Posted on 29 November 2017
You wouldn’t hesitate to have a building survey conducted if you were purchasing a property in the UK. So why do so few people consider having a structural survey carried out when buying in Spain?
Just because Spanish law requires a 10-year guarantee on new builds and sellers of pre-owned property are liable for certain problems for six months after purchase, a survey is still highly recommended. You won’t be covered for every eventuality under the guarantee and claiming is not always a straightforward process. Don’t leave anything to chance; get a survey done prior to completing. This will enable you to negotiate a reduction in price if necessary, or leave enough in you budget to cover the cost of any issues.
A survey in Spain
Much like back home, a building survey in Spain will aim to identify any defects and structural problems. Damp is a particular issue in Spain, because long hot summers can often leave it undetected – this will be measured electronically.
The survey will also check the registered owner is in fact the owner, the measurements provided are accurate, any outbuildings have been erected legally and that everything is licensed correctly – unlicensed buildings may be demolished by the local authorities. Price in relation to other properties in the district is important and should also be included.
You can request a more detailed survey, which will cover plots and boundaries, but this may take more time to complete – potentially delaying the timescale of buying the property.
Checking outstanding debt
You can check if there are any debts held against the property by accessing the title deeds online, provided you have the land reference. You will receive a document called a nota simple, which will detail the registered property description, owner and any debts. Conducting this check is essential, as the new owner will become responsible for any outstanding debt.
Surveyors in Spain
Several professional bodies regulate surveyors (arquitecto técnico) in Spain:
- RICS in Spain, which has four regional groups in Madrid, Catalonia, Valencia and Andalusia
- FIG, the International Federation of Surveyors
- The Sociedad de Tasación
- Colegio Oficial de Ingeniería Geomática y Topográfica (Official College of Geomatics and Topographical Engineering )
It’s advisable to seek the services of an accredited professional, rather than relying on word of mouth alone.
For help finding a reputable building surveyor in Spain, click here to download the Spain Buying Guide. It’s completely FREE and packed with great advice.