Cutting Corners - Do you really need a survey when buying property in Spain?
As it is not a legal requirement to conduct a survey on a Spanish property many people are dissuaded in paying for one
It may be that they are put off by having to deal with potentially translating paperwork, or lulled by the relaxed purchasing environment of the Spanish. And there is of course costs associated which a seller may suggest is an unnecessary expense that will simply delay matters.
Ok, so if you are brave enough to take on a project like the one in the image above, the results of a survey are unlikely to scare you off.
But even a relatively new build property can hide some nasty surprises…
You normally get a survey done on a UK property, so why not on a prospective Spanish home?
Many repossessed or unsold homes built in the boom of 2000 to 2007 have lain empty. Unless your property comes with a specific guarantee that your independent lawyer verifies, then AIPP/RICS recommend you have a building survey completed. Download the full AIPP/RICS Guide to Buying Property in Spain.
Recent properties might have been built by ‘cutting corners’
If you are buying a “resale” property, previously owned and occupied, a survey is well worth having too. Spanish building regulations have improved immeasurably over the last 20 years or so, but even more recent properties might have been built by ‘cutting corners’ and need checking over by a professional.
We asked AIPP member Santiago Herreros de Tejada from ST Consultores to explain the different types of survey available.
“The scope of the survey you need mostly depends on the concerns raised prior to your interest in buying the property. There are three main types – Structural Report, Condition Report and Building Survey.
A Structural Report is the most comprehensive report and includes defects, repairs needed and maintenance options. You will usually need this type of survey if, for example, the property is more than 50 years old or unusually built, if the property has been extended or altered, or if you are planning a major conversion or renovation – this survey will be the most helpful.”
A bargain is never worth it if there is structural damage to the property
“In some other cases, we recommended the Condition Report option if you are sure about the condition of the property and you only need the professional advice of an expert. This could be the logical choice if you assume as a buyer the needed repairs on the property have been discounted in the asking price. Please be careful with these aspects.”
The scope of the survey you need mostly depends on the concerns raised prior to your interest in buying the property
“According to the target of the survey, which is to discard any special problem and to serve as a negotiation strategy with the seller or the builder, we recommend the Building Survey, because it includes an estimate of costs for identified repairs and recommendations as to any further actions or advice, that is, the total costs to get the property perfect and ready for its use.”
Unlike the UK, it is not necessary for your surveyor to be registered or chartered. In Spain, many surveyors are also architects. Santiago explained further to us,
“Our surveyors are architects, most of them specialised as expert witnesses in construction defects. We boast a wide network of professionals in the country, even Canary Islands and Balearic Islands and from Costa Brava to Costa del Sol. We think this is an important point, because a local technician knows the way of the particular construction and can check the property properly.”
With the average cost of a survey somewhere in the region of €450 it seems like an important investment in the purchase of your property. Visit ST Consultores website for a quick visual guide to property surveys at www.spanishpropertysurvey.com.
When should you get a Structural Report?
The Structural Report is usually only necessary if the building is old or suspected of being unsound or if you are planning major works.
Our thanks to Santiago, Corporate Director of Grupo Sociedad de Tasación specialized in providing independent real estate services such as valuations, surveys, project monitoring, market research, asset management, expert technical analysis and real estate consultancy. Find the contact details of ST Consultores, company member of Grupo Sociedad de Tasación on the AIPP member directory here
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