Perhaps you have a dream of living in the beautiful Spanish countryside, or the Spanish campo as locals call it? It is an idyll enjoyed by many. But buying a rural property in Spain or living in the Spanish campo presents certain challenges that you will escape when buying in an urbanisation.
Rural Properties in Spain – Living in the Spanish campo
Without wishing to put anyone off, let’s look at the steps you are likely to take in order to secure a serene, country home or living in the Spanish campo. Rural properties are often appealing because their prices compare so favourably with those in coastal resorts. A village house for well under €100,000 has some instant appeal, but you must be ready to embrace the Spanish campo village life, which is distinctly different to an urban lifestyle. This is not to say that you won’t have access to modern amenities, but you will discover that they are not conveniently on your doorstep.
One of the problems that overseas buyers, and indeed native ones face when buying a rural property is an issue with title deeds. In some cases, these deeds simply don’t exist on the Spanish campo. In which case, there is a hefty amount of risk involved and any buyer is advised to let that property go. Another frequently encountered title deed problem is that the title deeds don’t accurately reflect the quantity of land being bought, or the existence of a property on that land. This is a solvable problem, but make sure it is one that is resolved by lawyers before you complete the purchase. If you complete the purchase before having accurate title deeds, nobody will be able to offer you help afterwards.
The Spanish campo – Building permission & renovation costs
It is fair to say that many rural properties need a significant amount of work done to them. Before buying a property in the Spanish campo, it is advisable to get a budget for any renovations from a reputable local builder who is familiar with the area. Refurbishing country homes can be quite expensive; more expensive than some might lead you to believe, so you need trustworthy advisors. Taking into account that fact that most Spanish country properties will need new plumbing, wiring, flooring, damp proofing, plastering and painting, plus new kitchens and bathrooms, you will need a budget of at least 50,000€ minimum, and if you want a swimming pool then it will be upwards of 75,000€. And, these are minimum costs.
Another point to remember is that building and planning permission in rural Spain is now quite strict. For example, you will get permission to renovate an existing building, but if you are considering adding on a large extension, or constructing a new build, you are likely to be refused permission.
Basic utilities for the Spanish campo
Make sure the property on the Spanish campo is connected to the existing electricity grid, otherwise you’ll either have to live with a generator, or pay a substantial amount of money for connection to the grid. Access to water is another critical issue. Few rural properties in Spain are connected to the mains, though this is not usually a problem as most owners can get by with a good deep well in all but the driest parts of the country.
These are the most important issues to watch out for when buying a rural property in Spain. It is probably a good idea to spend some time in the area living in a rented property; that way you will find out how you get on with the locals and the lifestyle before taking the plunge.