Buying land in Gran Canaria

Buying land in Gran Canaria

More and more non-residents considering a property purchase in Spain look for land to build their own dream villa. Increasingly Spanish real estate agents include plots of land in their property for sale.

Given the rise in Spanish property prices over the past decade, buying land in Spain to then build your Spanish home is often much cheaper than buying a Spanish villa with a large garden (although not necessarily as cheap as many newcomers to the Spanish property market hope).

But buying land to build is just as complicated as buying a house in Spain. Spanish land laws are complex, and it is very very important to choose the right plot of land in order to avoid future problems such as finding out that the land you have bought has no planning permission and so you can’t build your house there after all. Or risking a possible repossesion order.

Once you have bought your land, you will need to find an architect to design the house and have the plans approved and get planning permission. Then you will have to find a reputable building company and oversee the actual construction.

This section is designed to help people who want to buy land in Spain. Click on any of the sections below:
Check list for buying land in Spain

  • Do find a good Spanish lawyer before you put a down payment down on a land sale in Spain. This is very important, even more so than when you purchase property, because the lawyer will help you check the land use status, sort out taxes, get a building permit, contract the building, all of which are vital steps towards building your Spanish home.
  • Don’t limit your search for land to local estate agents. A good way of getting an idea of what is on offer, is to drive around the area and look for “se vende” (for sale) signs, jot down the phone number and ring them up (or get a Spanish speaker to ring on your behalf). The advantage of buying through an estate agent is that the land will often have its building permission sorted out so that you can start building straight away. The disadvantage is that it is usually more expenxive.
  • Do find out whether the land you want to buy has got or will be given building permission (permiso or licencia de obra) from the local town hall. Building permits cost about 4% of the estimated construction costs, depending on the figure set by the Spanish local authorities. To find this out, your lawyer will need to go on your behalf or with you to the urbanismo department of your local town hall to have a look at the Plan General de OrdenaciĆ³n Urbana (Urban Plan) which will state whether or not the plot you wish to buy has any building restrictions, is in a green zone or includes a public pathway or similar. If this is the case you will be obliged to allow public access. Also, check future plans. See what, if any, restrictions the surrounding land is subject to and make sure there are no plans for a new motorway or a shopping center to be built nearby.
  • Do insist on getting your plot surveyed to measure the exact number of square metres. Find a “topografo” (land surveyer) and also check the castastro (land register) to make sure that the official measurements and bounderies match what your own land surveyer has measured. ??Do check the owners registry (Registro de la Propiedad), just to make sure that the seller is the only owner of the plot you want to buy. It is not incommon in Spain for ownership of land to have been inherited by several people, so make sure that this is not the case. ??Do check the local building norms. Some areas put strict restrictions on the number of floors you can build, whether or not you can build walls around the property and, if you buy a plot within an urbanization, even the colour of exterior walls or the number or balconies.

I cannot stress how important it is to do these checks, there are many stories of people who now have beautiful hillsides that they can’t even put a shed on!


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