Building permission and renovations in rural Spain
There are still relatively few renovated rural properties on the market outside of Catalonia and the Balearics, though this will change in future. For the time being, though, most rural properties will need substantial work to be made habitable.
The problem here is that many buyers overestimate the building permission they will get, and underestimate the costs of refurbishments (often on the advice of estate agents on both counts). The days when you could pick up an old Spanish country property to restore for next to nothing are long gone, and beware of anyone who tells you otherwise. Furthermore, restorations in the Spanish countryside are not cheap, and should only be undertaken with your eyes wide open and with the help of a trusted, local project manager or builder.
Building and planning permission in many of Spain’s rural areas is much stricter than it was, and harder to get than you might think. It’s likely you will only get permission to refurbish an existing, registered dwelling rather than increase the footprint or build new. Given that most Spanish country properties will need new plumbing, wiring, flooring, damp proofing, plastering and painting, not to mention new kitchens and bathrooms, be realistic about your budget and get some quotes on the work from reliable local builders before you commit to anything. When carrying out refurbishments make a real effort to find a reliable builder as cowboy builders are an endless source of problems – get recommendations from people you trust. Note that many estate agents in rural Spain recommend builders who pay them a kickback, which drives up the renovation budget.