Getting a good legal advisor from the beginning is one of the best things you can do. If you do not do this what seems like a good deal can quickly become an economical nightmare. You can find further legal information about the Spanish Real Estate sector in the Legal Advisor section.
You need to make sure that a property can be built on the land you are interested in. To find this out you will have to look at the town plan (Plan General de Ordenacion Urbana) at the local city hall. It is always useful to get a written confirmation from the city hall if the town plan shows that you can build on a certain land. You must also pay particular attention to the restrictions on construction for the area (ie. size or height allowable for a construction, percentage of land that can be built on, etc) which you can also find out from the city hall. You also will need to go through the community regulations regarding what you would like to build. Finally you need to find out if the land has any outstanding debts and that the person who claims to own the site actually has the right to sell the land.
Concerning the paper work required to purchase the plot, you can find all the information needed in the section about Buying Property in the Legal Matters section as it is the same.
The city hall will provide you with a building license based on an application your architect has to prepare with precise drawings and information about your future Spanish property.
For this reason getting an architect and a technical architect (aparejador) before you finalize the deal is highly recommended. This will prevent you buying a plot where some building restrictions or problems could arise. Have a clear deal with your architect making sure of what is included in the price of his services. It could include just the design or a variety of other things like technical assistance and inspection during the construction. Make sure as well that the building description (memoria de calidades) and the materials necessary for construction is part of the architectural plan.
The building contract with the constructor can critically determine the quality of your property. It is one of the most essential factors in the construction as the builder can try to do things to his advantage (lower quality and could take longer to build the house) if the contract is not clear. To prevent the constructor to take advantage of you, you should seek for legal advice with a lawyer.
The contract should have at least the following mentioned: full name and CIF number of the constructing company and owner; your requirement to have the constructor comply with the plans and building description (memoria de calidades) of your architect; extra requirements (ie. pool, garage) included in the price; set a starting and finishing date, including a penalty clause if the construction takes longer than the limit date; payment terms, it is advisable to never pay more than 20-30% before the starting date of the construction and pay progressively as the construction evolves, besides it is not a bad idea to keep 5-10% of the price in order to repair any defects on your Spanish property made by the builder; the architect, electricians and city hall certificates to be given at the end.
Once you have the permit to build from the city hall and the building contract everything is ready for you to start building your Spanish real estate. During construction get a technical architect to inspect regularly the works and payments should be done according to certificates from him stating that everything is going as set.
Before the last payment you should get from your constructor the certificate from the electrician (boletin de instalaciones electricas) ensuring that all electrical installations work; the certificate from the architect (certificado de fin de obra) stating that the construction is finished; the certificate of first occupancy from the city hall stating that the house can be lived in (licencia de primera ocupacion).
To conclude, you need to register your Spanish property at the Spanish Property Registry. To be able to register your new home you need to make a declaration of new work (declaración de obra nueva) in the title deed and to provide all the paper work in relation to the construction (building license, certificate of building completion and certificate of first occupancy).
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