recent years. There are also many properties in Spain that were built and then have stood empty as a result of the economic crisis. Many of these were not adequately maintained in the subsequent years.

It is true that the majority of purchasers in Spain do not bother with a property survey in Spain. Estate Agents in Spain tend not to encourage purchasers to undertake one and will often actively discourage the use of a surveyor in Spain. Whilst surveys have not traditionally been part of the Spanish property buyer process, it is becoming more common, particularly for foreign investors in Spain to be keen to have a survey carried out before investing.

The relatively small cost of a Spanish Property Surveyor can potentially save a lot of money, hassle and heartache in the long run. It is strongly advised.

What are the advantages of having a property survey in Spain?

  • Surveys can alert Spanish property buyers to any structural defects in a property that cannot be seen by the untrained eye.
  • Having a property survey can also prevent you from walking away from a dream property in Spain because of a minor defect that you assume is something serious.
  • Spanish surveys also flag up maintenance issues – so you can factor this in to your budget.
  • Surveyors in Spain will know what property defects to look for and can help put the record straight with regard to the information given to you from the developer, estate agent or seller.
  • A survey can assist your lawyer in Spain. Legal documents can sometimes be out of date or inaccurate. Your Spanish lawyer will not usually visit the property and a Survey can help to identify any obvious errors in the documents, which may not be detected in the usual Spanish legal searches.
  • It is not uncommon for properties in Spain to have extensions or swimming pools added without the correct permissions. A survey can highlight such issues so that these can be sorted out before you purchase.
  • The opinion of a professional surveyor will assist by putting your mind at ease and help you avoid being disappointed by defects in the property that can reduce your enjoyment of your dream Spanish property and increase the costs.

What are the risks of not obtaining a survey on a Spanish property?

The property boom in Spain led to many properties being constructed with varying degrees of quality. While some developments in Spain have been built to very high standards, there has also been some very poor and sub-standard building. For most people it is hard to tell the difference. A qualified property surveyor can assist by inspecting the property and advising you of any defaults that you should be aware of.

Some common problems found by Surveyors in Spain are:

  • Damp
  • Structural defects
  • Inadequate or illegal utility connections such as electricity, water and drainage.
  • Missing building permissions
  • Inaccuracies in title documents, such as under or over declared property size.

It is your responsibility as the buyer to ensure that you are satisfied with the property before you purchase. If you proceed without taking proper advice and you find that there are problems afterwards, you may find that the cost of a property survey would have been money well spent!

What Services do surveyors in Spain provide?

Surveyor will be able to explain the options available to you to best suit your requirements. In general however Surveyors in Spain will provide the following options:

Survey Report (Similar to UK Homebuyer Survey Report)

This is suitable for most properties in Spain built within recent years with a conventional construction.

This report usually covers both the inside and the outside of the property and focuses on:

  • Any problems or defects considered to be significant or in urgent need of attention.
  • The general condition of the property
  • Other relevant considerations such as the the location or environment
  • Any concerns raised by the client

Full Building Survey

This report is beneficial where the property is of unusual construction, is run down or has had extensive alteration work carried out on it or where renovation work is planned.

The building report will be tailored to the clients requirements and may include more technical information about the construction, as well as details of any defects, the causes and possible solutions.

Other reports such as Valuation Reports and Snagging Reports for new build properties are also widely available.

What are the costs of a having a property Survey in Spain?

The costs vary depending on the type of report required however it can be anything from €400 to €1000, depending on what is required, the location and the value of the property.

When should you instruct you Surveyor in Spain?

A Survey report in relation to a Spanish property can help you to make an informed decision as to whether you wish to proceed with the purchase.

It is strongly advised that the survey is undertaken before you make an offer or pay a deposit on the property, unless the deposit is made fully refundable in the event that an adverse Survey report is received. If you are seriously considering purchasing a property and you have concerns about the structure, we recommend that you commission a survey before making an offer.

A survey can help you to price your offer accordingly and can help with price negotiations.

If you would like details of a recommended surveyor in Spain contact Total Buying Abroad on 01244 478911. For more information and guidance download our Guide to Buying Property in Spain.