The number of people from the UK alone moving to Spain for retirement has grown to astronomical rates. There are lots of people looking to buy a small house in Spain and relax by the seaside. However, when you're on the hunt, you need to know what to look for when buying a house both in general and in the country.
Here are the five major points for your checklist on what to look for when buying a house in Spain.
1. What's the Heating Situation?
When someone has a heated home in the UK or across Europe, you might not think anything of it. Heated homes seem natural and a no-brainer if you were living anywhere in the United States. However, if you're in Spain, you need to learn what it means if any home has heating.
While some homes have central heating, there are sometimes simply some electric wall units installed. These units are used for both heating and air conditioning but don't expect the kind of even heating and cooling you get with central air.
Some Spanish homes have temperature controlled thermostat systems that produce heat through piping in the walls. Using small grates, heat is released and spreads through the house. Check for these small grates around the home you're looking at or in photos of interior rooms.
A few Spanish houses have gas heaters, though these have mostly fallen out of use. The homes that have these use a butane tank on wheels and while this can be volatile, it's possible that's how a home heating system is set up. Look for something like a fireplace or a wood-burning stove if this is just too much for you.
2. Is it Insulated?
While it might seem obvious if you come from a colder place on the planet, there are plenty of houses in Spain that have little to no insulation at all. Even though you might think of Spain as mostly warm and sunny, it gets cold during winter months, especially if you're close to the water.
In the northern parts of the country, there's more insulation because it snows there. However with the buildings and architecture generally being older, it's much harder to find homes that are as insulated as they are in temperate climates.
Decades ago, summer heat was so intense that you wanted your home to stay cooler. However, as the climate has started to shift, it's getting a little more challenging to get the ideal temperature.
However, insulation can be added or a system of radiators can be installed. If you're heating your home, you're going to want insulation, so look for both if you're not by the beaches in the south.
3. Check the Windows
Whenever you move into a home, you should find out about the windows. They can make a huge difference when you're thinking about the comfort of being inside your home. Whether you're thinking about temperature, keeping pests out, or whether they'll leak in a storm, your windows should impact what you're willing to pay.
If you have to replace all of the windows, factor that into how much the home is worth to you.
Spain sometimes doesn't use windows that you might expect in other parts of the world. They also sometimes don't come with screens, which can help to keep bugs and mosquitoes out.
In many homes, there are storm shutters and blinds that cover the windows from the outside. While some people use them the way people might use curtains, opening and closing them throughout the day, they might be a nuisance to you. Find your comfort level when it comes to windows and look for something that suits you.
4. Check Out the Roof
Even in the nicest parts of Spain, there is the chance for serious storms that batter your windows, your siding, and your rooftop. After several repeated seasons of being banged upon, your roof can fall into serious disrepair. You need to make sure that the roof hasn't been neglected.
A neglected roof isn't just irritating because you have to be prepared to pay thousands of Euros to fix it. It's also a problem because any breaks in the roof could lead to leaks that end up ruining the interior of the home. You could upset the whole structure of the home with a hole in the roof, as water drips in and causes mould to grow.
On the plus side, a new roof allows you to get a lower insurance rate.
Find a roof that's made out of sturdy material that can protect you from wind and hail. Find out what's common for precipitation from year to year and ask whether or not the roof you have is going to protect you. The better your roof is, the longer your home will last and the more it's potentially worth.
5. Look Beyond the Obvious
When you're walking around a home, it's easy to get distracted by a bad paint job and start imagining how you'd fix it. You might overlook serious issues relating to structural issues, appliances, or even loose wires sticking out.
Pay attention to the things that are going to cost you an arm and a leg. Check out the plumbing and make sure everything works. Look at the foundation and make sure there are no major cracks. Look for leaks in the basement, as those will end up costing you the most in the end.
Knowing What To Look For When Buying a House Matters
Unless you've got a massive and infinite budget, you need to know what to look for when buying a house in Spain. If you don't search carefully, you're likely to overlook potentially major issues with the home you're interested in.
Check out our latest guide to some of the pitfalls people run into while buying a house in Spain.