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Building your own Home

- Updated: 13/03/2012
Building your own Home

Building your own home from scratch can be an enjoyable experience. However, in order to get it right a certain amount of serious thought and planning needs to go into it. There is a lot at stake so don't just dive straight it at the deep end, it's worth taking some time to consider all the angles. Think about it long and hard – speak to others who have done a similar project and research thoroughly on the internet.

Do it Yourself

The more you do the more money you should save. On the other hand the more complications you will probably find. Why ? : a builder will have all the established trade connections and should be able to schedule everything if he has an overall control. He will also be well versed with the Building regulations applicable to your project set down by your local Ayuntamiento. It is probobally the best option to work with your builder and agree the parts of the project that you will take specific responsibility for.

The Budget:

The budget of course is very important; you need to know exactly what your commitment is and what you can afford to spend. You may need a mortgage, interest rates are currently low and the local Banks are competing for business. Make sure you have sufficient funds available to complete the job, and allow a bit more for unforeseen extras. Lan d prices can vary considerably depending on location It is important therefore you choose an affordable plot. Building costs on the other hand do not tend to vary quite so much.

Building costs :

Basic quality:can be 500 euros a m2 Standard quality:600 euros will give you regular pine carpentry, basic kitchen. Superior quality:700euros per m2 will give you Central heating, double glazed windows, quality carpentry. Wall and ceramic floor tiles to 20.00 m2, good quality sanitary ware. Top quality: 800euros per m2 may include natural stone work, marble floors, employing special skills and imported fittings. You may find that these prices vary slightly from area to area depending on whether you are looking at a Coastal Town or an Inland village.

The Building Plot :

Insist the seller shows you a copy of the escritura (deeds). This Notarised document will describe the land and its boundaries. When you buy the property through the notario make sure that the original escritura coincides with the new one being made out in your name. Check the aspect of the plot – is it liable to flood during periods of rain ? - Will it be out the sun for long periods of the day ? - Can you pick up a Mobile phone signal closeby ?

Try to make a list of “Must Have's“ before you visit any plot so that you keep a close eye on the practicalities rather than fall in love with plot and find that you have overlooked most of the fundamentals.

The notary will let you know if there are any embargoes on the property. For a very small fee you can obtain on-line details of any embargo's mortgages etc. listed against the plot.

Points to consider :

- What are the existing rights of way?

- How close can I build to other properties? Often you will need to leave 35m distance from existing buildings, and a 10m margin from other boundaries. Check with the town architect on local regulations.

- Availability of services, e.g. Water, electricity, telephone, sewerage, etc...

- Are there any outstanding taxes to be paid?

- Is the land suitable to construct the building you have in mind?

- Orientation, North-facing property may prove to have a lack of sunshine. (Particularly important in winter.)

- Is the land flat and suitable for building? If the land inclines, e.g. situated on the side of a hill what will be the cost of building additional reinforced supporting walls?

- Are views likely to be blocked by future building?

- Are you allowed to remove trees on the plot?

- Can you install a log cabin or mobile home?

The Town Hall :

Visit the Technical department, ask to see the general plan and enquire if the land in question is categorised as building land, urban or rustic and is not classified Restricted or Protected?

Choose your architect carefully - and ensure he works for you. Often architects are retained by builders, either in house or independently. For your own security it is very important that your architect has your interests and your interests only in mind.

The Builder :

Nowadays there is usually an ex-pat turned builder in almost every village, who should have the benefit of being able to speak your language and be able to liase with the Town Hall. Make sure that you stage payments in accordance with your schedule laid down in the building contract. Under no circumstances should you allow the builder to be ahead on payment. At various stages in the building, his work should be inspected and only if it is up to standard then payment should be released.

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 :

Generally speaking from the time the site is cleared ready for laying out the foundations an average sized house (150m2-250m2) should be completed within 6 to 8 months.

It should go without saying that, as in any country, an experienced and professionally qualified team that you can rely on is of the utmost importance in seeing your build through to completion : A Builder, Surveyor, Architect and Lawyer with local knowledge and connections are all assets to your project.

Note: all the numbers are estimates at the time of writing